Results tagged ‘ Columbus Clippers ’
This is the time of year when things really begin to roll downhill for baseball teams on the field and in the offices as well. Ticket sales, advertising, and publicity are going full stream, printing and season preparation deadlines are looming and in Arizona and Florida, rosters are being decided and changing at a furious pace as the squads head into the final fortnight of spring training. Scott and I will be heading the Goodyear later this week and we will bring you updates on the state of the Cleveland and Columbus teams from an eye-witness perspective. For now, here’s some of the scuttlebutt from the desert.
Tony Lastoria tweeted yesterday that Jensen Lewis was placed on waivers. The Ohio native has fashioned a very respectable Major League stat line and if the report is accurate, I would think a few teams will put in a claim on him. Though I didn’t expect to see him in Columbus this season anyway, it would be sad to see him go. Jensen is a great clubhouse guy and hits a tremendous fungo. He is also one of the top dugout play-by-play guys you’ll come across.
Jason Donald went through every test but the Wonderlic to finally reveal that he has a small crack in his left middle finger that may have him out of action up to a month. That means third base is again a competition with non-roster invitee Jack Hannahan as the odds on favorite to win it. The others in the mix are Luis Valbuena and Jayson Nix. Adam Everett injured his thumb sliding into a base head-first and might miss time, so infield roster spots are much more available today than they were 48 hours ago.
Josh Judy and Joe Martinez were optioned to the Columbus roster on Saturday and manager Manny Acta says Martinez will be a part of the Clippers rotation, a place that seems quite crowded right now. Acta cited the fact that injuries are such a fact of life in baseball and with pitching in particular, that it is incumbent upon teams to have a ready supply of Major League ready arms in reserve. Johan Pino was also assigned to minor league camp.
Acta declared Sunday that Grady Sizemore will not start the season on the 25-man roster and when it’s time to see game action after spring training, schedules and weather will have an impact on where he sees time tuning up for the big club. The Clippers start the season on the road for ten days, while the Akron Aeros play seven home games to open the campaign. If Sizemore is ready for games early, Clippers fans might not get a chance to see him, but if he’s a couple weeks behind the rest, and central Ohio isn’t under snow, Sizemore might have a Russell Branyan-esque stint at Huntington Park.
Matt LaPorta is batting just .182 this spring. Of note, he has 8 hits and only one of them is a single (4-2B, 1-3B, 2-HR). He is also tied for the team lead with 10 RBI’s.
The string of injuries for Nick Weglarz continues as the mountainous outfielder injured his knee running the bases late last week. It sounds like the same injury Jordan Brown had last year, but as it’s much farther into camp, he’ll likely miss more of the season than Brown did.
As always, questions and comments welcome at email@example.com.
Well, management has ended speculation on the Opening Day fate of some rising stars. The Indians have decided to send their young talents to the minors. Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis have been reassigned to minor league camp. No word yet as to whether or not Bryce Harper and Mike Moustakas have considered joining forces with them to form a detestable under-performing group that 85% of America will delight in rooting against.
Also reassigned were RHP’s Zach Putnam and Alex White and C Juan Apodaca. Nick Weglarz and Zach McAllister were optioned to the Columbus roster. In case you are wondering about the difference in terminology, a player who is on the 40-man roster must be optioned, while players not on the 40-man can be assigned to any level at the club’s discretion.
With Jason Donald on the shelf for a few days with a bone bruise on his hand, Jack Hannahan and Luis Valbuena will take the bulk of the time at 3B in the big league games.
Well, the pressure is on now. With the blog becoming something like dueling banjos, I’m going to have to dust off the ole’ writing skills that Mrs. Haensch helped develop many years ago. The fact that she allowed me to write my final paper on Rickey Henderson in senior AP English class deserved a shout-out at some point, there it is.
I’m quite happy to be joining the blogosphere. Like most other writers in it, I have plenty to say that most people could go a lifetime without hearing. Let’s get right to it.
“Pitchers and catcher report.” Are there 4 sweeter words in the English language? Let’s see.
-”Congratulations, it’s a boy/girl!” That’s right up there, but with the contraction, it may not qualify.
-”Will you marry me?” It could take several years to see how that deal turns out.
-”Snow day, no school!” We have a contender.
-”Too legit to quit.” I think it’s safe to say… no.
The equipment truck has left Cleveland for Goodyear, Arizona. Reporting date for Indians pitchers and catchers is February 15th. There are not as many position battles as you’d think for a team that just finished off as bad a season as did the Tribe. With a 69-93 record in 2010, one would expect the first few days of spring training to look like the scene in Major League when the players roll into the desert under the watchful and confused gaze of Lou Brown (RIP). That will not be the case. Cleveland went with youth last year, which resulted in the usual growing pains. This season, the question changes from “who’s this guy?” to, as the great left-hander Jimi asked “Are you experienced?”
In 2011, Matt LaPorta will be back at first base, Asdrubal Cabrera will be the shortstop, and the Jasons, Donald and Nix will likely man second and third base in some order (I know, Nix spells his with a “Y” cut me some slack). A fully healed Carlos Santana and Lou Marson will be the catching tandem again. The outfield will consist of Shin-Soo Choo, Michael Brantley and if healthy, Grady Sizemore. Austin Kearns, because he has a guaranteed contract, has a spot until new Indians GM Chris Antonetti can flip him to the Yankees for another pitching prospect. With the $13 million man Travis Hafner in the locker room, that leaves two bench spots up for grabs with Trevor Crowe, Shelley Duncan, Adam Everrett, and Luis Valbuena the front-runners. All but Everrett were Indians most or all of last year.
The pitching staff is more interesting because there is a lot of talent for Manny Acta to sift through. Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson and Mitch Talbot have a spot in the rotation. Carlos Carrasco would really have to falter in Arizona to miss out on the 25-man. If Jeremy Bonderman joins the fold, he slots into the rotation, completing things there and sending the whole group of David Huff, Jeanmar Gomez, Anthony Reyes, Josh Tomlin and Zach McAllister to Columbus unless one of them can stay on in the bullpen. That won’t be easy because the pen might be the strength on this team. Chris Perez proved dominant as a closer in the second half last year. Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp and Aaron Laffey all seem to have a spot. That’s three lefties in the pen, but none in the rotation. Then you have Joe Smith, Jensen Lewis, Justin Germano and Frank Herrmann from last year’s group. Throw in Doug Mathis, Joe Martinez and it will be tough for Clippers relievers from 2010 to break in. The Tribe will give a good look to Vinnie Pestano, Josh Judy and Zach Putnam.
With just a few spots up for grabs and barring a rash of injuries, the Clippers stand to benefit with an opening day roster that will look pretty similar to the one that resulted in an International League and Triple-A National Championship last season. A couple of anticipated additions should make the Columbus roster fun to watch. A first look at Lonnie Chisenhall and a more extended stay for play-off phenom Jason Kipnis is causing a buzz around Huntington Park. The Clippers rotation looks to include Huff, Gomez, Tomlin, McAllister, Alex White and Corey Kluber. That’s six guys for five spots and doesn’t even include Reyes, Johan Pino or Paolo Espino. These things have a way of working themselves out by trade, injury or creative roster positioning. The bullpen will likely be anchored again by Pestano, Judy and Putnam. Bryce Stowell returns from injuries that shelved him a couple times in 2010. Some of the guys that lose out on the big-league roster race will slot here as well.
Paul Phillips and Luke Carlin will likely share the catching duties in Columbus. The infield will have Jordan Brown at first if he can’t find his way back onto the Tribe roster. Second base belongs to Kipnis and Chisenhall will be at third. Where does that leave Jared Goedert and Cord Phelps? Goedert has a shot to make the big club where 3B is anything but certain. If not, he can back up at first and third as well as DH. Phelps will play 2B, 3B and DH. He was really good in 2010 and I think he’s a keeper, unfortunately for him, he’s blocked everywhere by more highly touted players. The title “Utility Player” could be in his future. Shortstop is a mystery for the Clippers after Josh Rodriguez was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Rule V draft. The mystery will be solved when either Luis Valbuena or Adam Everrett are trimmed form the Tribe roster. Jack Hannahan and Wes Hodges are in the mix here.
The outfield is as crowded as the Indian’s bullpen. If Sizemore is ready to go on opening day, you have Travis Buck, Ezequiel Carrera, Trevor Crowe, Jerad Head, Chad Huffman, Matt McBride, and Nick Weglarz in the running for four spots.
By its nature, the Clippers roster will see plenty of turnover, but at least as things look on paper (where games are rarely played) Columbus has a very good Triple-A team to throw at the rest of the International League. Mike Sarbaugh returns for his second season managing the Clippers. Lee May Jr. will be the hitting coach again and Ruben Niebla joins the staff as the pitching coach replacing the departed Charlie Nagy.
Most of the above mentioned folks will be at Huntington Park on March 30th when the Clippers host the Tribe for an exhibition game at 1:05 pm. Tickets are available at clippersbaseball.com or by phone at 614-462-2757.
Your questions and comments are welcome. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to the beginning of a beautiful…on second thought, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Just check back often.