Results tagged ‘ Chris Gimenez ’

Crowe, Gimenez optioned; Barfield wins job

As expected, the Indians optioned OF Trevor Crowe and C Chris Gimenez to Triple-A Columbus today, leaving INFs Josh Barfield and Tony Graffanino as the lone remaining participants in the battle for the last position player spot.

We haven’t spoken to Eric Wedge about these moves, but I’d imagine Graffanino — along with Andy Marte and Wilson Valdez — is being kept around in these waning days of camp in case of an injury. Barfield has been the favorite for the job all along, and he might have already been told he’s won it. He’s in the starting lineup at second base today.

Crowe and Gimenez both had impressive camps. Crowe hit .289 (13-for-45) with a homer, a triple, a double and three RBIs. He went 6-for-6 in stolen-base attempts. He’ll be in the Columbus starting outfield alongside Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley. If the Indians decide to part ways with David Dellucci early this season, Crowe could get the call because of the athleticism he would bring off the bench.

Gimenez not only showed he is capable of being a big-league catcher; he also proved his worth in the outfield corners and first base. Along the way, he hit .357 (10-for-28) with two homers, three doubles and seven RBIs. He had a .679 slugging percentage and .486 on-base percentage.

UPDATE: Yep, Barfield’s on the club. Graffanino is expected to hang around another week and accept an assignment to Columbus.

This is our kingdom of days

We are now three weeks away from Opening Day. In the meantime, here’s the rundown of yet another “day that ends in y” here at Spring Training camp.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • The Indians are today’s featured team on MLB Network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days.” The first airing has already come and gone, but you can catch repeats at 11 p.m. ET tonight, and 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon and 4:30 ET on Tuesday.
  • Shin-Soo Choo did not play in South Korea’s 8-2 win over Mexico in the opener of Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at San Diego’s Petco Park on Sunday. Choo gets one day off per round.
  • Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff will update the media on Adam Miller’s finger condition on Wednesday.
  • No player has improved his organizational stock this spring more than Chris Gimenez, who hit the walkoff three-run homer against the Mariners today. He’s proven he can handle his duties behind the plate, the versatility he provides with his ability to play the corner outfield spots and first base is a plus, and he’s been productive with the bat. He won’t crack the Opening Day roster, but he could be one of the first guys the Indians turn to down at Triple-A Columbus, depending on need.
  • Gimenez also won some points with fans today. As I’m typing this, the game ended about 15-20 minutes ago, and Gimenez is still down there signing autographs for fans lined up down the first-base line. He might have to walk back to the complex, as the last shuttle has likely left for the day.
  • A total of seven double plays were turned by the Indians and Mariners today. I neither know nor care if that’s a Cactus League record.
  • What’s more important is that Jeremy Sowers looked good again. He gave up a run on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts in four innings. Afterward, he credited the immortal Sal Fasano with the improvements he’s made in pitch selection. Fasano encouraged Sowers to begin using his two-seamer to right-handers and his four-seamer to left-handers, which Sowers had not done previously. You can read more about Sowers right here.
  • After a slow start, the rotation battle has heated up with the recent performances of Sowers, Aaron Laffey and Scott Lewis. “You like to see what’s happening with multiple guys,” Eric Wedge said.
  • Still waiting for that big hit that announces Travis Hafner is back. He’s driving the ball consistently in BP but that hasn’t translated into the games. Hitting coach Derek Shelton said Hafner’s improvements in approach from last year to this year are noticeable. He said Hafner got into some bad habits last year as a result of the shoulder problem. 
  • Here’s a choice quote from Shelton on outfield prospect Michael Brantley: “When you talk to him, he’s not a 21-year-old kid. His stages of thought and what he watches with pitchers is advanced, and that’s going to help his progression to the big leagues.”
  • Well, now I’m done typing, and Gimenez is just finishing up. He signed for every last fan who waited and even posed for some photos. You’ve got to love that.

~AC

"It's true! Nobody can do the Switch! It was a stupid idea to begin with!"

Just days after I wrote in an Inbox that the Indians might want to consider having Asdrubal Cabrera bat solely from the right-hand side, he stepped up today and ripped a two-run double off right-hander Cha Seung Baek -- from the left-hand side, naturally.

 

That's just the way these things tend to happen.

 

But the more important matter here is that when Cabrera came out of the game and was asked how long he's been switch-hitting, he said he's been doing it since he was 3 years old.

 

Three?!

 

I couldn't even burp out of both sides of my mouth when I was three, and this guy was switch-hitting. It kind of makes me wonder what kind of journalistic career I might have had if I had attempted switch-writing at a young age. Just think how often that would have saved me from hand cramps while jotting down choice quotes from ballplayers.

 

Ah, what might have been. Here's the rest of today's story.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • The first round of cuts is coming. I haven't heard an exact date, but it will definitely be any day now. The first cuts are obviously the easiest. None of them will impact the various roster battles taking place.
  • At what point do the Indians express legitimate concern over Masa Kobayashi? Right about now, I'd say. He has a ghastly 15.75 ERA after giving up another three runs on four hits with a walk in one inning against the Padres today. He's not quite up to Aaron Fultz-ian levels yet, but this has been an ugly camp for Kobayashi thus far. "We need to see him turn the corner for us," Eric Wedge said. Stay tuned.
  • Cabrera also said he's lost between 10-15 pounds since arriving to camp early, on Jan. 15. He said he weighs 198 now, versus 210 a year ago.
  • Fausto Carmona was terrific again today. He walked three batters in four innings but held the Padres scoreless on one hit in four innings. "He's doing a good job getting himself back on-line [when he runs into trouble]," Wedge said.
  • Sean Casey's coming to camp. The Mayor, who retired this year and became an analyst on MLB Network, will be in Minor League camp Monday through Thursday as a guest instructor working with the hitters and first basemen.
  • I've mentioned this before, but one guy who has really opened eyes this spring is Chris Gimenez. A year ago, the Indians weren't even sure he could handle catching in the big leagues. Now they're certain of it. And catching might not even be his best position. Wedge said he's comfortable using Gimenez in left, right and first base. "The irony is we signed him as a third baseman," Wedge said with a laugh.
  • The Indians haven't settled on a third catcher going into the season. It's either Gimenez or Wyatt Toregas. They'll both be at Triple-A Columbus. Toregas is excellent behind the plate but shaky at it. Gimenez's versatility (they love that word here) is, of course, a bonus.
  • Jensen Lewis has been pitching like a man possessed this spring, giving up no runs on three hits with six strikeouts in six innings over five appearances so far. He has said all the right things with regard to the Indians' decision to sign Kerry Wood over the winter, but Lewis remains hungry to prove to the higher-ups that he can be a dominant late-inning arm. "We're seeing a lot of good things out of him right now," Wedge said.
  • The members of the Peoria police department have BMW motorcycles. Now that's cool.

~AC

She was shakin', snappin' her fingers

The sweet sounds of Eddie Money’s “Shakin’” are blaring in an empty Goodyear Ballpark as I type this.

Yep, that’s when you know it’s definitely time to punch out for the day.

But before I go…

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • It was already pretty obvious the Indians look at Laffey as their fifth starter-to-be. He is, after all, the only guy competing for the job who has actually gotten the starting nod in each of his appearances. Today he proved he’ll probably win the job, tossing four perfect innings against the A’s and getting eight groundball outs. Really impressive outing, and Laffey’s confidence is demonstrated in this quote: “I’m taking the mindset that it’s already my spot.” That’s the kind of stuff we heard from Cliff Lee last year.
  • Rafael Perez is back after a dominant run (for him, not his team) in the first round of the World Baseball Classic. Perez pitched one inning in each of the Dominican’s three games and was perfect each time, striking out three batters along the way. Eric Wedge said he’ll ease off Perez the next couple days before bringing him back into the exhibition fold. The Indians have no concerns over how he was used in the Classic because each of his outings was so effortless.
  • Zach Jackson also looked pretty good, for the most part, today. He got into some trouble in the eighth when a fastball got away from him and hit Jack Hannahan in the head. Jackson might profile well for that final bullpen spot, because he could give the Indians length and he’s left-handed (complementing the three right-handed starters).
  • Adam Miller began playing catch Wednesday and threw out to 75 feet today. He’ll throw out to 90 feet Sunday. No word on when he’ll go off a mound, but his return-to-throw was expected to last two weeks total.
  • Jake Westbrook threw 15 pitches off the 10-inch mound this morning. He continues to progress nicely in his return from Tommy John.
  • Nice play for the Tribe in the ninth inning today. Cliff Pennington was on third after tripling off Vinnie Chulk with one out. Joe Dillon hit a grounder to short against a drawn-in infield, and non-roster invitee Wilson Valdez scooped it up and made a nice throw home to catcher Chris Gimenez, who applied the tag for the second out.
  • Finally, a big congrats to Frank Viola’s daughter, Brittany, who has been selected to USA Diving’s 2009 World Championships team. She’ll be competing in Rome in July in the 1-meter and 10-meter diving events.

~AC

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

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