Indians begin spring workouts

BullpensThe sun was shining and gloves were popping. Players have been trickling into Arizona for weeks, but Thursday marked the first official workout for pitchers and catchers.

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti was asked how much he enjoyed the first real day of Spring Training.

“I’d much prefer to be in 5-degree weather and shoveling snow in my driveway,” Antonetti quipped. “No, it’s always a great day to have that first workout and have guys out there throwing and some guys out there hitting. It’s an exciting day.”

At this time, I’d like to issue a formal apology to anyone back home is actually is braving the 5-degree weather and shoveling the snow in their driveway. I won’t bother you with any lines about how sunny it is here. Oh, wait. First sentence above. Whoops!

Many of Cleveland’s arms went through mound sessions. That included Trevor Bauer, Justin Masterson, John Axford and C.C. Lee (in the photo to the side). Those who weren’t throwing off the bump were on one of the practice diamonds working on fielding drills.

Position players are not required to report until Saturday. Their physicals are Sunday and the first full-squad workout is slated for Monday. There are a handful of players who are not in camp yet, but Indians manager Terry Francona made it clear that he’s not keeping score.

“It’s not a test. There’s enough trust built already. Guys know what to do,” Francona said. “If they’re here, great. It’s fun to see them. It’s a relaxed atmosphere where they can get their work done. The guys that aren’t here, that doesn’t mean they’re not working. Jason Giambi, he doesn’t need to be here. Guys know what they need to do.”

After all, reporting one day earlier isn’t going to win the World Series.

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Photo of the Day

Cabreras

Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera watches his son, Meyer, fielding a grounder on Thursday.

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Some notes from Tribe camp….

  • The Indians formally announced their four-year contract extension with left fielder Michael Brantley and held a press conference on Thursday. Check out Brantley’s comments, the details of the deal and more on Indians.com.
  • In case you missed it: here is Wednesday’s feature on Carlos Santana’s plan to work on third base this spring. On Thursday, and for the next few days, he’ll work as a catcher before joining the infielders next week.
  • Lefty Nick Hagadone said he’s happy to have his grievance in the past and he’s looking forward to competing for a bullpen spot this spring. Hagadone said he’s widened the stance of his delivery and is working on having a better tempo, all with the idea of improving his walk rate. The changes were made after discussing it with pitching coach Mickey Callaway after last season.
  • Francona said right-hander Bryan Price, a Minor League reliever who was added to the 40-man roster over the winter, tweaked a hamstring during drills on Thursday. It didn’t sound serious, but we’ll have more information on Friday.
  • Antonetti was asked if the Indians might have a Michael Bourn-esque acqusition in the works for this spring. Here’s the GM’s reply: “We’re continuing to look for ways to improve the team, wherever those opportunities might be,” Antonetti said. “But I really do feel good about the group we have in camp. I feel like we have what we need to contend for the Central and earn a postseason berth, and hopefully compete for a World Series.”
  • Francona, who managed plenty of games against Derek Jeter in the AL East, raved about the shortstop one day after it was announced that this would be his final season: “If you’re a baseball fan, he is the walking example of what’s good in baseball. You respect him so much, and yet you want him to have as little to do with the outcome of a game if you’re his opponent. That’s probably the biggest compliment you can give him. He’s going to find a way to beat you, whether it’s on the bases, on defense or at the plate. And, again, because I was in that division, I saw it too much. He ranks right up there with the most respected players. I’m glad he’s walking away on his own terms. We’ll probably get to see him seven times this year. I hope he goes 0-for-28 and we give him a nice plaque or something.”
  • The Indians are doing their part in trying to help save the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, Iowa. The museum, which has closed its doors during the winter to save money, is working with the team on possibly sending some items to Cleveland. “Bob Feller was the engine that powered the museum,” said Bob DiBiasio, the Indians’ senior vice president of public affairs. “Unfortunately, since his passing the business model for the Bob Feller Museum has not been working. As we move forward, our primary objective is to foster Mr. Feller’s legacy in the two places he called home, Van Meter, Iowa, and Cleveland.”
  • The Indians will go to an arbitration hearing with pitcher Josh Tomlin on Friday. He’s seeking $975,000 and the Indians are offering $800,000. Said Antonetti: “Our clear preference is to always negotiate a settlement. And I think we have a very long track record of demonstrating that and trying to do it. But it has to be an equitable settlement and one we think makes sense. In both Vinnie and Josh’s case, we felt we made very earnest efforts to try and reach an agreement. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to. So, at this point, the arbitrators can decide and then we can move on. I think that’s the most important thing. We can get it behind us and move on. Weve now done it with Vinnie. It’s in the past. And as of Saturday, it’ll be in the past for Josh as well.”

More from Goodyear on Friday…

–JB

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