Results tagged ‘ Jhonny Peralta ’

The Irish been coming here for years, acting like they own the place

St. Patrick's Day is a really divisive holiday for me. When I'm not working, it is, without question, one of the best days of the year. And when I am working, it is, without question, one of the most obnoxious days of the year.


fourleafclover.jpg 

If you're neither Irish nor inebriated, this holiday does nothing for you. If you're not a fan of corned beef or soda bread, all you've got is a bunch of goofs wearing T-shirts with ridiculous expressions like "Erin Go Braless" or saying annoying things like "Top o' the mornin' to ya!"

 

Ah, maybe I'm just jealous. Pass the Tullamore Dew. I need to get in the holiday spirit.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Wow. Cliff Lee took quite a lump today -- 10 runs (nine earned) on 11 hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. It reads as bad as it looked, and it looked heinous. Lee said he was just trying to locate his fastballs today. And I could definitely locate them. There was one that landed near the warning track in right, there was one off the center-field wall, there was one that cruised past his left ear on a liner up the middle.... well, you get the idea.
  • That being said, Lee had a point. He was basically throwing nothing but fastballs. Only five or six of his 60-some pitches were offspeed. He was throwing fastballs in counts he'd never throw them in-season, and he said he also took into account the fact that he'll be facing this Rangers team in less than three weeks, when the games count.
  • By the way, Lee had a 5.68 ERA and a .342 average against last spring -- and that's when he was competing for a job. I know those numbers aren't as bad as the 18.90 ERA he's carrying now, but it's just another demonstration that we shouldn't put too much weight into what happens out here. So don't panic yet.
  • Well, unless you were counting on Masa Kobayashi to be a go-to setup man. In that case, yes, now would be a good time to panic. But Eric Wedge thought he looked better today.
  • Travis Hafner will begin to see some action in Minor League games in the coming weeks, for a couple reasons. It gives him extra repetitions, for one. But after Wednesday's off day, nine of the Indians' remaining 10 exhibition road games will be against National League teams. Thus far, the Indians haven't had a single road game in which the DH wasn't utilized, but that's sure to change as we get closer to the regular season.
  • Let's talk about the batting order. We know, of course, that Grady Sizemore is going to lead off. We know Mark DeRosa is batting second. We know Wedge prefers to have Hafner at No. 3 and Victor Martinez at cleanup. But Wedge said today he puts Hafner, Martinez and Jhonny Peralta (who was excellent at No. 4 last year) in those Nos. 3-5 spots, and he's still not sure of the order or even if it will be static.
  • Moving down the order, Wedge said Asdrubal Cabrera will remain in the Nos. 8 or 9 spots. He likes the protection that affords the young Cabrera, though he still sees him potentially working his way back up to No. 2 (where he thrived at the end of '07) someday. That leaves Shin-Soo Choo, Ben Francisco and Kelly Shoppach/Ryan Garko somewhere in the Nos. 6-9 mix, with the order depending on the day and opposing pitcher.
  • How would you organize the lineup? I'd go with Choo at No. 3, Peralta at No. 4, Martinez at No. 5 and Hafner at No. 6 at the outset. It's too early to know what the Indians will get out of Pronk, so I would bump him down and ease the pressure on him.
  • Peralta started at third today. That's his second appearance there this spring. "We just want to give him some repetitions," Wedge said, "so that if we do need him [at third], he's been there." Cabrera started at short.
  • Kirk Saarloos came on in emergency relief of Lee in the third inning and held the Rangers scoreless for 1 1/3 innings. It was a nice audition for that long relief role.
  • A guy dressed in costume as a gigantic Dunkin' Donuts coffee cup came into the PDC this morning with about four or five dozen free donuts for all the players. Well, it's 2009. The coffee cup should have known that the modern athlete is prohibited (at work and under the supervision of a team of athletic trainers, anyway) from eating such garbage.
  • So, guess who got all the donuts? Yes, media membership has its privileges.

~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

Hey mister deejay, won't ya hear my last prayer

I really don't see how it's even remotely possible that anyone could or would need to listen to a radio station other than E Street Radio -- the all-Bruce Springsteen station on Sirius and XM.

 

Actually, I'm on my second rental car of the spring already, because the Sirius subscription in the first one ran out a day into my rental period. That wasn't going to cut it. I need access to the only station where it's standard practice to hear, on average, five versions of "Thunder Road" (the studio version, the live version from the Agora Ballroom in '78, the solo piano version from the live boxed set, the original version named "Wings for Wheels" from early '75 and the studio alternate version in which the woman he's singing to is named Chrissie, not Mary) a day.

 

To me, that's perfect radio. But for the rest of you, perfect radio involves the Indians broadcasts.

 

Unfortunately, not every game down here in the Cactus League will be carried by WTAM, WMMS and the Indians Radio Network. Tom Hamilton, who arrived to camp today, will be in the booth for Wednesday's opener and 20 other spring exhibitions.

 

The rest of the time, you can turn to the soothing sounds of Jim Rosenhaus right over in these parts at Indians.com. Those of you with a subscription to MLB.com's Gameday Audio feature can tune in at the site for every game, including the ones not carried on the radio. For the complete spring broadcast schedule, click here.

  

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • It will be David Huff opposing Hector Rondon in the first inning of tomorrow's 1 p.m. intrasquad game. The game will last five innings in all. Rafael Betancourt, Kirk Saarloos, Adam Miller, Greg Aquino, Jensen Lewis, Masa Kobayashi, John Meloan and Ryan Edell will all get an inning of work.
  • Also of note for the intrasquad is that Ryan Garko and Jamey Carroll will both play in the outfield, while Josh Barfield will be at third base. Eric Wedge said he’s seen enough of Garko to determine it’s worth a shot, particularly in such a meaningless game.
  • At the end of this morning’s workout, the position players took part in an interesting situational hitting drill. They were divided into two teams. When a player would step into the cage, the players from the opposing team would call out a situation — for example, bases loaded with the infield in and one out — and the hitter would have to respond with the appropriate at-bat. Get it right, get a point. Get it wrong, lose a point. The team with the fewest points at the end had to pick up all the balls sprayed around the field. Some funny moments came out of this, and you can read about them on Indians.com in a little bit. But the highlight was when Shin-Soo Choo’s situation was basically “don’t hit a homer.” He hit a towering shot off the center-field wall, about a foot and a half short of going out. Big League Choo, ladies and gentlemen.
  • Nick Weglarz is a beast at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds. He was one of the early arrivals to Minor League camp this year, because he's due to leave to represent Canada in the World Baseball Classic this week. He took batting practice with the members of big-league camp this morning. I'll write up Weglarz in the coming days, but the main things you need to know about him is that he's got the body of a Travis Hafner with enough athleticism, the Indians believe, to remain in left field. He's not your typical power hitter. At Class A Kinston last year, he had a .396 on-base percentage, drawing 71 walks and striking out 78 times.
  • Another Andy Marte sighting today. He was working out at the complex and changing in the Minor League locker room. The Indians weren't able to work out a trade involving Marte, and he was officially exposed to waivers this morning. Teams have until Wednesday to claim him. I'll have Marte's take on his situation in a story on Indians.com this afternoon.
  • Jhonny Peralta will see some time at third this spring, but it won’t be a “steady diet,” Wedge said. It will be just enough to ensure Peralta is ready to jump over there from time to time during the season, if the need arises.
  • Former big-league player and hitting coach Mickey Brantley will be here tomorrow to see his son, Michael, in action.

 ~AC

There's a little town just beneath the floodline that needs a local hero

When I was a kid, Cory Snyder came to The Palace at Euclid High School (it was and is, simply, a high school baseball field, but it was referred to as "The Palace" because it had such posh amenities as a working scoreboard and covered dugouts).

 


snyder1.JPGSnyder put on a little clinic for us Euclid Boys League players. He taught us the finer points that made him, inarguably, the game's greatest player to ever hit 149 homers and notch 992 strikeouts.

 

Then, Snyder put on a Home Run Derby display that drew oohs, ahhs and gasps. And understand: This was my favorite player, in my town, on one of my fields. I was so mesmerized by the sheer magnitude of the moment that I didn't even notice when my dad took off to chase down a foul ball for me. Snyder later signed the ball. It still holds a special place in my heart -- and a box in my basement.

 

I can only imagine the way I felt that spring day in 1988 is similar to the way the kids of Goodyear, Ariz., felt this morning, when the Indians held an open house at the new Goodyear Ballpark. The players did their fundamental drills and took BP on the field, then walked down the first-base line signing autographs for (seemingly) one and all. Grady Sizemore was there. Victor Martinez was there. Jhonny Peralta was there. It was good to see the guys interacting with the locals and the fans who made the trek from Cleveland.

 

Of course, it would have been a lot cooler if Cory Snyder was there.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Jeremy Sowers has been named the Indians' Opening Day starter. Opening Day of the Cactus League schedule, that is. He'll get the ball Wednesday at the Goodyear Ballpark opener against the Giants.
  • Today marked the historic debut of the shuttle system that will bring the players to and from the stadium from the complex. There are three shuttles working on a rotation.
  • A little controversy erupted when one of the shuttles took off without Eric Wedge and several players, even though they were in striking distance of the doors. Josh Barfield was absolutely buried by his teammates, because he was apparently the last guy on the bus before it took off. But it was all in good fun.
  • Ed Mujica has looked as good as you can look in two live batting practice sessions. He's out of options, and, if all things are equal with the relief candidates, he'd get the job because of that contract status. But it's early. Let's see how he looks in the games.
  • The more I see of Luis Valbuena, the more I like. He looks quite polished in the field, and he has a smooth swing. One line on Valbuena when the Indians acquired him this winter was that he's a bit on the stocky side, but he looks to be in pretty good shape to me.
  • Fausto Carmona, on the other hand, must be a regular at the Andy Marte Buffet.
  • Speaking of which, there was a Marte sighting at camp here today. He came here to workout, as he is, technically, still with the organization. He got out of here before reporters could shake him down for a few thoughts on the move the other day. 
  • Travis Hafner is still not hitting outside. He's taking BP in the cages every other day and still feels fine. No word on when he'll progress to the next step, but it can't be too far off.
  • The new ballpark is absolutely beautiful. Then again, I guess you wouldn't expect the centerpiece of a $108 million complex to be a dump, right?
  • There are a lot of great jobs in baseball, but wouldn't you just love to be a team's Australia and Europe scouting supervisor? I know I would.
  • For the 90 seconds in which it lived in my notebook, I totally bought David Dellucci's story about saving a little boy from an alligator and having his thumb bit in the process. I guess after 10 days of a rather dull existence here in Goodyear, I was just so excited to finally have a great story to latch on to. At least I wasn't the only one buying it.
  • Some fibs have made it to print over the years. In the early '80s, pitcher Ross Grimsley had reporters believing he had an armadillo farm. In the '90s, Brian Giles had some bite marks on his leg and explained that they were from a yellow-tailed scorpion.
  • My MLB.com colleague Tom Singer had some interesting data on this winter's signings, noting that it was actually, on average, more beneficial to be a young player in arbitration than it was to be a free agent on the open market.

~AC

"I happen to dress based on mood… This is Morning Mist."

These must already be the dog days of camp if yesterday's discussion centered around dog names.

 

(I particularly liked the idea of getting nine fish and naming them all after the members of the starting lineup. However, that might be difficult to pull off with the Tribe. You might need a few versatile, utility fish to fill in when the other fish are in a slump or need a break from ... I don't know ... swimming laps, I guess.)

 

Today's topic: Clothing.

 

Now, I don't claim to have an admirable wardrobe. Far from it, in fact. Sportswriters technically aren't allowed to wear anything but sweatpants and polo shirts featuring the logo of some event from 1996. Also, I hate to sound like a cranky old man. But seriously... what's with these Affliction shirts?

 

You know what shirts I'm talking about, right? They usually have some sort of skull on them. Or maybe it's not a skull. I guess I haven't really taken the time to examine them closely. (Edit: After I started writing this entry, I went into the clubhouse and did examine one of them closely. It featured a sword going through an empty rib cage, surrounded by flowers. Reminds me of prom night.) But I do know that they're always form-fitting (I would love, just once, to see a guy wearing an Affliction shirt three sizes too big for him), and they are a hit among ballplayers. I'm starting to think they serve as a secondary uniform for this particular team.

 

I don't get it. I don't want to get it. And if you can't tell by this post, I'm really ready for the games to start down here, because I have nothing better to do than write up the unceremonious end of Andy Marte's reign and rant about T-shirts.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • GM Mark Shapiro is back in camp after leaving for Baltimore due to the death of his grandmother. With Shapiro back, he and Eric Wedge began holding their two-on-one meetings with position players.
  • Another rather uneventful morning on the back fields. The players did some work at their individual positions, and the second round of live BP was held.
  • It can be somewhat telling to see who's getting work at which position and what group they are in. For example, Luis Valbuena, Josh Barfield and Beau Mills all got work this morning in what could be considered the Major League infield group (Mark DeRosa at third, Jhonny Peralta at short, Asdrubal Cabrera at second and Ryan Garko at first). Barfield was at second base and Valbuena was taking grounders at short. Jamey Carroll worked with DeRosa at third base.
  • The plan this season is for Carroll to serve as, essentially, the backup third baseman. With DeRosa expected to see some time in the outfield, Carroll can step in at the hot corner. Barfield will probably make this team and serve as Cabrera's backup at second base. So much of Carroll's time on the field, to this point, has been spent at third.
  • Wedge's first impression of third baseman Wes Hodges: "For a young player, he does a nice job staying in the middle of the diamond [in BP]."
  • Someone asked whatever happened with Edward Salcedo, the prospect to end all prospects who the Indians reportedly made a run at last year in the Dominican and were even rumored to have signed for $2.9 million (obviously, that wasn't the case). Last I heard, there was an investigation into Salcedo's age and doubts that he was really 16. The talk about Salcedo coming out of the Dominican quieted in a hurry when that investigation began. 

~AC

"I was in there for two minutes… touch this, feel that, 75 bucks"

Let's get physical(s).

 

A few players just headed out to the ballpark to take some early batting practice, and a few guys are playing catch. But the main thing shaking today at the Indians Player Development Complex are the annual physical examinations of pitchers and catchers.

 

It's the usual rundown of eye, ear, nose, throat exams. Turn your head and cough. Touch your toes. Step on this scale. All that good stuff.

 

One guy spared from a good portion of this was Kerry Wood, who, as you might remember, was subjected to an "all-inclusive" physical before his deal with the Tribe became official in December.

 

"I got a hall pass," Wood said with a smile. "I just had my physical not too long ago."

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • In addition to the physicals, players are having their annual sit-downs with manager Eric Wedge and general manager Mark Shapiro. They are told, essentially, where they stand in the organization, their odds of making the team and what's expected of them this year.
  • I don't know if Carl Pavano got a bad rap or if he's had a change of life or what, but the general consenus around here is that he is, for lack of a better term, a Grade A dude. I can back up this consensus based on my first encounter with Pavano, who not only was a fine interview but even offered up a local restaurant recommendation. He said he's not at all bitter about the way the media treated him in New York (where "American Idle" came to be his nickname), and we had a nice conversation about the type of "comes with the territory" uncomfortability that can sprout up between reporter and player. He knows we have a job to do, and he knows he didn't get the job done as a Yankee. And if he's at all upset with the way he was portrayed in Joe Torre's book, he's not showing it.
  • Jhonny Peralta played third base in all but one game in the Dominican this winter. He said he likes that the position doesn't require him to move around much (I'm sure more than a few Tribe fans just nodded their head in agreement), but he did have some trouble with his throws and fielding bunt plays. He said he has "no problem" with the concept of moving to third eventually in his career, but, for now, he views himself as a shortstop.
  • A few people have written in wondering what Kerry Wood's entrance music will be this season. He said he'll probably stick with the Guns N' Roses classic, "Welcome to the Jungle," which he used in Chicago. When I mentioned that some fans would prefer he go with "Wild Thing" (of "Major League" fame, of course), he said, "I'm trying to avoid being wild." The guy did strike out 84 and walk 18 last year, so Guns N' Roses it is.
  • You might remember last spring as the spring Masa Kobayashi made his first foray into American life and became instantly enamored with Wal-Mart. Yesterday I asked his interpreter, Toshi Nagahara, if Masa had made his way to the Goodyear Wal-Mart yet, and Nagahara said, "He was there the first day." Sure enough, I step into the local Supercenter after leaving the complex yesterday, and there's Masa at the express line.
  • I haven't seen every nook and cranny of the complex yet, but so far my favorite part has to be the gigantic photo of Brandon Phillips outside the Goodyear Ballpark.

~AC

Don't wear sandals, try to avoid scandals

Forget about pitchers and catchers reporting. Everybody’s here.

Well, OK, not everybody, exactly. I did see a few unoccupied lockers (I won’t name names here, becuase you never know who’s going to roll through that door next). But the basic gist of the story is that virtually the entire roster is already in-house here at the Cleveland Indians Player Development Complex (rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?).

Not much news to report on Day 1. That’s what happens when you follow a team where the manager doesn’t write a book, the star players don’t become embroiled in steroids scandals and no one has plead guility to lying to Congress.

Pretty boring.

When it comes to that steroids talk, Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt said he feels cheated by players who doped up — A-Rod included. I asked Cliff Lee if he felt that way, and this was his very Cliff-like response:

“I personally don’t see it as bad as it’s made out to be. I like the fact that [Rodriguez] came out and apologized and was open about what he really did. I can respect that. I just have a problem with how they’re going so far in the past and bringing up old things. It’s 2009, and they’re talking about things that happened in ’01 through ’03. MLB has taken care of the steroid issue. We’re being tested. If you’re doing it now, you’re going to get caught. There’s no way around it. I have a problem with how people think it’s still an issue when it’s not anymore. It’s time to move on and just let the past be the past. It’s over with, as far as I’m concerned.”

 

With all due respect, Cliff, it’s not over. Just ask the other 103 guys on that list.

 

Some other bits of minutia from today…

 

  • Fausto Carmona and Rafael Betancourt will not be participating in the World Baseball Classic. Carmona is on the provisional roster for the Dominican and Betancourt is on for Venezuela, but both players have pulled out. Carmona obviously missed a lot of time last year with his hip injury, and the Indians didn’t want him missing more time in camp. Betancourt pitched in the Classic in 2006 and felt like he fell behind in his preseason conditioning.
  • Jhonny Peralta also might not make the Classic cut. He’s on the Dominican roster, but so are Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes and Tejada. Peralta said that even if he does go, he’s not sure how much he’d play, so it might not be worth it.
  • It’s kind of funny to see workers putting all the finishing touches on the complex as players step around them to go work out. I was told that last week, a worker was hanging a piece of artwork and drilled a hole into the wall, puncturing a water pipe. Chaos ensued. Water was everywhere. It’s all part of the initiation process, I suppose.
  • Speaking of the complex, team photographer Dan Mendlik is going to hook me up with some photos of the facility that I’ll post on here as soon as I get them.

~AC 

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