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Camp Notes


• Kelvin de la Cruz missed almost the entire 2009 season with a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, but the 6-foot-5 lefty is healthy again and should break camp in a club's starting rotation, possibly returning to Kinston after making two starts there in 2009.


• The Indians plan to increase Nick Hagadone's workload this season, putting him on a slightly lower pitch count than most other pitchers at the same level. Hagadone, who missed most of the 2008 season after having Tommy John surgery, touched 98 mph and flashed a well above-average slider at times in 2009, but was limited to mostly two- and three-inning stints.


• Righthander Jason Knapp, who had shoulder surgery after the 2009 season, appears ticketed for a midseason return.


• Righthander Jeanmar Gomez pitched at 87-90 mph against the Dodgers in a Double-A game yesterday. Gomez doesn't have a plus pitch, as his low-80s slider has improved but is average at best and his firm low-80s changeup is also still developing, but the 22-year-old has had success through Double-A with above-average control and his ability to mix his pitches and location to keep hitters off balance.


• Carlos Santana has excellent arm strength, with scouts grading his arm anywhere from 60 to 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale last year. Santana, now coming into his fourth full season of catching, is still refining his game behind the plate and has spent time working with coaches on his transfer and release.


• Assuming Santana reaches the big leagues by midseason and exhausts his prospect eligibility, odds are that third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall will supplant him as the system's top prospect. Chisenhall, the No. 31 prospect in baseball, has been working out with the Indians' Double-A club this spring after finishing the season with Double-A Eastern League champion Akron last year. Since Chisenhall signed as a first-round pick in 2008, scouts have been seemingly universal in their praise for the 22-year-old's swing, a compact stroke that gets to the ball quickly and stays in the hitting zone a long time.







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Good stuff. Hopefully this is the year the "wave of arms" ideal starts taking shape.


Just for some perspective...here's a guess at the levels of some impact arms (via Lastoria)...


Kinston - Nick Hagadone, Alex White, Alexander Perez, TJ House

Akron - Eric Berger, Kelvin De La Cruz, Zach Putnam

Columbus - Carrasco, Rondon, Jeanmar Gomez


Some obviously closer than others. And throw in Knapp to the Lake County/Kinston mix. Starting to look like a pretty good pipeline.

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