3.21.2011

SIZEMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How's your bracket? Mine took a nose-drive yesterday after I rebounded mightily from Louisville's initial loss. Losing Syracuse and Purdue hurt and even though I didn't have them going much further, losses by Texas and Notre Dame take away points. I figured everyone in the brackets I was in would be taking Ohio State, so I played the odds of winning if they lost. I still have some hope with my Dukies and Wisconsin.

[ARE YOU BUCKING KIDDING ME?]
Photo Courtesy of AP - Via Yahoo! Sports

KEY PERFORMANCES - BOX SCORE
Grady Sizemore: 0/2
Luis Valbuena: 1/3, 2 R, HR
Shin-Soo Choo: 1/2, R, RBI, BB, SB
Travis Buck: 2/3, 2 RBI
Mitch Talbot: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R(1ER), 3 BB, 2 K
Chris Perez: 1.1 IP, 3 K

Grady Sizemore made his much anticipated Cactus League debut on Sunday, DHing and going 0-for-2 in the leadoff spot. This doesn't mean he will start the season opener, but he was just glad to be back playing baseball.

"I loved to be back on the field, back in the dugout with the guys," Sizemore said. "It's been so long. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel, but it was just fun to be out there and be part of the game."

Acta says he ran very well and Sizemore reports everything feels fine. One thing you don't think about is that first hit the repaired knee takes, whether it is in the field or stepping onto a base running at full-speed. You just never know.

One thing we finally got from Acta is some sort of plan for Sizemore in terms of seeing him in Cleveland. We all knew he wouldn't be in the Opening Day lineup, but whate exactly can we take from that?

"There's not enough [time left in Spring Training] to have him on the Opening Day roster," Acta said. "He'll probably stay here in extended Spring Training at the beginning. Then we'll see what the weather is like in any of our Minor League cities and make a decision where he will go next." 

So my thinking from yesterday may be sort of on-track. They'll keep him out in extended after DLing him rather soon so they can just send him out on a rehab assignment and activate him whenever need-be. It could be within in the first few weeks it could be by the end of the month. It really seems like they are keeping it as a situation where they are simply playing it by ear.

Sizemore even admitted he didn't know where he was going to be or when he was going to be there. Right now, it's all about playing in spring games while he still has the opportunity. He says he has no restrictions as far as playing in the games and that if he has to slide, he'll slide. You can't play a guy like Sizemore and tell him to go half-way. Perhaps that is why they've waited so long to get him into game action, because they know he won't take it easy. They wanted him to be at a point where he can just go and it seems like they've reached that point. Sizemore is likely to play center on Tuesday after a day off on Monday.

And as for the 0-2, don't be surprised.. Sizemore was intending on just hacking away and with Galarraga throwing sinkers, he got to make contact and go for a little run down the base path.

Sizemore's injury has opened up the door for Travis Buck to make the roster, mainly because Trevor Crowe is nowhere to be found due to his injury. Buck has all but claimed an active roster spot and playing first base yesterday for the first time, like ever, didn't seem to stop him from continuing his hot hitting.

"I played 30 or 40 games in college at third base my junior year," said Buck, before the Indians beat Arizona, 5-3, Sunday at Goodyear Ballpark. "But it's been about six years since I've played the infield."

Buck had two more hits, to up his spring total to 18 (.419 average) and he knocked in his eighth and ninth RBI of the spring as well with a double. If he can play first, that is just another feather in his cap as he will essentially be able to do the same, if not more than Shelley Duncan.

He played third base in his junior year of college, why not throw him out over there while we're at it?

In other news, Mitch Talbot proved that you can't burn his equipment bag before April 1st by tossing five-plus solid innings. One of his runs were earned and even though he walked three, it was another solid performance after a rough spring start.

And some guy we call Baby Louie hit his team-leading fourth home run of the spring, the same day I said he had disappeared. I guess Luis Valbuena will not go quietly into the night in regards to the third base job. Still, he may benefit the most from getting regular at-bats in Columbus and playing a whole-heck-of-a-lot of shortstop, even though he sucks at it.

Vs Kansas City - 4:05 PM ET
Starting Pitcher: RHP Josh Tomlin
Lineup: CF Michael Brantley, SS Orlando Cabrera, RF Shin-Soo Choo, C Carlos Santana, DH Travis Hafner, LF Austin Kearns, 1B Matt LaPorta, 3B Jayson Nix, 2B Cord Phelps

I think this is Nix's first start at third this spring. Could be wrong, I missed a whole week there.

Asdrubal Cabrera will not play after cramping up and leaving the game on Sunday. Not serious, don't sweat it.


[CLEARING SPACE]

The Indians will need to clear two spaces on their roster if they add both Jack Hannahan and Travis Buck, something they are likely to do for Opening Day. That means two 40-man occupants will need to be cut. With Buck playing some first, I'm not sure what that means for Shelley Duncan, but I'm thinking there is room for him and the Indians talk as if he's going in with a spot. The Indians will still need someone to play second and backup at third, and that would be Jayson Nix.

So where do they go for roster spots? One may come from the bullpen, as Tony Lastoria got the initial word that Jensen Lewis may have been placed on waivers. Now Ken Rosenthal is reporting that is is indeed true.

This is not shocking the way he's been pitching and the way someone like Vinnie Pestano has been on the other side of the coin. And how much they've used Herrmann in situations this spring. Then you throw in factual evidence from Tony about Lewis being down in velocity and well, we may have our first cut candidate.

One thing to consider is that Tony said this may be in response to a move that doesn't include Buck nor Hannahan and maybe a backup catcher. What about Garrett Atkins, who was just released by the Pirates today? He doesn't have the glove that Hannahan does, but he presumably has the bat. His stellar .129 average and .182 OBP doesn't really convince you on that though. He's also more of a first baseman now a days more than anything. And he's losing out to Andy Marte in the battle for a corner infield job. Freaking Marte is hitting .370 this spring in 27 at-bats. He's struck out just twice and has walked five times. What gives Marty?

I think the Indians are pretty solid with Jack Hannahan though. He's hit well and ultimately it may be a blessing in disguise for the pitching staff to have someone like this defensively back there to start the season. Hannahan was very cunning in signing here and that alone deserves a gold star.

"I came in here looking for an opportunity, that's why I signed here," Hannahan said a few hours before the Indians were slated to play a D-backs split-squad in a Cactus League game at Goodyear Ballpark. "Last year [with the Mariners] I got hurt in Spring Training and wound up losing my job. Baseball is a funny game. You never know what's going to happen the next day. So, I'm excited about having the opportunity to play."

On the subject of cunning moves, Adam Everett made one, that was until Orlando Cabrera signed and essentially took away one of the open utility spots. Now it has gone even worse for the guy as he has a bone to pick with Erick Aybar for blocking the base during a spring training game and getting him injured.

"He blocked the base on me with his leg. On a stolen base. In Spring Training. You don't see that too often," Everett said a few hours before the Indians were slated to play a D-backs split squad in a Cactus League game at Goodyear Ballpark. "I'm a little disappointed that it was done that way. I didn't really care for that, but that's the way it goes." 

He also admitted that at the time, he didn't say anything because he didn't think the injury wasn't a big deal. But now that he potentially could miss some time and it has ruined what he has called one of his best springs in a long time, Aybar could be in some trouble with the scrawny shortstop.

And Everett has had a good spring offensively. I don't even bother saying defensively because he's always sound. He may just get caught up with the numbers, but if I was choosing based on performance, Everett deserves a spot over Nix.

As an aside, if you are looking for candidates to boot, maybe Trevor Crowe would be a prime candidate. Consider the fact that if you do it when everyone else is setting their 40-man and he at the moment is hurt, there is really a decrease in odds that someone would want to claim him. Sometimes you have to play those numbers games and with someone like Carrera, who serves some of the same functions, on the 40-man, that is a risk worth taking.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Tough break for Nick Weglarz in terms of starting the season, good news for the glut of outfielders that could find themselves vying for time in Columbus (Chad Huffman, Zeke Carrera, Jordan Brown, Matt McBride, etc.). Wegz has some torn meniscus in his left knee and it is similar to the injury that aforementioned Jordan Brown suffered last year.

Speaking of outfields, Terry Pluto says it is still riddled with questions. I think it is riddled with options that have created questions, but if that is the way Terry is going to spin it, I'm not one to argue with one of the best, especially when he puts it this way.

"The point is, no matter what happens with Sizemore, Brantley has to become an everyday outfielder. The Indians have no one else ready in the top level of the minors. That's especially true after highly regarded and often-injured prospect Nick Weglarz is hurt again. This time, it's his knee, and he is expected to have surgery.

The lack of outfield depth is something rarely mentioned, but the Indians have a problem in that area. That is why veterans Travis Buck and Chad Huffman are in camp. Buck is likely to make the team despite never playing 100 games in any of his past five years because of injuries."


Joe Smith will throw a bullpen on Tuesday.

LeVon Washington is sidelined with a knee injury that says came out of "nowhere."


[TRIBE TWEET OF THE DAY]


I've never heard of Desiderata (maybe I have, who knows they may have one of those songs you know of, but don't know the artist), but it is true... Especially since the horrible Rebecca Black's Friday video is nearing 30-million views. Although I'm convinced that 75% of that would be people like me who viewed it once to see how god awful it really is (god awful is not a description that does it justice, it is indescribably bad). If that ratio isn't true and there are more than 25% who view it more than once, they need to be shot. Just saying.

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