The Indians GM sat with the media for the final chat of spring training.
Concerning the Clippers, Shapiro mentioned the following:
1) The rotation consists of Huff, Laffey, Sowers, Saarloos and Cassel, but no “pecking order” has been established in terms of which guy would be called up first.
2) Adam Miller will stay in Goodyear and pitch in extended spring training. There is no timetable for him to return.
3) Andy Marte and Tony Graffanino will join the Clippers to start the season.
4) Chris Gimenez will catch half the games and split the other half at first and left field. He won’t play third in Triple-A. Wyatt Toregas will catch when Gimenez doesn’t.
5) This Clippers squad has more prospects than any Indians Triple-A team he’s seen in eight or nine years. “We had some good Triple-A teams when I was the farm director, but this one is certainly right up there.”
Here is audio of Shapiro’s press conference (courtesy of the Indians):
Today’s transaction: The Indians signed LHP Juan Lara to a minor league contract. Lara, 28, pitched briefly in 2006 and 2007 with Cleveland before being injured in a serious car accident.
The Clippers are hoping the bus to Peoria for a date with the Padres.
Here’s today’s lineup:
1. Michael Brantley CF
2. Luis Valbuena 2B
3. Michael Aubrey DH
4. Matt LaPorta LF
5. Stephen Head 1B
6. Wes Hodges 3B
7. George Lombard RF
8. Wyatt Toregas C
9. Brandon Pinckney SS
P- Jeremy Sowers
On the same day the Indians named Zach Jackson as the final member of the bullpen, the Clippers named the starting rotation. Torey Lovullo said today that David Huff, Jeremy Sowers, Aaron Laffey, Kirk Saarloos, and Jack Cassel are slated to make up the Columbus staff. Huff pitched in today’s scrimmage game and is on pace to be the opening day starter, but Lovullo said the exact order isn’t set. “We haven’t determined an exact schedule yet, but we should have something in the next couple days.” he said.
One thing is for sure, the southpaw trio of Huff, Sowers, and Laffey will be divided by the two right-handers, ”I won’t put all those lefties together”, Lovullo said “we’ll break them up with (the other two).” That means if Huff is indeed the Opening Day starter, then Saarloos or Cassel would probably start the second game.
The #5 starter would be slated to pitch the Huntington Park opener on April 18th against Toledo. The new park opens after a nine-game trip trough Louisville, Indianapolis and Toledo.
After the usual morning workouts, it was back to the minor league diamonds for a scrimmage with Double-A Akron today. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. Here’s how the Clippers fared:
Michael Brantley (CF) 1-2
Michael Aubrey (DH) 1-1
Luis Valbuena (2B) 0-3, 2K
Stephen Head (DH) 0-2, K, BB
Matt LaPorta (RF) 0-3, 2K
Wes Hodges (3B) 2-3
Chris Gimenez (2B/1B) 0-3, K
Jordan Brown (1B/LF) 1-3, 2B, RBI
George Lombard (LF/CF) 0-2
Niuman Romero (SS) 0-2
Wyatt Toregas (DH/C) 1-2, K
David Huff 5 IP, 2ER, 3H, 4K, 2BB
Greg Jones 1 IP, 1H, 1K
Todd Moser 1 IP, 1H, 2K
Also, Jack Cassel pitched for Akron: 5 IP, 2ER, 3H, 4K, 2BB. Tomo Ohka and Neil Wagner each pitched scoreless innings for the Aeros.
If some of the box score doesn’t make sense, it’s because players were moving positions, batting out of order, and causing complete chaos for anyone trying to score the game. That’s typical for a spring training games, especially a scrimmage like this one. The good folks in the Indians player development office sorted through the madness enough to give us a box score. That’s good enough for me. Enjoy!
The Indians today placed OF David Dellicci on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left calf. The transaction is retroactive to Sunday, March 29th.
Trevor Crowe has been recalled from Columbus.
Only in spring training (and soccer) can you finish in a 2-2 tie (at least hockey has a shootout now). Nonetheless, the Clippers put Kirk Saarloos on the mound and he looked solid for four innings before allowing some relievers to get some work. Saarloos is on track to start in the Clippers #5 spot, which would make him the starting pitcher on April 18th for the opening of Huntington Park. Plenty can change in three weeks so I’m not holding my breath, but I hought you’d be interested.
Other sights from Sunday:
* Travis Hafner batted third in first six innings of the Clippers game. Pronk is still trying to get his timing down so he stayed back from the Indians road trip to Mesa. George Lombard made the trip instead.
* Former Clippers outfielder Michael Restovich is playing for the White Sox and ticketed for Charlotte. He smashed a solo homer of the right field fence.
* Speaking of former Clippers, I caught up with David Wallace, he has been hired as the Indians bullpen catcher this season. Wallace says he plans to get into coaching in the future. “I got tired of backing people up.” he said. Wallace was traded to the Nationals, from Cleveland, last season and filled in as the backup to Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves, and Like Montz to name a few. Wallace is one of the all-time “nice guys” in baseball. It’ll be neat to see him in the bullpen at Progressive Field this year.
* David Huff is slated to pitch Monday in a scrimmage. Huff is on schedule to be the Clippers Opening Day starter.
Here are a couple more interviews I’ve conducted…
1B/DH Michael Aubrey –
Michael Aubrey 3-29-09.mp3
INF Andy Cannizaro -
Andy Cannizaro 3-29-09.mp3
Here is today’s lineup…
1. Trevor Crowe CF
2. Luis Valbuena 2B
3. Michael Aubrey 1B
4. Matt LaPorta RF
5. Wes Hodges 3B
6. Chris Gimenez LF
7. Jordan Brown DH
8. Wyatt Toregas C
9. Kevin Fontanez SS
P – Kirk Saarloos
The Indians optioned OF Trevor Crowe and C Chris Gimenez to Columbus, dropping the number of players in Major League camp down to 32.
The Clippers roster is almost set:
C – Chris Gimenez, Wyatt Toregas
1B – Jordan Brown, Michael Aubrey
2B – Luis Valbuena
SS – Wilson Valdez
3B – Wes Hodges
OF – Trevor Crowe, Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley
SP – David Huff, Jeremy Sowers, Aaron Laffey, Kirk Saarloos (maybe Jae Kuk Ryu?)
RP – Greg Aquino, Ryan Edell, Jack Cassel, Tomo Ohka, Tony Sipp, Juan Salas, Rich Rundles, Frank Herrmann?
Questions still to be answered:
1) What will happen Andy Marte and Tony Graffanino? Are they both headed to Columbus?
2) Who is the fourth outfielder? (George Lombard, Mickey Hall, Stephen Head?)
3) How does the middle infield shake out? (Where do Andy Cannizaro and Jesus Merchan fit in?)
4) Who wins the final Indians bullpen spot? (Vinnie Chulk and Zach Jackson are favorites)
5) Who is in the Clippers bullpen? (Still several names in the mix)
It’s a camp day in Goodyear, which means a morning workout followed by a scrimmage against the Double-A club. Matt LaPorta, Wes Hodges, Jordan Brown, Michael Aubrey, Luis Valbuena, and others are in action. John Meloan and Rich Rundles are scheduled to pitch.
Today at camp:
* I saw Jake Westbrook long tossing with Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff.
* Bob Fellar was on hand today. He was hanging out in the media room.
* Adam Miller was in good spirits. Anthony Castrovince has the latest here.
* Jordan Brown blasted a two-run homer in today’s scrimmage. After the game he told me, “This (Clippers) team is going to rake.”
* Word is circulating the Josh Barfield will as expected, be the 25th man on the Indians roster. That means Trevor Crowe is headed to Columbus.
* The Clippers rotation is taking shape: Aaron Laffey, Jeremy Sowers, David Huff, Kirk Saarloos, and possibly Jae Kuk Ryu. Nobody is sure if the fifth spot quit yet, but Ryu is now officially in camp (I saw him today).
* Andy Cannizaro should be in minor league camp soon. I’m told he is dealing with a hamstring problem. He’s also had a bad back over the last couple years. I haven’t had a chance to visit with him yet.
* George Lombard did a double-take when he saw me approaching him today. Once he remembered who I was, he said “After you’ve been with more than two organizations, all the names and faces start to run together.” He has played in the Braves, Rays, Red Sox, Nationals, and Marlins organizations (to name a few). George told me he’s unsure of his situation because, he plans on playing in Columbus, he realizes there are several outfielders in the mix like LaPorta, Crowe, Brantley, Head, and Hall.