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3.15.2013

Spring Training Rundown: Tribe Shaking Into Spring

Nino Colla | Friday, March 15, 2013 | | | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

Yes we love the Cleveland Indians and we focus on them 99 percent of the time. The one percent representing whoever they face or are involved with.

But if you know me, I like to talk about other teams and what they are doing. I do it frequently and I mostly enjoy looking at the AL Central. When you face those four other teams almost 20 times a year each, well, it becomes really important.

Since he's been with the Royals I have hounded Luke Hochevar. Why? Well, he's a Royal, and was the number one overall pick, and he has big ears and he always looks like his hat is over-sized. Okay that last one is just mean, but Hochevar is someone the Indians have beat up on in the past and it's fun to see how a guy like that progresses for a team that has a good offense, but needs pitching.

To put it into perspective he would barely be a four-five guy on the Indians, yet for the Royals they hinge on him doing something. Granted, that isn't saying much because the Indians don't have a whole lot to boast, but the guy's career 5.39 ERA speaks for itself. That's over several seasons, not just one or a few months.

And now the Royals seem to think that if they trade him, they'll net a good return?

I'm just gonna go ahead and laugh at that and wonder if we the Indians could dump Ubaldo on them and save themselves the "Will he/won't he" drama that will certainly surround him this year.

I of course say the hopes that I can copy-paste that statement three months from now and say, "See, look what I said, that would have been a stupid stupid thing to do if the Indians listened to me."

And we know the Indians most certainly do not listen to me. Thank...God...

[#TRIBESHAKE]



Listen to me?

That is Terry Francona salsa dancing.

Nick Swisher trying not to laugh.

And Jason Giambi looking uncomfortable because he probably was getting ready to laugh.

This is a dream come true. It really is. I wanted it to happen and with little effort on my part, it happened. Of course, it wasn't because of my effort, it was because of Swisher, but I like to think I helped inspire this dream come true. Or not, either way. I did create the hashtag, so I'll take that. I didn't want credit, I just wanted it to happen. I'm being completely sarcastic right now. Remember, the Indians shouldn't be listening to me.

What I do have to say is that there were some well executed costumes. Tribe Vibe has the whole list. And now I will grade them. I'm very much a Harlem Shake expert, and I'm not being sarcastic now. I've watched many Harlem Shake videos, I know what I'm doing. I'm certified.

Jason Giambi as Greenman: Giambino is a big guy, but he pulled off a good Greenman. He missed some key moves, but the sitting and laying down still while everyone was dancing was a nice "weird" factor that every good Harlem Shake needs.

Nick Swisher as James Laurinaitis: He struck a Heisman pose and did some pushups, also some original Nick Swisher moves, and he organized the whole thing, so, A+.

Terry Francona as Baby: The salsa dancing to kick it off was good enough, but to continue in his participation by donning a baby costume and joining in the madness makes him cooler. It makes up for his go-to move being the cabbage patch.

Jason Kipnis as Parrot: Not only is the Parrot costume awesome, Kipnis did the worm while wearing it. It's a contradiction in the finest form, but well played by The JK Kid.

Rich Hill as The Easter Bunny: Although Lou Marson was a bunny, Rich Hill was the one hopping around (as the subject of yesterday's LOLTribe) and lifting weights. His scene stealing was appreciated.

Matt Capps, Matt Langwell & Zach McAllister as Penguins: Probably the most underrated portion of this Harlem Shake are the Penguins waddling around.

Sandy Alomar Jr. as a Prisoner: Sandy got moves with a decent shimmy around the 48 second mark. Not only that, he starts out the Harlem Shaking by stabbing the hot dog (Nick Hagadone).

Lonnie Chisenhall as Baby Mario: I'm not really sure why he has a diaper on and a Mario hat, so I'm just going to assume he's a Baby Mario? Either way, Lonnie definitely has the best dance moves, doing "the sprinkler" at the 37 second mark, and some move I don't even know what to call at the 49 second mark.

And finally, the best costume award goes to:

Chris Perez and David Huff as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne from Dumb and Dumber: I mean, not only do they have the best costumes, they cap it off by sword fighting with their canes at several points. What would a Harlem Shake be without a really good costume and a really good reference?

Overall? The Indians pulled off quite a good Harlem Shake video. If you've seen one, you know the theme, so original ones, especially well after the fad has lost steam, are really appreciated. The Indians deviated from the initial 15 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of all hell breaking lose with their own twist that was really really unique. You have to applaud the creativity and the willingness of Tito to be, what I like to call, the "original shaker" to start things off.

There is also extra footage as the beat goes into it's rather un-heard stage that compliment the end of the video nicely. Of course when you have production quality like the Indians, use of multiple cameras, you can do a lot more. You also have to enjoy the variety of costumes and the multiple locations. Different, creative, fresh.

They still can't beat the Columbus Clippers though.

And yes, I just made the main topic of this rundown the Harlem Shake. I really do personify the word ridiculous.

[GAME RECAPS]

Ubaldo Jimenez threw five innings against the White Sox on Wednesday, giving up two earned off seven hits, but again, no walks. He struck out three, but also threw a wild pitch. [BOXSCORE]

"He was pretty good," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Jimenez. "He didn't really throw his off-speed pitches for strikes, but he only gave up the two [runs], and they got four hits in a row. It wasn't like he was walking people. I thought it was, for the most part, really encouraging. I think it proves to him, hopefully, that he can live with that fastball."

Much like it is with most spring starts, stats do not matter, and what Francona was talking about proving he can live with his fastball and not walking people is really what does, especially for a guy like Ubaldo.

Lonnie Chisenhall was 2-for-3 with a run scored and his third double of the spring. Cord Phelps hit a two-run homer and Asdrubal Cabrera was 1-for-2 with a walk and a two-run double. Hagadone, Albers, and Shaw all had scoreless frames with only Shaw surrendering a hit.
Photo - Getty Images via Zimbio

That leads perfectly into Thursday's game, as Lonnie Chisenhall kept on hitting. He notched his fourth double and third homer and scored two runs in the loss to the Royals on Thursday. He was joined in on the fun by Ryan Raburn, who is still Rakin' with another double and two more walks.

Matt Carson also homered, but the big story was the starting pitchers who saw time. Zach McAllister was roughed up a bit in his three-plus innings, giving up three runs off five hits a walk, and two hit batters. Trevor Bauer threw a few scoreless until he gave up a few runs off five hits, but he did strikeout four hitters in four frames. Tito says command is what still needs to come.

"Command," Francona said. "With most young pitchers, that's probably the thing that comes last. Consistency of command. He's got tremendous arm speed. He's got a really good changeup. His breaking ball, even out here in Arizona, he still gets the depth to it. It's just repeating his pitches."

And the Royals have only lost twice, what the heck man?

B Game action included Rich Hill, Cody Allen, and Matt Capps pitching. None of them gave up any runs. Corey Kluber started and struck out three over four scoreless frames.

Indians have Brett Myers going on Friday against the Brewers. Joe Smith and David Huff pitch as well.

[WORLDLY TALENTS]

Big things happening in the World Baseball Classic for the Indians. Thursday night, Carlos Santana's Dominican Republic team took on Vinnie Pestano's Team USA in an advancing game in the World Baseball Classic. DR came out on top to make it to the Semi-finals. Carlos Santana came up real big with a pair of hits, but it was two late runs in the ninth to keep the Dominicans undefeated.

Mike Aviles will now look to keep his Puerto Rico team alive and advance them to the semi-finals to join the DR against Team USA. Aviles knocked in the second run and scored the tying one as PR rallied to dispatch Italy on Wednesday in the eighth inning. Aviles now has seven RBI in five games with two runs scored.

Aviles got a hit on Tuesday off teammate Vinnie Pestano in PR's loss to the US. Vinnie P didn't allow anything else and struck out one in his scoreless frame of work. Now Team USA and Puerto Rico will meet for a second time.

Asdrubal Cabrera is back in camp though and that means Terry Francona is resting a little easier, even though he still has a lot more people to worry about.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Best wishes to Frank Herrmann as he will begin the long process of having to go through rehab thanks to Tommy John surgery that he underwent on Wednesday.

"I'm ready for whatever comes my way," Herrmann said last week, "[whether that means] having to sit out a year or the off chance you never get the opportunity to pitch again. It's just kind of how it goes."

Tough break for Herrmann as he angled for a spot in the bullpen this spring. Tank said he felt as good as he's ever felt coming into a year and really, never had an issue injury wise until now. The surgery was necessary and something he could not avoid with rest or rehab, which is a shame for him.

Herrmann took to Twitter to thank fans and to show his determination to get back.
Good news however on the Daisuke Matsuzaka front though, as it appears his quick outing earlier this week will not hold him back from competing for the fifth rotation spot. So, business as usual? Dice-K still has some headway to make if he is going to catch Kazmir.

"He's fine; it was just a cramp," Francona said. "It set him back in the fact that he didn't pitch, but it's not like he's hurt or anything. We just couldn't let him keep going."

Just a cramp... So General Cramping returns? Oh no...

Francona says that Dice-K will likely work four innings but it is not determined when he'll go next, as Tito says the Indians have some "innings issues" to work out. He could go in a minor league game if that is the case. He threw a bullpen on Thursday.

If cramping is the General, strain must be the Colonel. Colonel Strain is working his way out of Chris Perez, who has been playing catch and upped up to 90 feet on Wednesday. He could possibly be on his way to have a bullpen session on Saturday, which is excellent news in terms of his timeline for being able to be there for the club on Opening Day.

"He's doing a good job," Francona said on Thursday morning. "He's pretty excited. We've got to kind of keep an eye on it. It's good. He's feeling really good about himself."

Lou Marson is battling the flu, or something like the flu. Terry Francona calls it "intestinal turmoil", which sounds far more nastier than the flu. I would rather have a broken arm than whatever turmoil in my intestines would feel like by the sounds of it.

Boy the Random Rundown has been injuries. That's kind of depressing. Strikeouts are also depressing, but Mark Reynolds has a mindset that puts him in the "could care less zone" of how many times he strikes out. It used to be a distraction, how people would talk about it, now he just focuses on what he's good at, and that's hitting bombs.

"After that year people kind of laid off a little bit," Reynolds said. "I don't let it bother me. I've matured a lot since then. I was 24 years old. I was worried about what everybody thought about me. Now, I really don't care. I focus on what I can do and try to be productive."

Legit power threat. Since Hafner has fallen off that cliff, the Indians never really have had one. There is hitting home runs and then there is being a run producer that hits multiple two-three run bombs. That's what Reynolds does. So what if he strikes out 200 times? If you knock in 100 runs, you are worth a whole heck of a lot to your team. That's why you hit him towards the bottom.

Of Reynolds' career 181 home runs, 84 of them have come with runners on base. That's a little less than half. He's not just knocking in himself when he goes deep, he's bringing people home.

Finally, speaking of the lineup, Francona says that he'll be telling players what he plans on doing with them the next day.

"I never played for a manager that ever did that," he explained. "It just made sense to me. I think if you're a regular, and you know you've got a day off the next day, you wake up in the morning and it's a little different mindset. I think they appreciate it. And if you're an extra guy, you've got your routine where you come in and you lift or run, but if you know you're playing that day, it's different. I just think it helps."

I guess that makes sense to me and that I've never thought another way would be better. Who knows what guys in the past did, or if they ever did that. I'm pretty sure the daily lineup is a norm. Did Francona do this in Boston? Who knows, but I like this approach. It has logic behind it and I think it really is something players will appreciate.

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