Its the first day of Spring! Hooray! What does this mean? It depends on who you ask?
For some, it means Spring Cleaning!
For others, its means continued soul searching
For some its time to think about getting the lawn back in shape
Some desire to get thin after the long Winter slumber!
Whatever the reason or motivation, the change from Winter to Spring is great, yet challenging. For the Indians organization, this was no exception. As was reported from various Indians media sources, quite a lot of things happened in the last few days.
First, Adam Miller, one of the Indians top prospects was reported to have to have career threatening surgery unless he can learn to change the way he throws and gain enough command to maintain the ability to compete as a pitcher.
Next, the great trim happened for 15 players on the Spring Training Roster.
Along with Adam Miller, RHPs John Meloan and Juan Salas, LHP Tony Sipp and 2B Luis Valbuena were optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
RHP Hector Rondon and C Carlos Santana were optioned to Double-A Akron.
RHP Jack Cassel, LHP David Huff, C Armando Camacaro, 1B Jordan Brown, 3B Wes Hodges, INF Jesus Merchan, 1B Beau Mills and OF Stephen Head were reassigned to Minor League camp.
Just when I thought the routine was over, the news broke that Fausto Carmona now was bruised in the forearm in an intrasquad game and is now day to day. Quick, someone get these guys healthy for April 6th. I want to think we have a team left not looking like this before the season starts.
Luckily Aaron Laffey came out healthy again. His stats against the Brewers at Maryvale Stadium were 4 innings pitched, 3 runs all earned, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts and no homeruns. There was nothing that told me the fifth starter wasn’t his to have, still.
Today, Carl Pavano is scheduled to faceoff against the A’s in Goodyear. My goals are to stay in good health and just hang on until April 6th. I just hope all the players and coaches can just hang on, stay healthy out of camp and continue healthy throughout the upcoming 2009 season.
After all, in Ohio, its all about hanging on…
By the way, good luck to Ohio State and Cleveland State today. Hopefully both can hang on today also in the 64 team NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. We shall see.
Greetings from the Grand Canyon!
Yesterday my family and I went to Goodyear for the first time. One thing you notice is the Indians complex seems to be the only thing in town. One wonders what the residents of the town did before Cleveland came to play baseball here. The weather has been spectacular for those who have had 40’s for a long time. (Now that I am at the Grand Canyon, those Cleveland, OH temps have returned.) Anyway, prepare yourselves with plenty of sunscreen if you come down here to Goodyear.
When we got here, two fields were being used by various members of the team. We caught the last bit of running drills. I never was able to get an idea of how each player did. Hopefully, I will have another opportunity to watch this more carefully. When you have a family with you however, no matter how much I like to watch baseball, they always come first.
We did see some excellent fielding drills. One position I focused on during these drills was third base. The players there performing groundball drills and cutoff drills were Jamie Carroll, Mark DeRosa, Tony Graffinino and Andy Marte. Grounder after grounder were fielded cleanly by all. Yet I was looking at something that most reporters may not cover when reporting a story. That issue is heart.
Andy Marte seemed to be going through the motions. He did not seem to care. Everything was just routine and there was no passion. Its like he’s there to take up space. This is something that I would think he would change seeing that he might want to impress another team. Oh well, I wonder if he even enjoys the game by what he showed today.
Jamie Carroll really showed a different intensity. Even though he was not going to play in the game, he still treated the drills like he cared, fielding and throwing crisply and showing me that he is a winner who wants to win.
Mark DeRosa started for another day and was showing the leadership that was needed in these drills telling the others that he had the play, yelling out commands to the outfielders where to throw the ball. It was great to see.
Tony Graffinino was also showing intensity making sure that balls were caught and balls were thrown in the direction of the plate. I was really impressed with his way of practicing.
These evaluations carried over to the game. When we got there, it was $5 to park on grass. When we arrived, Arizona was completing batting practice. It was nice to see former Indian Matt Williams giving instruction with some intensity to the Arizona hitters. I always enjoyed his play when he was here in Cleveland.
Anyway, back to the game. We sat in the right field area right by the foul pole. Mark DeRosa started once again and had a nice double. He looks really focused and ready to play well for Team USA. We shall see. The person that really caught my focus in between trips to the various parts of the park with family was Tony Graffinino. He really showed me that he wants to be a part of this team. For example, as I recall, he carried over the intensity from practice cutting off this ball from left field and threw to the shortstop covering third. Even though he did get a hit, he walked and came home on a wild pitch once he moved to third.
One thing I also was able to recall was three of the four errors. It was what happened after that really made me happy. Remember, Anthony Castrovince said the sun was intense. He is not lying. There was a lazy fly ball between Matt LaPorta and Grady Sizemore that was simply missed played by LaPorta. Yet in true “Wedge team ball fashion”, Matt LaPorta made up for it by hitting a homer to the grassy area behind the fence. The ball was crushed.
Laffey pitched well despite misfielding a play at first. He pitched out of trouble and really showed me that he wants to be that fifth starter. One thing about the pitchers. At least for Laffey and Jensen Lewis, whom I observed directly. It was interesting to see these pitchers continue to do running drills on the playing field even though the game was still going on. To avoid problems, they tried their best to run in between batters.
Another error I observed was done by Steven Head, who was playing right field at the time. It was upsetting to me at the time. However, he also made up for it by hitting the ball with an “excuse me” like swing. Yet he ran it out with such intensity that he was safe. I really think my intense yelling “Run it out” helped.
Yes, the score resulted in a loss but the intensity and ability to work through mistakes gave me great hope that things are going to get better just in time for the marathon to begin on April 6th.
For those that were expecting pictures, I must explain that I have nowhere to download the pictures from the camera onto the current labtop I am using. Don’t worry, pictures will be shared hopefully after I go to the game next Monday. Now onto the canyon with my family.