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3.05.2013

Spring Training Rundown: Perez Shelved, Herrmann in Question, Smith Returning

Nino Colla | Tuesday, March 05, 2013 | | | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

I'm sorry for the sudden drop off in activity the past few days...

I've been working on some things though and later this week, you'll see what I'm talking about.

I have a strange feeling this will be a jam-packed run down though, so let's waste not another character, and get right to it with some recapping...

Indians - 13 | Cubs - 5


There they are! The Indians offense roars again! In a different look, Drew Stubbs led off and led the charge with a pair of hits (a double and a triple), three RBI and a run scored, and that was just the beginning.

Nick Swisher hit his first homer of the spring, a two-run shot, in addition to collecting three hits and knocking in four total runs. He was joined in the homer party by Lonnie Chisenhall, who hit a solo shot for his second of the spring and did so in the three spot. Holy moly! Chiz in the Hall went 3-for-3 with three runs scored, three RBI and a walk. Is this kid going to have a great year or what?

Mark Reynolds also had a pair of hits and a few RBI to joint he party, making it a big day for some of the big additions.

It was a starter day with Carlos Carrasco, Zach McAllister, and Trevor Bauer throwing three innings each. Carrasco gave up a pair off four hits and a walk with two strikeouts, McAllister went three scoreless with just a hit, and Bauer gave up three runs (two earned) off two hits and a walk.

Carrasco was hit in the head with a come-backer in the game but it didn't force him out. he did drop to his knee, but passed the concussion tests the Indians gave him during and after the inning. They'll continue to monitor him though, however.

Just to update you so far on some spring numbers...

Ryan Raburn is leading the free world in home runs with four and also has a team-high nine RBI. Chisenhall has eight RBI and has eight hits in 17 at-bats. And Matt Carson, what? He has three home runs and six RBI in his 10 games played. He's also struck out seven times, but, who's counting?

Pitching-wise, McAllister, Kluber, and Bauer have all pitched seven official frames. Masterson and Jimenez have pitched in 4.2 and 4 innings respectively, and have been doubling up to start out, but will soon split off.

We'll talk about the bullpen in a bit, but Rich Hill has pitched 3.2 scoreless with five strikeouts, Nick Hagadone has gone three scoreless with five as well, and Cody Allen, three innings with one hit and four strikeouts. Right now, other names don't really seem to matter. 

[RAGE AGAINST THE MEDIA]

There are two points I want to get to, but I feel like I'll ramble able one of them, so I'm going to lead off with it in an effort to talk about it as quickly as possible, knowing that I have another point to make.

To set the stage first. Chris Perez is slated to make an appearance for one inning, perhaps his last before he leaves for the World Baseball Classic. Last minute, Francona scratches Perez, declines to provide much information, wild speculation begins.
Photo - Getty Images via Zimbio

Perez then refuses to say anything either, leaves in a huff, media reports and begins to speculate that Perez is perhaps getting traded.

Stop me if you saw that last part coming, because I certainly didn't. When he got scratched, I assumed it was an injury. How a trade formulated into the minds of the media is another question that I wish I had the answer to, because than I wouldn't be sitting here trying to manage how much I talk about this cockamamie issue.

I say this because if you are on Twitter and you follow just one guy that covers the Indians, you'll have saw that crap going around. If you aren't on Twitter, then you probably think I'm just rambling on about something crazy. But hey. I was on the Lada-Parsons Project this past Friday just after the news broke about the injury, and we talked a little more about this issue, so if you wanna hear my opinion on it in a little more detail, listen to that. Perhaps I get on to the part of this news item that is most important.

Chris Perez is on a timetable that where he may have one week to prepare for Opening Day. For a reliever, a week is all you may need. If you remember last year, Chris had some issues, ended up missing some innings over the spring, but was ready to go for Opening Day and didn't have an issue all year. So really, if anything, that shows he shouldn't have an issue if he has little time to get ready for the season.

The question though is...Will he be ready?

"The shorter he's down," Antonetti said, "the shorter the timeframe to get him back to game activity. If his symptoms linger for a longer period of time, that means it's likely going to take longer on the other end."

Perez's right shoulder sprain will keep him shut down for about a week/week-plus. And the Indians will not get him going until they see all his symptoms dissipate. Of course, the reason for Perez leaving in a huff and being upset when reporters saw him? He has to miss the World Baseball Classic that he prepared for.

"It would be selfish of me to put my wants of playing in the Classic above what the rest of the team is doing," he said. "It's disappointing, but at the same time, it would've been a lot worse to pitch through it now, then miss three months of the season. I can get over not pitching in the Classic. It was a tremendous honor to be chosen, but I can get over it."

Perez admitted two things. 1) If this were the regular season, he probably wouldn't have said anything and just managed it himself and kept playing. 2) While the WBC was important to him, his season with the Indians is far more important. So kudos to him for stepping up and saying something to the Indians and putting his ego aside. For a guy who's been given tough cookies for things he's said and done, you have to give it to him for not covering this up and trying to get through it to play in the WBC.

He could have been aggressive and put his season in jeopardy and probably pitch in discomfort, but he did the right thing and he's doing the right thing to his club. And as for his concern about being ready? He says it has gotten better every day and that last year was probably more concerning because he couldn't have pitched through what happened last year. And as I've continued to say, it is still way early in spring. He's got plenty of time.

Plenty of time...

And if I can just say... Chris Perez doesn't seem like he likes spring training very much, so this may be a good thing for him if he can just get a week, get ready, and hit the ground running that way.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

I mean, it's still very early March. And guess what? Joe Smith is making his debut on Tuesday, so yeah, seems like he is right on schedule. Not behind as you would kind of assume based off the fact that the Indians have played quite a few games thus far.

"He's going to pitch tomorrow. That's good," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Monday. "I don't think there was a major concern. We just wanted to make sure he was good to go and he did a very good job, and he's fine now. That's good. We didn't need to have something dragging out and having him try to nurse his way through it. It'll be fun to see him out there."

So, like we've talked about. Let's not worry about the timetables. Smith will be fine, Perez will be fine, everyone will be fine. It will be good to see Joe Smith get back in there though.

No word on what is going to happen to Frank Herrmann, but he could need Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. A few days ago he was shut down and on Saturday he met with Dr. Lewis Yocum to discuss different options.

"I'm going to have to get as much information as I can," Herrmann said, "so I can make an informed decision, one that I can live with. I know what I want to do, but I've got to be smart about it. I want to pitch. I want to shut it down for a little while and be able to contribute halfway through the season. Whether that's realistic or logical, I still haven't wrapped my head around that, to be honest."

That's Harvard speaking for you...

Anyway, it sucks for Herrmann because he was getting himself to a point he was happy with, with a new spiked curveball and a decent shot at a bullpen job. If it doesn't sideline him for the year, he's out indefinitely from spring and this could effectively end his chances to win a job coming out of spring training. So we'll see how this goes, but it could be bad news for Frank the Tank.

One guy who has a good shot at making the roster if he keeps hitting the way he is currently hitting is Mike McDade. He's making a quick big impression thus far and even if it he doesn't make the squad out of spring, he's opening eyes.

"The season is more important, obviously," Francona said. "But we love when guys show up and do great. The impression guys make is important, but how they do in their season certainly is more important. I think it's more the impression, how guys go about their business."

McDade is leading the team in RBI with nine this spring, hitting .474 after Monday's game and has nine hits in 19 at-bats in 10 games. I'm liking so far what he's putting up. There may be one problem with all of that... Francona sounds really in love with Jason Giambi.

It seems like Francona likes to commend the numbers guys like McDade are putting up, but when it comes down to everything, he also likes the intangibles and presence, things Giambi brings to the table.

"You know what he has. He has like a presence about him," Francona said. "He doesn't swing at bad pitches ever. He'll take a walk, and he still has his bat speed. So, yeah, I've been very impressed. You watch him, if you watch him in BP, he hits until he feels good and then he gets out. That's just a veteran knowing his body."

McDade will likely get his shot, especially if he goes to Columbus and plays well. But a guy like Giambi only has one shot and that's to get in from the get-go. The Indians know veterans will come around, and if they don't, they get cut. Seems like Giambi is a bit of a favorite reading into it, but he still has to prove he deserves  a spot over guys like Gomes, Raburn, McDade, and Carrera. And really, I think those are the big five names that will come down to the final two bench spots. Should be a fun few weeks to determine that.

Random Bits
  • Terry Francona said that Cody Allen is game ready right now and that his stuff is electric already. Unfortunately for Allen, he has options, so I always think he's at a disadvantage as a young guy competing for a spot. The thing is, it might actually save him. If he were to win a spot, it'd be one of the last ones and could be a mop-up guy. If he goes to Columbus, he's at the back end staying sharp. So really, it isn't all bad, but that's probably what happens to Allen. So far, so good, three scoreless frames, one hit, four strikeouts this spring for Codddyyyyyy!
  • Brad Mills says that Brett Myers is more valuable as a starter. Of course, any pitcher is more valuable as a starter, but in the sense of how many innings he can give a team, that's huge. And for all the huff over his "off-the-field" problems, Myers was told what to do by his teams in the past, in terms of moving to the bullpen and he did it, no questions, because it helped the team.
  • One guy looking for a spot in the rotation is Scott Kazmir and Francona told him just how he used to feel about Kazmir. He told him he hated him, but then said he's glad he's on his side now. Kazmir has hit rock bottom and is on his way back up, hoping for another shot with a re-tooled approach. Francona is probably hoping for just a little of what made him "hate" Kazmir back in the day. Kazmir will go in a minor league "B" game on Wednesday so he can get a feel for his breaking ball, something Kazmir requested.
  • With Carlos Santana with the Dominican Republic for the WBC, Yan Gomes will surely get an increase of time behind the plate this spring. Him and Marson will get more time and Francona says that they want to see if Gomes can be an everyday Major League catcher. He says Gomes has been impressive with the bat, but that defense matters and that he is "pretty solid."
  • Asdrubal Cabrera said that Chris Antonetti told him that the offseason was simply rumors and that if he was going to get traded, he'd be the first to know. Of course rumors do have some truth to them and the Indians were most likely listening to offers, but it doesn't mean they were shopping him. Cabrera is glad the Indians didn't deal him though and that he wants to be an Indian the rest of his career. 
  • As you've probably heard by now, the Indians will be cutting their concession prices this season. Not increasing, not even staying the same, but cutting them! Incredible. In addition to lower beer prices, cheaper soda refills, and nachos, the Indians have upped their dollar dog nights too. You can do that when you expect more fans to show up. It really is brilliant. Your ticket prices are going to go up, so your concession sales will too, obviously. Lowering prices is just good PR, and good business.
  • Terry Francona says he's going to ride to the ballpark on his scooter this season because he lives so close. He's been driving it around Goodyear. Yup, you read that correctly. It also sounds like he's dead serious.
Quite humorous note that Big League Stew pointed out. The Indians are looking for a new executive for their front office, someone who will specialist in baseball analytics to be precise. One of the job requirements? Walk and or stand for an entire shift, long weekends, and the ability to bend, stoop, reach, and transport items up to 55 pounds.

55 Pounds?! And some of the hazards are trips, falls, and cuts? I need to find out how much I can lift...And perhaps figure out what entails baseball analytics entials.

Finally, I'd like to announce the return of The Tribe Daily Invitational. Last year, I took on 9 people in a fun-filled fantasy baseball league. I lost.. In fact, I came in fifth. It was fun though and it was competitive and I managed to find nine other people who really committed to it and made it a fun league.

So it's coming back, and with a vengeance. So if you want in, bring it. Just shoot me an e-mail (nino@thetribedaily.com) with your e-mail for me to send you an invite. We're gunning for 10, but if we get interest for more, I'll bump it up to 12. But that's the max, so get in on it. Open season, so hopefully we get some new players, and for my sake, hopefully they are not as good as last year's people. It's a Roto League, pretty basic stats (AVG, OBP, R, HR, RBI, SB - W, SV, HLD, WHIP, ERA, K), with a draft late in March.

And of course, my team name is awesome... So if you think you can beat Chiz in the Hall, you can bring it.

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