Our little baby is growing up to be big and strongI urge you to read this entire entry, if only for the stunning and important announcement at the bottom of this entry. It will blow your mind... And if it doesn't, a fastball to the skull will. You've been warned!
[WHAT IN THE VALBUENA?]
|"I love my mashed squash and carrots!" - Baby L|
KEY PERFORMANCES - BOX SCORE
Shin-Soo Choo: 0/4, K
Carlos Santana: 1/2, R, 2B
Luis Valbuena: 1/3, HR
Carlos Carrasco: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 K
David Huff: 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, BB
Joe Smith: 1 IP, BB, K
Is Luis Valbuena on steroids? Kidding... KIDDING! DON'T GO.. KIDDING!
The little guy is packing a punch this spring. He's only hitting .211, but he's now leading the team in Home Runs after a few bombs the other day and now one again on Wednesday.
"He's swung the bat well so far in Spring Training," Acta said. "I'm happy for him. I think people saw a glimpse of what he can do here two years ago. He did have a rough year last year, but it is 2011 and so far he's swung the bat well for us."
He keeps it up, starts upping the average, and he'll have no issues finding a spot on the bench, that's for sure. And so far Jayson Nix ain't doing anything to win a bench role. He was 0-3 and has just one hit out of 16 at-bats this spring.
In the defensive department, there haven't been that many errors as a whole (which is a good thing) so without watching every single game it may be hard to judge who's ahead, but no one's really botched anything of note.
Nix however is playing a lot of second base, something that I've been noticing a lot. Even with Donald out, Chisenhall has been playing a lot of third rather than Nix and yesterday, it was Baby Louie at the hot corner.
"They told me I'm going to play more second than third," Nix said. "But I'm still going over there and getting some work there occasionally. As of now, I'm going to play more second."
What doesn't bode equally as well for Nix in the third base battle is the fact that Manny Acta says he's battling Cabrera for the second base job... So... He's essentially battling Luis Valbuena for a spot at third. It sounds very much like they are committed to Donald at third, unless Valbuena manages to surpass him.
Speaking of Jason Donald, looks like we will see him back in the lineup today as everything with his full workout on Wednesday went good.
As for the pitching, yesterday it was yet again bad. Most importantly, David Huff lost some ground against Josh Tomlin after he pitched two innings and gave up four runs. Meanwhile Carlos Carrasco returned and gave up a pair of solo shots, but otherwise threw the ball well, according to Acta.
The game was on television but I didn't see it, nor did I catch the replay. However you know it wasn't a good outing when he doesn't go the scheduled distance.
"David was supposed to go three innings today, but he threw too many pitches," said manager Manny Acta. "He was up with his pitches."
I guess the additional storyline to this game was the debut of Carlos Santana at first and that went well according to just about everyone.
"He looked good, man. It's only one game, but he looked comfortable and made some good plays, including trying to turn that double play, which is probably the toughest play there is on the field."
He won't play there as much as we originally thought, so really, let's not get too wrapped up about him at first and how he did.
Today there is no TV, not until Saturday, because the Indians are in Mesa to take on the Cubbies. Normal 3:05 PM ET start. Not all the pitchers traveling will be used as Masterson and Gomez are likely to toss multiple innings, but you need to take some extra guys.
Starting Pitcher: RHP Justin Masterson
Relief: Jeanmar Gomez, Frank Herrmann, Vinnie Pestano, Yohan Pino, Joe Martinez, Zach Putnam
Lineup: CF Michael Brantley, 2B Jayson Nix, C Carlos Santana, DH Travis Hafner, 1B Matt LaPorta, RF Travis Buck, LF Shelley Duncan, SS Luis Valbuena, 3B Jason Donald
[TO CHIZ OR NOT TO CHIZ]
So my much promised Chisenhall-Pomeranz article is up on TCF.. Give it a read because the topic is still running wild.
Despite it all, even Lonnie Chisenhall is remaining even-keeled He too knows it's only a few at-bats. In fact, he's going as far as to say it doesn't count.
"I'm definitely having just one of those weeks where it feels like you can't get out," Chisenhall said inside the Indians' player-development complex on Wednesday morning. "Next week, you never know, it might flip-flop on you. It's only 20 at-bats.
He later said he'd love to be starting at third to begin the season, but it's only spring and it doesn't count. Now I don't think he doesn't count. It certainly means something, but it doesn't mean everything. Where I like to focus on is how sharp he is at third and how that is all coming along. That will be the key ultimately, not so much for how he is doing, but for how whoever is starting at third is doing. If Chiz doesn't completely suck, then there will be no reason to hold him back and the Indians know it.
Now Drew Pomeranz is a different story. Yes I teased the idea in the piece, but really, let's not get crazy. There is a legitimate argument to be made for Chisenhall, one that I'm sure the Indians strongly considered at some point. But really, there is no arguments with Pomz. If this club was on the brink of competing and he really was able to compete with the other options (and I think he could) then yes, but this is way too early, so let's go easy with that idea, even though I'm the one that brought it up. I know, I can be a jerk sometimes.
Pomeranz's time table was the subject of the latest Indians Inbox.
"The most likely scenario is that Pomeranz heads to one of Cleveland's Class A affiliates this season, with a chance at advancing as high as Double-A by the end of the year. If all goes well for the big lefty, he could be in Triple-A -- and potentially see the Major Leagues -- as early as 2012."
In other words, he is on the Alex White track. Who could be here by the end of this season and is starting in Columbus. I think that is a very suitable timetable for the kid, especially how awesome he's looked in the early going.
Jared Goedert is frustrated, and understandably so.
"It's frustrating to not be able to go out in Spring Training and see what I can do," Goedert said. "It was a good opportunity. Now I can only do what I can do to get myself healthy and get back out there as soon as I can."
The good news is, he's on the 40-man roster... So he's not on the outside looking in as someone like Jordan Brown is.
As Goedert mentions, the injury is one that can linger, those obliques are nasty. So while it has taken him out of the running for a job and more importantly, ruined his time to show Manny Acta and the major league staff something, it hasn't killed his season, yet.
Speaking of injuries. Chad Huffman is losing some ground to Travis Buck in the outfield battle due to a hamstring strain. He and Buck are now in the running for a roster spot due to the Trevor Crowe injury and of course, Sizemore's rehab.
As for Grady Sizemore, looks like base running will happen this weekend and Bastian teases that he might be destined to play in a game next week. Hey, it's pretty much almost mid-March.
Speaking of rehabs, Nick Johnson will be in camp this weekend. The Indians will take it slow with him. There is no rush really, because as we've talked about. This is as much for next year as anything.
This is important stuff... Even though it is at the bottom, it is important. Trust me.
I'm proud to announce that tomorrow, I will be inactive and instead, you will be graced by an incredible presence. Instead of a daily update, you'll be treated to a guest entry. Get ready because the blog is getting a little bit of a new flavor and that flavor is Pure Rage...
That's right... If you don't follow him on Twitter, first of all your either not on Twitter or you're stupid (that's the truth and probably what he would say).. But if you don't follow him on Twitter, you will be treated to a grand treat. The blogging debut of Pure Rage Perez, right here, in this very space.
I encouraged Pure Rage to do what he does best, unchained, and let me tell you, I think.. No, I know you will enjoy Pure Rage as he is no longer restricted to 140 characters. It will be wild, so tell your friends or risk a 200 MPH changeup right in the face.
Finally, did anyone notice that in the sidebar story by Paul Hoynes in this article, he referred to Luis Valbuena as "Babe Valbuena"? Is the nickname catching on? If so, someone tell Hoynes that it is BABY LOUIE and not "Babe Valbuena"... What is this BABE VALBUENA crap. BABY LOUIE! LOUIE... THE BABY!