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Tag:indians
Posted on: March 5, 2012 10:01 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 3:44 pm
 

Spring primer: Cleveland Indians



By Matt Snyder


The Cleveland Indians were the feel good story in baseball for the 2011 season ... as of May 23, when the Tribe was 30-15 with a seven-game lead in the AL Central. They were still tied for first as late as July 21, but just couldn't keep up with the red-hot Tigers in the second half, finishing 15 games out in the end. With a full season with some good, young talent and experience added to the starting rotation, the Tribe is hoping that they don't run out of gas this time around. Unfortunately, bad luck has already struck this spring with an injury to closer Chris Perez and center fielder Grady Sizemore already sustaining a major injury.

Major additions: Casey Kotchman, 1B, OF Aaron Cunningham, RHP Derek Lowe, RHP Kevin Slowey
Major departures: DH Jim Thome, OF Kosuke Fukudome

Probable lineup
1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
7. Jason Kipnis, 2B
8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
9. Shelley Duncan, LF

Probable rotation
1. Ubaldo Jimenez
2. Justin Masterson
3. Josh Tomlin
4. Derek Lowe
5. Kevin Slowey

The status for Roberto Hernandez Heredia (the artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona, that is) is completely up in the air right now. He will at least miss all of spring training.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Chris Perez
Set-up: Vinnie Pestano, Tony Sipp, Joe Smith

Important bench players

C Lou Marson, 1B/OF Matt LaPorta, OF Aaron Cunningham, IF Jason Donald, IF Jack Hannahan

Prospect to watch
The Indians were chock full of these last season, but Kipnis and Chisenhall made the leap while Alex White and Drew Pomeranz were traded to the Rockies for Jimenez. Instead, we're scraping for guys with huge upside but not close to the majors (like 18-year-old shortstop Francisco Lindor) or those who have already spent time in the majors (Cord Phelps, Zach McAllister). I'll go with Nick Hagadone here. He did get 11 innings of work for the Indians last season but he's still techinically a prospect. He also has the ability to be a high-strikeout addition the Bullpen Mafia. He struck out 77 in 71 minor-league innings and 11 in his 11 big-league innings last season.

Fantasy sleeper: Jason Kipnis
"Granted, Kipnis' first couple weeks on the job were a little too good to be true. He hit six homers in the span of 11 days before his deal with the devil ran out, landing him on the 15-day DL with a hamstring injury. But just because he's not really a 40-homer threat doesn't mean the whole thing was a sham. He also had five steals during his time in the majors, demonstrating a combination of power and speed normally associated with the best of the best second basemen, such as Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler. And the attributes he was most known for in the minors -- his .300-plus batting average and high walk rate -- weren't even on display during his 136 at-bat trial." - Scott White [Full Indians team fantasy preview]


Fantasy bust: Asdrubal Cabrera
"OK, so Cabrera was the surprise of 2011, emerging off the waiver wire to contribute 25 homers and 94 RBI at the weakest position in Fantasy. It was fun, sure. But the danger for Fantasy owners is when that once-in-a-lifetime season becomes the new expectation. Not only were Cabrera's 25 homers a complete departure from his established track record, but they came with an elevated fly ball rate that began to wreak havoc on his batting average in the second half, when he presumably became homer-conscious. He hit only .244 after the All-Star break, and his .411 slugging percentage during that stretch was actually lower than the one he put together during a six-homer 2009. If he continues to force the issue, he could turn out like Aaron Hill. Then again, if he reverts to being more of a line-drive hitter, he'll have to settle for fewer homers.
" - Scott White [Full Indians team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
Do Clevelanders do optimism? If not, they should. Everyone needs to think happy thoughts on occasion. Let's try to do so here. Ubaldo Jimenez rounds back in ace form and Derek Lowe keeps things together for one last year, giving the Tribe a pretty damn good pitching staff, top to bottom. Hafner and Sizemore (eventually) stay healthy and party like it's 2006 while Choo returns to form and the young guns blossom faster than expected. Or, as Lou Brown once said, "the veterans are playing back to form and the [young players] are developing faster than I thought ... " If that all happens, the Indians can win one of the wild cards and even have a shot at the mighty Tigers.

Pessimistic outlook
The division is divided into two parts. The Tigers and everyone else. Too much has to go right for the Indians to even come close to the Tigers, and the gap has widened from the 15-game gap that we saw at the end of last season. Also, the wild card is already plenty crowded with only two division winners coming from this group: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Rangers and Angels.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

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Posted on: March 4, 2012 2:14 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 2:26 pm
 

Rockies' Alex White arrested for DUI

Alex WhiteBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Even as a reporter, when we covered spring training in Arizona, we were told not to drink and drive. Not that you should anywhere, but in the Phoenix area, they don't mess around.

Rockies pitcher Alex White learned the hard way. The 23-year-old right-hander was arrested Saturday night for driving under the influence of alcohol, the team announced on Sunday.

The Rockies released a statement on Sunday:
"We were extremely disappointed to learn that Alex White had been arrested last night. This type of behavior is taken very seriously by our organization, and through our discussions with him we know that he clearly understands the seriousness of his poor decisions, the harm that could have been inflicted on others and the embarrassment his mistake has caused himself, his family and the organization.

"Alex is taking full accountability for his actions with his teammates and manager.  The man we have grown to know is a dedicated teammate who has strong values that are grounded in his family and hard work. We believe he will learn from his unfortunate decision and clearly understands the severity of the situation."
White was acquired in the deal that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland last year. The Rockies also acquired Drew Pomeranz, Joseph Gardner and Matt McBride in the Jimenez deal. Poemranz, who like White was a first-round pick by the Indians, was arrested last October in Oxford, Miss., for disturbing the peace. Those charges were dropped in January.

White made seven starts for the Rockies last season, going 2-4 with an 8.42 ERA, while going 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts for the Indians. Overall he was 3-4 with a 7.01 ERA. He went 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in eight starts in the minor leagues, last season. He's in the mix this spring for a spot in the Rockies' rotation.

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Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:08 pm
 

Indians pick Masterson for opening day duty

Justin Masterson

By C. Trent Rosecrans


In somewhat of a surprise, the Indians have named right-hander Justin Masterson on opening day against the Blue Jays on April 5, instead of Ubaldo Jimenez, manager Manny Acta told reporters on Friday.

"It wasn't a tough call at all," Acta told reporters, including Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer. "Everyone knew this guy was our horse last year and Ubaldo wasn't on top of his game. Justin wasn't our opening-day starter last year and he eded up being our No. 1. That's just one date. After the season starts rolling over, everyone is No. 1 on their day."

Jimenez will be the second pitcher in the rotation, while the last three spots will be occupied by Josh Tomlin, Derek Lowe and another pitcher, with that order to be determined later in camp. Kevin Slowey, Jon Garland, David Huff, Jeanmar Gomez and Zach McAllister are battling for the fifth spot in the team's rotation.

The Indians acquired Jimenez from the Rockies at the trade deadline last year, but he didn't quite live up to expectations. After finishing third in the Cy Young voting in 2010, he went 10-13 with a 4.68 ERA overall in 2011, and 4-4 witha  5.10 ERA in 11 starts for the Indians.

Masterson, on the other hand, was 12-10 with a 3.21 ERA in 33 starts and 34 appearances for the Indians last season.

Last year Fausto Carmona (or, Roberto Hernandez) started the season for Cleveland, allowing 10 earned runs in three innings in a loss to the White Sox. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that was the most runs ever allowed by a starting pitcher who threw no more than three innings in his team's first game of the season.

"I hope I can do a little better than what Rob did last year," Masterson told reporters (again, via the Plain Dealer.) "It's an honor to be out there. I want to set the tone for the team, the game and for the season."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Posted on: March 1, 2012 4:02 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 4:41 pm
 

Sizemore has surgery, out 8-12 weeks

By Matt Snyder

Just last week, it was revealed that oft-injured Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore had been shut down due to a lower-back injury. Unforunately the news got worse Thursday. The Indians have announced that he underwent a micro discectomy Thursday morning. The procedure was done by Dr. Barth Green in Miami. The timetable for recovery is eight to 12 weeks.

[Knobler: More bad news for Tribe]

For Sizemore, 29, it's just more of the same. He once appeared on the verge of superstardom, but hasn't been able to stay healthy.

From 2005-2008, he averaged 160 games played per season. Since then, he's only played in 210 total (an average of 70 per season). His performance has suffered when he's been on the field, too, as Sizemore's OPS from 2009-11 was .728. From 2005-08, it was .868.

Sizemore hit free agency this past offseason, but the Indians brought him back on a one-year, $5 million deal that could have grown to $9 million if he hit a certain number of plate appearances. That's going to be really tough now, as eight weeks from right now is April 26. Even if he's ready to go by then, he'd need a minor-league rehab assignment before being able to join the Indians. And if there are any setbacks, we're looking at a June return.

With Sizemore out of the lineup, the Indians can slide Michael Brantley to center and go with Shelley Duncan, Aaron Cunningham or even Matt LaPorta in left field.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 6:25 pm
 

Report: Danys Baez retiring

By Matt Snyder

Obviously this isn't nearly the same magnitude as the announcement that Jason Varitek will retire, but pitcher Danys Baez will retire from baseball as well, FoxSports.com reports.

Baez, 34, may have been forced into retirement by a lack of interest from big-league clubs. He had a 6.25 ERA and 1.56 WHIP last season for the Phillies. He also coughed up 43 hits while striking out only 18 in 36 innings.

Baez is a one-time All-Star, as he made the game as a member of the then-Devil Rays in 2005. He saved 41 games that season. For a three-year stretch, Baez was a quality closer. He averaged 32 saves per season with a 3.42 ERA from 2003-05.

Over the course of his 10-year career, Baez pitched for the Indians, Devil Rays, Dodgers, Braves, Orioles and Phillies.

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Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:28 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 12:59 pm
 

Chris Perez out 4-6 weeks with oblique strain

By Matt Snyder

Just a few days after we learned the Indians have lost Grady Sizemore for a few weeks due to injury, the Tribe has been dealt another blow. All-Star closer Chris Perez will miss four to six weeks of action with a left internal oblique strain, according to the club's official Twitter account.

Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said Perez's body "wasn't ready for the intensity of the bullpen session." (Per Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

Six weeks from today is April 7, otherwise known as the first weekend of the regular season. Even if Perez can come back in a month, he'll need to work himself into game shape, so there's a decent chance he'll be unable to open the season with the Indians. Perez told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com that the goal is to be back March 15 and that he is "confident" he'll be ready for opening day. The Indians haven't ruled him out for opening day and said he "should" appear in games "toward the end of spring."

Perez, 26, had 36 saves with a 3.32 ERA and 1.21 WHIP last season for the Indians. If he's out for any period of time, the likely fill-in candidate for save chances is Vinnie Pestano.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 4:20 pm
 

Sizemore injured, 'unlikely' for opening day

By Matt Snyder

Once one of Major League Baseball's most promising, young stars, Indians' center fielder Grady Sizemore's career has been derailed by injuries. Unfortunately, his luck hasn't changed one bit in 2012.

Friday, Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff told media (including Jordan Bastian of MLB.com) that two weeks ago Sizemore suffered a lower back strain and is "unlikely" for opening day. Sizemore injured himself while fielding ground balls and has been shut down since. There is "no timetable yet for [a] return to baseball drills."

It's hard to not feel bad for the guy, as Sizemore simply can't stay healthy anymore. From 2005-2008, he averaged 160 games played per season. Since then, he's only played in 210 total (an average of 70 per season). His performance has suffered when he's been on the field, too, as Sizemore's OPS from 2009-11 was .728. From 2005-08, it was .868. His stolen base and home run rates have gone down as well.

Last season, Sizemore hit .224/.285/.422 with 10 homers and zero stolen bases in 71 games. He hit free agency, but the Indians brought him back on a one-year, incentive-laden contract.

With Sizemore out of the lineup, the Indians can slide Michael Brantley to center and go with Shelley Duncan, Aaron Cunningham or even Matt LaPorta in left field.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 23, 2012 12:17 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 12:22 pm
 

MLB Network to go live with in-game player audio

By Matt Snyder

At times in the past, I've accused Major League Baseball of being archaic in several facets of the game, so it's only fair I give credit where it's due. This is one of those times. Major League Baseball has announced that they're going to broadcast a spring training game -- between the Indians and Diamondbacks on March 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET on MLB Network -- with live audio from players and coaches.

Up to six players on each team in addition to the coaching staff and each base will have microphones, for an unprecedented level of in-game audio available on broadcast. There will be a slight delay, for obvious (cough, cough) reasons.

“One of the missions of MLB Network is to promote the game of baseball and act as a platform to advance the presentation of the game,” said MLB Network President and CEO Tony Petitti in a statement. “The goal of this production is to bring fans closer to the game and experience it as a player would on the field. Not only are we trying to capture the player reactions and interactions, we want to present the natural sounds of the game, including the crack of the bat, the pop of a glove and the slide into a base like viewers have never heard before.”

It's not a big deal in and of itself that this is being done during a spring training game, which is basically meaningless. But let's look big picture. Obviously the league is working toward this being perfected, at which point they'll start doing it with regular season games. It's pretty cool to envision watching postseason games with this level of access on TV.

Though it didn't air last season, MLB Network did some testing with the technology, and here's a highlight package from the footage, via MLB.com video:



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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com