The Indians made their first round of cuts on Sunday, sending RHP Austin Adams, RHP Tyler Sturdevant, and CA Chun Chen to minor league camp. All three players have been hampered by injuries already this spring, Adams has been shut down because of shoulder soreness, Sturdevant has been battling a shoulder tweak, and Chen was slowed by a sprained ankle.
There are now 59 players in the Indians camp and there is some walking wounded among that group:
* OF Felix Pie collided with the center field wall during Sunday’s game with Texas. He left the game and will be tested on Monday to see how quickly he can return to action.
* LHP Rafael Perez is working towards his Cactus League debut. Perez has been sidelined because of shoulder soreness.
* 1B Casey Kotchman was scratched from the lineup Sunday because of a sore back. Matt LaPorta took his spot.
* RHP Chris Perez is throwing every few days as part of his rehab program from a strained left oblique.
The Tribe are expected to make a few more cuts later this week.
Check back soon!
The Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees are not changing their nickname, but they are adding one. The Yankees will go by the unofficial moniker “Empire State Yankees” for the 2012 season while they play their home games at various sites around upstate New York. Their Northeastern Pennsylvania home, PNC Field, is being renovated throughout the season.
“With so many games to be played in upstate New York this season we wanted to make the club feel even more at home this year. We approached the New York Yankees with a few suggestions and they actually came up with the Empire State Yankees moniker,” said Rochester Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for both the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise and the other IL clubs that will be hosting them this year and we wanted to make this as much fun for our fans and the players as possible. The Empire State Yankees merchandise and logos will only be available this season so they are sure to be collectors’ items. We appreciate the NY Yankees and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees cooperation with this venture,” added Mason.
The Yankees will play 37 of their home games at Frontier Field in Rochester, seven games at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, six games in Buffalo, and 10 games in Syracuse. In total, they will play 60 of their 72 home games and 84 of their 144 games in upstate New York.
“With 60 of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team’s 2012 home games being played in the State of New York, what a fun twist to temporarily “re-brand” the team as the Empire State Yankees. As baseball fans in Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and Batavia adopt the Yankees for the next six months this is a unique idea that will allow them to more closely identify with the team during its temporary stay,” said International League President Randy Mobley.
The team will wear new Empire State Yankees caps for the season, below is the cap logo:
Read more about the Empire State Yankees.
He’s making his message heard loud and clear. Shelly Duncan wants a regular spot in Cleveland’s lineup. Duncan blasted a three-run homer in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Royals, the Tribe’s first Cactus League victory. It’s already the second homer of Duncan’s audition for a starting spot. If Michael Brantley slides over to center to replace the injured Grady Sizemore, it could mean more at-bats for Duncan.
Shelley came to the Indians before the 2010 season, leaving the Yankees after winning the International League MVP award with Scranton Wilkes-Barre. He played 33 games that year with the Clippers and another 85 with the Indians. Last season, he homered 11 times, provided 47 RBIs and finished the season playing well in Cleveland. He also happens to be a right-handed hitter, something the club is lacking.
Duncan is 3-for-7 with 6 RBI in just a few days on the job this spring. Not bad if you’re trying to impress the bosses. He definitely is.
* Making spring break plans yet? Jump on board for “Spring Break Me Out to the Ballgame”, you’ll have an opportunity to meet the Clippers players and coaching staff, get your picture taken with a player, receive a special t-shirt, and more! Click here for details.
* You won’t hear much about it, but Indians minor league camp started on Monday and those games will begin next week. Keep checking back here for more details on the guys playing on the “back fields”.
* The Clippers are partnering with the Central Ohio Youth Baseball League for a baseball equipment drive this Saturday from 9am to noon. Bring any new or used baseball equipment to Huntington Park and help a youngster!
* Clippers outfielder Thomas Neal is healthy and ready to contribute this season. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian has more.
* Mark your calendar for Saturday, July 28th at Huntington Park. WWE legend Sgt. Slaughter will be there… I have a feeling he’ll be a guest on our broadcast!
The Cleveland Indians are still getting their feet wet with the Cactus League schedule, but the focus of the front office and coaching staff is on selecting the last few spots for the 25-man roster that will take the field against Toronto on April 5th.
We know the Indians are looking for a fifth starter, two bullpen spots (if Chris Perez returns in time to start the season), and back-up infielders and outfielders.
David Huff pitched two scoreless innings in a 6-6 tie with Cincinnati Saturday. Huff is trying to fend off Kevin Slowey, Jeanmar Gomez, and Zach McAllister for the final rotation spot.
Frank Herrmann gave up four runs from five hits in that same game. Herrmann is trying to finish ahead of Robinson Tejeda, Jeremy Accardo, Chris Ray, Chris Seddon, Nick Hagadone and others for one of those two relief positions. Tejeda allowed one run while Accardo and Hagadone pitched scoreless frames in Saturday’s game. If Chris Perez suffers a setback in his recovery, three members of the group will start the year in Cleveland.
Russ Canzler is 2-for-2 with one RBI so far, he’s trying to earn a spot along with guys like Aaron Cunningham and Jason Donald. With Grady Sizemore out 2-3 months after back surgery, Cunningham’s odds seem to increase and there’s a chance he could see regular playing time with the Tribe.
The only real position battle takes place at the hot corner where the Tribe are deciding between Jack Hannahan and Lonnie Chisenhall.
The games over the next few weeks will shape the Indians roster and those decisions will help shape the Clippers roster… Let’s watch and enjoy!
* Mark your calendar, the 2012 Clippers “Meet the Team Party” will be held Wednesday, April 4th at the LC Pavillion (right next to Huntington Park) from 5:00pm – 8:00pm. Admission is free!
* Justin Masterson has been named the Indians Opening Day starter. Masterson, a native of Beavercreek, Ohio, will make his first Opening Day appearance.
* Tables on Huntington Park’s Hall of Fame Bar Terraces went on sale this week. A group of four will receive game tickets, a reserved terrace table, and a $60 voucher to spend on food and beverage served at the Hall of Fame Bar for $120. There are only four terraces available each night and the must be reserved in advance. Click here for details.
* I have my copy of the Indians Prospect Insider 2012 “Top 100 Prospects & More” book. It’s now available from our friend Tony Lastoria. Check out Tony’s site and place your order!
* If you’re not already, follow the Clippers on Twitter for updated info on the team, ballpark promotions, etc.
Keep checking back!
Like Scott, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I don’t care much for college or pro basketball; in fact, I barely see any of the NCAA tournament. I’m a wrestler. I haven’t had a match as a competitor in 18 years, but once you make the commitment and it gets into your blood, you are a wrestler for the rest of your life. Indulge me for one post, as I step away from baseball and talk about my other sporting love.
In March, the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament takes place, which is one of my favorite sporting events of the year. The Big Ten Championships usually take place the same weekend. Two weeks later, the best college wrestlers in the country meet for the NCAA Championships. I’d love it if wrestling got more coverage (the Big Ten Network is expanding its coverage of the Big 10 Championships greatly this year), but wrestlers have always toiled largely in obscurity in front of the close-knit wrestling community and maybe that’s how it should be.
The culture of wrestling is a modern counter-culture. Sacrifice and delayed gratification reign. The more difficult road chosen, the better. There is no app for that. Athletes at the upper level of all sports are dedicated to their craft, but there is something different about what wrestlers go through. Being a wrestler, you are both a part of a group but also an island onto yourself. The training to be a wrestler is too much for most people to handle. You have early morning weight-lifting, or runs in 7 layers of clothing and plastic body suits followed by often multiple training sessions where you intentionally put your body through painful, potentially harmful drills and exercises, then perform hand-to-hand combat against teammates followed conditioning exercises designed to try to break you mentally and physically. You do all this to prepare to go get into a fight with someone with whom you don’t have a previous squabble.
Why do this? Why do wrestlers put themselves through the torment of training, then pile on the physical and mental anguish of weight management (cutting)? There is little fame or money in wrestling. There are a few who make a good living coaching in college. Some wrestlers are transitioning into the world of MMA, but big paydays are few and far between there. Cael Sanderson went undefeated (159-0) throughout his college career, winning 4 straight National Championships and then went on to win an Olympic gold medal in Athens and most people don’t know who he is. Luke Fickell is known all over the college football landscape, but before he was the interim head coach of the Buckeyes, he was a 3-time OHSAA wrestling champion. Fickell could have been a great college wrestler, maybe an Olympian, but he chose football and its greater potential for financial reward.
Many of those who stick with wrestling do so because it is out of the limelight. They relish the personal testing that goes on every day for the sake of proving themselves to themselves. Wrestlers have to be internally motivated to go through what they do. There is a saying repeated by wrestling coaches everywhere. “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Wrestlers embrace that and wear it like a badge of honor.
The fate of wrestling is sealed by its self-designed exclusivity. It will forever be a second-tier sport subject to derisive homophobic jokes and scorn from the uninitiated. It will be this because we make it too difficult for outsiders to embrace. That’s ok, because respect from those who know what it is you went through to get where you are is enough for a wrestler.
Good luck to all the athletes who sweat, bleed, starve, grimace, hurt, and persevere for the chance to go out and put it all on the line for the opportunity for glory. It’s wrestling time!