3.30.2011

I'm A Rock-et-Chooooo

I feel like I want to do so much more before the season gets here... Which I will, which is why, tomorrow will be the time we revisit the Spring Training Primer and get our official look-ahead towards the 2011 season, cause guess what... Friday is go-time... One last Spring Training Update for the road! Until next year Goodyear...

[GOODBYE AND GOODYEAR]
Photo Courtesy of AP Via Yahoo! Sports

KEY PERFORMANCES - BOX SCORE
Shin-Soo Choo: 2/3, 2 HR
Travis Hafner: 2/3, 2B
Matt LaPorta: 0/3, K, 3 LOB
Justin Masterson: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2ER), BB, 6 K
Jess Todd: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB
Rafael Perez: .1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 BB

The Indians dropped their final game in Goodyear for 2011, a earlier contest with the Reds 8-3. Shin-Soo Choo was the lone offensive force, blasting two home runs, his second and third of the spring. Travis Hafner also had two hits, one being a double.

Holy jacks Choo... You ready for the season or what? Sometimes with Choo the bombs come in big bunches like that... Save 'em for the Opener buddy.

Justin Masterson got in five solid innings of work, walking just one and striking out six, but also allowing a pair of runs. Rafael Perez put a damper on his excellent spring numbers with a four spot and he couldn't get out of his inning.

Jess Todd however pitched two scoreless frames, giving up a single hit.

This was quite the ending to the Cactus League season. The Indians were like, middling around and then all of a sudden, they finished 15-14-2. What's encouraging about that is the fact that it has been pretty much all regulars down the stretch, so it provides some good momentum for the club heading into Friday's opener.

Going back to Monday's contest, everything is all good between Carlos Santana and Chris Perez. Santana clears up the issues. He said Perez apologized to him after the game.

"We had a little problem with the signs," said Santana. "I told him when I go to the mound, I try to help you. Everything was good after the game. We talked and I had no problem."

First things first, the organization travels to Columbus to put on a nice first. An exhibition game in Columbus that will pit the major league Indians against a lot of their former, present, and future teammates, the Columbus Clippers. It should be an interesting one and it will be a bit of a role reversal. Zach McAllister, who hasn't pitched in the major leagues, will go for the "Indians" while David Huff will pitch for the "Clippers."

The 1:05 PM exhibition game will be broadcasted on STO, so you can catch that live. There will also be a National Championship ring presentation to the Columbus players from last year's team.

[NIXED AND GONE]

The Indians found a taker for Jayson Nix on the trade market and it was the Toronto Blue Jays. The Indians dealt the infielder to Toronto for a big bag of cash. Well who knows on that big bag of cash, or even the bag part.

Nothing but good things from the Indians perspective to say about Nix. Chris Antonetti took to Twitter to say Nix was a great person, in addition to a great player.

Nix's exclusion meant that Adam Everett was included and that means he can hold off on the retirement considerations. The shortstop was actually ready to consider that possibility because he mentally thought that would be his next step.

"That's what made this so sweet," Everett said. "I was OK with that, but I still enjoy the game. I still enjoy playing. It's something that hopefully I can play for a few more years."

I think I mentioned it either yesterday or in my TCF piece. In the end, defense won the day. That's exactly what Acta said in regards to Everett making the squad. He said they were looking for defense and he played every position they put him in. He says Everett was "unbelievable" in camp.

And he even did it offensively. Everett said there was no pressure and that perhaps was why he had the best spring of his career.

Then of course the domino with that was the idea that Lou Marson made the team because of this and the fact that the Indians didn't have another spot on the 40 man to clear for one of the other backup catcher candidates.

Marson said he was pretty confident about getting the spot, and he's comfortable with the pitching staff. For him it seems to be a lot about defense and again, that may be the line of thinking with the Indians in selecting Marson. Sure not having 40 man spots could be a reason, but Marson is definitely superior to the other candidates defensively.

And the progress he's made catching the pitchers. You have to respect that, he's been in the system a whole year and a half longer than Phillips and Carlin, he knows a lot of these guys.He still needs to hit offensively though, or there will be some problems.

[OPENING DAY IS UH, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW]

Opening Day really is a celebration. I don't care what baseball city you are in. I like this Friday start, it's more towards the weekend and allows for more of a celebration. Plus for us, we get the game, then we get right back into the games the next day on Saturday, no Opening Day and then, blah off day.

God bless Ed Lachowski who has been to 55 straight Tribe home openers. He'll be attending 56th on Friday. Makes it kind of crazy how it will be my first. Lachowski is a season ticket holder of course, and it is people like him that make the day a celebration. It is like an annual holiday. Hell, it is an annual event, so why not?

I'm really excited to be going and can't wait...

There is an energy about this season, just from reading what the players are saying on Twitter. Maybe I say this every year, who the hell knows at this point. Maybe it is that youthful optimism. There are many fans Ed's age that just say "blah another year, another painful experience, what's new?" So in that regard, another tip of the cap there for sticking through and staying positive.

I think the signing of veteran Orlando Cabrera and keeping a guy like Shelley Duncan and even Adam Everett's inclusion to the squad, there's a little bit of guidance. In addition to a great point Manny Acta brought up, last year there were a lot of first time, full-time starters. A lot of those players are back with a year of experience under the belt.

Cabrera is like a second coach out there, just listen to the way he talks.

"The thing I can see here is we need to get better with the mental approach," Cabrera said. "You need to realize that if you have the talent, if you have the group and you have the chemistry, you can go out there and beat anybody on a daily basis."

"But we need to get better with that focus, with calling pitches and making the plays, realizing that every single pitch could be the game. That's one of the things that we're going to be working on during the season." 

Acta says he feels a lot better and Antonetti says the goal is to win, whatever the age is. Duh Winning.

I think that's ultra clear.


[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Even though Vinnie Pestano, Frank Herrmann, and Justin Germano all made the Opening Day roster, one of their stays is likely going to be a very short one. So with that in mind, they all have to continue whatever strong momentum they built up in spring and pitch well enough in the little time they'll be given before Joe Smith returns.

And it could be soon, like, really soon. If I had to guess, Frank Herrmann and Vinnie Pestano become more attractive options to send down due to their options. Pestano maybe more than Herrmann since Herrmann can go more innings. But to be fair, Pestano has pitched better in spring thus far. We'll see how things fair when the game start counting though.

Smith can be activated on April 6th since the DL placement is retroactive. It won't be THAT soon, but then again, you just never know.

A great piece on the intricacies of Fausto Carmona.The quiet and reserved ace of the club hates offices, but Acta hasn't had much of a need to call Carmona in there. Acta says the fact that he's come in and attacked the zone is very relaxing to him. How can it not after coming last year not knowing who would be the guy, if Carmona wasn't going to be.

"I feel good. I'm ready for the season," Carmona said. "I'm very, very happy about this spring. I've worked on everything and everything is going great. I'll take it into the season. I'm more confident now."


Trevor Crowe will be in New York today to get a surgical consultation on his shoulder. Looks like that 60-day DL move is only a matter of time.

Joe Martinez is currently slated to be the fifth starter in Columbus and that is due to the line drive Corey Kluber took off his head earlier in camp. Good news on that front though as Kluber pitched three innings in an intrasquad game.


Jared Goedert also played in a minor league game and was 1-2 with a RBI. He's making his way back from a strain in the oblique and maybe now that he is playing and not inactive because of an injury, he could be jettisoned off the 40-man. We'll see soon.

Tony Lastoria has more minor league news, including extended stuff on outfielder Mark Brown and the role of Cord Phelps.

Phelps will play everywhere as Luis Valbuena is slated to get a lot of time at shortstop. It has been decided that Jason Kipnis will in fact start at second and Alex White will be in the rotation. There was some time that the Indians were considering starting Kipnis at second in Akron again.

Speaking of prospects, AL Central In Focus rates the top 50 prospects in the entire AL Central. You may be surprised to see the order the Indians fall in, especially up at the top. Or not, it all depends on your perspective. I will say the inclusion of Jared Goedert is interesting and unexpected.


[SITE TREAT]

My desktop needed a new look and with the season right around the corner, you know what had to be done. I had to retire my Zips Soccer National Championship wallpaper for a fresh new Indians look. I'm that proud of it, I'm making it available to you in multiple sizes, just in case you need a nice new wallpaper for the 2011 season. Hopefully everyone on it lasts and is productive all year so you never have to change it... Right? Right! If you want a specific size that I don't have, shoot me an e-mail and I can get that for you. I have the biggest sizes for most common monitors (I have a 1920x1080 laptop, so, yeah), so you can just re-size if you have one of those types, but smaller. If you have those capabilities.


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