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2.24.2009

This Tuesday is Fat, Seems Like a Perfect Marte Day

Nino Colla | Tuesday, February 24, 2009 | | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips
Better stuff the Marte Buffet today since it's Fat Tuesday. Get your licks in.

I've given up on giving up on something for Lent. I just don't do it. I don't even follow the no meat on Friday rule. That's how much of a bad person I am. I just forget. That and my Mom makes meat on Fridays anyway because no one else in my house follows it.

So with that.. Let's take some ideas here on what some players should give up for the next 40 days.

Fausto Carmona: Sweating

Victor Martinez: Blowing into his hand

Kelly Shoppach: Striking Out

Cliff Lee: Giving up runs, that won't be hard

Andy Marte: Cake, obviously

Rafael Betancourt: Touching the brim of his hat

Carl Pavano: Getting hurt

Jhonny Peralta: Chasing the Curveball

Masa Kobayashi: Wal-Mart, just Super Wal-Mart, regular is fine

Travis Hafner: X-BOX or Wrestling, impossible

Jensen Lewis: Cutting his hair

David Dellucci: Baseball, period

There... Those are my ideas, on the fly. I personally like the last one and think it's probably the best idea of the bunch.

Let's get to the news though.

It seems like a perfect place to throw this one in, because well, it involves David Dellucci giving up baseball, at least with the Indians.
"I don't want to go down that road," Wedge said. "He's a guy that has some presence in the clubhouse, and he does have some ability to be a good hitter against right-handers when he finds it and locks it in. If he proves he can go out and do it again, there will be a place for him."
"Go down that road" is the road of Dellucci getting a guarenteed spot on the roster. It looks more like Josh Barfield isn't really battling anyone for that final bench spot, not even Trevor Crowe and it is David Dellucci who is in fact fighting even more for his roster spot.

And it's Crowe who is pushing Dellucci for that spot.
"I think the coaching staff knows me," Crowe said. "They've seen me develop the last couple years. And I've finally realized I can only control so much. I can only go out and play well and, when it's my time, I'm going to be in the big leagues."
Crowe is a better option for the fourth outfield spot anyway. So even if he doesn't make it out of Spring, as we saw last year with Jason Michaels, if Dellucci isn't getting it done, the hook will be quick. Dellucci better do it because Crowe can run, he can play all spots in the outfield, two things a fourth outfielder need to do that Dellucci can't.

Let me lead off with this note.

If you are in Arizona or are going to Arizona within the next few weeks, I'd like to pass this note onto you.

I got an e-mail about Fan Appreciation event down in Goodyear. If you are in the area, Estrella is holding a short event for visiting fans and after the get-together you'll be transported to Goodyear for the opening pitch of the Royals-Indians game on March 7th.

Click here for some more information on the event. I encourage anyone down there or going down there to take advantage of it, I'll try and bring it up again closer to the date. It's great to see the communities in Arizona such as this one welcoming in the Indians fans. Thanks to Tyler for the information.

Today is the first game of Spring Training, not officially of course. But still, fun.

And I do mean fun.

It's the intrasquad game and it is your basic backyard baseball, let's have some fun type of game.

The beauty is that this game matters even less than a Spring Training game, so Eric Wedge is going to do a bunch of crazy things.

Ryan Garko is going to debut in left-field and Josh Barfield is going to be lining up a few feet behind him in left field.
"I feel OK out there," said Garko after practice Monday. "It feels a lot more natural than when I moved from catcher to first base. At least I'm still facing the ball."
And Garko has said that hitting is his primary concern, so he knows what he has to do. He isn't a position to be impressing Wedge in left like Barfield has to. In fact, Barfield is rather excited about making the switch.
"It's another challenge," said Barfield. "I'm starting to feel more and more comfortable over there. You're closer to the plate. It's a little longer throw, but I'm not worried.
Along with Garko in left and Barfield at third, Jamey Carroll will be in right field. I don't know if this is all on one team or not, but that team isn't going to be rather rusty defensively if that's the case.

It will be a five inning affair today, with Huff and Rondon getting the starts.

Speaking of one David Huff, early word is, he's impressing.

Huff's mechanics were all out of whack, until big brother Tim came to the rescue and fixed him up. Now Huff is on the verge of making it to the big leagues.

And according to special instructor Frank Viola, Huff's mechanics are top notch.
"Huff has textbook mechanics," said Viola. "Everything is right there. His release point is consistent with all his pitches.
That's very good news and some high praise from Viola. Huff probably has some work to do to win a rotation spot, but it won't be long before he's up at the Major Leagues if he continues doing what he's done. His brother meanwhile, a former pitcher for Long Beach State, still helps him out.
"I compare my life to [the HBO fictional series] Entourage," said David Huff, laughing. "My brother is like the little red-haired guy [Eric Murphy] on the series. I was a history major coming out of college. If you want me to tell you a story about something that happened 100 years ago I can probably do that.

"When it comes to money, I'm an idiot. That's why I have him."

Hopefully Tim Huff has plenty of money to manage, that means good things.

Good things are usually equated to Cliff Lee now a days, so here are a few notes on Cliff..

He's trying to waste a week of Spring Training, to avoid pitching more than he has to in a Spring with an extra week.
"Right now they want to burn a week of spring training so we have as close to a normal spring training as possible," said Lee, who will throw a bullpen session Wednesday. "That's fine with me. I'd like to be out there pitching, but this is a long spring training."
As for his contract extension... Yeah just blah, no news and no news going to happen soon sir.

Derek Shelton had put together a quirky game yesterday to loosen things up. While the Yankees had a pool tournament, the Indians did something with an infield drill.

The game is simple. It was DeRosa V Sizemore, with teams pitted against each other in a situational hitting drill. Members of each team would shout out a situation and what the hitter must do and if the scenario was met, the one team would get a point.

Here are a few highlights.
"Bases loaded," DeRosa said, "bottom of the ninth, two out, two strikes, down one."

In came a batting practice fastball, which Sizemore lofted into left field. If a fielder was out there, he probably would have caught it.

"Pay your clubhouse dues!" DeRosa yelled. "Game over! Indians lose!"
Hey! Sounds like DeRosa is a bit of a jokester. And while this was a game that was meant to have fun, the Indians used this as a great tool... In other words, make the least likely guy to hit a home run, hit a home run.
"Bases loaded, down three, nobody on deck," Shoppach said. "You've got to go deep!"
To, who else, but Jamey Carroll.

By far though, the one that makes me laugh the most is this.
Shin-Soo Choo, who has been crushing the ball in these early days of camp, was given the opposite direction. He was challenged to do anything but hit a homer, and he responded with a towering shot off the center-field wall -- about a foot and a half short of going out. That drew a roar of laughter from his teammates.
Could he have possibly done that on purpose? Or could he have been trying to hit a home run just for fun? I'm not sure, but it makes me laugh.



The Indians have made a conscious effort to improve baserunning this spring. As you can see in the above photo, Michael Brantley looks like he's having some fun on a slip and slide, but I assure you he's not.

With guys like Francisco, DeRosa, even Cabrera and Choo to some extent, and of course Sizemore and the two bench guys, Carroll and Barfield, there is no reason for the Indians to not be at least more polished.
"It's all about the awareness and the anticipation," Wedge said. "Good baserunning is the ultimate team play. You're out there and doing it for the guy at home plate and for your team."
It isn't so much speed or stealing bases, but rather going from first to third. So I like this. None of the guys I mentioned are burners, aside from Sizemore and the two others that Wedge mentioned as his best baserunners, Barfield and Carroll. But, Francisco is decently fast, DeRosa probably isn't a guy who's goign to steal a lot, but some of those guys can run a little.

Grady Sizemore though. There is talk here of his batting average, which I don't get.
"No, it doesn't," said Wedge. "Batting average, unfortunately for a lot people, it's only been really noted in the last five or 10 years, that it is somewhat of an overrated stat. There are so many other numbers that are more important to a team winning a ballgame -- that's all that matters."
While it probably is a little overanalyzed and people are ready to worship the ground OBP walks on, I wouldn't say its completely overrated. For Grady though, you can't really use that.

The attention on Grady has gone up. While his average has sunk, he still gets on base and his HRs have gone up. That will happen, especially with Hafner hurt and Victor out of the lineup.

Wedge also thinks Grady got a little tired and he's going to TRY and sit him more, but as Shapiro laughed, we all know that won't last long. Especially with Gutierrez gone.

The 40-40 talk is going to heat up though.
"When you start thinking about that kind of stuff is when you get in trouble as a player," he said. "I don't stress home runs or those kinds of numbers. I stress wins. If you're trying to help your team win, those kinds of things take care of themselves."
I believe it was ESPN's Tim Kurkijan who said that he thinks Sizemore is going to get there this year and even went as far as saying he thinks Sizemore will get 45-45 (I think I remember him prediciting that, don't quote me). Boy would that just add to the long list of awesomeness that Grady Sizemore is.

Two notes from Castrovince that sort of went without further explanation here.

Castro describes Nick Weglarz, as a beast, of course, but also as a Travis Hafner like build, that has enough athlete in him to play the outfield. That's mildly scary when you think about it in those terms.

Despite what Jhonny Peralta said about not being told he'd be playing some third, we've heard that and now Castro confirms, he'll play SOME third this spring, not too much though.

And speaking of third base... The former 3BOF(3rd Baseman of the future, from here on out), was not traded and is now on waivers till Wednesday. If no one claims Andy Marte, he'll be back with the club officially and will probably star the year in Columbus as a bench player.
"I want to be with the Indians," Marte said, "but I've got to think about what's best for me in my career."

"I'll see if someone picks me up," he said. "If not, I'll come back here and work harder this spring to prove I can play in the Major Leagues."
That's a little better than what we thought we've been hearing about him trashing the club. So, maybe this is the wakeup call he needed, or maybe he really just does suck. We'll find out soon enough.

Scott Lewis, prospect profile is up, here. Scott has the task of trying to win a rotation spot, but he isn't the favorite despite his amazing work last year at the end of the year.

With it being my day off, more later today, maybe something fun. Who knows.

3 comments:

Michael T said...

That Hoynsie piece about Sizemore really steamed me this morning. I mean, can he still be stuck in the stone age with baseball statictics? To get on Grady about his batting average when he does so many other things, INCLUDING take walks to get on base, is just frustrating. I appreciate the work Hoynes does, and he is really good at it, but there are times when he really makes you double take. I mean, really...batting average of Grady Sizemore is a pressing need to question?

Michael T said...

Just looked it up...Sizemore's OBP is 10th in the AL over the past 3 seasons.

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=al&qual=y&type=0&season=2008&month=12

AND his wOBA, which is a great one stop look at a players on-base/power skills, puts him 8th in the AL.

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=al&qual=y&type=1&season=2008&month=12

C'mon Hoynsie, add in the Gold Glove and Speed and why on earth are you questioning Sizemore when there are SO many other questons surrounding this team.

Sorry Nino, had to vent some more.

Nino said...

When I saw Castrovince post a piece about Grady and then Hoynes, I figured okay well the same thing. Its plainly obvious Hoynes is just mailing it though and when he's not mailing it in, he's just 10 years behind everything.

Sizmoere is one guy you can't use BA to judge though. Its gone down every year but his overall game has gone up every year, I think anyone will take that.