“Look to the cookie”
A couple of nights ago, Acta went to PF Changs and, at the end of his meal, he popped open his fortune cookie. Acta was stunned to see the message inside.
It read: “Your sports team will be very successful this year.”
Acta said he is not the type of person to believe in fortunes. He even stays away from using the word “luck” when asked about baseball. This cookie really blew him away, though.
Acta said he is having the fortune framed, you know, just in case.
And, as a writer, I can already envision a sidebar in my future should the Indians turn into 2012 darlings and make a run at the World Series. I can see Acta now, drenched in champagne, grinning ear to ear, shouting, “The cookie was right!”
I stopped in Acta’s office today and shared a story of good cookie fortune of my own. When I was in high school, I started dating a girl on the volleyball team who happened to wear No. 4. On one of our first dates, I cracked open an after-dinner fortune cookie that simply read, “Stick with No. 4.”
That girl who wore No. 4? Yeah, she’s now my wife.
Some notes from Saturday…
- Where the heck was I on Friday? Well, before breaking up the Brewers’ no-hitter with a perfectly-timed jinx tweet, I went trail running in the White Tank Mountains. I did roughly 11 miles in 2 hours on steep and rocky terrain. It was a blast. A.J. Cassavell filled in for me nicely, writing about the strength of the infield defense and putting together the daily notebook. Thanks, A.J.
- Indians sinkerballer Justin Masterson made his second outing of the spring on Saturday, logging 43 pitches (27 strikes) in three innings. Twenty of those pitches came in a rocky first inning. In the second and third, he began mixing in sliders and changeups, which he didn’t do at all in his first spring start. Masterson is still getting a feel for his sinker. That’s normal this early in spring.
- Chatted for a bit with infielder Jose Lopez this morning. He’s competing for a spot on the bench as a uiltity infielder. I think he’s got a decent chance of making the team. He hit .273 in the last 32 games last year, hit .310 in winter ball and is off to a nice start (5-for-9) this spring. Lopez can play first, second, third and DH. Plus, he hits righty and offers power and experience.
- So, what would I predict the bench to look like as of right now? I’d say Shelley Duncan and Aaron Cunningham have an edge for the openings in left field and the fourth outfielder job. Being out of options essentially puts them atop the list of candidates. Duncan can serve as 1B/LF/DH. Cunningham can play all three outfield spots. Then, Jason Donald is an option for 2B/SS/3B and possibly even LF/CF. If Lopez is the third option, that adds more depth for 1B/2B/3B/DH.
- What about Russ Canzler? Well, in a season in which the Indians believe they are a legitimate contender, I’m not so sure a guy with limited MLB experience would open the season on the roster, especially when he has options. He can fill 1B/LF/DH as a righty bat, but the Indians don’t seem too sold on the idea of trying him as a backup at 3B. He’s in the mix for a job, but I think Triple-A is most likely his destination for Opening Day.
- Acta did not rule out the possibility of a platoon in left field. That’s where left-handed outfielder like Felix Pie and Fred Lewis come into play. While the Indians seem to be floating the idea at the very least, I think they’re going to try to find an everyday option before going down that road. We’ll see.
- As for an outfielder assured a job, right fielder Shin-Shoo Choo is on a nice little run to start the spring. He went 2-for-2 with a double and a home run in Saturday’s game against San Diego. That’s two homers for Choo this spring. He also showed up Saturday with a buzz cut. “Korean military style,” he quipped.
- Acta said he liked what he saw from Minor League lefty Scott Barnes in Saturday’s game. Barnes logged two shutout innings against the Padres, striking out one and scattering two hits. Acta raved about Barnes’ deception and said he was impressed with the lefty’s slider. Barnes is definitely a pitcher to keep an eye on this season.
- Acta has not, however, been overly impressed with first baseman Matt LaPorta’s approach at the plate to this point in the spring. Said the skipper: “He’s working really hard during batting practice and in early work with [hitting coach Bruce Fields]. It just hasn’t transferred to the games yet. He has scuffled in the at-bats that he has had so far.” LaPorta went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Saturday’s game.
- Roster cuts are coming soon for the Indians. Acta said that some of the “kids” will be sent back to Minor League camp in the coming days. By Thursday, the manager said there will likely be another wave of roster cuts as well. Two players he noted were in camp for experience, and not to compete for jobs, are outfielders Thomas Neal and Nick Weglarz.
- Anyone planning on heading to Goodyear for Wednesday’s “B” game against the Angels, well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. The teams have cancelled the exhibition game. Sorry, no refunds will be issued for what would have been a free event for fans in the area.
- Nice gesture on the part of the Indians to invite players from the Chardon High School baseball team to tour the facilities and taking BP in the cages at Progressive Field on Friday. Owner Larry Dolan has family roots in Chardon, which saw three of its students killed, and two others wounded, in a recent shooting at CHS.
- On Sunday, the Indians have split-squad road games at Texas and at Angels. Pitching against the Rangers: Kevin Slowey, Frank Herrmann, Corey Kluber, CC Lee, Tony Sipp. Pitching against the Angels: David Huff, Chris Ray, Danny Salazr, Chris Seddond. Acta will be attending the game against Texas.
- Had fun meeting and hanging out with MLB.com’s Youth Reporter, Meggie Zahnies, on Saturday at the Indians’ workout. She did a handful of interviews with players and Acta. The manager was impressed with her — though everyone who meets her seems to walk away impressed — and Jason Kipnis joked that she asked better questions than I do. Check her out on Twitter @MeggieZahnies, check out some of here stuff HERE, or take a look at a video recap of her day spent at Indians camp.
Photo of the Day
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera signs for some fans at Saturday’s workout.
Stay tuned for more…