Results tagged ‘ Mark DeRosa ’

Got on my dead man's suit and my smilin' skull ring


322938259.jpgI thought the Indians' clubhouse featured a lot of guys in Affliction T-shirts.

 

Then I went to dinner last night at a restaurant next to an arena hosting a Disturbed concert. The attendees were lined up outside, ready to rock out and bang their heads to such easy listening tunes as "Down with the Sickness," "Violence Fetish," "Sons of Plunder," and "Ten Thousand Fists."

 

There are graveyards with fewer skulls and crossbones than what I witnessed last night.

 

The Affliction epidemic continues, as does the Spring Training that won't die.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Just hours after Trevor Crowe was optioned down to Columbus, David Dellucci's calf muscle tightened up on him. If it doesn't respond to treatment immediately, Dellucci's spot is very much in jeopardy. If he has to start the year on the DL, I'd expect Crowe to get called up, unless the Indians decide to keep Tony Graffanino around for a little while. Not much word on Dellucci's condition, other than it was the same today as yesterday and he was getting treatment back at the complex. So stay tuned.
  • Expect an announcement about the last bullpen spot either Monday or Tuesday. It's coming down to Zach Jackson and Vinnie Chulk, and Eric Wedge made it clear that Saturday's game, in which Jackson struggled and Chulk shined, will not serve as a deciding factor. "We look at everything," Wedge said. "I don't think [Saturday] was necessarily good or bad for either one of those guys. We're working through some other things outside of that... what we saw last year, where we're at now, how we see us breaking, how we look at the entire year. So we're going to still stay with that criteria."
  • Given all those qualifiers, it appears to me that the Indians are still leaning toward Jackson. He'd be a left-handed complement to their three right-handed starters, and he can provide length. But that's my own speculation. I guess we'll know the answer any day now.
  • Mark DeRosa made quite an impression on the Cubs and their fans in just two years in Chicago. He was getting lots of love pregame today at HoHoKam Park. And then he stepped up and jacked the first pitch he saw from Ted Lilly over the left-field wall.
  • DeRosa wasn't done. In his second at-bat, DeRosa took Lilly deep to left again -- this time nailing the top of the scoreboard. In his third at-bat, DeRosa hit a shot off the center-field batter's eye that, strangely, is in play. That was very nearly homer No. 3. Looks like DeRo is locked in.
  • Wedge says Masa Kobayashi is on the club, but he took another step back today (two runs on three hits, including a Reed Johnson homer, in one inning). He'll be on a short leash this season.
  • You might want to check out the Bill James Goldmine 2009, which is filled with little nuggets of info, as well as essays and statistical profiles. James unearthed several interesting facts about the '08 Indians. I'll share a few of them here. 
  • According to James' research, the Indians were leading their opponents 83 times in the fifth inning last year, and that was the best fifth-inning record in the AL and the third-best in the Majors. The fact that the club went 81-81 just shows you how lousy that bullpen was, because no other team in baseball finished the season with less total wins than fifth-inning leads.
  • James found that Grady Sizemore's batting average on pulled grounders was .172 last year, compared with .202 in 2007. Defenses have begun to shift on Sizemore, and it's worked pretty well.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera reached base leading off an inning 27 times in '08, and the Indians scored 43 runs in those innings. James says that's the highest production rate in the Majors in that situation.
  • There's plenty more where that came from, but I'll leave it to you to seek out James' book.

~AC

"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and, doggone it, people like me"

Spring Training is six weeks old (and counting), and the upcoming regular season is six months long.


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That's a lot of time for a ballclub and its fans to get emotionally off-track, so a little daily affirmation could be in order.

 

With this notion in mind, I submit to you a proposal that you all stock up on your copy of the "Cheers to You" CD now, while supplies are still in stock. You can do it! I believe in you! 

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • The Indians looked lethargic and in need of "Cheers to You" agains the Giants today. Asdrubal Cabrera and Josh Barfield each made an error and, in general, guys were slow to get to balls and quick to make outs. "We're entering unchartered waters, in regard to the length of camp," Eric Wedge said. "We've got to sharpen ourselves and pick it up this final week, no doubt about it."
  • Cliff Lee was roughed up again -- eight runs (seven earned) on 12 hits with no walks and six strikeouts over five innings. He was much better late than early, and his defense didn't play well behind him, but it's still not the type of performance you expect from the reigning Cy Young winner in his penultimate spring tuneup. "It's definitely a little harder to get up for a game in Spring Training than it is in the regular season," Lee said. "It's a different intensity. But I've still go to work on locating my pitches and getting better at something each time I'm out there."
  • The rather uneventful battle to be the guy sitting on the bench, occasionally but not too frequently inserted into the lineup and a little-more-occasionally inserted as a pinch-runner will probably draw to its anticlimactic close tomorrow or Sunday. It's still expected to go to Barfield, who started in left field today.
  • Barfield still hasn't caught on at the plate. The Indians feel he has a better approach, but the results haven't been there. Barfield is an excellent athlete and a great guy, so you root for him to catch on in this utility role, because it's difficult to imagine him once again emerging as an everyday player... at least, in this organization.
  • There's only one spot open on the bench. David Dellucci is indeed on the club. Or at least, "as of today," as Wedge said. Obviously, Dellucci's roster spot (and Masa Kobayashi's, for that matter) is tenuous, but it looks like the Indians will at least give him the benefit of the doubt at the outset of the season. He's still not expected to play much as the fourth outfielder, especially with Mark DeRosa and, I'm assuming, Barfield in the outfield mix.
  • Trevor Crowe won't win the job. Wedge said Crowe is "still not exactly where he needs to be," and he's better off, in terms of development, getting regular starts in Triple-A.
  • Tony Graffanino won't win the job. He's had a nice camp and can bounce around the infield. But the Indians don't have a need for another veteran infielder in his mid-30s. They need speed off the bench, and it looks like Barfield will be the one to provide it.
  • Of course, we knew that in February, didn't we?
  • While the bench job announcement is impending, it will probably be a few days before we know the winner of that seventh bullpen spot. Though Wedge won't call it a "long man" role, for all intents and purposes that's what it is, which is why Zach Jackson is a favorite and Vinnie Chulk will be stretched out to pitch two or three innings Saturday in Tucson. Jackson, who is already stretched out as a result of his inclusion in the rotation battle, will start that game.
  • You have to figure Jackson is the favorite for that job. Though he has a fourth Minor League option available, he's already on the 40-man, whereas Chulk would have to be added. And the Indians would have about six weeks to look at Chulk in Triple-A before they have to act on him. He has an out clause in his contract that kicks in May 15.
  • Rafael Betancourt was relieved mid-inning by Joe Smith today. It had nothing to do with the neck kink that Betancourt suffered while on the mound yesterday. Betancourt (two runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning) is fine physically. Wedge said he wanted an opportunity to get Smith into the middle of an inning. 
  • I'm sending a shout-out to my buddy Big Bob Petriella, who was in attendance today. We used to work as sports clerks together at the News-Herald in Willoughby, Ohio, in our youth. Until today, he had no idea I had this blog, so perhaps I can use this space to rip him.

~AC

If you gotta go, go now, or else you gotta stay all night

Yesterday was the first official day of spring. But here in Goodyear, it's been spring for 39 days and counting.

 

Frankly, I'm ready for summer.

 

With that notion in mind, I'm going to recharge the batteries over the next few days, and that means the blog is getting a blow, as well. We'll meet back here on Thursday.

 

In the meantime...

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • The Indians, iffy in the rotation, have to be encouraged by Anthony Reyes' spring. Not only has he avoided any trouble with that right elbow, but his ERA is now a miniscule 0.75 after his fourth outing today. He went five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with two strikeouts.
  • Kind of figured this all along, but I can't help but doubt Jeremy Sowers wins the fifth starting job. He's just far too inconsistent.
  • Mark DeRosa will start at first base for Team USA in Sunday's semifinal game against Japan. The game is at 8 p.m. ET.
  • DeRosa is 5-for-15 with a homer and seven RBIs in five Classic games. "I've played exceedingly more than I expected," DeRosa said. "I think I'm far ahead, as at-bats are concerned."
  • Shin-Soo Choo has flown all over the world to collect one hit thus far. He's 1-for-10 with a walk and two strikeouts in five games.
  • Nice to see a sellout at Goodyear Ballpark. Although, a good chunk of the crowd was clogging up the concourse for the majority of the game, because it was too hot to sit in the seats.
  • Words of wisdom from Bob Feller: "The easiest bet in Vegas is the winner of the Grapefruit League and Cactus League titles won't win the World Series. The St. Louis Browns used to always win [in Spring Training], and those were the only games they ever won."
  • More words of wisdom from Bob Feller: "What do you do when you can't hit a curveball? Get a typewriter." Yep, here I am.
  • OK, one last note from Rapid Robert. He told a story about long-ago Indians first baseman Lew Fonseca. Feller said Fonseca told him that in 1929 he held out all winter and all spring before finally signing his contract on Opening Day. Fonseca missed batting practice that day and had a nice game. The next day, he skipped it again and had another nice game. So Fonseca began skipping it every day, all year. He went on to hit .369 and win the AL batting title that season. "So much for Spring Training," Feller said. Amen to that.

~AC

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.


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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

Don't let 'em take me to the Cadillac Ranch

...but you can take me to the Camelback Ranch, spring home of the White Sox and Dodgers. It's another beautiful ballpark, with a unique sandstone exterior.

 

But an afternoon at the Camelback is in no way worth the $90 the Dodgers have the audacity to charge to sit in the Home Plate Club ($100 for "premium" spring games, as if such a thing even exists). Manny or no Manny, that's just nuts.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Grady Sizemore started at DH for the second straight day and went 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs against the White Sox. He'll play again Wednesday and will return to the field. He said his groin's feeling good -- no issues running the bases in-game or shagging fly balls during the morning workouts.
  • I have to say... There's nothing I enjoy less about this job than occasionally having to ask guys about the state of their groin.
  • Not only did South Korea advance to the second round of the World Baseball Classic, but the Koreans won Pool A. They defeated Japan, 1-0, this morning. It was Shin-Soo Choo's day off. Part of the agreement between the Indians and South Korea is that Choo will get one day off per pool. The Koreans move on to San Diego for Round 2, which begins March 15. They will train in Arizona, so the Indians' trainers will get a look at Choo's sore left triceps. He's expected to be here tomorrow, according to Eric Wedge.
  • Speaking of the Classic, in case you missed it, Mark DeRosa had four RBIs in Team USA's rout of Venezuela yesterday. He played both left field and third base.
  • Anthony Reyes looked really good today -- three scoreless innings, one walk, three strikeouts. He said this is the best he's felt since 2005, so that's encouraging for an Indians team that could really use a boost in the back end of the rotation.
  • David Huff threw two innings in a simulated game on one of the back fields this morning. He'll be in a Cactus game later this week. It will be just his second appearance in a "real" exhibition game. "We extended him last year, innings-wise, so we wanted to make sure we handled him appropriately this spring," Wedge said.
  • Ed Mujica also threw two innings in the sim game. "He looked good," Wedge said. "You know, he was really throwing the ball well early in camp in his bullpens. He's been trying to do a little too much in games. So we wanted to pull him back and let him relax a little bit and just let the ball go a little more free and easy." The ball certainly went off the bat of Wes Hodges, who took Mujica deep.
  • Kerry Wood will appear against the Angels in Tempe tomorrow, and Joe Smith will appear against the Rockies on Wednesday.
  • According to date in John Dewan's new "The Fielding Bible -- Volume II," the Indians ranked eighth in baseball last year in defensive runs saved, with 29. Dewan points out that Ben Francisco saved 12, while Franklin Gutierrez saved 24. With Gutierrez gone and Choo -- rated by Dewan as "average" in defensive runs saved -- starting in right, Dewan is speculating that the Tribe's defensive ranking may drop this year.
  • Minor League right-hander Neil Wagner has begun blogging. Check it out right here.

~AC

"I can't believe it. He stole my move!"

You know, I’m not one to promote frivolous lawsuits. But if the guy who designed Chipotle wanted to make a few bucks, he could probably put together a pretty strong case against the guy who designed Goodyear Ballpark. I don’t think that would be a suit with much frivol.

Just look…


ballpark_1.jpg


chipotle.jpg

Only their mothers (or architects, as it were) can tell them apart. Anyway, let's go over today's activity at the Big Chipotle.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

  • First off, in my lineups posting below, I gave you the wrong list of available pitchers in the 'pen. That's actually tomorrow's list. So consider it a sneak preview, all right?
  • Wow, we're really going to have some long games here. It was a 3-hour, 22-minute tilt today. Somebody forgot to pack that Florida humidity.
  • Eric Wedge thinks Aaron Laffey, who gave up an unearned run on two hits in two innings against the D-backs today, is handling the battle for a rotation spot much better this year than last. Laffey pressed last year. "He seems to be more comfortable, more relaxed," Wedge said. "He learned a great deal last year, and that's going to help him a great deal this year."
  • Regarding the rotation battle, it's been reported -- and Wedge has said -- that there are two jobs open. That's only true if Anthony Reyes' elbow flares up on him. If Reyes is healthy, he's the fourth starter. Remember he's out of Minor League options.
  • Matt LaPorta lost a ball in the sun (get used to that; it's brutal in left field here) in the top of the second, then cranked out a solo shot off Dan Haren in the bottom of the inning. "I'm impressed with my approach right now," he said. "I'm still getting adjusted to playing again. My timing's coming back. It's going well."
  • The Indians made four errors today. "It's early," Wedge said. "Guys aren't going to be as sharp early on."
  • Shortstop Jesus Merchan got hit by a pitch at the plate and hit by a liner into the Indians' dugout. "He'll be in the cold whirlpool after the game," Wedge said with a laugh.
  • Grady Sizemore and Mark DeRosa leave camp Sunday to join their Team USA teammates in Clearwater, Fla. They'll play in Saturday's game in Phoenix, against the A's.
  • Sizemore was asked if he thinks the World Baseball Classic games will be "intense." His reply: "It's baseball." In other words, no.
  • Don't forget that Saturday is the day single-game tickets go on-sale for all 2009 home games Saturday at 10 a.m. ET. You can buy your tickets right here. If you buy four or more single-game tickets on Saturday or Sunday, you get a free Sizemore fleece blanket.
  • One note on the season schedule: The Sunday, May 31, game against the Yankees has been changed from a 1:05 p.m. ET start to 12:40 p.m., because TBS will broadcast it nationally. In Cleveland, it will be blacked out on TBS but aired on SportsTime Ohio.
  • The Indians aren't just losing nine players to the Classic. Visiting clubhouse manager Willie Jenks left camp today to serve as the head clubbie for the Venezuelan team.
  • I told you about the unnatural obsession with Affliction T-shirts in the Tribe clubhouse, but apparently LaPorta went a little too far. He wore a neon blue shirt to work yesterday, and his teammates abused him by hanging it up in the middle of the clubhouse with a sign that said "Prime Time." 

~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

"You were making out during 'Schindler's List'?"

The Oscars take place tonight, and the whole world is wondering: When will Winslet win one?*

 

*I don't usually explain references, but I don't think enough people have seen "Extras" to appreciate that joke. There's an episode in which Kate Winslet is doing a movie about the Holocaust only because she believes that every movie about the Holocaust wins an Oscar. So now, tonight, Winslet is nominated for an actual Oscar about an actual movie about the Holocaust, and that's simply awesome.


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Where was I? Ah, yes, the Oscars. I thought I'd assist some of my movie-loving readers with three-word reviews of the nominees for "Best Picture":

 

Frost/Nixon: Haven't seen it.

 

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Heard it's awful.

 

Milk: Only drink skim.

 

Slumdog Millionaire: Heard it's great.

 

The Reader: Thought-provokingly adequate.

 

All right, so I've only actually seen one of the nominees. That could be part of the reason I wasn't asked to be a member of the Academy. But I can tell you what's going on with the Indians, so let's just go with what we know, all right?

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • The big news of the day was that Travis Hafner took BP outdoors with his teammates this morning. He was on Field No. 1, which is the one designed with Progressive Field's exact dimensions. One of his first swings was a shot off the 19-foot wall. He also hit a couple out to right -- not quite to "Pronkville" but close enough.
  • Hafner said he still feels some soreness in the mornings, but, all in all, the shoulder hasn't given him any major issues. He'll likely begin facing live pitchers the first week of March or so, then progress to the Cactus League games from there.
  • How troublesome was that shoulder last year? Hafner said it would sometimes hurt to eat. And no, that's not how he lost all that weight. Anyway, more on Hafner on the Indians.com site in a little bit.
  • Shin-Soo Choo had to leave the field early in today's workout after he collided with Grady Sizemore during a pop-up drill. Sizemore's knee struck and bruised Choo's right knee. Choo wasn't gone long. He came back about 20 minutes later after getting quick treatment in the trainer's room, and he wasn't walking with a limp.
  • Choo, for the record, will leave here Tuesday for the World Baseball Classic. Team Korea will practice in Korea for three days, then head off to Japan.
  • Looking like Grady Sizemore, Mark DeRosa, Choo and Rafael Perez will be the Indians' only big-league participants in the World Baseball Classic
  • The Indians have signed off on the contracts for nine of their pre-arbitration players - Josh Barfield, Shin-Soo Choo, Aaron Laffey, John Meloan, Adam Miller, Anthony Reyes, Tony Sipp, Jeremy Sowers and Wyatt Toregas. There are 14 remaining pre-arb players on the roster, and it's expected three or four more signings will be made in the next few days.
  • If you're in the area and are interested in attending, the Indians' intrasquad game is at 1 p.m. local time Tuesday.

 ~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

(Clarence Clemons' saxophone solo in "Jungleland")

Today's blog headline goes out to the Indians' resident iTrac vision training specialist Jason Stein, also known in these parts as the "Master of Self-Promotion."

 

Stein and I don't see eye to eye on, well, anything, and not just because he's taller than me. One of our many arguments yesterday centered on music. He claimed that Bruce Springsteen's "Jungleland" (referenced in yesterday's blog headline) has a superfluous saxophone solo, while I claim that the solo is the greatest saxophone solo in rock history (granted, it didn't have a heck of a lot of real competition for this honor, but it's an honor, nonetheless), and, therefore, integral to the song's beauty.


clemons.jpg 

Stein's contention was that he listens to music for the lyrics, and he said the simple fact that you can't "quote" a saxophone solo in my blog postings is proof enough that the musical interludes don't matter.

 

So, out of pure spite, I'm sticking it to Stein with The Big Man's solo today, in headline form. If you close your eyes, I swear you can hear it. Or you can just watch it here.

 

If you can't tell from the above post, it's another slow day in camp. And let's face it... this is what you might call a trend. The early days of camp are always rather mundane, but at least it gives us plenty of time to bicker over Bruce.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Pitching coach Carl Willis said Kerry Wood looked good yesterday -- too good, in fact. Wood's stuff is way ahead of where it needs to be this time of year. "He was impressive, to say the least," Willis said, shaking his head. "By no means was he out of control, but we might have to slow him down a tad."
     
  • In the clubhouse this morning, after PFPs had wrapped up, several of the pitchers were watching a show about Game 7 of the '97 World Series on the MLB Network. Jensen Lewis said he still remembers watching that game on his couch. "I rubbed my face raw with nerves," he said.
     
  • The position players took BP for the first time on Field No. 1 this morning. That's the one with the exact dimensions of Progressive Field.
     
  • The full-squad is in-house. In fact, the addition of Tony Graffanino means an even 60 players are in camp. So each and every one of the 60 lockers in the Indians' clubhouse is spoken for. Lots of elbow-bumping going on.
     
  • Position players took their physicals. Their two-on-one meetings with Eric Wedge and Mark Shapiro have been pushed back because of Shapiro's absence due to a death in the family. When Shapiro returns this week, the meetings will be spread out over the course of three days.
     
  • One number change this year: Jamey Carroll has given up No. 7 to Mark DeRosa and taken No. 11. Carroll was hoping he might get something in return for the number (a nice steak dinner, perhaps?), but it hasn't happened yet. And Carroll is already justifying the situation by praising his new number. "It's a one for each kid," said Carroll, whose wife, Kim, gave birth to twins last year.
     
  • Josh Weir of the Canton Repository pointed out that Ben Francisco and Shin-Soo Choo each have exactly 509 Major League at-bats under their belt. What are the odds of that? (Note: Please don't conjure up some scientific formula that proves the odds were actually quite good, thereby making me look like an idiot. Please.)
     
  • You knew this story was coming, and it's a shame. Winter Haven businesses will be hurt by the Indians' absence. One estimate is that Spring Training generated $25 million in economic impact for the city each year.
     
  • Finally, it just dawned on me that Richie Cannata's sax solo on Billy Joel's "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" is also quite good. Not "Jungleland" good, but still good.

~AC

 

UPDATE: Wedge said, in general, he was happy with the shape guys reported in. But without naming names, he said, "There's always a couple that don't look quite how you want them to." Then he added sarcastically, "It's not like you have anything to get in shape for."

 

UPDATE No. 2: Alto Reed. "Turn the Page." How did I forget that one? Yes, yes, that definitely needs consideration for top sax solo. I'm biased, of course, so I'd still list The Big Man at No. 1, but Alto's up there. And does anybody know his real name? It can't be Alto Reed, right? This has always bugged me, but I've never seen an original name. If his birth name really was Alto Reed, he had no choice but to become a saxophonist. It's the same as that old Seinfeld bit about naming your kid Jeeves and, thus, sealing his fate as a butler. Then again, if you're named Jeeves, you can also become the guy who answers everybody's questions on the Internet. OK, I'm rambling. 

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