Results tagged ‘ Rafael Betancourt ’

"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.


cheers.jpg 

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

"Due to our policy of overselling flights, this flight has been oversold."

I am back in the Spring Training saddle after a few days back in the Cleveland tropics. And it's worth noting that my Continental flight from Phoenix to Cleveland was overbooked, as was every other flight between the two destinations that day.

 

As is the case with, well, most things in life, this puzzles me. What does an airline gain by overbooking a flight? Those who were left without a seat -- or those who were willing to give up their seat -- were put up in hotels, placed in first class on another flight and given vouchers for free meals. This can't be a money-making proposition for the airline, can it?

 

I know this much: It's certainly not an inviting scenario for the passenger. You buy a ticket to one flight and end up on another flight on another day. In what other business does this sort of thing occur?

 

I have never bought Bruce Springsteen concert tickets, shown up to the arena and been told, "I'm sorry, but someone else is in your seat. But we'd be happy to give you front-row seats for tomorrow night's Nickelback show." I have never gone to McDonald's, ordered a cheeseburger, paid for it, then been told that they are currently out of cheeseburgers but I can come back the next day for a free one.

 

Well, not yet, anyway.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Naturally, the rotation battle was settled in my absence. As much as the word "competition" is thrown around, so much of these supposed spring battles are decided upon long before the team even arrives at camp. So it was refreshing to see a guy like Lewis come into camp and win a job the old-fashioned way. Back in January, Lewis' name was something of an afterthought. I remember Mark Shapiro listing the candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation and almost forgetting to include him.
  • Well, Lewis won the job yesterday, then proceeded to go out and get rocked today. He allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts in three innings against the Angels. Bobby Abreu, Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter went back-to-back-to-back with solo shots off him in the third. And though it was a windy day at the Big Chipotle, none of these were what you'd call wind-assisted. "He wasn't able to get a feel for the baseball," Eric Wedge said of Lewis. "You look at the way he's pitched, and he was probably due for one of those days."
  • Adam Miller will throw a bullpen session Friday. It will be his third bullpen since being cleared to throw with decreased range of motion and strength in his right middle finger, and it will be his last bullpen before the Indians decide whether to let Miller pitch with the problem or to have him undergo season-ending surgery. Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff will update the media on the situation, but that update might not come until Saturday. We shall see. For what it's worth, Miller is telling people that he feels pretty good.
  • Masa Kobayashi is showing improvement and not a moment too soon. He worked two perfect innings today, striking out four batters. He's mixing up his pitches better, working in his split-finger fastball more often.
  • Rafael Betancourt stepped off the mound and got looked at by the trainer in the midst of his inning of work. Still not sure what that was all about, but he went on to finish the inning without any problems.
  • For those wondering if the talk about the "dry heat" affecting the flight of the ball in Arizona, PR guru Bart Swain passed along some stats comparing Grapefruit League ERAs to Cactus League ERAs, and there's a discernible difference. The bottom line is that, through yesterday's games, the overall ERA was 4.42 in Florida and 5.68 in Arizona. Also, 10 of the lowest 13 qualifying ERAs among pitchers belonged to guys in the Grapefruit League.
  • Progressive Field press box attendant Joe Corrado is retiring. Corrado spent 59 years with the club at old Cleveland Stadium and the ballpark formerly known as The Jake. He started out as an usher in 1949. He's a good man, and he'll be missed.
  • It's a busy night in the Phoenix area. You've got the Billy Joel-Elton John show at the U.S. Airways Center downtown and the Sweet 16 going on at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale. I just hope nobody gets confused and shows up to the concert in their Mizzou gear or the West Regional in their tattered "Storm Front" tour T-shirt.

~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

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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