Results tagged ‘ Carlos Santana ’

"The name died before the man"

Really upsetting news about Nick Adenhart, the 22-year-old Angels pitcher killed in a hit-and-run car accident early this morning. The Indians just faced Adenhart about two weeks ago in Cactus League play. He was an up-and-comer with so much in store for him.

610x.jpg“Horrible,” manager Eric Wedge said. “That’s the only word I can even think of. The first people I think about are his parents, his family. It shouldn’t take a great deal to have perspective in this game, but when something like that happens, it brings you back down to earth.”

Amen to that.

In the grand scheme of things, much of what happens between the lines in this game — and any game — is all just, well…

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Trevor Crowe gets his first Major League start today. “I figured I’d get in there when a guy needed a break at some point,” Crowe said. “But I didn’t think it would be in the first series.” Crowe’s parents, David and Terryl, made the trip to Texas from Oregon. Crowe had no intention of informing them that he was in the lineup. “They’ll find out when they get here,” he said with a smile.
  • As expected, Kelly Shoppach is catching Carl Pavano today. They were also matched up in Spring Training. But Wedge said that’s not a concrete pairing, the way Shoppach-Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez-Fausto Carmona are.
  • Carmona was really erratic on the mound last night. He also made a couple mental miscues, such as not running over to cover first base on Elvis Andrus’ infield single to Ryan Garko in the second inning and not looking Josh Hamilton back to third when fielding a bouncer to the mound in the fifth.
  • Adam Miller will throw a 35-pitch bullpen session back at the Goodyear complex on Friday. If all goes well, Miller, working his way back to game readiness despite decreased range of motion and strength in his right middle finger, will throw live batting practice sessions on Monday and Friday of next week.
  • The Indians have not started a season 0-3 since 1996. They went on to win 99 games that season.
  • The last time the Tribe was swept by the Rangers in a three-game series was Aug. 16-18, 2008, here in Arlington.
  • Indians hitters were 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position in the first two games of this series.
  • Two games in, and Indians hitters have already been plunked by two pitches. So they’re on track to break the franchise and MLB record of 103 HBPs set last year.
  • Hector Rondon is one of the more intriguing arms in the Minor League system right now, and he showed it Wednesday night, in Double-A Akron’s season-0pening 9-5 win over Bowie. Rondon went 5 2/3 innings, allowing a run on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
  • Carlos Santana, celebrating his 23rd birthday, chipped in with a 2-for-4 night in which he homered and drove in four runs.
  • Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News passes along this tidbit: The Indians took out a full-page ad in the Buffalo Bisons’ game program, thanking the organization and its fans for their support over the last 14 years. Pretty classy move.

~AC

The second cut is the deepest

The Indians trimmed their spring roster by 15 players this morning, sending out several top prospects, a few contenders for the last spot in the big league bullpen and a contender for the last rotation spot.

RHPs John Meloan, Adam Miller and Juan Salas, LHP Tony Sipp and 2B Luis Valbuena were optioned to Triple-A Columbus. RHP Hector Rondon and C Carlos Santana were optioned to Double-A Columbus.

RHP Jack Cassel, LHP David Huff, C Armando Camacaro, 1B Jordan Brown, 3B Wes Hodges, INF Jesus Merchan, 1B Beau Mills and OF Stephen Head were reassigned to Minor League camp.

So strike Huff from the mix for the fifth starting job, which will likely go to Aaron Laffey, with Jeremy Sowers and Scott Lewis also strong in the running. Huff only had two appearances in Cactus League play and seemed to press.

Strike Meloan, Salas and Cassel from the bullpen competition. Zach Jackson, Kirl Saarloos, Vinnie Chulk and Matt Herges are the leading candidates for that job. 

And say goodbye to Santana and Valbuena, who made a strong first impression after their acquisitions in 2008.

There are now 44 players remaining in camp.

UPDATE: Was given incorrect info earlier. Rondon and Santana to Akron, not Columbus.

General Manager Minutia

shapiro.jpgMark Shapiro arrived to Goodyear one month ago today. This morning, he met with the media to talk about his impressions of the first month of camp and his thoughts with three and a half weeks remaining before the opener.

Here’s a sampling of what he had to say, with a full story to come on Indians.com this afternoon…

  • General thoughts: “I’ve been very happy with most of what’s happened in camp. But if you had to point to one area of concern, it would still be the rotation.”
  • Shapiro likes the way Fausto Carmona is leveraging the ball, he believes Carl Pavano is on track to be a veteran, stabilizing starter, and he’s encouraged by Anthony Reyes’ stuff and health. But Shapiro, like everybody else, is waiting for somebody to step up and take the No. 5 job.
  • At this stage, he puts very little stock in spring numbers, especially in the Arizona conditions. He pointed to Scott Lewis’ outing yesterday (2 1/3 innings, 4R, 3H, 2BB, 2K) as a prime example of an impressive appearance thrown awry by one or two bad pitches.
  • Trevor Crowe, Wes Hodges, Carlos Santana, Hector Rondon, Chris Gimenez, Luis Valbuena, Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley have all made a very favorable impression, and Shapiro expects this team to rely on that depth. “This is the best layer of talent we’ve had here in a long, long time.”
  • Crowe is not only battling for the final bench spot but also the fourth outfield spot. But that latter spot is still David Dellucci’s to lose, and Shapiro likes what he’s seen from Dellucci (3-for-8, a homer, a double and two walks) since his return from the thumb injury.
  • The extended camp has been nice from the standpoint of getting young players more looks, but it’s made evaluation difficult. He said it’s tough to know when to start cutting guys — a process that ordinarily would have begun by now.
  • Another downside to the long camp: “We already went through a bunch of nicks and bruises and scrapes that kept a bunch of guys off the field. Now we’re almost completely back to full health, but there’s enough time to go through it again. That’s how long we’re here for.”
  • Speaking of health, he was really happy to see Victor Martinez hit back-to-back home runs on Feb. 27 and really happy to see Travis Hafner “nearly decapitate” Jered Weaver with a liner up the middle yesterday. “When you don’t see those things for a long time, it affects you emotionally.” 
  • On that front, he talked about defense, and he said fans and writers are often so emotionally affected by Jhonny Peralta’s inability to get to the occassional grounder up the middle that we ignore his ability to field every routine ball. Our response? Hey, we were emotionally affected long before Jhonny Peralta came into our lives.
  • The Indians use four metrics to evaluate defense. One of them is John Dewan’s Fielding Bible, which I’ve often referenced here, another is internal, and he wouldn’t reveal the two others. But he noted that objective analysis of defensive play is always imperfect.
  • He’s been impressed with Ryan Garko in the outfield and beyond. “[Garko] deserves some credit. He was the first guy through the doors of this place in October and the most consistent guy here all winter long. He clearly has worked with a sense of determination."

~AC

May the rising sun caress and bless your soul for all your life

I am the proud possessor of my first sunburn of the year. And in a related note, I can vouch for the view of the action at Goodyear Ballpark from the lawn in right-center field.

 

Oh, but I have been working today, too. I swear. Here, I'll even prove it.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Third-base coach Joel Skinner, who works with the catchers, had a great line about Carlos Santana. "I keep waiting for the jack in the box to come out," Skinner said. In other words, Skinner, like a lot of other people here, can't believe the Indians got this guy in the Casey Blake trade. There's got to be a catch, right? Maybe not. The Dodgers, who have Russell Martin, obviously dealt from a position of depth, but Santana seems to have serious star potential. Skinner and others are raving about his swing (and remember, he's a switch-hitter, which is a huge plus) and his arm. He's got the perfect catcher's build, to boot.
  • The Indians have four players in Baseball America's Top 100 prospects list. Santana ranks 26th, outfielder Matt LaPorta is No. 27, outfielder Nick Weglarz is No. 58 and right-hander Adam Miller is No. 82. You can find the complete list right here.
  • Michael Brantley is not on that BA list, but he probably should be. Because of his build, his maturity, his skills and the fact that he's only 21 and still improving, some higher-ups around here are starting to think he might be the best player the Indians acquired last summer.
  • Mark DeRosa christened Goodyear Ballpark with its first home run -- a three-run shot in the third. He scooped up a breaking ball tossed by Keiichi Yabu.
  • Ed Mujica looked awesome on the back fields in live BP. Today, Ed Mujica looked like Ed Mujica.
  • Wedge thought both Mujica (4 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 IP) and Vinnie Chulk (3 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 K) were overthrowing. "If you do that, you open up and you're not the same guy," Wedge said.
  • If you're looking for a little background on Juan Salas, my MLB.com amigo Jesse Sanchez had a nice blog posting on him last August that you might want to check out.
  • More BP on Field No. 1 for Travis Hafner this morning. And for what it's worth, he hit a couple shots that cleared the scoreboard in right-center field. Victor Martinez also had a nice round of BP, spraying balls to both sides of the field.
  • Another choice quote from Rapid Robert: "If the ballclub's as good as the facilities, they ought to win the World Series in four games."

 ~AC

Familiar faces around me

Aside from today's shift in scenery from the complex to the ballpark, the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the arrival of Rapid Robert Feller. It's an annual rite of spring.

 

As was the case in Winter Haven, Feller will be throwing out a ceremonial first pitch and signing autographs at each and every home game at the Goodyear Ballpark.

 

You might be surprised to hear Mr. Feller has an opinion on some things. Shocker, right? He came into the media workroom and said, "Are you guys going to write about steroids this season, or baseball?" Hopefully baseball, we responded. "I'm sure Bud and A-Rod hope that, too," he replied.

 

When told Jeremy Sowers is starting tomorrow's Cactus League opener, Feller said, "If he got some upper body strength, he could do it. He reminds me a lot of Scotty Bailes."

 

Feller also told us scribes, "The last thing I want to hear is that we have great players in the Minor Leagues. I don't care. How about some great ones, right now, winning a ballgame?"

 

I guess he's not all that interested in my Nick Weglarz feature.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • If you're in the Cleveland area, SportsTime Ohio will be broadcasting tomorrow's opener against the Giants, which begins at 3 p.m. ET. If you're not, fear not. MLB Network will be picking up and airing the STO live feed.
  • Feller was far from the only special guest at the complex today. This place has become a tourist trap. This morning, former closer Joe Borowski rolled in to take a tour and catch up with some old friends. Not only was Borowski, who lives in nearby Scottsdale, wearing the standard-issue Affliction T-shirt, he was also carrying his trademark cup of Starbucks. "I can drink as much as I want now," he joked. If you remember, Borowski's major complaint about Winter Haven was the lack of Starbucks availability.
  • Cubs GM Jim Hendry and Padres GM Kevin Towers also toured the complex this morning. And on Monday, Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd (a former Indians assistant GM) rolled through. The Rockies have to be considering a move from Tucson. Only two teams (the Rockies and Diamondbacks) remain there, so their travel schedule is brutal.
  • Not a great deal to report off the five-inning intrasquad, because, well, it's a five-inning intrasquad. But Josh Barfield started a double play on the only ball hit to him at third, and he also cranked out a three-run homer. So a nice day for him.
  • Bad day for Masa Kobayashi, who had a rough third inning in which he faced eight batters and gave up three runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Trevor Crowe took him deep for a solo shot, and Beau Mills added an RBI triple to the left-field corner. Eric Wedge said Kobayashi was flying open on his delivery. After Carl Willis talked with him on the mound, he tightened it up and got better action on his breaking ball -- and got out of the inning, to boot.
  • Carlos Santana put on a display in batting practice during the morning workout, and he showed off his strong arm behind the plate in the intrasquad. Santana is catching (no pun intended) attention down here.
  • The real star of the intrasquad was the ballpark itself. The plaza beyond foul territory near right field contains a Wiffle Ball field for the kids. The 8-year-old inside me is just dying to try it out.
  • The park has an incredible sound system. Some of the players are already talking about starting a petition to have the system installed at Progressive Field (they hate the sound there).
  • Then again, the people operating the system here could stand to make some tweaks. You've no doubt heard a small sampling of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" played after strikeouts in many a ballpark, and Goodyear Ballpark is no exception. It's a tired act. And the lone time it was broken up, the replacement, bizarrely, was a short dose of Blessid Union of Souls' "I Believe" when Wes Hodges went down swinging in the fourth. I'm struggling to make the connection there.

 ~AC

From the churches to the jails, tonight all is silence in the world

It's a low-key Sunday at the PDC.

 

Oh, for the record, I'm taking the advice of one reader and, from this point forward, referring to the Cleveland Indians Player Development Complex as the PDC. I figure over the course of a seven-week spring camp, this little abbreviation will save me two minutes and one second of typing time, and I plan to spend that 2:01 doing something much more productive - like, say, watching this.

 

(Quick digression: Did you know they've sold more than four million Snuggies? Recession? What recession?)

 

(Quick digression No. 2: My buddy Tobin, however, rails against the Snuggie as a blatant ripoff of the Slanket, which he purchased about four years ago... for $70! When I teased him about the price, he made the astute comment that the first guy to buy a CD player probably didn't care about the price, either. He simply had the foresight to know a great product when he saw it. Hard to dispute that.)

 

Anyway, position players officially reported today -- even though virtually all of them were already here. On the back fields, pitchers and catchers held their second workout.

 

Now, I know some of you might someday visit the PDC, so I’ve been trying to look at this new place from a fan’s perspective. Anyone who visited Chain of Lakes Park knows what a special spot that was to get up close and personal with the team. You could hang out by the weight room, you could walk amongst players headed to the practice fields and you could wait by the Tribe’s bullpen during and after games to get easy access for autographs.

 

The Goodyear facility, as expected, isn’t nearly as accommodating. But there is an area to the side of Field No. 6 where fans can meander freely. A few of them were hanging out there yesterday, and several players stopped to sign between drills. I’m not sure what kind of access fans will have at the ballpark. We’ll see when the games start.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

 

  • More PFPs and bullpen sessions today. I get paid to watch baseball, and, believe me, I know this is a privilege. But the list of things I’d rather watch than PFPs includes a wide variety of eye-sores, including but not limited to “Weekend at Bernie’s II” (I did that just to satisfy the handful of you who still e-mail me about “Weekend at Bernie’s II,” three years after the joke went cold… not that it was ever warm.)
     
  • As for the bullpens, 13 guys threw this morning, including Kerry Wood and Carl Pavano, who made what I’d guess you’d call their first official appearances in front of the Tribe brass. Wood is listed at 6-foot-5, 211 pounds, while Pavano is listed at 6-foot-5, 240. Sometimes the media guide listings are exaggerations, but not here. They both look healthy and strong. “You put Wood and Pavano together,” Eric Wedge said, “and you’ve got two big-league bodies right there.”
     
  • Speaking of healthy and strong, Adam Miller threw today, and he also looked good. He said the only restriction he’ll probably have in camp is throwing on back-to-back days at the outset.
     
  • I’m no scout, but I know a sweet swing when I see one, and Carlos Santana has got one.
     
  • Left-hander Ryan Edell threw today. He’s a guy who has flown under the radar a bit, but he spent all of last season in the Double-A Akron rotation and went 7-8 with a 3.80 ERA in 26 starts. What’s most impressive is that he struck out 99 and walked just 21 in 144 1/3 innings. His ability to paint the plate with strikes is considered his greatest strength, and he can work it in to right-handers. He’ll remain in a starting role, but if he has a big-league future, it’s probably in the ‘pen.

 

~AC

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