Please stand by…

Thumbnail image for standbybars.JPGI asked the Indians if they could stop their whole Spring Training operation for a few days while I head home to see my family in Ohio, but apparently the show will go on without me here in Goodyear. I am leaving on a jet plan on Wednesday morning and I will return Sunday night. In the meantime, the blog will be quiet.

While I’m away, you can keep checking Indians.com for the latest Tribe coverage. There will be a team of writers filling in for me while I’m back home enjoying some down time with Mrs. MLBastian and MLBastian Jr. Come Monday morning, yours truly will be back grinding away here on the beat, getting ready for Opening Day.

But, before I go, here are some notes from Tuesday…

  • Center fielder Grady Sizemore (left knee) ran the bases again on Tuesday morning. He did three sets of home to first, home to second and second to home. He will do one more baserunning workout on Thursday, or Friday if he needs an extra day. The biggest obstacle left in his rehab progression is sliding.
  • If Sizemore passes his next baserunning tests with flying colors, he could make his Spring Training game debut for the Indians on Sunday, according to manager Manny Acta. At the latest, Sizemore said he hoped to be in a game situation by Monday. CLICK HERE for the latest on Sizemore Watch.
  • Righty Anthony Reyes made his Cactus League debut on Tuesday. He faced four batters, retiring two, walking one and allowing a double. Reyes was pulled after 22 pitches due to a pitch count, according to Acta. Earlier this spring, Reyes, who missed all of last season after elbow surgery, was shut down due to elbow soreness.
  • Third baseman Jason Donald remains sidelined with a bone bruise in his left hand. He took part in Cleveland’s morning workout on Tuesday with the exception of swinging a bat. He is unlikely to swing a bat until Thursday at the earliest. On Thursday or Friday, Donald might get into a Minor League or Cactus League game for late-inning defense. When he’ll be back in the starting lineup remains up in the air.
  • Right-hander Joe Smith is also still sidelined with upper abdominal soreness. Smith did note that he was able to throw a light round of catch on Monday. He hopes to be back on a mound for the Indians later this week. Smith said he will likely throw a bullpen session prior to being cleared for a return to Cactus League play.
  • Right-hander Mitch Talbot, who had a 17.55 ERA through three starts this spring, bounced back in a big way on Tuesday. He allowed one first-inning run over five frames, striking out three with no walks and six scattered hits. Talbot said it was a “big weight off his shoulders” to finally find a comfortable and reliable release point. He had been struggling with command of all four pitches this spring.
  • Even though it is only Spring Training, both Talbot and Acta said it was a bit of a relief to see an improved showing from the starter. Talbot said it helped having the knowledge that he already had a spot on the Opening Day roster. That allowed him to work through his mechanical issue without worrying about losing a Major League job.
  • Reliever Jensen Lewis had a tough outing against the Brewers. He entered in relief of Reyes with two outs and two runners on base. Lewis then allowed a three-run homer, issued a walk and gave up a single, and then surrendered another three-run homers. Acta said Lewis struggled with his fastball command.
  • Acta also noted that neither Lewis nor Smith have a guaranteed spot in the bullpen. Right now, the only locks are Chris Perez, Chad Durbin, Rafael Perez and Tony Sipp. That leaves four spots up for grabs. “[Lewis] and Smitty have a leg up,” Acta said, “but a leg up doesn’t mean you’re in. I think just about everybody is fighting for a spot.” It is worth noting that Lewis is out of player options.
  • Chatted some this morning with reliever Frank Herrmann about working with Mike Scott over the offseason on a revamped splitter. Herrmann said their meeting lasted a half hour at most, but Scott showed Herrmann how to simplify his splitter grip. The big challenge right now for Herrmann is to maintain the same arm action and arm speed as he does with his fastball, as to not give away when the split is coming.
  • The Indians have a scheduled team off-day on Wednesday. Players will be sleeping in, going golfing and doing a whole heckuva lot of nothing, for the most part. Not right-hander Josh Tomlin. He’ll be at the Indians complex for a 10 am PT Minor League start. He is vying for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Catch you guys on Monday. Try to survive without me…

–JB

8 Comments

Enjoy your long weekend JB. ( They’ll be hard to come by in 2 short weeks ! )

One would have to believe that the final rotation spot would go to Tomlin simply based on effectiveness thus far. Donald’s injury is unfortunate timing but I don’t see a reason to rush him back to 3B duties so I’d see Hannahan starting the season at the hot corner. When Donald returns (if he starts the season on the DL) then Hannahan would move to the utility role. Between Hannahan, Donald, and the two Cabreras I’d say the infield is well equipped and fully capable of handling off-days. Cutting Nix off the FMR would alleviate the roster issue.

Marson should be given an entire season in Triple-A to develop his bat. Give the backup spot to Phillips and go from there. Marson has no future with this team but if he can hit in Columbus over an entire year then perhaps he’d garner interest in a trade. Even if he tops out at Jason Kendall-esque offensive numbers that should be enough to make another club interested given his defensive prowess. Finding a roster spot for Phillips is another issue.

The bullpen is another story though. Obviously Joe Smith is not an option so let him go to Columbus and get healthy. Jensen Lewis seems locked for one of the final spots by default b/c he’s out of options and was given a slight raise but nothing in his opportunities this spring suggests that he should be given another chance. I’d prefer to see his sent packing but they will probably give him a chance to finally sink or swim. Perez, Sipp, Perez, Durbin, Lewis, Pestano, Hermann.

Nice points, amseeley… I pretty much agree with them all, although I’m inclined to leave Marson on the ML club due to familiarity with the pitchers. Phillips bat has been pretty tempting over the spring, but he raked last spring too and translated it to a .217 average.

My main concern is the pitching staff… while it’s nice to give the hitters BP and all, Masterson, Carrasco, and Talbot are making me really nervous. I remember Cliff Lee getting shelled some spring training because he was trying to fix a specific pitch, and he was nothing but great during the season. Are these guys doing the same thing?

admin – Loretta of coarse I reeembmr you! I miss good ol Benson hill ward. Any way thanks so much for the complement. Convincing the husband is always hard to do but if you ever want to do a fun together session I’d love to. I think I will make a little button that people can post on there blogs, thats a great idea. Thanks for checking my blog out.

Those moves sound good. 10 days and counting, hopefully, a great start will be had in April !

ragers, good observation on the pitching staff and I wish I had a real answer. There were some earlier stories and reports on pitchers working on new pitches (Hermann with a splitter, C. Perez’s changeup) that got some pub but that’s it. Situational pitching and opposition matchups (vs lefties typically) are often more scrutinized than overall numbers. We’ll see who is playing coy and who is playing Jackyll and Hyde.

Tomlin’s start today should cement his spot as #5 and despite not having a lefty in the rotation I love it. He stepped up this spring. Huff is a head-case and I think that while Gomez may have a higher ceiling that Tomlin he’s not completely there yet this spring.

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Indians waived Jensen Lewis. Thank you!

I don’t understand the Lewis move at all… particularly since Val-no-buena is still on the 40-man batting .217 over the spring (which is actually a substantial improvement over last year!!). Granted, he’s ran into a couple of long balls, but c’mon. There’s no place for him and if anything he’s forced himself OUT of the picture. It’s like they forgot he was on the roster!
Now I too remember Jensen Lewis’s addiction to the ‘tater two seasons ago: “now pitching… Jensen Lewis! Home run!””. But I also remember his amazing stint as closer 3 years ago and his decent performance last year. Heck, he made the opposing hitters look pretty much like, well, Luis Valbuena (.215 AVG against vs. Valbuena’s .193). Given how quickly bullpens can implode and our huge depth in the infield, it makes no sense to keep a light-hitting 26-yr old infielder over a on-off-on reliever who’s having a bad spring. Unless there’s something I’m missing?

Lewis is only on waivers because he has no options remaining. It’s not an either/or situation with him and Valbuena; Lewis would end up on waivers at some point because he’s not going to make the major league squad.

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