Results tagged ‘ Tony Sipp ’

Mama if that's movin' up then I'm movin' out

It's the last day of the month, and my lease is up on my spring rental unit. Ordinarily, move-out day is a celebratory occasion. Today, it just means three nights in an Arizona hotel, as the Eternal Spring continues.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Oh my. Scott Lewis got shelled again today against the Mariners. He gave up 10 runs on 13 hits in 3 2/3 innings, giving up a grand slam to Ronny Cedeno and two homers to Russell Branyan that haven't landed yet. That's 15 runs on 21 hits in his last 6 2/3 innings since being named the Indians' No. 4 starter.
  • Lewis said he's having some issues trying to grip the ball in the dry air. But if I remember correctly, it was pretty dry in his first five appearances, when he had a 3.52 ERA and won the job. Lewis acknowledged that the air won't be any better when he makes the start in assumedly cold conditions in Cleveland at the April 10 home opener. He'll have one more opportunity to figure it out in an extended game here in Goodyear on Sunday.
  • Gary Sheffield cut. Didn't see that one coming. And before you ask (well, actually, some of you already have), while the Indians do have a history of trying to trade for Sheffield, it's hard to imagine them making a run at him here. Last I checked, they already have a DH with question marks. They don't need another. And when you consider that Sheffield's first day with the Tribe would involve him trying to punch teammates Asdrubal Cabrera and Fausto Carmona in the head as retaliation for last September's incident, I don't think he'd add much in the way of clubhouse camaraderie.
  • GM Mark Shapiro met with the media today. Nothing all that newsworthy to report. He offered some thoughts on the division, noting that the White Sox are the defending champs and must be respected as such. But the Twins, he said, have "without a doubt... the best pitching, top to bottom. There's no scenario where the Twins aren't going to be a solid to good team, with that rotation and with the guy they have finishing games for them [Joe Nathan]."
  • Shapiro said 90 wins could be enough to take the AL Central this season. Hard to dispute that, when you look at the rosters.
  • Summing up camp: "The overwhelming positive is we've got a minute injury list right now. At least what that allows is that the club you plan, by and large, will be on the field. It doesn't mean it will definitely be a championship team, but that's a strong positive. That's not something you take for granted. When you like the team you plan, you go through spring training holding your breath every game."
  • One guy we haven't discussed much is left-hander Tony Sipp, who will open at Triple-A Columbus and is very much back on the radar after '07 Tommy John surgery. "I think he's back on the trajectory he was on prior to his injury, which is a good thing," Shapiro said.
  • Getting away from Shapiro and speaking of Columbus, here's the Clippers' rotation (in no particular order): LHPs David Huff, Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey, RHPs Kirk Saarloos and Jack Cassel. If the Indians had an opening in their rotation at this moment, Sowers would probably get the first call. But this will be a fluid situation all season, and any one of those guys (particularly the young lefties) could step up at any time.
  • The Double-A rotation (in no particular order): LHPs Chuck Lofgren, RHPs Hector Rondon, Steve Wright, Josh Tomlin, Frank Herrmann. LHP Ryan Edell has been moved to the bullpen. Lofgren, who was once a promising prospect, is likely on a short leash.
  • It needs to be said: Ryan Garko is not that bad in the outfield corners. He won't be climbing walls or making diving catches in the gap, but it doesn't look like he'll kill the Indians out there, either. And if his bat remains as productive as it was today, when he ripped a two-run single in the sixth, then finding another way to keep him in the lineup is a good thing.
  • Last home game of the spring. And for all that talk earlier this spring about the small crowds, the Indians drew a club-record 99,824 fans, an average of 5,546 per game. Last year, they drew an average of 5,820, with the boost of people paying their last respects to Chain of Lakes. In '07, they drew an average of 4,773.

~AC

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.

Let me in the sound

u2-2.jpgI've got to get back to digesting the new U2 album, "No Line on the Horizon," which, upon first listen, sounds a lot like "Zooropa II" -- and that is in no way a compliment. But hey, I'll listen to anything twice.

 

But before I go, allow me to wrap up today's news and notes from before, during and after the Tribe's kiss-your-sister finish with the Royals.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • It could get crowded at DH on Friday against the Brewers. That's already the targeted debut for Travis Hafner, and now Grady Sizemore's return to the lineup might get pushed back to Friday. The Indians had considered starting Sizemore at DH on Wednesday, but Eric Wedge said he's leaning toward taking advantage of Thursday's off day to give Grady extra time to rest and test that sore left groin. So it's conceivable that you'd see each guy get a couple at-bats Friday.
  • Friday is also the day Cliff Lee makes his Cactus debut and David Dellucci is expected to return after getting three stitches removed from his left thumb.
  • Speaking of Lee, he'll spend part of Thursday's off day flying in an F-16 fighter jet. Luke Air Force Base, located nearby, invited him out to film a public service announcement for their upcoming Air Show and to get a special orientation on the maneuverability of the aircraft from Major Dan "Dutch" Munter.
  • And to think, Lee is the same guy who turned down a World Baseball Classic invitation because he thought it was too dangerous.
  • Wedge's take: "I'm sure [Lee] will throw up all over the place, but other than that, we'll see what happens. He'll be all right. I don't know those guys, but I trust those guys."
  • LHP Tony Sipp looked good in his spring debut, tossing a scoreless inning.
  • Ed Mujica, on the other hand, continues to look like Ed Mujica. Today he came on with the bases loaded and served up a grand slam to Alex Gordon, followed immediately by a solo shot from John Buck. Fighting for a bullpen spot, Mujica now has a 19.64 ERA this spring. Wedge thinks he's trying too hard and therefore overthrowing.
  • No new developments with Adam Miller. He's still resting that sore right middle finger.
  • Joe Smith is still playing catch after missing a week of workouts with a viral infection. No word yet on when he'll start throwing bullpens.
  • When it comes to third base, now that Mark DeRosa's gone, Wedge said he wants to get a good look at Wes Hodges. Jamey Carroll, who started in center today, will also see a good deal of time there. Tony Graffanino, Josh Barfield and, to a much lesser degree, Jhonny Peralta and Andy Marte are also in that third-base mix.
  • The challenge for Josh Barfield in his adaptation to the outfield and third base is his arm strength. Wedge said it's a work in progress as Barfield is still "getting under" some throws.
  • I did a feature on Anthony Reyes and his work with Tom House this offseason. House is the guy known for having his pitchers throw footballs to warm up when he was pitching coach for the Rangers. House, who is now pitching coach at USC, doesn't make his guys do that anymore, but Reyes will fire the pigskin around, anyway. "I'll launch 'em," he said.
  • Finally, a very happy birthday to inimitable Plain Dealer scribe Paul Hoynes.

~AC

"I love the sexy slither of a female snake"

Players aren’t the only ones spoiled at the Indians’ new Spring Training home. We media types also get treated pretty well.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a cushioned swivel chair in a Goodyear Ballpark press box that contains a media dining room, wireless Internet access and working phone lines.

It’s a far, far cry from the folding chairs and the outdoor, dirt-covered, technologically challenged environment in which we worked at Chain of Lakes in Winter Haven.

It was about two years ago at this time when that box was visited bsnake.jpgy a five-foot black snake (it was actually only about three feet long, but I will add one foot to its length every year to embellish the tale). In my mind’s eye, I can still see it slithering behind my laptop. It made its way several yards to my left before a grounds crew member arrived, grabbed it with his bare hands, whipped it around his head a few times, then tossed it to its freedom behind the ballpark.

Consider this my ode to that snake and to that box. Sure, we have all the acoutrements a modern sportswriter could need. But where’s the sense of adventure?  

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY… 

  • First off, glad to hear Torey Lovullo is relatively OK after getting struck with a broken bat above the left eye Sunday. The curse of the maple bats lives on, despite MLB’s new regulations. Lovullo had nine stitches above his eye, which is swollen shut, but he was lucky to be wearing sunglasses at the time of the incident. The damage could have been much worse.
  • Lovullo was struck because the bat bounced off the netting atop the Indians’ dugout and hit him as he turned his head to see where it went. But this is no knock on the netting, which extends to the end of each dugout at Goodyear Ballpark. The fans sitting in the first row behind the dugout were no doubt happy the netting was there, and I’ve always been in support of MLB mandating that every ballpark install such a safety precaution.
  • Grady Sizemore (sore left groin) might be ready to DH by Wednesday. He took some BP and played catch today and will be evaluated again tomorrow. He hasn’t done any running or any activity with his lower half. 
  • Cliff Lee threw a two-inning simulated session today. He faced Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner and David Dellucci. Lee is slated to make his Cactus League debut Friday against the Brewers.
  • RHP Anthony Reyes isn’t the only guy making his spring debut in tomorrow’s game agains the Rangers. LHP Tony Sipp, who has been about a week behind because of left shoudler tendinitis that sprouted up last fall, is also in the mix for the game in Surprise.
  • The Rangers batted out of order in the sixth inning of today’s game, but the Indians either didn’t notice or didn’t care enough to point it out to the umpires. Travis Metcalf, who replaced No. 3 hitter Michael Young, was supposed to lead off the inning. Instead, cleanup hitter Andruw Jones led off and Metcalf batted second.
  • Aaron Laffey had a rough second inning today but shook it off as fate conspiring against him. He said he was happy with his stuff.
  • Always nice to catch up with Omar, although he kind of threw his 13-year-old son, Nico, under the bus. When asked if Nico plays ball, Omar said, “Nah, he’s lazy. I think living in Seattle got to him. People there sit behind desks and use computers.” He said Nico is more into playing his electric guitar than picking up a bat.
  • Eric Wedge on Wes Hodges, who went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored today: “For a young hitter with some power, he stays in the middle of the field as well as any young hitter I’ve seen.” On the defensive side, Hodges made a throwing error at third.
  • The other day, I told you Rafael Betancourt was introduced by the Goodyear Ballpark PA guy as “John Betancourt.” Today, Tomo Ohka was “Mister Ohka.” This guy… is struggling.

~AC 

We're born again, there's new grass on the field

It's remarkably trite to quote John Fogerty's "Centerfield," but, well, that's how it feels the first morning pitchers and catchers work out at Spring Training. The sun came out today, and there really is new grass on the field... because the field itself is new.

 

Lots of excitement in the air here this Valentine's Day morning, as camp got underway in earnest. Cliff Lee, Fausto Carmona, Aaron Laffey, Rafael Perez, Jensen Lewis and Joe Smith were among those throwing bullpen sessions in front of the coaching and front-office staff. There was also some batting practice held on Field No. 6. And let's not forget the always enthralling round of PFPs (pitchers' fielding practice).

 

How'd they look? They looked like they always look the first day of camp. World Series-bound, of course! And don't even try to bunt on these hurlers. They'll make you look silly.

 

I'm not exactly sure if the players felt extra incentive to finish early today, because when they stepped outside this morning they were greeted with a nice whiff of mesquite chicken cooking on a wood-fired grill out back. The inimitable Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer and I wondered if that might be "media chicken." (It wasn't, but the chicken served up in the media workroom was also quite good.)

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Travis Hafner has taken three days of batting practice this week, including today. Every other day, he's taking soft toss. He said he's had no endurance or strength issues. It's still expected he'll be about a week behind in exhibition action, but that program might be sped up.
     
  • Josh Barfield, who spent all winter here in the Phoenix area and worked out regularly at the Player Development Complex, said he has no problem trying out new positions in camp. He even said playing the outfield is no big deal. “You just run and catch the ball,” he said with a shrug. Sounds easy enough. Barfield said he played some shortstop in the Minors and in high school, so he’s up for that challenge. He thinks — and I agree — that he has a good shot at making this club.

  • Jake Westbrook is throwing off a five-inch mound. He wasn’t sure when, exactly, he’ll progress to the full, 10-inch mound, but he’s still expected to begin throwing in simulated games in April. Westbrook said he’s feeling the expected soreness in his elbow. He said his hip, which, you might remember, was also surgically addressed last year, feels great.
     

  • Tony Sipp had Tommy John surgery in 2007 and joined Double-A Akron in the second half last season, but he suffered shoulder tendinitis in the Fall Instructional League. He’s been rehabbing the injury and, as a result, is about a week behind the other pitchers. But he’s throwing off a mound and used all his pitches for the first time today.
     
  • As far as quotes summing up the move to the Goodyear facility go, you won't find a better, more succinct one than this one from Barfield: "They should have done this a long time ago."
     
  • GM Mark Shapiro has left camp for a few days, due to a death in the family.
     
  • The intensity of the Japanese media never ceases to amaze me. When I walked into the complex this morning, there was a pool of about seven or eight Japanese journalists in the players' parking lot, waiting, presumably, to get a shot of Masa Kobayashi or Tomo Ohka pulling in.
  • The Indians have added names to the backs of their Spring Training jerseys. Clubhouse manager Tony Amato said the names were added for television. More and more spring games are broadcast these days.
     
  • Did you know the Dodgers are charging up to $100 for tickets to their exhibition games? And in a related story, their sales are hurting. Shocker.

  • Be sure to check out CastroTurf on Monday morning, when I’ll provide you with an all-access tour of the new facility. I’ll have photos and everything. It will be awesome*.

     *awesomeness not guaranteed.

 

~AC

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