Results tagged ‘ Trevor Crowe ’

"The name died before the man"

Really upsetting news about Nick Adenhart, the 22-year-old Angels pitcher killed in a hit-and-run car accident early this morning. The Indians just faced Adenhart about two weeks ago in Cactus League play. He was an up-and-comer with so much in store for him.

610x.jpg“Horrible,” manager Eric Wedge said. “That’s the only word I can even think of. The first people I think about are his parents, his family. It shouldn’t take a great deal to have perspective in this game, but when something like that happens, it brings you back down to earth.”

Amen to that.

In the grand scheme of things, much of what happens between the lines in this game — and any game — is all just, well…

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Trevor Crowe gets his first Major League start today. “I figured I’d get in there when a guy needed a break at some point,” Crowe said. “But I didn’t think it would be in the first series.” Crowe’s parents, David and Terryl, made the trip to Texas from Oregon. Crowe had no intention of informing them that he was in the lineup. “They’ll find out when they get here,” he said with a smile.
  • As expected, Kelly Shoppach is catching Carl Pavano today. They were also matched up in Spring Training. But Wedge said that’s not a concrete pairing, the way Shoppach-Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez-Fausto Carmona are.
  • Carmona was really erratic on the mound last night. He also made a couple mental miscues, such as not running over to cover first base on Elvis Andrus’ infield single to Ryan Garko in the second inning and not looking Josh Hamilton back to third when fielding a bouncer to the mound in the fifth.
  • Adam Miller will throw a 35-pitch bullpen session back at the Goodyear complex on Friday. If all goes well, Miller, working his way back to game readiness despite decreased range of motion and strength in his right middle finger, will throw live batting practice sessions on Monday and Friday of next week.
  • The Indians have not started a season 0-3 since 1996. They went on to win 99 games that season.
  • The last time the Tribe was swept by the Rangers in a three-game series was Aug. 16-18, 2008, here in Arlington.
  • Indians hitters were 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position in the first two games of this series.
  • Two games in, and Indians hitters have already been plunked by two pitches. So they’re on track to break the franchise and MLB record of 103 HBPs set last year.
  • Hector Rondon is one of the more intriguing arms in the Minor League system right now, and he showed it Wednesday night, in Double-A Akron’s season-0pening 9-5 win over Bowie. Rondon went 5 2/3 innings, allowing a run on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
  • Carlos Santana, celebrating his 23rd birthday, chipped in with a 2-for-4 night in which he homered and drove in four runs.
  • Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News passes along this tidbit: The Indians took out a full-page ad in the Buffalo Bisons’ game program, thanking the organization and its fans for their support over the last 14 years. Pretty classy move.

~AC

Out by those mountains, west of the moon

It's a 1.5-mile trek to the top of Pistewa (formerly known as Squaw) Peak, which is part of the Phoenix Mountains. Thousands of people huff and puff their way to the top each day, and for good reason -- the view up there is incredible.

 

Now if only they could add a water fountain at the top and a slide to bring you down. Then you'd have fun for the whole family.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • As reported yesterday, Eric Wedge still has no plans of dropping Travis Hafner down in the lineup. Wedge says he hasn't looked at the stats even once this spring. He's going by what he and the coaches see in Pronk's at-bats, and what they see is progress.
  • The rest of us finally got a taste of that progress today, as Hafner hit a lined solo shot out to right-center off Padres right-hander Kevin Correia to lead off the second inning. It was Pronk's first homer of the spring and one of the few times he's really driven the ball this month. Alas, Hafner wasn't heard from again in this one. His timing looked off as he struck out against Eulogio De La Cruz in the seventh.
  • Jhonny Peralta will bat in the fifth spot, Wedge said.
  • Some more good news today on Adam Miller, who threw his slider off the mound for the first time since he began this experiment of pitching without the ability to bend the tip of his right middle finger. Pitching coach Carl Willis said Miller's slider is now more of a "slurve." It's a pitch that needs some work, but the results today were positive enough that we can safely say Miller took another step forward.
  • It's interesting to talk to Willis and the others who are involved in this Miller experiment. Willis said one of the first things they did was have Miller try to pitch with a three-finger grip. That didn't work out so well. Miller has reportedly been very thoughtful in this process, asking all the pertinent questions about the potential surgery and what he has to do to avoid it.
  • Jake Westbrook also threw a bullpen today. He's been doing so every Monday and Friday, and that will continue as the Indians leave camp and Westbrook stays behind. Over the course of April, he'll progress to facing live hitters and eventually get into some games. He could be ready to go out on a rehab assignment by mid- to late-May. Today, Westbrook threw 60 fastballs off the mound and 15 curves and changeups off flat ground.
  • Now that Trevor Crowe's on the big club in place of Affliction model David Dellucci, you can pencil him and Ben Francisco in as the backup center fielder. But as Crowe himself pointed out, that's basically a "once a year" kind of job, given Grady Sizemore's penchant for playing every day. Then again, Wedge did say he expects to give Sizemore more time off this season. I guess we'll see about that.
  • Jhonny Peralta booted the first ball hit to him (or anybody) at third base today.
  • Left-hander Shawn Nottingham -- a Canton native acquired as the player to be named later in the trade that brought Shin-Soo Choo from the Mariners for Ben Broussard -- has been traded to the Pirates for a player to be named later. Nottingham split last season between Class A Kinston and Double-A Akron. He went 3-4 with a 4.58 ERA in 14 starts at Kinston and 0-2 with a 7.09 ERA in 19 relief appearances in Akron.
  • The April 10 home opener has officially sold out. The April 11 and 12 games against the Blue Jays still have seats available, including the $32 "All You Can Eat Seats" in the upper deck and the Pepsi half-off tickets in the bleacher, mezzanine and upper box sections. Those games fall under the "spring value" ticket pricing, which is detailed at Indians.com/valuepricing.
  • Speaking of tickets, you do have a birthday, right? Well, the Akron Aeros wish to recognize this incredible feat by providing you with a free ticket to one of their home games during your birthday month. And if you're one of those unfortunate souls with a birthday from September through March, have no fear of discrimination. Those born from January through March will be treated to a game in April, and those born in September through December will get a free ticket to a game in August. Visit www.akronaeros.com and click on the "Free Ticket on Your Birthday" link to register.

~AC

Dellucci to DL, Crowe recalled

David Dellucci won’t be breaking camp with the Indians, after all.

The left calf tightness that led to Dellucci getting scratched from Saturday’s lineup has now landed him on the 15-day disabled list. Trevor Crowe, who was optioned out of camp on Saturday, will assume Dellucci’s spot on the Opening Day roster as a reserve outfielder.

Dellucci is entering the final year of a three-year, $11.5 million contract that hasn’t turned out the way anyone expected. He missed the majority of 2007 with a torn left hamstring and he hit just .238 with 11 homers and 47 RBIs in 113 games last season. Dellucci will make $4 million this season, and his spot on the roster was considered tenuous even before the injury.

 

The Indians gave Crowe, their No. 1 pick in the 2005 Draft, a good, hard look in camp. He was under consideration to either bump Dellucci or to claim the utility job that went to Josh Barfield. Ultimately, the Indians decided Crowe, who batted .289 (13-for-45) with six stolen bases in 17 Cactus League games, was better off getting regular at-bats at Triple-A Columbus. He was optioned out of camp mere hours before Dellucci’s calf began bothering him.

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'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

Crowe, Gimenez optioned; Barfield wins job

As expected, the Indians optioned OF Trevor Crowe and C Chris Gimenez to Triple-A Columbus today, leaving INFs Josh Barfield and Tony Graffanino as the lone remaining participants in the battle for the last position player spot.

We haven’t spoken to Eric Wedge about these moves, but I’d imagine Graffanino — along with Andy Marte and Wilson Valdez — is being kept around in these waning days of camp in case of an injury. Barfield has been the favorite for the job all along, and he might have already been told he’s won it. He’s in the starting lineup at second base today.

Crowe and Gimenez both had impressive camps. Crowe hit .289 (13-for-45) with a homer, a triple, a double and three RBIs. He went 6-for-6 in stolen-base attempts. He’ll be in the Columbus starting outfield alongside Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley. If the Indians decide to part ways with David Dellucci early this season, Crowe could get the call because of the athleticism he would bring off the bench.

Gimenez not only showed he is capable of being a big-league catcher; he also proved his worth in the outfield corners and first base. Along the way, he hit .357 (10-for-28) with two homers, three doubles and seven RBIs. He had a .679 slugging percentage and .486 on-base percentage.

UPDATE: Yep, Barfield’s on the club. Graffanino is expected to hang around another week and accept an assignment to Columbus.

"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

General Manager Minutia

shapiro.jpgMark Shapiro arrived to Goodyear one month ago today. This morning, he met with the media to talk about his impressions of the first month of camp and his thoughts with three and a half weeks remaining before the opener.

Here’s a sampling of what he had to say, with a full story to come on Indians.com this afternoon…

  • General thoughts: “I’ve been very happy with most of what’s happened in camp. But if you had to point to one area of concern, it would still be the rotation.”
  • Shapiro likes the way Fausto Carmona is leveraging the ball, he believes Carl Pavano is on track to be a veteran, stabilizing starter, and he’s encouraged by Anthony Reyes’ stuff and health. But Shapiro, like everybody else, is waiting for somebody to step up and take the No. 5 job.
  • At this stage, he puts very little stock in spring numbers, especially in the Arizona conditions. He pointed to Scott Lewis’ outing yesterday (2 1/3 innings, 4R, 3H, 2BB, 2K) as a prime example of an impressive appearance thrown awry by one or two bad pitches.
  • Trevor Crowe, Wes Hodges, Carlos Santana, Hector Rondon, Chris Gimenez, Luis Valbuena, Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley have all made a very favorable impression, and Shapiro expects this team to rely on that depth. “This is the best layer of talent we’ve had here in a long, long time.”
  • Crowe is not only battling for the final bench spot but also the fourth outfield spot. But that latter spot is still David Dellucci’s to lose, and Shapiro likes what he’s seen from Dellucci (3-for-8, a homer, a double and two walks) since his return from the thumb injury.
  • The extended camp has been nice from the standpoint of getting young players more looks, but it’s made evaluation difficult. He said it’s tough to know when to start cutting guys — a process that ordinarily would have begun by now.
  • Another downside to the long camp: “We already went through a bunch of nicks and bruises and scrapes that kept a bunch of guys off the field. Now we’re almost completely back to full health, but there’s enough time to go through it again. That’s how long we’re here for.”
  • Speaking of health, he was really happy to see Victor Martinez hit back-to-back home runs on Feb. 27 and really happy to see Travis Hafner “nearly decapitate” Jered Weaver with a liner up the middle yesterday. “When you don’t see those things for a long time, it affects you emotionally.” 
  • On that front, he talked about defense, and he said fans and writers are often so emotionally affected by Jhonny Peralta’s inability to get to the occassional grounder up the middle that we ignore his ability to field every routine ball. Our response? Hey, we were emotionally affected long before Jhonny Peralta came into our lives.
  • The Indians use four metrics to evaluate defense. One of them is John Dewan’s Fielding Bible, which I’ve often referenced here, another is internal, and he wouldn’t reveal the two others. But he noted that objective analysis of defensive play is always imperfect.
  • He’s been impressed with Ryan Garko in the outfield and beyond. “[Garko] deserves some credit. He was the first guy through the doors of this place in October and the most consistent guy here all winter long. He clearly has worked with a sense of determination."

~AC

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