Results tagged ‘ Jason Donald ’
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.
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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.
It seems the Indians are poised to sign free agent SS Orlando Cabrera. The veteran hit .263 in 123 games for Cincinnati last season but was essentially replaced by Edgar Renteria.
Asdrubal Cabrera has been the shortstop in Cleveland for a couple of years now, but came up as a 2B. Orlando has only played 33 career games at 2B. Who plays where is an interesting situation and what it means for the Clippers roster is too.
Heading into spring, Columbus didn’t have a clear Shortstop option, but this move may clear things up. Unless he completely outperforms Jayson Nix, look for Jason Donald, who still has minor league options, to be back in Triple-A at least to start the year. Luis Valbuena might be a good bet to lose out on a spot as well if Adam Everett plays well in ST. If that happens, Luis V might be out of luck in Triple-A too where the infield is going to be a crowded house. Valbuena’s 2010 season (.193 BA 3-1 K-BB ratio) did him no favors, but a very solid rookie campaign in 2009 (38 extra-base hits in 103 games) might be enough to keep him on the utility radar if Everett and Donald falter (though he was terrible at 3B).
Valbuena came up as a 2B, but was rounded out the last few years. Donald is a shortstop by trade, but projects more as a 2B, where he looked comfortable. With Jason Kipnis as the 2B of the (maybe near) future and Lonnie Chisenhall poised to move on 3B, shortstop might be the best bet for young players looking for a regular spot on the Cleveland infield. Asdrubal Cabrera had a very good 2009, but his range last year was down and his overall play might not justify where his salary is going to go in the next few years.
Of course, if the Indians are out of the play-off race in July, look for O. Cabrera to be a trade chip for Chris Antonetti in a TLC Flip-This-House move for the future. Do people still flip houses?
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Another sunny day in Goodyear as camp winds down…
Wes Hodges (Bats Right, Throws Right), 25 years old, 6-2, 205 lbs, Chattanooga, TN
This is a make or break season for Hodges as he makes the switch from third base over to first. He struggled in 2009, playing only 86 games because of wrist and shoulder injuries.
His injury problems started when he suffered a stress fracture in his right leg during his final season at Georgia Tech (2006) and then a strained hamstring and broken toe hampered him in 2007. Wes’ only healthy pro season came in Double-A in 2008, when he batted .290 with 18 HRs and 97 RBIs in 133 games, earning the Eastern League Rookie of the Year award.
Hodges’ offense is his ticket to the majors, but he’ll need to show he can adapt to first base and stay healthy if he wants an opportunity this year. The road becomes tougher at first because Wes is blocked by Matt LaPorta.
Brian Bixler (Right, Right) 27, 6-1, 195, Sandusky, OH
An off-season trade acquisition from the Pirates, Bixler serves as infield insurance for the Indians. The former Eastern Michigan star is a two-time International League All-Star (2007 & 2008) that needs a fresh start with new surroundings. With Pittsburgh, Bixler played 68 major league games over the last two years, batting just .178.
Bixler was molded into a utility role last season, playing two games at third base and 15 in center, in addition to his regular stops at second and shortstop. He is a better second baseman because his range is slightly below average at short. Bixler possesses excellent footwork around second base and provides outstanding speed. In 2007, he was clocked at a remarkable 4.1 seconds from home to first.
He will primarily play second base for the Clippers.
Jason Donald (Right, Right) 25, 6-1, 190, Clovis, CA
Donald was scooped up last year from Philadelphia in the Cliff Lee trade, but only played ten games with the Clippers because of a strained lower back. Prior to the trade, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. He entered the 2009 season as the #4 overall prospect in the Phillies organization, according to Baseball America.
The Indians see Donald as a possible major league utility player in the future, the same role that Mark Grudzielanek has to begin the season. Donald can play second, shortstop or third, but he isn’t dominate at any one position. Offensively, he holds a good approach with good gap power for an infielder.
The key for Donald is to stay healthy and produce like he did in 2008, when he batted .307 with 19 doubles, 14 HRs and 54 RBIs for the Phillies Double-A club in Reading. That year he was the starting shortstop in the Futures Game at Yankee Stadium and competed for Team USA in the Beijing Olympics.
Brian Buscher (Left, Right) 28, 6-0, 220, Jacksonville, FL
The Indians signed Buscher to a minor league contract in December, two weeks after he was
granted free agency by the Twins. Last year Buscher made Minnesota’s opening day roster for the first time and stayed on the roster until August 1st. He was recalled in September, batting .235 with 2 HRs and 12 RBIs in 61 total games.
Buscher is a strong left-handed hitter with a consistent approach at the plate. He doesn’t have much power, but can hit line drives to the gaps. Buscher was the 2007 Twins Minor League Player of the Year.
Others: Luis Rodriguez and Anderson Hernandez are not going to make the Indians 25-man roster as camp breaks, so they could land in Columbus. Hernandez is currently on the 40-man roster, but may be designated to make room from Austin Kearns, Jamey Wright and Mark Grudzielanek, the three non-roster invites that made the Indians opening day squad. If Hernandez is designated, he’ll need to clear waivers and accept an assignment to the Clippers.
The Indians today optioned INF Jason Donald and INF Wes Hodges to the Clippers. The club also reassigned INF Lonnie Chisenhall to minor league camp.
The Indians now have 46 players in Major League camp.
Hodges had an outstanding big league camp, going 10-for-24 (.417) four doubles, one HR, and seven RBI (eleven games). After struggling at third base for the Clippers last year, Hodges is expected to transition to playing first base in 2010.
Donald was acquired from the Phillies at last year’s July 31st deadline. He was 4-for-20 with one RBI in big league camp. Donald played in only ten games for the Clippers because of a strained back. He underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee in June, missing about a month of action prior to the trade.