Results tagged ‘ Shin-Soo Choo ’

I'd drive all night, just to buy you some shoes

Nothing like driving two and a half hours to see a starting lineup featuring Damaso Espino, Wilson Valdez and Jose "Can't Stand Ya" Constanza.

 

Well, at least the game was played in a crisp two hours, 10 minutes.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • David Dellucci was dealing with a tight left calf muscle before today's game against the Diamondbacks, and he never got loose. He was scratched just minutes before the game started. Doesn't sound all that serious, but he'll be monitored day to day.
  • If the battle for the last bullpen spot came down to today's action, then Vinnie Chulk is your winner. Stretched out to three innings for the first time this spring, he allowed just three hits, lowering his spring ERA to 1.72. Eric Wedge called Chulk "one of our most consistent guys" in camp.
  • But Wedge tried to make it sound as though the battle, which is clearly down to Jackson and Chulk, is still undecided. He was sure to point out that Jackson can give the Indians more length (even though Wedge has tried to make it clear he doesn't view this job as the "long man" role) and is left-handed, which is considered a plus because of the three right-handed starters.
  • Jackson, though, turned in a real clunker today -- five runs allowed on six hits over four innings. He locked in after his first two innings of work, but, you know, that's not exactly what you want to see from a reliever. His ERA is up to 6.87.
  • The Indians have the ability to option Jackson to Triple-A. They can also send Chulk there, but they'd have to decide if they want Chulk in the big leagues by May 15. He has an out clause at that time.
  • Josh Barfield over Trevor Crowe for that last bench spot. This might be one of those competitions you're better off losing. It's hard to envision Barfield getting a heck of a lot of playing time up here. Crowe, on the other hand, will be an everyday guy at Triple-A Columbus.
  • This is just my opinion, but if the Indians really felt Barfield is their second baseman of the future -- and they will probably need a second baseman in the not-too-distant future, if they shift Jhonny Peralta to third and Asdrubal Cabrera to second -- they'd have him playing every day in Columbus, and they wouldn't have acquired Luis Valbuena.
  • Shin-Soo Choo was pounding the ball in BP before he left for the World Baseball Classic. He's looked a little rusty since his return. He went 1-for-4 today, striking out three times.
  • I'm told that during a batting practice session back at the complex Friday, while most of us were in Scottsdale, Travis Hafner and Kerry Wood took to the field to man shortstop and second base. How's that for a double-play combo?

~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.


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

This is our kingdom of days

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

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

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

~AC

Choo's fine, will remain in Classic

GM Mark Shapiro called Shin-Soo Choo’s triceps soreness a “non-issue.” Choo underwent a full physical examination at the Indians’ Player Development Complex on Tuesday and checked out fine. He will remain with South Korea in the World Baseball Classic.

Shapiro would not say whether or not Choo will still have restrictions, in terms of playing time and position. He was limited to DH duties in the first round and had a mandatory day off. Shapiro said he still has to have some conversations with the South Korean team about Choo’s status.

South Korea begins Round 2 play in San Diego’s Petco Park on Sunday. In the meantime, the Koreans are training in nearby Peoria.

Stand Up and Cheer

It takes a lot for a guy in Arizona in March to become jealous of a guy in Cleveland in March, but that's just what happened when my buddy Brad called me this morning from the Mid-American Conference tournament at the Q, where our beloved Ohio University Bobcats were taking on Western Michigan.

 

The MAC tourney was the sight of perhaps my greatest heartbreak. In 2001, an Ohio team loaded with such collegiate legends as Brandon Hunter and Steve Esterkamp was humbled in the MAC semifinals, when the unabashedly evil Miami of Ohio guard Jason Grunkemeyer -- the same guy who transferred from OU to J.Crew U. after his freshman year -- hit a game-winning three-pointer with 6.8 seconds left.

 

I'm still bitter.

 

The Bobcats won the MAC in 2005, but I was down in Florida for Spring Training. And today I was stuck in Arizona as OU began its glorious, improbable run to MAC glory with a 62-55 beating of the Broncos.

 

This is not a very good OU team, mind you. The Bobcats are a No. 9 seed in a tournament that probably shouldn't even have nine teams. They will go up against a heavily favored Bowling Green team in Thursday's second round and, contrary to my own grandiose predictions and expectations, will most likely get thumped.

 

But they attend OU. They live in the navel of the universe -- Athens, Ohio. They have the ability to drown any and all sorrows in the hallowed pubs of Court Street. So they are winners, through and through.

 

Here in Arizona, the Indians were taking on the Angels, so here's your daily rundown of all things Tribe.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Shin-Soo Choo, in between rounds of the World Baseball Classic, reported to the Player Development Complex this afternoon to get his left arm looked at by the Indians' trainers. The soreness he was experiencing in his triceps, just above his surgically repaired elbow, still isn't considered serious, but the Indians are taking advantage of the South Korean team training in Arizona to get their hands on him and determine if he should still be limited solely to DH duties. An update on Choo's condition is expected Wednesday, according to media relations director Bart Swain. Korea begins Round 2 of the Classic at San Diego's Petco Park on Sunday.
  • Kerry Wood had a breeze of a spring debut, striking out Howie Kendrick, getting Juan Rivera to fly out to right field (and a nice basket catch at the track by Ryan Garko on that one) and getting Brandon Wood to pop out -- all on nine pitches.
  • Speaking of Garko in right field, that's something we were told we wouldn't be seeing this spring. But Eric Wedge decided that because some parks have less space in right than in left, it makes sense to try Garko there, too. And the fact that Garko was in right today is inherent praise of what he's shown the Indians in left.
  • Starting at third base, Josh Barfield made a nice diving stop of a bouncer down the line to preserve a run. He made an error later in the game, when he dropped a ball after ranging to his left on a tough play.
  • Another note on Wood: In talking about the pitchers he grew up watching, he said he was in attendance for Nolan Ryan's seventh no-hitter against the Blue Jays on May 1, 1991. Wood got the tickets through a grocery store giveaway. After the game, he went around the concourse at Arlington Stadium, picking up ticket stubs. He said he still has about 30 of them.
  • A pair of singles for Travis Hafner in three at-bats, including a liner to right-center field that scored Trevor Crowe from second.
  • I thought this was a big day for Scott Lewis to potentially establish himself in the rather ho-hum starting rotation battle. He went out in the fifth inning and gave up four runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings, largely against the Angels reserves, so that's obviously a concern. But both Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis nonetheless thought it was a good outing for Lewis. They felt he commanded his fastball well, for the most part. Lewis will get his first start of the spring when his next turn comes in five days.
  • The Indians have come to contractual agreements with all their pre-arbitration players, in advance of MLB's Wednesday deadline. Today the club announced the signings of Asdrubal Cabrera, Trevor Crowe, Ben Francisco, Ryan Garko, Chris Gimenez, Zach Jackson, Jensen Lewis, Scott Lewis, Andy Marte, Ed Mujica, Rafael Perez, Hector Rondon, Juan Salas, Carlos Santana, Joe Smith and Luis Valbuena.
  • Finally, I've got to throw out a quick plug for Maple Street Press' Indians Annual 2009. It's a 128-page, "by fans, for fans" compilation that includes player profiles rife with interesting statistical data (if you wondered what Garko hit against right-handed sliders last season, here's your opportunity to find out), an insightful, in-depth interview with assistant GM Chris Antonetti, several informative features (including the always excellent Joe Posnanski's touching remembrance of Herb Score) and much, much more. Edited by Jay Levin of the LetsGoTribe.com blog, it really is a professional, impressive piece of work. Look for it on newsstands in Northeast Ohio or buy it here.

~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

None of this has happened yet

I guess what I'm really wondering in life is when Dippin' Dots will become the ice cream of the present. It's been billed the "ice cream of the future" since I was about 11 years old. That's a pretty bold and pompous claim.


637px-Dippin'_Dots_Rainbow_Flavored_Ice.jpg 

There's a Dippin' Dots stand here at Goodyear Ballpark that had no action when I walked by it during today's game. Meanwhile, further down the first-base line, the homemade ice cream stand had a line that stretched past several sections. We clearly are not living in the future.

 

Actually, given people's general love of nostalgia, if I'm the guy running the ice cream stand, I throw up a sign that says, "Ice cream of the past." That ought to bring them in.

 

Anyway, what's going on with the Indians of the... right now? Allow me to fill you in.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Very uneventful debut for Travis Hafner. He saw all of five pitches in two at-bats against Dave Bush, striking out in the first and popping out weakly in the third. He admitted he swung at a bad pitch on that pop-out and said he has work to do in the area of plate discipline. He should be back in the lineup Sunday for another two at-bats.
  • David Dellucci, also making his debut after his left thumb injury held him back, also looked a little impatient in his first two at-bats. But he cranked out a solo homer in his third.
  • Grady Sizemore will be back in the lineup Sunday. He and Hafner will split at-bats at DH.
  • Cliff Lee looked rusty against the Brewers, but, well, it's the first time out. Can't judge much off of that.
  • Jeremy Sowers, on the other hand, has looked a little rough around the edges a couple times now. He gave up three runs (one earned) on two hits wiht two walks in one inning today. "The ball's really coming out of his hand ," Wedge said. "He needs to do a better job finishing his pitches and commanding his fastball." What else is new? 
  • As expected, Shin-Soo Choo did DH in South Korea's opening game of the World Baseball Classic - a 9-0 rout of Chinese Taipei. Choo went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. The Koreans will play Japan on Saturday.
  • Here the link to an interesting article from The Baseball Analysts points out that the Indians' have been among the Majors' best teams, in terms of payroll efficiency, over the last three seasons.
  • Opening Day is one month from today.
  • I’m putting the brakes on the blog for the weekend. I’ll catch back up with you on Monday.

~AC

Miller shut down, and other updates

The Adam Miller finger saga continues, and it’s drastically going to affect his ability to compete for a bullpen spot.

Miller will be shut down another week to 10 days because of soreness in his right middle finger, head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said. After that period, Miller will begin an expedited return-to-throw program that will last about two weeks. The tentative goal is to get him in about four to six Cactus League games after that point.

Hard to imagine the Indians would see enough of Miller or be confident enough in his finger to bring him north at that point, but you never know.

I’ll have more info on this up on the Indians.com site in a little bit.

Also want to update you on the Shin-Soo Choo situation. I had reported that it was a triceps issue, not an elbow issue. But as any renowned doctor will tell you, the triceps runs just above the elbow, so they can certainly be interrelated.

That being said, by all accounts around here, Choo’s injury does not appear to be serious. Best guess is that he is limited to DH duties for the South Korean team. The Indians’ biggest problem with the situation is that they don’t have their trainers working with Choo. It leads to some uncomfortability. But Choo is the only Major Leaguer on that team and there is a lot of pressure on him to play for his country.

Lastly, I had written that Kerry Wood would throw a bullpen today. If you’re really obsessive, it was actually a live batting practice session. He threw to David Dellucci and Andy Marte, and his slider looked particularly nasty. Wood feels and looks good. He’ll throw a simulated session Saturday and is expected to pitch in Tuesday’s game. 

Choo has sore triceps, might be pulled from Classic

The Indians are investigating the extent of Shin-Soo Choo’s sore left triceps and will offer their opinion on whether or not the outfielder should still compete for Korea in the World Baseball Classic.

Contrary to this Associated Press report, it is Choo’s triceps, not his surgically repaired elbow, that is hurting, though the situation is a concern to the Tribe, nonetheless.

But while the Indians can certainly give their opinion on whether Choo should play, the final decision is ultimately up to the Korean team.

“Right now, we’re in the process of getting the complete info as to the problem he’s encountered,” general manager Mark Shapiro said this morning. “From there, we’ll determine whether or not we object.”

Choo left the Indians on Feb. 24 to train with the Korean team in Hawaii before heading off to Japan for the tournament’s first round. South Korea faces Taiwan in its first game of the Classic on Friday at the Tokyo Dome.

UPDATE: A few other injury updates for you…

Kerry Wood (sore lower back) is throwing a bullpen today, a simulated session Saturday and is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut Tuesday.

Travis Hafner (right shoudler surgery) is, indeed, making his debut Friday against the Brewers.

Adam Miller (sore right middle finger) is still nowhere to be found on Carl Willis’ pitching schedule for the next week, but that schedule is always subject to change.

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