Results tagged ‘ Juan Salas ’

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.

"This is an astronaut pen. It writes upside down."

My pen ran out of ink the other day, and I pulled out a replacement from the Marriott Courtyard.

Now, any traveling sportswriter worth his credential can be seen at all times with a pen from some form of Marriott, because A. we like free pens and B. we like Marriott points.

What’s interesting — to me, at least — is that the longest-lasting, boldest Marriott pens, by far, come from Fairfield Inns (at the bottom of the totem pole, in terms of hotel quality), while the worst, by far, come from the Marriott or the Renaissance (which rank at the top). The Courtyard falls in the middle realm. This ranking seems a bit counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

Wow. We are one month into Spring Training camp, and I’m writing about pens. If this isn’t proof that the spring schedule is too long, I don’t know what is.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Let’s shift from pens to ‘pens. Kerry Wood looked excellent yesterday, and Jensen Lewis (no runs allowed, seven strikeouts in six innings) has looked terrific all spring. This bodes well for the Tribe bullpen, which today saw the debut of Joe Smith. He also looked good in tossing a scoreless fourth against the Rockies.
  • The battle for the last bullpen spot is wide open, now that Adam Miller is shut down with that finger soreness. In a perfect world, the Indians would go with a left-hander for that job (which could be sort of a long man position), because they’re expected to have three right-handed starters. But they will go with the best arm, regardless of which arm that happens to be.
  • Kirk Saarloos and Zach Jackson are in the mix for the last rotation job, but they’ll also be considered for the bullpen. Right now, the Indians are impressed with what they’ve seen from non-roster guys like Saarloos, Vinnie Chulk and Jack Cassel. They like Matt Herges but want to get to the point of extending him over two innings (we haven’t seen that from him yet). Juan Salas could join this mix of favorites once he’s built up to pitch two innings.
  • Ed Mujica, out of options, would probably be the favorite for that job if he didn’t look so terrible in Cactus games.
  • When it comes to the rotation battle, Jeremy Sowers had his best outing of the spring, to this point, today. He went three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and no walks with a strikeout. He appeared to have better command of his fastball, and that’s the key to his survival.
  • Cliff Lee labored again. “He got his work in,” as they say when a guy like that struggles in these games. Lee gave up four runs (three earned… though the error was his) on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts in three innings. He threw a lot of fastballs. “It’s good, especially early in the spring, for a starting pitcher to throw a lot of fastballs and work to find their release point,” Eric Wedge said.
  • Grady Sizemore (groin strain) returned to the field today without incident, and Travis Hafner played consecutive days for the first time. Pronk will continue to get ramped up over the next three and a half weeks.
  • Off day tomorrow. A new Inbox will be up on the site. Go Bobcats.

~AC

A life of leisure and a pirate's treasure don't make much for tragedy

milton4.jpgAh, the first off day of the spring. It is finally here, and I plan to soak it up like a real Arizonian — 18 holes of golf in the morning, laying by the pool in the afternoon (hopefully there won’t be any big grains of salt floating in my margarita), and a little wining and dining at night.

That’s the plan, at least. Sometimes these things have a way of deviating into sitting on the couch watching “Wonder Years” reruns.

Hey, either way, it’s OK.

But before I flick the switch, let’s give you the requisite news and notes from before, during and after today’s game against the Cubs.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Now it sounds like Grady Sizemore (sore left groin) won’t be in Friday’s lineup. Rather, the Indians will test out his legs by having him do some running and shag work. He’ll then be evaluated Saturday. He could be in the lineup then or early next week.
  • Cliff Lee, Travis Hafner and David Dellucci are all a go for Friday. That is, assuming Lee isn’t too dizzy from his F-16 trial.
  • How does Mark Shapiro feel about his Cy Young winner breaking the sound barrier? “As long as he’s not the one flying [the F-16], I’m OK with it,” he said. Lee should be in good hands. 
  • A couple weeks back, I told you Fausto Carmona was looking a little plump in the gut. He appears to have tamed that little issue — the last thing the Indians need is another abdominal/oblique strain for a prominent member of their starting rotation — for the time being. “I lost a couple pounds,” he said today. “I don’t know how many, but I feel better now.”
  • Pitching coach Carl Willis said Carmona will need to be careful in that department: “He has to watch it, because, if it gets away from him, he could get behind the eight ball really quick."
  • As for Carmona's performance, he was a little more erratic this time than the last, but he still turned in two scoreless innings.
  • Carl Pavano had a rough one -- three runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout in two innings. But he maintains that he feels great.
  • Juan Salas got the save today and has now pitched two scoreless innings in garbage time. "He has a lot of action on the plate and a loose arm," Wedge said.
  • Big, Bad Beau Mills went deep with a two-run shot off Chad Gaudin in the first inning. Wedge was really impressed with the way Mills carried himself last year in camp, and that opinion hasn't changed. "He still needs a lot of work at first base," Wedge said. "But with his aptitude, he'll pick it up quick."
  • Jensen Lewis is off to a much better start this year than last. His velocity appears to be where it needs to be this time of year, and he's rattled off three scoreless innings in three appearances.
  • Still waiting for "No Line on the Horizon" to grow on me, but I agree with the reader who spoke fondly of "Magnificent." Good track. One of the few on there.

~AC

He who waits for the day's riches will be lost

Today's 5-3 triumph over the Padres marked the Indians' first Cactus League victory since 1992.

 

Hey, the desert has been known for prolonged droughts, right?

 

That wasn't the only noteworthy item of the day, of course...

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Kerry Wood (lower back soreness) threw his bullpen session this morning. Eric Wedge had yet to hear a report on it by the end of the game. "That's probably a good thing," Wedge said. In other words, if Wood was carted off on a stretcher or pronounced done for the season, Wedge probably would have heard about it.
  • Fausto Carmona looked good in two scoreless innings today. He showed control of his sinker -- something we didn't see enough when he was walking 70 while striking out 58 last year. Carmona said the key will be controlling his emotions on the mound. "Sometimes I lost control of myself," he said through an interpreter.
  • Speaking of the interpreter, Carmona told us he's not going to use one the next time we interview him. We'll see how that goes.
  • Victor Martinez went deep twice against the Padres. That's as many homers as he hit all of last season. He had the line of the day when asked about last season: "They already paid me for that season. It's done."
  • Martinez's second homer hit a girl on the arm as she was walking on the right-field concourse. She's apparently all right.
  • Ryan Garko got his first "official" action in left field. The only time it got ugly was when David Eckstein ripped a triple down the third-base line. It probably should have been a double, but Garko was positioned too far in the gap in left-center field. Wedge said the coaching staff takes the blame for that one. Garko did make a catch on the warning track, so that's a positive. "This feels a little more natural than going from catching to first base," he said. "It's gone as well as Eric and I could hope for."
  • When Rafael Betancourt took the mound in the fifth, he was introduced as "John Betancourt." When informed of this, he said, "Maybe I need a new name." Hey, he did pitch a scoreless inning.
  • Joe Smith is back in camp after battling a viral infection the past week. He played catch and ran for about a half hour. No word yet on his schedule regarding bullpen sessions or Cactus League action.
  • Watched Juan Salas throw live batting practice on the back fields this morning. He can definitely make a glove pop, though he seemed a little bit erratic. He said he was really surprised to be designated by the Rays and then traded. In fact, he seemed a little irritated to even be talking about it.

~AC

Come together right now over me

I'd like to think I had a pretty diverse lunch table in high school.

 

You know how it is in the movies. The jocks sit with jocks. The nerds sit with nerds. The cheerleaders all sit together and, presumably, talk about how attractive the members of the school paper's reporting staff are. Pretty basic stuff.

 

That's not how it was at my table. We had a pretty eclectic mix. We had a lineman from the football team, a member of the show choir, a couple weird guys, a couple smart guys, a couple funny guys. We were bonded, I believe, by the air hockey table in the break room. We'd take on various freshmen in the room and usually beat them (except for this one extremely talented kid whose real name we never came to learn. We simply referred to him as "God").

 

And the air hockey precedent holds true. Sports (yes, I'm using that term quite loosely) can bring a diverse group of individuals together.

 

I mention this because someone asked about clubhouse cliques, and I am trying to come up with the best way to describe the Indians' clubhouse. There are certainly cliques involved. Latin guys will always tend to congregate with other Latin guys, for instance. Young Minor Leaguers congregate with other young Minor Leaguers. And without naming names, every once in a while a guy like Jason Johnson comes along and doesn't really make friends with anybody (I guess I did name names). But those are the exceptions that prove the rule.

 

My point is that it always strikes me how well guys brought into this organization mesh with other guys. You wouldn't know, for example, that Mark DeRosa, Kerry Wood, Joe Smith and Carl Pavano just got here. They have fit in very well.

 

Players who come over here - and Joe Borowski used to say this all the time -- tend to remark that this is a rather unique environment in which players check their egos at the door. Those who don't get called out or, worse, ostracized entirely.

 

So it's a lot like my lunch table, minus the air hockey (which is a shame, for the record) and plus the Affliction t-shirts (which is even more of a shame).

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Victor Martinez won't talk much about how much pain he was in when playing through that elbow soreness last season, but he will talk about how painful it was to be away from the game for two and a half months. He had some real nice things to say about his love for the game. "You look around, and we're blessed to be here, wearing a big-league uniform with nice shoes, nice batting gloves, looking good," he said. "What else can you ask for? You just need to go out and enjoy it."

 

  • The Indians will move part of their workout to the Goodyear Ballpark tomorrow, as part of a Fan Fest in which the locals can get a look at the new park. The gates open at 10 a.m. local time, and the Tribe will hold fundamental drills beginning at 10:30 a.m. The live batting practice sessions, however, will remain on the back fields.

 

  • Josh Barfield looked pretty good moving around at third base today. Wedge, for one, was impressed. "Better than what I'd expect to see for the first time over there," Wedge said.

 

  • Luis Valbuena has made a fine first impression here, at the plate and in the field. He's been taking some grounders at shortstop, but Wedge said he'll only look at him at second base when the games start.

 

  • Wedge said the bullpen battle goes a lot further than just that one open spot on the Opening Day roster. "It's also who's going to be the first guy we call or the second guy, depending on what happens," Wedge said. "They're pitching to make an impression with regard to this year."

 

  • Speaking of the bullpen mix, Juan Salas gets here Saturday night and should be in camp on Sunday for his physical.

 

  • Reader Jim D. points out that the Indians have had four players whose last name is a palindrome -- Toby Harrah, Dave Otto, Mark Salas and, now, the new Salas. Jim claims that is a Major League record, though I don't have that confirmed. Granted, none of these names are as complex as my all-time favorite palindrome, "so many dynamos," but it's still pretty cool. I've done a quick look through the all-time roster to see if there are any others we're missing, but I don't see any. Let me know if you discover otherwise.

 

  • Speaking of last names, I've decided the only reason I didn't become a pro ballplayer is because of my 11-letter last name. It's at least one -- and probably two -- letters too long to look presentable on the back of a jersey. Rafael Betancourt, for example, is at the 10-letter mark, and his name is in danger of becoming a half-circle on the back of his jersey. Just doesn't look right. 

~AC

Marte designated as Tribe trades for Salas

Well, you knew the Andy Marte Era would come to an end sooner or later here in camp, and it didn’t take long.

The Indians traded for RHP Juan Salas today, sending Minor League INF Isaias Velasquez to the Rays.

Salas, 30, was designated for assignment by the Rays on Friday. He spent most of last season with Triple-A Durham, going 4-5 with a 2.62 ERA and one save in 28 appearances. He also made five appearances for the Rays, giving up five runs over 6 1/3 innings over two stints.

Salas has spent his entire career with the Rays. He’s made a total of 47 appearances over the last three years, going 1-1 with a 4.44 ERA in 52 2/3 innings.

To make room for Salas, the Indians designated Marte — their former “third baseman of the future.” Marte never got his bat going in the big leagues. The Tribe will have 10 days to trade him, release him or outright him. Perhaps this will be Marte’s opportunity to get another chance elsewhere. We shall see.

As for Velasquez, he was on the Indians’ short-season rookie ball squad in Mahoning Valley last year. He batted .281 with a homer, 10 doubles, a triple and 18 RBIs in 64 games for the Scrappers.

UPDATE: Salas, a converted third baseman, tested positive for performance-enhancers in 2007 and missed all of Spring Training last year because of visa issues in the Dominican. The Indians like his live arm and the fact that he has an option left. He’ll compete for the open bullpen spot. 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers