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Just a few things:


Wedge says that Peralta's stint at third today isn't a sign of things to come:

Wedge: Peralta's only making a short stop at third

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Paul Hoynes

Plain Dealer Reporter


Goodyear, Ariz.- Manager Eric Wedge wants to get one thing straight.


"Make no mistake, Jhonny Peralta is our shortstop," said Wedge after the Indians' 9-4 Cactus League loss to Kansas City on Saturday.


Peralta is starting at third base today against Oakland at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.


"I just want to get him out there a few times in case we need him during the regular season," said Wedge. "He played there in winter ball. You still want to have that available as an option because you never know what's going to happen over the course of six months."


The Indians acquired Mark DeRosa during the off-season from the Cubs to play third, but he's playing with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.


The Indians have been talking about moving Peralta to third base since last year. At their request, he played third for Aguilas in the Dominican Republic this winter in case they were able to acquire a frontline second baseman or shortstop.


"When they asked me to do that," said Peralta, "I figured I'd be playing third base this year in Cleveland."


The Indians took a run at shortstop Rafael Furcal and second baseman Orlando Hudson, but backed off and settled for DeRosa.


Peralta's lack of range at shortstop is an issue. It is not that big an issue at third.


"I played for one month of winter ball and played every game at third except one game at short," said Peralta. "I did pretty good.


"The ball gets there quick, but it's better because I don't have to move side to side that much. I spent a lot of time working on bunt plays."


Peralta, 26, says he feels more comfortable at short, especially when it comes to offense, but he's a realist.


"I don't know what they're thinking," Peralta said, referring to Wedge and the front office, "but if something happens next year, and they want me to play third, I need to do it. I talked to my agent last year. He told me it's OK that I play third. He said it wouldn't hurt my career."


Peralta has played 665 games at shortstop and nine at third for the Indians in the big leagues. He's played some third in the minors, but mostly he's been a shortstop.


Wedge said he'd have no problem playing Peralta at third if DeRosa was unavailable for a short period of time during the regular season, but he wouldn't be his first option.


"If Mark isn't playing third, or he's in the outfield, Jamey Carroll would play third," said Wedge.




Assenheimer writes that this spring training isn't exactly off to a great start. Read the whole article for more:


Yes, it’s early — the regular season doesn’t begin until April 6 — but training camp is not the time to nurse players back to health. It’s supposed to be the time to prepare them for the season, and so far, there has been little preparation for the majority of the team’s biggest names.


The most concerning of the setbacks has to be the one Sizemore suffered. He’s as good as it gets in center field and makes the Indians offense go. If this is something that lingers during the regular season, the Tribe is in serious trouble.




Laffey continued to struggle yesterday, and "struggle" is putting it mildly. He was beaten down:


No Laffing matter


Aaron Laffey struggled for the third consecutive time, giving up three runs, four hits and a walk in only one inning, as the Indians lost to the Kansas City Royals 9-4 Saturday at Goodyear Ballpark.


''I felt like I threw the ball well again,'' Laffey said. ''But I can't control the result. One thing I can take out of today is that I struck out both left-handers. I was able to spot my breaking ball today.''


Laffey was scheduled to throw three innings — about 45 pitches — but because he threw 39 in the first inning, he was shut down. He said he is expected to throw four innings in his next outing.


''I thought Laffey was more aggressive with his sinker, and that helped his slider,'' Wedge said. ''I thought I saw some good things.''


In five spring innings, Laffey has given up seven earned runs and 12 hits.


Laffey is one of five pitchers competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.





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Neyer had a chat last week and here are the few Tribe related comments:


Nick (Cleveland): Who is your AL Central champs and why? For the first time in a few years, the division doesn't look as competitive which is why I'm sticking with my Tribe to win it despite their lackluster starting rotation.


SportsNation Rob Neyer: I like the Indians, but one might make a case for at least three teams and perhaps four. I'll be surprised if anyone in the Central wins more than 88 games.


Mike (Akron): Rob, what is a realistic expectation for us Indians fans to have for Hafner? Is it a forgone conclusion that he will never be his old self?


SportsNation Rob Neyer: He'll be 32 this summer and I don't think we'll ever see the 27-29 version again. But I do think he's got a few good seasons left in him. Another reason to like the Indians this year.


Nick (Cleveland): Realistically, what should be expected out of Carl Pavano? Is 12-10 pushing it?


SportsNation Rob Neyer: Pushing it? You'll need to come up with something a bit stronger, Nick. Pavano is 9-8 over the last FOUR years. Simple math would suggest a 2-2 record in 2009.


matt (cleveland): Rob, Where does Sizemore go from here?...Is there any other current player who can be so valuable while hitting .270? Who is your best historical comp for Grady?


SportsNation Rob Neyer: I don't know ... Duke Snider, maybe? I think Sizemore's still young for us to place any limits on him. I think he's going to win an MVP Award at some point in the next three or four years.


Bill - canton: Rob - I bet a buddy a case of beer that Hafner goes .275/25/85 this year. Do I have a chance? I mean, those are Casey Blake number.


SportsNation Rob Neyer: I haven't seen any health updates this month, but I think you're winning that bet.


and just for CIMO:


George (Philadelphia): The Rangers' Chris Davis' half season in 08' projected to 35 HR, 110 RBI for a full year. Could we expect that in 09?


SportsNation Rob Neyer: I think he might have been just a tad over his head last summer, but I also believe he's going to be a fine hitter, and eventually perhaps a great one.




Before taking the weekend off, Castrovince wrote this on Friday:


*Very uneventful debut for Travis Hafner. He saw all of five pitches in two at-bats against Dave Bush, striking out in the first and popping out weakly in the third. He admitted he swung at a bad pitch on that pop-out and said he has work to do in the area of plate discipline. He should be back in the lineup Sunday for another two at-bats.


*David Dellucci, also making his debut after his left thumb injury held him back, also looked a little impatient in his first two at-bats. But he cranked out a solo homer in his third.


*Grady Sizemore will be back in the lineup Sunday. He and Hafner will split at-bats at DH.


*Cliff Lee looked rusty against the Brewers, but, well, it's the first time out. Can't judge much off of that.


*Jeremy Sowers, on the other hand, has looked a little rough around the edges a couple times now. He gave up three runs (one earned) on two hits wiht two walks in one inning today. "The ball's really coming out of his hand ," Wedge said. "He needs to do a better job finishing his pitches and commanding his fastball." What else is new?


*As expected, Shin-Soo Choo did DH in South Korea's opening game of the World Baseball Classic - a 9-0 rout of Chinese Taipei. Choo went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. The Koreans will play Japan on Saturday.


*Here the link to an interesting article from The Baseball Analysts points out that the Indians' have been among the Majors' best teams, in terms of payroll efficiency, over the last three seasons.


*Opening Day is one month from today.


*I'm putting the brakes on the blog for the weekend. I'll catch back up with you on Monday.





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Here's just some fun stuff if you're at all into trivia:


This asks you to name (type in last names) as many players in the baseball hall of fame you can think of in 20 minutes. Includes Negro Leaguers. Good luck!




John Weisman had a neat piece in the LA Times about the 110 question test given to every rookie on the Dodgers 40 years ago. Al Campanis gave the test to the new Dodger beat writer at the time (John Wiebusch) and he missed 13 of the questions:

1. It is easier to bunt low pitches for sacrifices than high pitches.


2. On the trapped bunted ball when the runner on first base doesn’t leave first, the first baseman should catch the throw with his foot on the bag and then tag the baserunner.


3. Baserunners are more apt to attempt a stolen base when the count favors the pitcher than when it favors the hitter.


4. An infielder or outfielder who catches a short fly ball with a runner on third and less than two outs should hold the ball until he is sure the runner is attempting to score.


5. The curveball is harder to bunt than the fastball.


6. The runner on second who is being sacrificed to third should hurry back to second base each time the ball passes the hitter.


7. The pitcher should wait and leave the mound with the manager or coach after being relieved on the mound.


8. The pitcher should get as close as possible to the third baseman or catcher when backing up their positions.


9. It is generally better for the catcher, with his big glove, to catch all pop fouls rather than the first or third baseman when there is a choice.


10. In trying to catch the runners in the rundown play, it is better to make a full arm fake throw instead of a series of short arm fakes.


11. A runner on first base should take a look at the third base coach as he approaches second base on balls hit down the right field line.


12. The runner on first should get a long lead from first base when a hit-and-run sign is given.


13. Infielders, in making tag plays at their bases, should lay the gloved hand with the ball on the side of the bag and make the runner slide into the ball rather than reach out and tag the runner.


Remember, this dealt with conventional wisdom in 1969. Go here for the answers:




Finally, someone at BTF wrote about the number of players in baseball history who finished a season with at least 200 hits and failed to hit .300 for the year. Jose Reyes did it last year and he's one of ten players in the history of the sport to do so. One of the ten is Buddy Bell back in 1979 while with Texas. Here's the entire list:





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Good stuff from Hoynes. I remember walking into Muni on opening day and looking at the fences. It was a true WTF moment.


Cleveland Indians memories: When Mel Hall got caught on a fence and Alex Cole ruined a season

Posted by phoynes March 08, 2009 16:53PM


PHOENIX -- Until this spring training, the Indians hadn't played a game at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in 17 years.


When the Indians trained in Tucson, this was a regular stop. Two games here have stood the test memory, if not time.


The first one took place somewhere between 1985 and 1988. Mel Hall was playing left field for the Indians and a forgotten Oakland Athletic hit a double down the left field line. Hall went over to field the ball, but his jersey became entangled on a chain link fence.


Try as he might, Hall couldn't break free. The double turned into an inside-the-park-home-run and shortstop Julio Franco had to sprint out to left center field to retrieve the ball. When he threw the ball into the infield, Franco leaned against the outfield fence and laughed at Hall.


In the spring of 1991, the Indians were excited about leadoff/center fielder Alex Cole. They acquired him the year before from St. Louis and he stole 40 bases in 63 games while hitting .300.


To take advantage of Cole's range in the outfield and speed on the bases, GM Hank Peters decided to move the fence back at Cleveland Stadium, including raising the center field portion to something akin to The Green Monster at Fenway Park, for the 1991 season.


Tribe pitcher Jesse Orosco called it the Blue Ant.


Well, the Great Wall of Cleveland came tumbling down in a spring training game at this very ballpark. Cole hit an infield chopper, broke out of the box, fell and separated his shoulder.


The dynamic leadoff hitter was never the same. Cole hit .295 in 1991, but stole only 27 bases in 122 games. The Indians, meanwhile, lost a franchise-record 105 games.


The fences were returned to their normal positions for the 1992 season. Cole was traded that year as well.


The Indians played the A's today at Phoenix Municipal Stadium for the second time this spring. So far no one has become entangled on the outfield fence or separated their shoulder.





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