Results tagged ‘ Victor Martinez ’

And the rain fell down on the cold hard ground

It’s Opening Day in Cleveland, so, naturally, I’m typing this during a rain delay.

Yeah, it’s cold today (45 degrees at first pitch). And yeah, the rain blew around all day before it began to pour in the fifth inning. But this is nothing, right?

“Our fans are used to it,” Eric Wedge said. “They’ve sat out here in worse conditions than this.”

We Clevelanders toss out the phrase “at least it’s not snowing” as if that’s any sort of consolation whatsoever.

But hey, at least it’s not snowing.

And the delay gives me the opportunity to throw some mid-game minutia your way.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Jamey Carroll’s left hand is in a splint as he recuperates from that broken fifth metacarpal shaft suffered in his last at-bat of the spring. “The longest Spring Training in history, and I get hurt in the last inning of the last game,” Carroll said. If it weren’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.
  • Thus far, it’s been a straight swap of the catching duties for Victor Martinez and Kelly Shoppach. Martinez caught Scott Lewis today, and Shoppach will, of course, catch Cliff Lee on Saturday. No word on who is catching for Anthony Reyes on Sunday.
  • During the pregame roster and lineup introductions, the Indians’ training and strength and conditioning staff got to trot out to the third-base line for their turn in the limelight. Considering all the injuries the Indians endured last season, I’d say the honor was well-deserved.
  • The Tribe hit five homers Thursday. That feat only happened once last season – July 30 against Detroit, in a 13-inning game.
  • Entering today, the Indians were 58-50 all-time in home openers
  • Wedge liked what he saw from Travis Hafner in Thursday’s home run. “That was the swing, that was the speed and that was the path [the Indians want to see from Pronk],” Wedge said. But “that” was also an 84 mph fastball from Eddie Guardado.
  • I was much more impressed with Hafner getting around on Scott Richmond’s 93-mph fastball for a two-run double off the right-field wall in the first inning and a 92-mph fastball for a solo homer to the Indians’ visitors’ bullpen in the right-field corner in the third. Pronk’s starting to look a little more legit.
  • The Indians have not started a season 0-4 wince 1985, when they started 0-5.
  • Wedge was really relaxed with the media today. Somehow, he got on the subject of his first exposure to baseball. It came in 1977, when he was 11 years old and first played Little League. The coach asked Wedge (“a short, fat, squatty kid,” as he put it) if he wanted to try catching, and he was all for it. “I thought it would be cool to put all that stuff on,” Wedge said. On his bedroom wall, he hung posters of Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench and Thurman Munson. No Farrah Fawcett, sadly.
  • The Tribe’s clubhouse has new carpet, and it was GM Mark Shapiro’s wife, Lissa, who picked out the color scheme (a deep blue in the clubhouse and a gray in the halls). Mark pretty much designed the alternate uniforms worn for the home opener, holidays and weekend home games. Move over, HGTV.

~AC

I ain't here on business, baby, I'm only here for fun

Off days on the road are pretty much a waste. Personally, I’d rather spend a day off at home with friends and family than in some Marriott Courtyard watching HBO.

So when the 2009 schedule came out, and I saw the Indians had an off day scheduled in Arlington, no less, you can imagine my chagrin.

040709b.jpgAnd then the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tour schedule came out, and all was once again right with the world. The Boss rocked Tulsa, Okla., last night, and my brother Bill and I were there — on the floor, about 10 yards from Bruce’s microphone.

By now, any reader of this blog is already familiar my Springsteen obsession. So I’ll spare you the detailed account of how he scorched the earth with his guitar solo on “Seeds” or my enthusiasm over his ability to captivate and inspire an arena-filling crowd not just with his musicianship but also through his boundless energy and sheer depth of feeling. I won’t mention that the band — even with Clarence Clemons, the bearer of two bad hips and two bum knees, having to be elevated to the stage, quite sadly, by a mechanical lift — has never sounded tighter and never handled Springsteen’s famous setlist audibles more ably.

But I will say that I’m currently nursing what I believe to be a broken toe as a result of the stage crush that ensued when Bruce came toward us near the end of “Rosalita.”

And to quote a less-inspiring rocker, it hurts so good.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • The Indians will induct former players Sandy Alomar Jr. and Wes Ferrell into their team Hall of Fame in August. Former owners Bill Veeck and Dick Jacobs will also be inducted as the inaugural class of the Distinguished Hall of Fame for non-uniformed men and women who significantly contributed to the fortunes of the franchise. Veeck and Ferrell will be inducted posthumously.
  • Cliff Lee said he intended no disrespect toward Victor Martinez on Monday when he referenced Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s two-run single to the right side and said, “If Vic lays out and is able to catch that ball, those runs don’t score.” I was there when Lee said it, and it was clear he was making a point (not much of a point, but a point nonetheless) that mere inches separated that play from being an out. He wasn’t throwing Martinez under the bus, but some people (namely, the talking heads on “Baseball Tonight”) read it that way.
  • Lee is on line to start the April 16 opener of the new Yankee Stadium, opposite former mate CC Sabathia. Pretty cool.
  • Speaking of former Indians, the Rangers are giving Omar Vizquel the start at short tomorrow.
  • Adam Miller’s throwing program is ongoing at the Player Development Complex in Goodyear. He’s still not to the point of facing live hitters, according to Eric Wedge.
  • Jamey Carroll will not have surgery to repair that broken bone in his left hand. It will heal itself naturally. Carroll is still expected to miss four to six weeks.
  • Wedge offered another reason why he wants Travis Hafner in the cleanup spot: “The last thing we need is to put him somewhere in the lineup where he’s not accustomed to being,” Wedge said, “because then you have him trying too hard to get back to where he used to be.”
  • Anthony Reyes, scheduled to make his first start of the season Sunday against the Blue Jays, worked 4 2/3 innings not against but for Mount Olive College in an exhibition on Tuesday night. He faced the Class A Kinston hitters and limited them to a run on two hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. He threw 80 pitches.
  • Tonight’s game marks the 400th all-time meeting between the Indians and Rangers.
  • Former Tribe pitcher Mike Bacsik, who now works for an sports talk radio station, was in the Indians’ clubhouse before tonight’s game. Bacsik will forever be remembered for serving up Barry Bonds’ 756th career home run.
  • Bullpen catchers Dave Wallace and Dan Williams attempted to count the number of balls used in Spring Training this year. They weren’t sure of the exact number, but it was in excess of 12,000.

~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

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

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

There's a little town just beneath the floodline that needs a local hero

When I was a kid, Cory Snyder came to The Palace at Euclid High School (it was and is, simply, a high school baseball field, but it was referred to as "The Palace" because it had such posh amenities as a working scoreboard and covered dugouts).

 


snyder1.JPGSnyder put on a little clinic for us Euclid Boys League players. He taught us the finer points that made him, inarguably, the game's greatest player to ever hit 149 homers and notch 992 strikeouts.

 

Then, Snyder put on a Home Run Derby display that drew oohs, ahhs and gasps. And understand: This was my favorite player, in my town, on one of my fields. I was so mesmerized by the sheer magnitude of the moment that I didn't even notice when my dad took off to chase down a foul ball for me. Snyder later signed the ball. It still holds a special place in my heart -- and a box in my basement.

 

I can only imagine the way I felt that spring day in 1988 is similar to the way the kids of Goodyear, Ariz., felt this morning, when the Indians held an open house at the new Goodyear Ballpark. The players did their fundamental drills and took BP on the field, then walked down the first-base line signing autographs for (seemingly) one and all. Grady Sizemore was there. Victor Martinez was there. Jhonny Peralta was there. It was good to see the guys interacting with the locals and the fans who made the trek from Cleveland.

 

Of course, it would have been a lot cooler if Cory Snyder was there.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Jeremy Sowers has been named the Indians' Opening Day starter. Opening Day of the Cactus League schedule, that is. He'll get the ball Wednesday at the Goodyear Ballpark opener against the Giants.
  • Today marked the historic debut of the shuttle system that will bring the players to and from the stadium from the complex. There are three shuttles working on a rotation.
  • A little controversy erupted when one of the shuttles took off without Eric Wedge and several players, even though they were in striking distance of the doors. Josh Barfield was absolutely buried by his teammates, because he was apparently the last guy on the bus before it took off. But it was all in good fun.
  • Ed Mujica has looked as good as you can look in two live batting practice sessions. He's out of options, and, if all things are equal with the relief candidates, he'd get the job because of that contract status. But it's early. Let's see how he looks in the games.
  • The more I see of Luis Valbuena, the more I like. He looks quite polished in the field, and he has a smooth swing. One line on Valbuena when the Indians acquired him this winter was that he's a bit on the stocky side, but he looks to be in pretty good shape to me.
  • Fausto Carmona, on the other hand, must be a regular at the Andy Marte Buffet.
  • Speaking of which, there was a Marte sighting at camp here today. He came here to workout, as he is, technically, still with the organization. He got out of here before reporters could shake him down for a few thoughts on the move the other day. 
  • Travis Hafner is still not hitting outside. He's taking BP in the cages every other day and still feels fine. No word on when he'll progress to the next step, but it can't be too far off.
  • The new ballpark is absolutely beautiful. Then again, I guess you wouldn't expect the centerpiece of a $108 million complex to be a dump, right?
  • There are a lot of great jobs in baseball, but wouldn't you just love to be a team's Australia and Europe scouting supervisor? I know I would.
  • For the 90 seconds in which it lived in my notebook, I totally bought David Dellucci's story about saving a little boy from an alligator and having his thumb bit in the process. I guess after 10 days of a rather dull existence here in Goodyear, I was just so excited to finally have a great story to latch on to. At least I wasn't the only one buying it.
  • Some fibs have made it to print over the years. In the early '80s, pitcher Ross Grimsley had reporters believing he had an armadillo farm. In the '90s, Brian Giles had some bite marks on his leg and explained that they were from a yellow-tailed scorpion.
  • My MLB.com colleague Tom Singer had some interesting data on this winter's signings, noting that it was actually, on average, more beneficial to be a young player in arbitration than it was to be a free agent on the open market.

~AC

Come together right now over me

I'd like to think I had a pretty diverse lunch table in high school.

 

You know how it is in the movies. The jocks sit with jocks. The nerds sit with nerds. The cheerleaders all sit together and, presumably, talk about how attractive the members of the school paper's reporting staff are. Pretty basic stuff.

 

That's not how it was at my table. We had a pretty eclectic mix. We had a lineman from the football team, a member of the show choir, a couple weird guys, a couple smart guys, a couple funny guys. We were bonded, I believe, by the air hockey table in the break room. We'd take on various freshmen in the room and usually beat them (except for this one extremely talented kid whose real name we never came to learn. We simply referred to him as "God").

 

And the air hockey precedent holds true. Sports (yes, I'm using that term quite loosely) can bring a diverse group of individuals together.

 

I mention this because someone asked about clubhouse cliques, and I am trying to come up with the best way to describe the Indians' clubhouse. There are certainly cliques involved. Latin guys will always tend to congregate with other Latin guys, for instance. Young Minor Leaguers congregate with other young Minor Leaguers. And without naming names, every once in a while a guy like Jason Johnson comes along and doesn't really make friends with anybody (I guess I did name names). But those are the exceptions that prove the rule.

 

My point is that it always strikes me how well guys brought into this organization mesh with other guys. You wouldn't know, for example, that Mark DeRosa, Kerry Wood, Joe Smith and Carl Pavano just got here. They have fit in very well.

 

Players who come over here - and Joe Borowski used to say this all the time -- tend to remark that this is a rather unique environment in which players check their egos at the door. Those who don't get called out or, worse, ostracized entirely.

 

So it's a lot like my lunch table, minus the air hockey (which is a shame, for the record) and plus the Affliction t-shirts (which is even more of a shame).

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Victor Martinez won't talk much about how much pain he was in when playing through that elbow soreness last season, but he will talk about how painful it was to be away from the game for two and a half months. He had some real nice things to say about his love for the game. "You look around, and we're blessed to be here, wearing a big-league uniform with nice shoes, nice batting gloves, looking good," he said. "What else can you ask for? You just need to go out and enjoy it."

 

  • The Indians will move part of their workout to the Goodyear Ballpark tomorrow, as part of a Fan Fest in which the locals can get a look at the new park. The gates open at 10 a.m. local time, and the Tribe will hold fundamental drills beginning at 10:30 a.m. The live batting practice sessions, however, will remain on the back fields.

 

  • Josh Barfield looked pretty good moving around at third base today. Wedge, for one, was impressed. "Better than what I'd expect to see for the first time over there," Wedge said.

 

  • Luis Valbuena has made a fine first impression here, at the plate and in the field. He's been taking some grounders at shortstop, but Wedge said he'll only look at him at second base when the games start.

 

  • Wedge said the bullpen battle goes a lot further than just that one open spot on the Opening Day roster. "It's also who's going to be the first guy we call or the second guy, depending on what happens," Wedge said. "They're pitching to make an impression with regard to this year."

 

  • Speaking of the bullpen mix, Juan Salas gets here Saturday night and should be in camp on Sunday for his physical.

 

  • Reader Jim D. points out that the Indians have had four players whose last name is a palindrome -- Toby Harrah, Dave Otto, Mark Salas and, now, the new Salas. Jim claims that is a Major League record, though I don't have that confirmed. Granted, none of these names are as complex as my all-time favorite palindrome, "so many dynamos," but it's still pretty cool. I've done a quick look through the all-time roster to see if there are any others we're missing, but I don't see any. Let me know if you discover otherwise.

 

  • Speaking of last names, I've decided the only reason I didn't become a pro ballplayer is because of my 11-letter last name. It's at least one -- and probably two -- letters too long to look presentable on the back of a jersey. Rafael Betancourt, for example, is at the 10-letter mark, and his name is in danger of becoming a half-circle on the back of his jersey. Just doesn't look right. 

~AC

"It's a dog-eat-dog world, Woody, and I'm wearing Milk-Bone underwear"

cliff1.JPGIt appears we solved the mysteries and vagaries of time travel in yesterday's post, which was no small feat.

 

Now I pose to you a much simpler question: If you had a dog (and maybe you do), what would you name it?

 

I ask because it appears to me that many of you are absolutely obsessed with the Indians. You might even be as obsessed as my friend Megan, who wimped out with regard to a previously stated goal of getting a Chief Wahoo tattoo but did recently become the owner of a French bulldog puppy, named Cliff (that's him on the right... apparently he's named after some pitcher).


  

Anybody else have a Tribe-inspired pet name? An Italian greyhound named Fasano, perhaps?

 

I'll confess this post really just had two goals: Giving Cliff some blog love and working the above "Cheers" quote into a headline. Now that those are accomplished, let's talk about what's happening on this lovely Wednesday.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Really interesting story out of the Nationals' camp, where it's been revealed that one of the organization's top prospects, 19-year-old Esmailyn Gonzalez, is actually a 23-year-old named Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo. The Nats had signed "Gonzalez" in the summer of '06 and given him a $1.4 million bonus. He was supposed to represent a big piece of their future.
  • The Gonzalez story has the potential to impact, well, pretty much every team in baseball (the Indians included), because they use the same system to verify the age and identities of international players. The system was put in place by MLB in the last four or five years to put an end to the chaotic nature of the international scouting scene and do intensive background checks on potential prospects. Plenty of questions are no doubt being asked right now about what the heck happened with Gonzalez.
  • Today was the first day of live BP, which means Indians pitchers were throwing to Indians hitters. This is always pretty fun to watch. Fausto Carmona and Cliff Lee were among those on the mound today. And believe it or not, Ed Mujica looked pretty nasty, breaking the bats of Victor Martinez and Josh Barfield.
  • The Indians also spent a good part of the morning working on their bunt defense.
  • Eric Wedge was talking about the mental makeup it takes to be a good closer. He said we'll never know what it's like to be on the mound in the ninth inning with the game on the line, and a pitcher's potential for that role can never be known until he's tested. "It's like if you're stuck on an elevator between the 25th and 26th floor with three other people," Wedge said. "You're going to find out about people." 
  • Wedge said he's been particularly impressed with reliever Joe Smith in the early going. "He sticks out a little bit," Wedge said.
  • Representatives from the Phoenix police department came and spoke to the players this morning, making sure they are aware that the highways here have cameras that can and will catch you speeding and the rules regarding alcohol and marijuana are particularly strict.
  • Former Tribe catcher Eddie Taubensee was also in the clubhouse today, spreading the word about a ministry he's involved in that caters to professional athletes.
  • MLB.com has started up a new injuries page, so all of you preparing for your fantasy drafts might find it to be a good resource.
  • The next installment of the Indians Inbox will run on Indians.com tomorrow.

~AC 

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