Open Day 2011: Indians Look To Start With A Win Over White Sox

Three days until Opening Day!

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Reds Beat Tribe In Exhibition Finale, Though Choo Homers Twice; Tribe Finishes 15-14 In Arizona

Justin Masterson lost his last tuneup of the spring, Rafael Perez was hammered for four runs in a third of an inning, and the Cincinnati Reds ended the Indians’ spring with an 8-3 victory this afternoon. leaving Cleveland a game above .500 at 15-14, but having won eight of their final eleven games.

Masterson went five innings, giving up three runs — two earned — and six hits, posting six K’s. Jess Todd pitched two scoreless innings before Perez came on and the game fell out of reach.

Shin-Soo Choo homered twice for the Tribe, which was about all that can be said for the offense. The third Cleveland run scored on a sac fly, as the Indians were held to seven hits by Bronson Arroyo and four relievers.

The next game on-deck is against the Chicago White Sox on Friday afternoon in Cleveland.

Bring it on!

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Tribe Ending Cactus League Schedule Today Against Our Downstate Rivals

The Indians, assured of a winning spring at 15-13 after yesterday’s win over the Chicago Cubs, are taking on the Cincinnati Reds this afternoon in the final Cactus League action of the year for The Good Guys.

Justin Masterson gets his final tuneup of the preseason in the game against the defending NL Central champions, who come in with a record of 16-14.

Manny Acta’s lineup looks like this:

1) Shin-Soo Choo (L) RF
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Travis Buck (L) CF
4) Shelley Duncan® LF
5) Travis Hafner (L) DH
6) Matt LaPorta® 1B
7) Jack Hannahan (L) 3B
8) Adam Everett® 2B
9) Lou Marson® C

Three more days and the games will start “counting”. It cannot get here soon enough.

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PREVIEW: Rotation, Rotation -- It's All About The Rotation

When Josh Tomlin beat out David Huff last week for the final spot in the Indians’ 2011 rotation, Tomlin became the fourth piece in the starting pitching puzzle that manager Manny Acta hopes will launch Cleveland into contention this season.

Fausto Carmona gets the number one spot, followed in order (at this point, at least) by Carlos Carrasco, Justin Masterson, Tomlin and Mitch Talbot.

The five starters had an aggregate record of 37-46 last season. Carrasco appeared in only seven games — all starts — while the other four combined to make 102 starts during the 2010 season which saw the Tribe finish at 69-93, the second straight year with less than 70 wins.

If you look at the rotation as a five-headed monster, the monster had a combined 4.26 ERA last year. Not awful in the hitter-friendly American League.

Acta set up the rotation to break up the sinker-ball pitchers, not having two in a row set to face anyone. Acta is claiming that every pitcher is the #1 starter on the day he pitches, and the #5 on the day after. I have to say that the idea of nobody being seen as “better” is a nice way of instilling confidence in those following Carmona.

The first month of the season sees only three scheduled days-off, so everyone will need to be ready. It is possible that Talbot could be skipped for his first start, as the schedule has a day off after only three games, but a stretch of nine straight days follows.

Go Tribe!

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A Well-Tuned Engine: Fausto Carmona Has Excellent Final Spring Appearance

In the warm weather, Fausto Carmona ended up going 5-2. Now we will see how things go when the weather is colder and the grip on a baseball not as sure, next Friday at Progressive Field.

Carmona twirled five innings of one-run ball this afternoon — that run being unearned — as the Indians disposed of the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-1, to once again edge over .500 at 14-13 with two games left in spring training.

Four Indians’ pitchers combined to hold the Dodgers to seven hits. Los Angeles’ defense helped matters for the Cleveland hitters by committing four errors, although all six Tribe runs were earned.

No homers were hit, but Shin-Soo Choo collected two hits, Michael Brantley and Choo drove in a pair of runs, and Austin Kearns went 3-for-3 as the Indians unleashed an 11-hit attack.

Cleveland will face the Chicago Cubs tomorrow afternoon at 4:05.

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Tribe's Opening Day Starter Fausto Carmona Gets Final Cactus League Innings Today

A sure sign that spring training is almost over: The final spring starts for each pitcher in the rotation. Today, Fausto Carmona takes the mound against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Arizona, five days before he throws the first pitch of the 2011 season in Cleveland against the White Sox.

Cleveland comes in having lost their last two games, and sitting dead-even at 13-13 in the Cactus League. The Dodgers, ancient and bitter enemy of the Tribe’s opponent last night — the Giants — are 13-18 in spring action.

The Tribe will begin the 4:05 game with these starters:

1) Michael Brantley (L) CF
2) Jayson Nix® 3B
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) RF
4) Carlos Santana (S) C
5) Travis Hafner (L) DH
6) Austin Kearns® LF
7) Matt LaPorta® 1B
8) Luis Valbuena (L) 2B
9) Adam Everett® SS

Los Angeles will trot out this lineup in support of Chad Billingsley:

1) Aaron Miles (S) 3B
2) Ivan De Jesus® 2B
3) Andre Ethier (L) RF
4) Matt Kemp® CF
5) James Loney (L) 1B
6) Xavier Paul (L) LF
7) A.J. Ellis® C
8) Jamey Carroll® SS
9) Chad Billingsley® P

The Dodgers will open their season on Thursday — a day earlier than the Indians — when they host the Giants.

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Giants' Split-Squad Touches Up Tomlin And Durbin, San Fran Wins 8-5

Josh Tomlin worked five innings last night and was touched for five runs on eight hits, striking out five but surrendering two home runs, and Chad Durbin was rocked for three runs in a third of an inning, as a split San Francisco Giants squad overcame two deficits and dropped the Indians to 13-13 on the spring with an 8-5 victory.

Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana went deep for the Tribe, which led early 2-0 and 3-2 before falling behind 8-3 in the Giants’ sixth. Cleveland tallied single runs in the eighth and ninth to make the final score a little more respectable.

Grady Sizemore played five innings in center field, crashing into a fence, diving and legging out a double in a nice extended stint of game action, although there is, as of yet, no timetable for his actual return once the season begins. Sizemore will no doubt stay behind in Arizona when the Tribe heads north for the beginning of the season and will partake in extended spring training, as many more at-bats are needed before he will be ready to go.

This afternoon the Indians take on the L.A. Dodgers at 4:05. Look for a preview of the game this afternoon.

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Indians Face Giants Again, With Josh Tomlin On The Mound

After facing San Francisco on Thursday night, the Indians will have a rematch with the defending World Champions tonight at 10:05, with Josh Tomlin getting the start for the Tribe (13-12 in Cactus League play).

San Francisco comes in at 18-11, and seemingly ready to begin defense of their title.

The Indians’ roster is down to 28 now with the demotion of five players yesterday, including four pitchers. Three more cuts must come before the opening of the season Friday against the Chicago White Sox.

San Francisco will send out this starting lineup against Tomlin:

1) Mike Fontenot (L) 2B
2) Nate Schierholtz (L) RF
3) Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4) Aaron Rowand® CF
5) Travis Ishikawa (L) LF
6) Ryan Rohlinger® 3B
7) Brandon Crawford (L) SS
8) Eli Whiteside® C
9) Roger Kieschnick (L) DH

Manny Acta’s Indians will counter with this lineup:

1) Grady Sizemore (L) CF
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) RF
4) Carlos Santana (S) 1B
5) Travis Hafner (L) DH
6) Orlando Cabrera® 2B
7) Travis Buck (L) LF
8) Paul Phillips® C
9) Jack Hannahan (L) 3B

Look for a recap of the game tomorrow morning, as well as a preview of tomorrow’s game against the L.A. Dodgers.

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Demotions Overshadow Tribe Loss To Brewers

As the end of spring training draws nigh, rosters shrink, and a good performance one day is no guarantee that one will find that they are still a member of the big-league squad even the next day.

On Thursday, David Huff and Jeanmar Gomez combined to hold the San Francisco Giants to one run. No matter. On Friday both were sent to Triple-A Columbus, along with outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Also, pitchers Anthony Reyes and Doug Mathis were assigned to minor-league camp, according to Yahoo!.

In the game on Friday, Mitch Talbot gave up two home runs — including a grand slam — as the Indians’ winning streak ended at six games with a 7-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Talbot gave up a frightening 14 hits in just six innings, to go along with all seven runs. Talbot, whose ERA in the spring is 8.61, took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth, when it all caved in.

Travis Hafner belted his first homer of the Cactus League season for the Tribe, while three Indians contributed two hits apiece to the attack. But when all was said and done, Cleveland had slipped to 13-12 with one week to go until Opening Day.

Rafael and Chris Perez each tossed a scoreless inning for the Indians, who will face the San Francisco Giants tomorrow — again at 10:05 p.m.

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Indians Try To 'Brew' Seventh Straight Win

The Indians, who were 7-11 after the day half of their split-squad games last Friday, have now won six straight to improve to two games over .500 in the Cactus League, and will attempt to do in seven games what it had taken 18 games to accomplish before this current hot streak — add seven more victories.

Cleveland took down the World Champion San Francisco Giants last night, and today face the Milwaukee Brewers in a 4:05 p.m. game.

Mitch Talbot gets the start for the Tribe, and will see these starters supporting him defensively and, hopefully, with the bats as well:

1) Michael Brantley (L) CF
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) RF
4) Shelley Duncan® 1B
5) Travis Hafner (L) DH
6) Orlando Cabrera® 2B
7) Chad Huffman® LF
8) Luis Valbuena (L) 3B
9) Lou Marson® C

Milwaukee, which comes in at 15-9 in spring action, will counter with this lineup:

1) Rickie Weeks® 2B
2) Carlos Gomez® CF
3) Ryan Braun® LF
4) Prince Fielder (L) DH
5) Mark Kotsay (L) RF
6) Erick Almonte® 3B
7) George Kottaras (L) C
8) Craig Counsell (L) SS
9) Jeremy Reed (L) 1B

Opening Day against the White Sox is seven days and counting. C’mon Tribe, let’s keep the momentum going and carry it right into the beginning of the season.

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Chad Huffman Drives In Four, Indians Rout San Franciso 7-1

David Huff, in a desperate bid to win a spot in the starting rotation, threw five blanks against the San Francisco Giants last night as the Tribe won their sixth straight game in the Cactus League, beating the Giants handily, 7-1.

Chad Huffman drove in four runs for Cleveland with a three-run homer and an RBI double, and Luke Carlin also homered to lead a 10-hit attack. Carlos Santana and Austin Kearns drove in a run apiece, while Jack Hannahan contributed three hits.

Jeanmar Gomez went four innings in relief of Huff, giving up a long-ball but otherwise holding the World Champs scoreless. Gomez gave up three hits and struck out six.

Huff, in his five frames, struck out three and allowed only three hits while walking one to move to 2-1 on the spring.

The Indians will try for seven in a row this afternoon at 4:05 when they take on the Milwaukee Brewers.

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Phelps' Triple Wins It In The Ninth, Indians Move To 12-11 With Victory Over Kansas City

The good news is, the Indians won their fifth straight game today, beating the Kansas City Royals 8-7, and in the process rallying for three in the eighth to tie it and winning it in the bottom of the ninth on a triple by Cord Phelps.

The bad news is that Carlos Carrasco was rocked pretty hard after being handed a 3-1 lead, leaving in the middle of a fifth inning Royals’ rally that saw the Tribe suddenly down 7-3 midway through the contest.

Cleveland battled back with one in the fifth, and then the aforementioned late-inning magic, to move to 12-11 on the spring.

Doug Mathis, Rafael Perez and Tony Sipp combined for four innings of two-hit, scoreless ball to give the Indians a chance, with Sipp getting the victory, his first decision of the exhibition season.

The offense was fine, pounding out thirteen hits, led by Shin-Soo Choo with three hits. Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana added two hits, while Choo and Travis Hafner each drove in a pair of runs.

Now to get some consistency out of the starters before breaking camp and heading north (or, rather, northeast) for the beginning of the season in nine more days.

Tomorrow the Tribe takes on the World Champion San Francisco Giants in a 10:05 game under the lights.

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Carlos Carrasco Tries To Lift Indians Above .500 This Afternoon

The Indians, possessors of a nifty four-game spring winning streak, will try, for the second time in three days, to play the Kansas City Royals this afternoon, after the game on Monday was canceled.

Carlos Carrasco will get the call to start, as we are now within ten days of Opening Day. Time to start dotting i’s and crossing t’s.

Kansas City will send out this lineup against Carrasco:

1) Chris Getz (L) 2B
2) Mitch Maier (L) CF
3) Billy Butler® DH
4) Kila Ka’aihue (L) 1B
5) Alex Gordon (L) LF
6) Wilson Betemit (S) 3B
7) Jeff Francoeur® RF
8) Brayan Pena (S) C
9) Alcides Escobar® SS

The Indians will counter with this lineup against the Royals:

1) Michael Brantley (L) CF
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) RF
4) Carlos Santana (S) 1B
5) Travis Hafner (L) DH
6) Orlando Cabrera® 2B
7) Shelley Duncan® LF
8) Luis Valbuena (L) 3B
9) Lou Marson® C

Kansas City is 14-9 in Cactus League action, while the Indians are 11-11. Game-time is at 4:05 p.m.

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Fausto Carmona Does Just Enough; Indians Defeat Diamondbacks 7-3 Behind Four Homers

Fausto Carmona won his fourth game of the spring this afternoon, and the Indians clawed their way back to .500 in the Cactus League with a come-from-behind, 7-3 win over Arizona.

Carmona went six innings, giving up all three runs along with nine hits. Fausto walked one and struck out four, and was touched by a home run off the bat of Kelly Johnson.

Jessie Todd, Frank Herrmann and Vinnie Pestano each hurled one scoreless inning to close out the win, as the offense put the game out of reach.

Cleveland blasted four home runs of their own today, with Travis Buck belting two and driving in three runs. Asdrubal Cabrera and Austin Kearns also went deep to spearhead the Tribe’s nine-hit attack.

The Indians will try to climb above the treading-water level tomorrow against the Kansas City Royals. Weather permitting the game will be played, for just yesterday the Tribe and Royals were washed out. Game time will be 4:05 p.m.

And in his first appearance patrolling center field this exhibition season, Grady Sizemore went 0-for-2 before being replaced by Buck.

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Indians Back In Action Against -- And In -- Arizona With Sizemore In Center

After having had their game against Kansas City canceled yesterday, the Indians will try again today, this time against the Arizona Diamondbacks and with Grady Sizemore, who DH’d on Sunday, scheduled to patrol center field against the ’Backs.

Arizona’s lineup was not available at the time of this writing, but we can give you the Cleveland starters who will back up Fausto Carmona:

1) Grady Sizemore (L) CF
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) RF
4) Carlos Santana (S) C
5) Austin Kearns® LF
6) Orlando Cabrera® 2B
7) Matt LaPorta® 1B
8) Jayson Nix® 3B
9) Fausto Carmona® P

The Tribe comes in at 10-11 on the spring, and winners of three straight, while the Diamondbacks check in at 9-19.

Game time for today’s contest is 4:10 p.m.

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Report: Cleveland Indians Waive Jensen Lewis

The Cleveland Indians have reportedly waived relief pitcher Jensen Lewis after an awful showing this spring. Lewis, 27, appeared in six games this spring with an earned run average of 14.29.

Lewis has spent a majority of the past four seasons with the Tribe, even taking a turn as the team’s closer in 2008 when he was 13/14 in save opportunities and finished the season with a 3.82 ERA.

Lewis struggled in 2009, going 2-4 with a 4.61 ERA, while giving up 13 home runs in 66 innings. He seemed to have righted the ship in 2010 finishing with a 4-2 record with a 2.97 ERA while giving up just one home run in 36 innings.

The Indians enter the home stretch of Spring Training with a 10-11 record. They face the Kansas City Royals this afternoon with Josh Tomlin taking the hill. Tomlin is in the running for the 4th or 5th spot in the rotation.

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Tribe Wins Third Straight Game In Grady Sizemore's Return

Grady Sizemore was in the Indians’ lineup for the first time since last May this afternoon against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and while Grady went oh-for-two with a ground out and a pop out to center, the day would have to be considered to be an unqualified success, just to have the three-time All Star back in action.

The Indians added to the good feelings with a 5-3 victory over a split Arizona squad, the Tribe’s third straight win, lifting Cleveland to 10-11 in the Cactus League.

Mitch Talbot was the starter and winning pitcher for the Indians, going 5.1 innings and surrendering only one earned run. Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp and Chris Perez finished up, with Chris getting his first save, striking out three in an inning-and-a-third.

Luis Valbuena hit his fourth homer of the exhibition campaign, while Travis Buck drove in two runs. Orlando Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo each had one RBI as part of the Indians’ nine-hit attack.

So all is well for now in the Cleveland baseball universe. Tomorrow the Tribe takes on the Kansas City Royals in a 4:05 matchup.

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'Grady Sizemore Leading Off': Music To Tribe Fans' Ears

Today, for the first time all spring, Indians’ center fielder Grady Sizemore will be in action for the Indians, albeit at designated hitter to ease him in to game action, as Cleveland takes on the Arizona Diamondbacks with the Tribe riding a two-game winning streak in Cactus League play.

The Indians stand at 9-11 in the spring as training begins winding down.

Sizemore, returning from surgery, participated in sliding drills on Friday to make sure that all parts are in working order, and apparently, they are, and none too soon for Indians’ fans with Opening Day only twelve days from now.

Mitch Talbot takes the mound today against an Arizona squad that trailed the Reds 10-0 yesterday, yet came back to win 13-10…a late field goal decided things (just kidding).

Arizona will send out this lineup in support of Armando Galarraga. (You will remember that it was Galarraga who — last year with Detroit — hurled an imperfect perfect game against the Indians when a blown call at first base on the 27th out of the game, crediting Jason Donald with a hit when Donald was shown to be clearly out, robbed Galarraga of his piece of history...or perhaps the incident made him more famous than a "routine" perfecto might have made him):

1) Willie Bloomquist® CF
2) Ryan Roberts® 3B
3) Gerardo Parra (L) RF
4) Russell Branyan (L) DH
5) Miguel Montero (L) C
6) Brandon Allen (L) LF
7) Paul Goldschmidt® 1B
8) Tony Abreu (S) 2B
9) Ed Rogers® SS

The Tribe will counter with these starters in support of Talbot:

1) Grady Sizemore (L) DH
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) RF
4) Chad Huffman® LF
5) Travis Buck (L) 1B
6) Orlando Cabrera® 2B
7) Jack Hannahan (L) 3B
8) Paul Phillips® C
9) Michael Brantley (L) CF

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''Here, You Take It'...'No, It's Yours'" -- Indians Play Take A Lead, Lose A Lead, But Prevail Over Angels

The Indians played a wild affair today against the L.A. Angels, leading first 4-0, losing that lead, then jumping ahead 7-4 only to have the Angels catch up again, before, finally, the Indians took the lead for the third and last time, holding off the Halo’s 10-7.

And this wasn’t the wildest game of the day, as the Cincinnati Reds jumped on Arizona to the tune of 10-0 — and lost to the Diamondbacks, 13-10.

In the Tribe game, Justin Masterson was staked to that 4-0 lead but gave it all back in the Angels’ third inning. Masterson ended up going 4.2 frames, surrendering six hits and four runs — three earned — before leaving with no decision.

Cleveland scored thrice in the seventh to regain a "comfortable" advantage — only to see the Angels score three in their half off of Jensen Lewis.

When the Tribe added a run in the eighth and two more in the ninth, the rest of the bullpen was able to make the third lead of the day stand up, with Frank Herrmann working an inning-and-a-third for the save and making a winner of Doug Mathis.

The Indians managed just seven hits in improving their Cactus League record to 9-11. Included in the output were homers from Travis Buck and Shelley Duncan. No Tribesman managed more than one hit, but on a day when, conversely, the Angels collected ten hits, Cleveland’s were more timely.

And it made for an odd-looking line-score: Indians 10-7-2; Angels 7-10-1.

Cleveland is back in action tomorrow against the aforementioned Diamondbacks at 4:05. Stay tuned for a preview of that game tomorrow morning.

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On Eve Of Spring (And Eve Of Sizemore's Return), Indians Take On The Angels This Afternoon

Grady Sizemore had some sliding drills yesterday, another positive step back from injury, and Grady will probably play DH against Arizona.

In the meantime, there is baseball to be played today against the Los Angeles Angels in a 4:05 p.m. start.

The Indians divided two split-squad games yesterday, losing to the Royals in the afternoon and then beating the Rangers late night. The split leaved the Tribe 8-11 in the Cactus League.

In twelve days the games start counting, Call this the beginning of The Twelve Days Of Christmas, baseball-style…ah, the anticipation for a new season!

The Indians send out this lineup today in support of Justin Masterson:

1) Carlos Santana (S) C
2) Jayson Nix® 2B
3) Austin Kearns® RF
4) Shelley Duncan® DH
5) Matt LaPorta® 1B
6) Chad Huffman® LF
7) Luis Valbuena (L) 3B
8) Adam Everett® SS
9) Ezequiel Carrera (L) CF

The Angels (whose lineup is not yet available) are 11-11 on the spring. Los Angeles has the tough task of being in the same division as the Rangers, but the Angels have had a good team for years, and there is no reason to think that they won’t contend for the AL West championship this year.

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Here Is A Quick Look At Tonight's Rangers-Indians Game

For all of you night-owls, there is baseball to be played late tonight, in a preview of those series against Seattle and the Angels that will be played on the coast during the regular season.

This spring game between the Texas Rangers and the Indians will begin at 10:05 Cleveland-time, so if there is no recap posted before noon tomorrow or thereabouts, I will give a capsule summary of the Texas game with the preview of the Angels’ game tomorrow afternoon.

Cleveland sends Carlos Carrasco against defending AL champion Texas tonight. Here are the lineups for the game under the Arizona lights:

Texas will send out this group against Carrasco —

1) Julio Borbon (L) CF
2) Elvis Andrus® SS
3) David Murphy (L) LF
4) Nelson Cruz® RF
5) Mitch Moreland (L) 1B
6) Yorvit Torrealba® C
7) Chris Davis (L) 3B
8) Chad Tracy® DH
9) Andres Blanco (S) 2B

The Indians will have these starters against Matt Harrison

1) Ezequiel Carrera (L) CF
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) RF
4) Austin Kearns® LF
5) Travis Hafner (L) DH
6) Orlando Cabrera® 2B
7) Matt LaPorta® 1B
8) Jack Hannahan (L) 3B
9) Lou Marson® C

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Indians Battle Gamely, But Lose 'Royals Half' Of Split-Squad Friday

Jeanmar Gomez looked shaky, David Huff looked worse, and that combination on the mound was enough to doom the Indians this afternoon, as the Kansas City Royals defeated the Tribe 6-5 in the matinee portion of a split-squad doubleheader which will conclude later tonight against the Texas Rangers.

Gomez gave up three runs and four hits in four innings, walking two and striking out three, while Huff, in 2.1 frames worked, allowed six hits and three runs to take the loss, dropping Huff to 1-1 on the spring.

The offense wasn’t bad, with Lonnie Chisenhall once again shining, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Carlos Santana drove in two and Shelley Duncan drove in a fourth run for the Tribe, Ezequiel Carrera chipped in two hits, as did Travis Buck, as Cleveland matched Kansas City with eleven hits, but the Royals made a little more of their production, and the Indians dropped to 7-11 in the Cactus League.

7-11…nice numbers if you are at a casino, but not so much so if you are a major league baseball team getting ready for the season.

If there is not already a recap of the Rangers’ game late tonight or early tomorrow, one will be provided with the preview of tomorrow’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.

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Jeanmar Gomez Gets The Start In First Of Day-Night Split-Squad Games

The Indians will be hither and yon today in Arizona, as they take on the Kansas City Royals at 4:05 and then face the Texas Rangers at 10:05 tonight, in a spring training game which will no doubt last into Saturday.

I wonder how many people in Cleveland will stay awake until the nightcap is over?

Be that as it may, Jeanmar Gomez gets the call in the matinee against the Royals, who are an impressive 13-6 thus far on the spring. Although Kansas City’s lineup is not yet available, the Tribe’s is, and here are the starters in the afternoon (you will notice that Lonnie Chisenhall is playing and you might be thinking “huh? Thought he was sent down?”. Well it is spring, and these lineup oddities happen when two games are being played in the same day.):

1) Ezequiel Carrera (L) CF
2) Lonnie Chisenhall (L) 3B
3) Carlos Santana (S) DH
4) Travis Buck (L) RF
5) Shelley Duncan® LF
6) Jayson Nix® 2B
7) Jordan Brown (L) 1B
8) Luke Carlin (S) C
9) Adam Everett® SS

Neither team’s lineup is ready as of yet for the game in the wee hours between the Indians and the defending American League Champion Rangers, but what I can tell you is that Texas sits at 9-10 in the Cactus League.

One would think that there is probably no panic over said record in Arlington, Texas.

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The Lumber Slumbers: Reds Down Indians 5-1; Carmona Goes Six Frames

After a veritable outburst of runs in their previous two games, the Indians’ bats went to sleep again today, and the Cincinnati Reds benefited to the tune of a 5- victory.

Fausto Carmona was the starter and loser for the Tribe, but in the six innings he worked, Carmona surrendered only two runs, striking out five while allowing six hits. The bullpen wasn’t much “relief”, giving up three more runs in two innings as Cleveland dropped to 7-10 in the Cactus League while Cincinnati improved to 11-8.

The Indians did manage eight hits, but the only RBI was from Lou Marson, and the Tribe stranded nine runners.

Tomorrow Cleveland plays two split-squad games, one against Kansas City and the other against Texas, with the Royals’ game scheduled for 4:05 and the Rangers’ contest under the lights at 10:05.

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After A Day Off, Tribe Back At It Today Against The Reds; Carmona On The Hill

After a well-deserved day off from playing exhibition games yesterday, the Indians are back in action today against our friends from downstate, the Cincinnati Reds, in a 4:05 p.m. match-up of two Central Division teams from opposite leagues.

Fausto Carmona, brilliant in his last start, gets the call for the Tribe today. Although Cincinnati’s lineup is not yet posted at the time of this writing, the Indians’ is, and after all, that is who we are here for, is it not?

So, without further ado, here are the starters for your Cleveland Indians as we enter the final fifteen days before the blessed beginning of the regular season:

1) Michael Brantley (L) CF
2) Adam Everett® SS
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) RF
4) Carlos Santana (S) 1B
5) Travis Hafner (L) DH
6) Austin Kearns® LF
7) Jack Hannahan (L) 3B
8) Luke Carlin (S) C
9) Luis Valbuena (L) 2B

The Indians enter today’s play at 7-9 in the Cactus League, with a couple of ties thrown in for good measure, while the defending NL Central champion Reds come in at 10-8.

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Indians Bats Are Wide Awake Again, While Lonnie Chisenhall Heads To Columbus

For the second game in a row the Indians pounded out nine runs, and for the second game in a row they needed just about all of them, as the Tribe knocked off the Milwaukee Brewers this afternoon, 9-7, after defeating Oakland 9-8 yesterday.

Mitch Talbot went five strong innings, allowing only one run and six hits. Unfortunately, Jensen Lewis gave up a pair of three-run homers in the seventh which squandered a 6-1 lead and put Cleveland behind, But not to fear, a three-spot in the bottom of the seventh put the Tribe (now 7-9 in the Cactus League) back ahead to stay. Justin Germano and Vinnie Pestano each worked a scoreless inning to end it, with Pestano picking up his first save of the spring. In an odd quirk of scoring, Lewis was actually the winning pitcher, even with his very rough outing.

Chad Huffman, Carlos Santana and Matt LaPorta all hit two-run homers for the Indians, Michael Brantley and Santana both delivered three hits toward the Tribe's 14 hits total.

There was big news today, regarding the hot-hitting Lonnie Chisenhall, who was sent down to Triple-A Columbus despite hitting .478 in twenty-three at bats, among which were five extra base hits. The complete story of Chisenhall's demotion can be found in this story on Yahoo!

The linked article makes this very cogent observation:

The plan at the start of training camp was for Chisenhall to get some experience in the big-league camp, but with the idea that he would start the season playing third base at Class AAA Columbus. That is still the plan, but Chisenhall, with his blistering start at the plate, has at least given Indians officials something to think about.

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Indians Take On The Brew Crew Today In Cactus League Action

The Indians, winners of two of their last three spring games, are back in action this afternoon against the Milwaukee Brewers, their ancient divisional rival who have long-since relocated to the National League.

Mitch Talbot gets the starting assignment for the Tribe today, hoping for a solid outing as Opening Day is now only 17 days out and it is time to begin rounding into season form.

The lineups for today’s 4:05 p.m. matchup are as follows — the Brewers (11-6) will start the game with:

1) Rickie Weeks® 2B
2) Craig Counsell (L) SS
3) Mark Kotsay (L) RF
4) Prince Fielder (L) 1B
5) Casey McGehee® 3B
6) Jeremy Reed (L) CF
7) Mat Gamel (L) DH
8) Luis Cruz® LF
9) Wil Nieves® C

While the 6-9 Indians will send out these starters:

1) Michael Brantley (L) CF
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) DH
4) Carlos Santana (S) C
5) Chad Huffman® RF
6) Orlando Cabrera® 2B
7) Matt LaPorta® 1B
8) Luis Valbuena (L) 3B
9) Ezequiel Carrera (L) LF

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Indians Bats Wake Up; Tribe Edges Oakland 9-8

The good news from today is that the Indians broke out of their offensive slump to the tune of nine runs and 13 hits.

Unfortunately, all of those runs were needed as the staff gave up eight runs and ten hits. But a win is a win and we’ll take it, as Cleveland edges up to 6-9 in Cactus League play.

Justin Masterson was rocked for five runs in four frames of work, but aside from Jeanmar Gomez being shaky, the rest of the bullpen did its job. Gomez gave up three runs, but three other relievers kept the A’s off the board.

Doug Mathis retired one hitter, but it was enough to earn him the win. Tony Sipp finished up for his second save of the spring.

Travis Hafner contributed three hits and two RBI, with two doubles, while Shelley Duncan drove in three with a pair of hits, including a two-bagger. Jack Hannahan also drove in two runs.

The Tribe will be back in action tomorrow against the Milwaukee Brewers, looking for their third victory in four games.

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Justin Masterson Hopes To Get Straight 'A's' Today

The Indians are right back at it this afternoon in the desert, facing the Oakland A’s with Justin Masterson getting the start for The Good Guys in a 4:05 p.m. matchup.

The Indians have been in something of an offensive funk as of late. Yesterday they scored two runs, which is the maximum that the Tribe has mustered in three of the past four exhibition games. The 5-9 Indians would do well to heat up the bats before returning to the open-air refrigerator that will be downtown Cleveland in early April.

Oakland’s lineup is not available at the time of this writing, but the Tribe is all set behind Masterson. Here is the starting batting order for Cleveland:

1) Orlando Cabrera® 2B
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) RF
4) Austin Kearns® LF
5) Travis Hafner (L) DH
6) Travis Buck (L) CF
7) Shelley Duncan® 1B
8) Jack Hannahan (L) 3B
9) Lou Marson® C

How about getting that offense untracked, fellas?

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Carrasco And Huff Roughed Up, San Diego Downs Tribe 7-2

The Indians managed to throw seven goose-eggs at the San Diego Padres today. Unfortunately, the other two innings were a three-spot and a four-run outburst, the first against starter — and losing pitcher — Carlos Carrasco, and the second against David Huff, as the San Diego Padres defeated the Indians 7-2, dropping the Tribe to 5-9 in the Cactus League.

Carrasco gave up three in the second of his three innings worked, and after the Tribe had crept to within 3-2 in the top of the seventh, with Travis Buck driving in one run with a base-hit and Paul Phillips blasting a homer, the Padres put the game away in the bottom of the seventh.

San Diego pounded out fifteen hits, while holding Cleveland to seven — two from Phillips — as the Indians scored two runs or fewer for the third time in four days.

The Tribe hosts the Oakland A’s tomorrow afternoon at 4:05.

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Indians Face Padres Today; Carlos Carrasco Gets The Start For The Tribe

Fresh off of their first victory in six days yesterday against the Los Angeles Angels, the Indians are back in action this afternoon against the NL West’s San Diego Padres at 4:05 p.m.

Carlos Carrasco will get the start the Cleveland against the Padres’ Tim Stauffer, who has a record of 14-19 in 64 career games. Carrasco, on the other hand, has a career mark of 2-6 in twelve games with a 5.51 ERA.

Here are the lineups for today’s tilt in the Cactus League:

1) Michael Brantley (L) CF
2) Jason Kipnis (L) 2B
3) Travis Buck (L) RF
4) Austin Kearns® LF
5) Matt LaPorta® 1B
6) Jack Hannahan (L) 3B
7) Paul Phillips® C
8) Adam Everett® SS
9) Carlos Carrasco® P

1) Eric Patterson (L) LF
2) Orlando Hudson (S) 2B
3) Brad Hawpe (L) 1B
4) Jesus Guzman® 3B
5) Nick Hundley® C
6) Cameron Maybin® CF
7) Chris Denorfia® RF
8) Kevin Frandsen® SS
9) Tim Stauffer® P

Nineteen more days and the games will start counting “for real”. But before then, the Indians will try to build on three days of much better pitching, after a forgettable stretch earlier in the week. Now if the offense could get untracked…

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Pitching Sparkles As Indians Defeat Angels, 2-1

It is amazing what good pitching can do. It can hide a multitude of offensive sins, and can ease a manager’s job, when he can set up his bullpen, keep his rotation in line, etc.

Yes, today was only a spring training game, but good things happened as the Indians beat the L.A. Angels 2-1. Easy game when the pitching lines up and does its job.

Fausto Carmona went four scoreless innings to move to 3-1 on the spring — giving Carmona 60% of the Tribe’s spring wins. Fausto was followed by Josh Tomlin and Rafael Perez, who keep the Angels off the board through the eighth inning, Tony Sipp closed and got the save, although he did surrender a home run in his inning of work.

The offense didn’t do much, but did enough to break a skid going back to last Sunday in the Cactus League, and moved the Tribe to 5-8. Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera each drove in a run, and Cabrera had two of Cleveland’s five hits.

The Indians are back at it tomorrow against the Padres, feeling better than they have in days.

Quality pitching — gotta love it.

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Fausto Carmona Hopes To Bounce Back Today Against The Angels

After being rocked in his last outing against the Chicago White Sox, Fausto Carmona, less than three weeks now from his Opening Day assignment against those same Sox, takes the hill this afternoon versus the Los Angeles Angels as the Indians look once again for their first victory since last Sunday.

In the intervening six days, there have been two ties (including the aforementioned White Sox game), with the latest coming yesterday in a 5-5, 10 inning draw against the Mariners.

Los Angeles stands at 7-8 in the Cactus League, while Cleveland comes in at 4-8, and losers of either four or five in a row, depending on which half of the split-squad games of last Sunday you want to consider as the win and which you count as the loss. Confused? Yes, and so am I.

The Angels’ lineup was not available as of this writing, but the starters for Manny Acta’s Indians are as follows:

1) Michael Brantley (L) CF
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) DH
4) Carlos Santana (S) C
5) Travis Buck (L) RF
6) Orlando Cabrera® 2B
7) Matt LaPorta® 1B
8) Shelley Duncan® LF
9) Jason Donald® 3B

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Like Kissing Your Sister -- Twice In One Week; Tribe, Mariners End Up Tied, 5-5

They say that a tie is like kissing your sister. I would not know about that, but the term has been in use for a long time, at least back to the days when the NFL frequently had games ending in deadlocks.

Switching sports, the Indians have now had two ties within a week. Last time it was due, as much as anything, to exhaustion of the Cleveland and White Sox staffs. This time it was a matter of “ten innings, time to take our bats and go home”.

To their credit, the Tribe battled back over and over again after falling into an early 2-0 hole. The order of the day was creep closer, fall further behind, creep closer, etc. And the end result was another tie, as the Indians and the Mariners ended the day deadlocked at 5-5. Cleveland finally caught Seattle in the bottom of the eighth and two scoreless innings later, the Indians remained 4-8 and Seattle remained 7-4.

Asdrubal Cabrera belted his first homer of the spring to spearhead the Tribe’s 14-hit attack. Four Indians collected two hits apiece, while four drove in a run.

On the pitching side, Mitch Talbot went a shaky three innings, giving up three runs and five hits. After that, six Indians’ hurlers pitched seven innings of one-run ball, and gave the Tribe a chance to avoid another loss.

Tomorrow Cleveland faces the Los Angeles Angels. And three weeks from today — weather permitting — is Opening Day, when ties will no longer be likely.

Won’t that be nice?

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Indians Look For First Win Since Sunday Against Seattle Today

The Cleveland Indians could use a win right about now, even if the games do not “count” during spring training. For surely, there is a psychological effect in losing day after day after day, especially for the younger players, who may feel more pressure to win than the veterans, who have been through the spring grind before and know that in a few weeks everyone will be 0-0 again.

This afternoon, the Tribe faces Eric Wedge’s Seattle Mariners. Mitch Talbot gets the start for the Indians in an attempt to follow-up the excellent start from Justin Masterson in yesterday’s loss to the Cubs. That excellent start followed a series of dreadful efforts in the days immediately before. But with Masterson’s perfect three innings with five strikeouts (and some effective relief from Jeanmar Gomez as well) yesterday as a catalyst, perhaps now will be the time when the pitching can get on a roll.

Seattle (7-4 in the Cactus League) will send this lineup in support of Michael Pineda:

1) Josh Wilson® SS
2) Luis Rodriguez (S) 3B
3) Adam Kennedy (L) 1B
4) Jack Cust (L) DH
5) Matt Tuiasosopo® LF
6) Michael Saunders (L) CF
7) Dustin Ackley (L) 2B
8) Chris Gimenez® C
9) Johermyn Chavez® RF

The 4-8 Indians will counter with this lineup:

1) Orlando Cabrera® 2B
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) RF
4) Austin Kearns® LF
5) Travis Hafner (L) DH
6) Lonnie Chisenhall (L) 3B
7) Lou Marson® C
8) Jack Hannahan (L) 1B
9) Ezequiel Carrera (L) CF

The Mariners. of course, have — besides ex-Tribe skipper Wedge — an old friend of the Indians in Franklin Gutierrez.

Game time for this afternoon’s contest is 3:05.

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Better Effort But The Same Result; Cubs Score Late, Beat Indians 2-1

Justin Masterson gave the Indians what they needed today: a solid start. Masterson struck out five in three perfect innings, but the Chicago Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the eighth against Frank Herrmann and won it in the ninth against Vinnie Pestano on a two-out RBI single by Brett Jackson. The walk-off hit gave the Cubs a 2-1 victory.

Offense was lacking for the Tribe, with the only run coming on a Jayson Nix home run. Cleveland mustered a mere five hits -- one more than Chicago -- but it was not enough to prevent the Indians from falling to 4-8 on the spring, and from losing their fourth in a row.

Another bright pitching note was the three innings of scoreless work from Jeanmar Gomez. Gomez gave up just one hit and a walk and struck out three.

The Cubs’ Andrew Cashner got the win with four innings of one-run work.

Tomorrow the Indians face the Seattle Mariners at 3:05 in a “home” matinee.

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Indians Send Masterson Against The Cubs This Afternoon

Three weeks before the beginning of the 2011 season, and the Indians need to get the pitching staff under control, and soon. Having surrendered 41 runs in the last three games, the Tribe looks to Justin Masterson this afternoon against the Cubbies as 4-7 Cleveland takes on Chicago’s NL team.

Randy Wells gets the start for the 4-8 Cubs, whose roster includes ex-Indian Kerry Wood.

The lineup for the Tribe:

1) Michael Brantley (L) CF
2) Jayson Nix® 2B
3) Carlos Santana (S) C
4) Travis Hafner (L) DH
5) Matt LaPorta® 1B
6) Travis Buck (L) RF
7) Shelley Duncan® LF
8) Luis Valbuena (L) SS
9) Jason Donald® 3B

The Cubs will send this lineup against Masterson:

1) Kosuke Fukudome (L) RF
2) Reed Johnson® CF
3) Tyler Colvin (L) 1B
4) Aramis Ramirez® 3B
5) Lou Montanez® LF
6) Blake DeWitt (L) 2B
7) Darwin Barney® SS
8) Koyie Hill (S) C
9) Randy Wells® P

Gametime is at 3:05 p.m.

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Tribe Is Blown Out Again, But Carlos Santana Plays A Flawless First Base

Well there was good news among another drubbing administered to the Tribe pitching staff today when catcher Carlos Santana, on the mend after knee surgery last August, played a perfect first base, handling nine chances, as well as doubling and scoring a run in a 9-2 San Diego Padres’ victory.

The loss, which dropped Cleveland to 4-7 on the spring, was a combination of bad pitching and anemic hitting, as the Indians managed just three hits, and Carlos Carrasco gave up two runs in three innings, David Huff gave up four in two innings, and Zach McAllister surrendered three in two frames.

The only Tribe hurlers unscathed were Zach Putnam and Joe Smith, who each went a scoreless inning. San Diego pounded homers on consecutive Carrasco pitches in the second, and San Diego never looked back, adding to pitching woes that have now totaled 41 runs surrendered in the last three games.

The Indians take on the Chicago Cubs tomorrow afternoon.

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Tribe Takes On Padres As Pitching Hopes To Recover

After bleeding an orgy of runs in the last two days, the Indians will try to get back on track this afternoon at 3:05 against the San Diego Padres.

Fausto Carmona did not fare too well yesterday, and in general the pitching has been bad at the beginning of this week as the Indians have now fallen to 4-6 in games that do not count. It would be helpful to get the pitching straightened out before the games do begin to count, in a little more than three weeks.

Carlos Carrasco will take the hill for The Good Guys this afternoon, and here are the rest of today’s starting lineups —

San Diego will trot out:

1) Cameron Maybin® CF
2) Eric Patterson (L) 2B
3) Chase Headley (S) 3B
4) Jesus Guzman® DH
5) Aaron Cunningham® RF
6) Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
7) Kyle Phillips (L) C
8) Everth Cabrera (S) SS
9) Luis Durango (S) LF

While the Indians counter with:

1) Ezequiel Carrera (L) CF
2) Jayson Nix® 2B
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) DH
4) Carlos Santana (S) 1B
5) Travis Buck (L) RF
6) Nick Weglarz (L) LF
7) Luke Carlin (S) C
8) Luis Valbuena (L) 3B
9) Adam Everett® SS

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Arizona Crushes Carmona And Tribe, 16-5

Lonnie Chisenhall collected four hits and Shin-Soo Choo drove in a pair of runs, but that was just about the only good news for the Indians this afternoon, as the Arizona Diamondbacks raced out to a 13-1 lead by the middle of the fifth inning and went on to cruise, 16-5.

Fausto Carmona had a rough day in falling to 2-1 on the spring. Carmona gave up two in the first and four more in the second, eventually leaving after three innings, seven hits and six earned runs surrendered. Carmona also gave up two of the Diamondbacks' three home runs.

Arizona pounded out 22 hits against seven Indians’ pitchers, while the Indians mustered 14 hits of their own. But that was much too little to prevent Arizona starter Daniel Hudson from picking up his first win of the spring.

Cleveland, now 4-6 in the Cactus League, will take on the San Diego Padres tomorrow afternoon in an attempt to snap out of their pitching funk, which has now surrendered 32 runs in the last two games.

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Indians Take On The 'Home Team' Today, Face The Diamondbacks

The Indians, after their exhausting 16-16 tie yesterday against the Chicago White Sox, get back into action today against the Arizona Diamondbacks at 3:05 p.m.

Here is a look at today's lineups:

1) Kelly Johnson (L) 2B
2) Chris Young (R) CF
3) Stephen Drew (L) SS
4) Xavier Nady (R) 1B
5) Russell Branyan (L) DH
6) Ryan Roberts (R) 3B
7) Brandon Allen (L) LF
8) Henry Blanco (R) C
9) Gerardo Parra (L) RF
1) Michael Brantley (L) CF
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Shin-Soo Choo (L) RF
4) Austin Kearns (R) LF
5) Travis Hafner (L) DH
6) Orlando Cabrera (R) 2B
7) Lonnie Chisenhall (L) 3B
8) Shelley Duncan (R) 1B
9) Lou Marson (R) C

 

The Indians will send Fausto Carmona to the hill seeking his third straight spring win, while the Diamondbacks will counter with Daniel Hudson.

Cleveland is 4-5-1 in spring training games, while the Diamondbacks are 4-9 in the Cactus League.

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Bears, Browns End Up In 16-16 Tie...No, Wait, This Was A Baseball Game

The Indians and the Chicago White Sox got together to play a baseball game today and, on a wind-blown afternoon, a football score broke out.

Cleveland took the lead early, Mitch Talbot could not hold the lead in the wind, then Chicago took a big lead, the Tribe battled all the way back, then fell behind again, then caught up again, and after nine innings everyone took their bats and sore arms and went home.

Phew!

Luis Valbuena belted two homers to lead the offense in a game that featured 32 runs, 39 hits and six errors, five courtesy of the Sox.

Go here for a full recap of today's pitchers' battle.

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Cleveland Indians Sign INF Nick Johnson To Contract

The Cleveland Indians added INF Nick Johnson today after signing him to a minor-league contract. Johnson is coming off wrist surgery in February and will not be ready for the start of the season.

Johnson began his career as a highly touted prospect for the New York Yankees, but injuries kept him from realizing his full potential. Johnson spent time with Montreal, moving on to Washington when the Expos became the Nationals, as well as Florida and a second stint with the Yankees last year.

Johnson’s best season came in 2007 while with the Nationals. he hit .290 with 23 home runs and 77 RBI. His .428 OBP was also the best of his career. Overall, Johnson has a .401 lifetime OBP and is a career .270 hitter with 91 career home runs.

If Johnson is added to the big-league squad this season, the Indians trigger a team-option for 2012.

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2011 Spring Training: Cleveland Indians Send Mitch Talbot To The Mound Against White Sox

The Cleveland Indians will send right-hander Mitch Talbot to the mound for their Cactus League matchup with the Chicago White Sox this afternoon. First pitch is at 3:05 et and can be heard over at Indians.com.

The Indians fell to 4-5 on the spring with a 3-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Sunday. The Indians lineup today is below:

1) Ezequiel Carrera (L) CF
2) Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3) Travis Hafner (L) DH
4) Matt LaPorta® 1B
5) Nick Weglarz (L) LF
6) Jayson Nix® 2B
7) Stephen Head (L) RF
8) Paul Phillips® C
9) Luis Valbuena (L) 3B

The White Sox will counter with:

1) Juan Pierre (L) DH
2) Gordon Beckham® 2B
3) Alex Rios® CF
4) Paul Konerko® 1B
5) A.J. Pierzynski (L) C
6) Dayan Viciedo® RF
7) Mark Teahen (L) 3B
8) Omar Vizquel (S) SS
9) Stefan Gartrell® LF

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Drew Pomeranz Has A Way Of Making Pitching Look Easy

I was not all that aware of Drew Pomeranz before I read this column by Bud Shaw.

Pomeranz glided through two innings against Colorado yesterday with three strikeouts and no base-runners.

The 2010 first-round draft choice will probably start the season in A-ball at Kinston, but that is not a certainty, and with more outings like yesterday's, it would be hard to send him deep into the organization, although we don't want to get ahead of ourselves.

Even so, with Pomeranz and Alex White, last year's Tribe minor-league pitcher of the year, things are looking up for the Indians on the mound, and who knows? Maybe these kids will be the next Sabathia and Lee.

Doesn't hurt to dream, right? After all, it is springtime.

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Indians Waste Nine-Hit Attack, Lose To Rockies 3-1

After Lonnie Chisenhall gave the Indians a lead in the first inning today with a home run, Colorado struck right back against Justin Masterson (0-1), and although the Tribe mustered nine hits against seven Rockies’ pitchers, they never scored again, as Colorado went on to post a 3-1 victory to drop Cleveland to 4-5 in the Cactus League.

Colorado managed only five hits, but it was good enough. Especially effective for the Indians were Frank Herrmann and Drew Pomeranz, each of whom pitched two scoreless innings, with Pomeranz fanning three and not allowing a base-runner.

Cleveland takes on the White Sox again tomorrow afternoon, as the Indians try to crawl back to .500 and the White Sox look for only their second win of the spring.

An Indians’ split-squad defeated Chicago 8-3 on Saturday.

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Indians Face Rockies For Second Time In Three Days In Sunday Preseason Action

The Tribe, buoyed by good news concerning third-base front-runner Jason Donald, face the Colorado Rockies this afternoon in Arizona. Donald, who was hit on the hand by a pitch in the second inning yesterday against the Sox, had X-rays taken on his hand, which came up negative.

The Indians defeated the Rockies on Friday before breaking even in a pair of split-squad games yesterday, beating the White Sox 8-3, but losing to Seattle 7-2.

Cleveland stands at 4-4 in Cactus League action, while Colorado is 4-3.

And Opening Day is 26 days away and getting closer all the time.

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Good News: X-Rays On Jason Donald's Hand Negative

Jason Donald took a pitch off of his hand yesterday afternoon. The pitch broke the skin and had Jason (and the Indians) worried that the infielder might have some real damage.

Thankfully, X-rays were negative, and so, while the hand will no doubt be hurting for a while, it shouldn’t be more than a day or two before Jason will be back out there.

Quite a different prognosis than was feared when Jason took his base after the HBP — and saw blood on his hand

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David Huff's Strong Outing Keys Win Over Chisox, While Mariners Score Early And Often To Defeat Split Indians' Squad

The Indians continued treading water today in Arizona, winning one exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox while at the same time losing against the Seattle Mariners as the Tribe split their squads to give more players an opportunity for action.

In the White Sox match-up, David Huff started and pitched three innings to get the victory as Cleveland prevailed 8-3. Matt LaPorta jump-started the offense in the first inning and the Indians led all the way. The Tribe pounded out ten hits, and for the second straight day Chad Huffman had three hits. All of the Chicago runs were unearned.

Jason Donald was hit in the hand by a pitch against the Sox. He was taken for X-rays, and as of now there is no update on Donald’s condition.

In the game against the Mariners, old friend Franklin Gutierrez drove in three runs to lead Seattle to a 7-2 victory. The Mariners took the lead in the opening inning and never looked back, giving the loss to Jeanmar Gomez, who gave up four runs in less than three innings of work. The Tribe was only able to muster five hits against Eric Wedge’s team, and the combined daily effort left the Indians at 4-4 in Cactus League play.

Tomorrow the Indians will again take on the Colorado Rockies, after defeating the Rockies on Friday.

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'You Take The High Road And I'll Take The Low Road': Tribe Splits Squads To Face Mariners, Chisox Today

The Indians, fresh off of Fausto Carmona’s second victory of the preseason in a 6-2 victory yesterday over the Colorado Rockies, will split squads today and face both the Seattle Mariners and the Chicago White Sox under the sun in Arizona.

Seattle is 2-3 in the young exhibition season while Chicago is 1-4. In the meantime, yesterday’s win evened the Tribe’s “practice game” mark at 3-3.

The Mariners earlier this week acquired veteran right-hander Aaron Laffey from the Indians, and with former Cleveland skipper Eric Wedge at the Mariners’ helm, the game takes on a little added flavor.

And the game with Chicago? There is always something special, even in the preseason, about a game against a divisional opponent…

…Especially a divisional opponent that will be your foe when the season begins in 27 days.

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Indians 'Take The Heat', Beat Rockies 6-2

On a day when their park in Goodyear, Arizona, sustained damage from a fire in the laundry room, and on a day when Shin-Soo Choo played the outfield for the first time this spring, the Indians moved back to .500 in Cactus League play with a 6-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Chad Huffman and Lonnie Chisenhall homered in support of Fausto Carmona, who fanned two in three innings of work to move to 2-0 in the pre-season. In all, six Tribe pitchers limited the Rockies to seven hits, while the Indians banged out eleven hits in eight turns at the plate.

Chisenhall and Huffman both collected three hits, to augment their power displays.

Tomorrow Cleveland plays two split-squad games, one at “home” against the White Sox, and the other “on the road” against the Seattle Mariners, the new home of recently-traded Aaron Laffey.

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Spring Training 2011: Cleveland Indians On Fire, Literally

A small fire inside the spring training home of the Indians in Goodyear, Ariz., has forced the Indians and Colorado Rockies to change up their pre-game routines before today’s game between the two clubs.

The Rockies have been asked not to take batting practice at the stadium due to the fire that caused some damage, but fortunately no injuries.

“The sprinkler systems worked effectively and contained the fire to limit the damage,” said Bart Swain, the Indians’ director of media relations. “Fortunately, no one was hurt and we plan on playing today’s game as scheduled.”

Emergency crews arrived just after 7 a.m. ET and quickly contained the fire that looked to start in a laundry room.

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Spring Training: Colorado Rockies at Cleveland Indians Lineups

Fausto Carmona takes the hill this afternoon when the Cleveland Indians welcome the Colorado Rockies to Goodyear. Carmona was solid in his first start of the spring throwing two scoreless innings in a 12-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.

The other bit of good news involves Shin-Soo Choo, who returns to the lineup after battling some soreness in his left elbow.

Below is the expected starting lineup for the Tribe:

CF Ezequiel Carrera
2B
Orlando Cabrera
RF Shin-Soo Choo
C
Carlos Santana
DH
Travis Hafner
1B
Matt LaPorta
3B
Lonnie Chisenhall
LF
Chad Huffman
SS
Adam Everett

The Rockies will counter with:

CF Dexter Fowler
SS
Jonathan Herrera
DH
Jason Giambi
RF
Ty Wigginton
1B
Mike Jacobs
LF
Ryan Spilborghs
C
Chris Iannetta
2B
Chris Nelson
3B
Thomas Field
P Jhoulys Chacin

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Indians Welcome Colorado Rockies For Afternoon Tilt In The Desert

The Indians, who have lost their first two exhibition games against American League teams, get back into action this afternoon against the Senior Circuit when they take on the Colorado Rockies at 3:05 p.m. in Goodyear, Arizona.

Colorado is 3-2 in pre-season action thus far, and are coming off of a 7-5 defeat at the hands of the San Francisco Giants, while the Tribe has dropped two straight, including yesterday’s 11-9 slugfest versus the Texas Rangers, a game in which Cleveland fell behind 8-2, rallied to take a 9-8 lead, only to lose it in the bottom of the ninth on a game-ending home run for the Rangers.

Four weeks to go, just four more weeks until Opening Day.

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Rangers' Walk-off Homer Ends Slugfest, Texas Beats Tribe 11-9

The Indians showed spunk today, when, after falling behind Texas 8-2 after six innings, a seven-run outburst in the seventh frame gave Cleveland the lead.

That lead lasted until the bottom of the ninth inning, when a three-run Rangers rally, capped by a walk-off, two-run home run by Chris Davis, gave a split Texas squad an 11-9 victory, dropping the Tribe to 2-3 in Cactus League play.

Josh Judy took the loss for Cleveland, retiring only one batter in the final inning. Judy was the sixth Tribe pitcher of the afternoon, in a game started by Mitch Talbot. Of the six, only Justin Germano and Tony Sipp escaped unscathed, both going one inning.

The Indians mustered ten hits to go along with their nine runs, including a grand slam home run off the bat of Matt LaPorta in the huge Tribe seventh.

Cleveland gets right back into action tomorrow afternoon at 3:05 p.m. against the Colorado Rockies.

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Tribe Loses To Oakland 4-3, But Reportedly Pulls Trigger On Laffey Trade

The Indians fell to 2-2 in the exhibition season today, losing to the Oakland A’s 3-2, on the day that a report broke that the Tribe has traded veteran Aaron Laffey to the Seattle Mariners, in a deal the details of which are still forthcoming.

Three separate players drove in a run for Cleveland, but it was not quite enough. After Oakland scored two in the first off of Justin Masterson, the Tribe tied it with two of their own in the fourth, only to see the A’s score in the bottom half of the frame off of Doug Mathis (0-1), who took the loss in the game played in Phoenix.

Seven Indians’ pitchers combined to surrender six hits. Cleveland will next take on the American League champion Texas Rangers tomorrow afternoon at the Rangers’ facility as the Tribe tries to nose back above .500 in Cactus League play.

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REPORT: Cleveland Indians Trade P Aaron Laffey To Seattle Mariners

Reports are breaking that the Cleveland Indians have traded P Aaron Laffey to the Seattle Mariners. The terms of the deal, or, who the Indians received as part of the deal, have yet to be determined.

Laffey has struggled to find a consistent role with the Indians, bouncing from the starting rotation to the bullpen since 2008. Laffey broke onto the scene with the big league club in 2007 when he went 4-2 with a 4.56 ERA in 9 starts for an Indians team that was one game short of the World Series.

Laffey went 14-19 over the past 3 seasons, making 40 starts. His role diminished considerably in 2010 when he made just 5 starts for the Indians, appearing in just 29 games.

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Shin Soo Choo Expected To Return On Friday

The Cleveland Indians are breathing a sigh of relief today after they received some good news about RF Shin Soo Choo. Choo has been out of the lineup with a bit of elbow soreness and there was a concern that he was experiencing issues with the same elbow he had Tommy John surgery on in 2007.

After having the elbow checked out, it was determined that the soreness was nothing serious and had nothing to do with his previous injury. Better yet, Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff has said he expects Shoo to be ready to play right field this Friday.

That’s great news for the Indians.

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Tribe Takes On Oakland This Afternoon In Phoenix

The Indians play their first game of the exhibition season against a team from the American League this afternoon when they take on the Oakland A’s in Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

The Indians have won two straight after opening with a loss to Cincinnati, prevailing yesterday over the L.A. Dodgers, 2-1, at Goodyear Ballpark.

Oakland is 1-2 so far this spring, but the offense has been no problem. The Athletics have plated 28 runs so far in three games. On the down side, the Oakland staff has allowed 22 runs.

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Indians Defeat Dodgers In A Pitchers' Duel, 2-1

Ah, spring training, where names we may not be all that familiar with can step to the forefront. Sometimes those names become better known later, and sometimes they fade away.

Today, against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Tribe prevailed, winning their second straight Cactus League game, 2-1. with the win going to Kelvin De La Cruz and the save to Zach McAllister.

Oddly, De La Cruz gave up the only L.A. run, in the seventh inning, but the Indians answered in their half of the seventh to regain the lead, and McAllister made it stand up with a two-inning save.

Austin Kearns led all players on both teams with two hits for Cleveland, while Orlando Cabrera had the only RBI for the Indians.

The Indians take on Oakland tomorrow afternoon as the slow countdown toward Opening Day continues

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Cleveland Indians Make Chad Durbin Signing Official

The Cleveland Indians today signed free agent pitcher Chad Durbin to a one-year Major League contract for the 2011 season.

Durbin, 33, spent the last three years pitching in relief with the Philadelphia Phillies and compiled a mark of 11-7 with a 3.62 ERA in 194 games (226.0IP, 200H, 91ER, 109BB, 188K, 8.0H/9.0IP, 7.5K/9.0IP).

He owns a career Major League record of 36-44 with a 5.05 ERA in 308 games/75GS (691.0IP, 735H, 388ER, 453K) and pitched for the Cleveland Indians over 20 games/9 starts during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. His career relief ERA is 3.99 in 233 games (291.1IP, 271H, 129ER, 239K, .249AVG, 7.4K/9.0IP). The Baton Rouge, LA native was originally a 3rd round selection of the Kansas City Royals in 1996 and debuted with the Royals in 1999 at the age of 21.

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Cleveland Indians Waste No Time Naming Fausto Carmona Opening Day Starter

The Cleveland Indians have played just two Cactus League games this spring, and the weather in Cleveland is much closer to winter than the warmer days to come but the Indians know who they will send to the mound on Opening Day on April 1 against the Chicago White Sox.  Fausto Carmona, who pitched two scoreless innings today against the Cincinnati Reds in a 12-0 win, has been named the Opening Day starter for the Indians.

Indians manager Manny Acta made the announcement after today's game.

"That's a good assumption," Acta said with a smile. "Yeah, he's our Opening Day starter. He deserves that."

Carmona is undoubtedly the ace of the Indians staff in 2011, and he's coming off a solid season despite all the troubles the Indians had in 2010.  Carmona was 13-14 with a 3.77 ERA last year for an Indians team that lost 93 games.

If Monday is any indication, Carmona is primed for an even bigger 2011.  Carmona used just 29 pitches(22 strikes) to motor through the Reds.

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Carlos Carrasco Pretty Much Assuredly In The Cleveland Indians Rotation

The youth movement isn’t always a bad thing when it comes to the small market Cleveland Indians. Sure, they don’t spend a lot of money, and they trade away every good player they have, but there’s something to be said for watching young guys develop into Major League starters.

A perfect example of this is Carlos Carrasco. A guy once thought to be the Phillies best pitching prospect, Carrasco hit speed bumps in triple-A and was all but an afterthought at one point. But the talent level was still there, despite his troubles. And a move to the Indians in the Cliff Lee deal seemed to be just what he needed.

The 24-year-old SP had a 3.65 ERA in the minors last year before being brought up and having some good outings, ending the year with a sub-4 ERA and a 2-2 record in the bigs.

And his performance has paid off. Indians manager Manny Acta recently announced that it’s almost a guarantee that Carrasco will be in the starting rotation this season.

“I think Carrasco has done enough in Triple-A already,” Acta said. "And he pitched well enough for us last year in September that he’s got a leg up on that [fourth] spot in the rotation. We’re not saying that a guy like him, or a few more that we’re not going to mention here, could probably pitch themselves out.

“It’s pretty safe to say that he’s going to be one of those five guys.”

The rotation may be shaky at times, and they still need a veteran fifth starter, but if they can develop some consistency, the mix of Carrasco, Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson and Mitch Talbot should continue to get better. If the Tribe can get anything out of guys like Huff or Reyes, great. If they can find an experienced starter to a reasonable 1-2 year deal (ala Carl Pavano), even better.

The end game is to bide time until Alex White is ready to break through to the majors.

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Indians Host First Female To Throw Batting Practice In Spring Training

The Cleveland Indians are already making history in Spring Training 2011, welcoming Justine Siegal to camp. The significance is Siegal became the first woman to pitch batting practice in a major league spring training camp. Ironically, Siegal is a native Clevelander who grew up rooting for the Indians during the 1990’s.

“I wanted to be Orel Hershiser,” Siegal said of the starting pitcher who played for Cleveland in the mid-1990s. “Following the Indians is in my blood.”

Siegal, 36, now lives in Springfield, Mass., pitched to Paul Phillips, Lou Marson and Juan Apodaca, all who are in the major league camp.

“If you didn’t see the ponytails, she would have fit right in,” said Phillips, one of the players who took swings off Siegal’s pitches. “She did great.”

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Orlando Cabrera Passes Physical, Joins Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians today signed free agent infielder Orlando Cabrera to a one-year Major League contract for the 2011 season. Cabrera will add depth to the Indians infield group and if all goes according to plan he could be the Tribe’s everyday 2nd baseman.

The 36-year-old Cabrera is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner who owns a career .274 batting average with 118 home runs and 803 RBIs in 1855 games. He spent the 2010 season with the Cincinnati Reds, leading the club with 119 starts at shortstop.

Cabrera has been to the postseason in each of the last four seasons and in six of the last seven seasons beginning in 2004 with the World Champion Boston Red Sox. In all, he has appeared in 37 career postseason games with five different teams.

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Indians In No Hurry To Name Batting Order

A Major League Baseball batting order is sometimes a thing of national security – at least that’s how many managers handle the batting order, especially early in Spring Training. It is often for good reason – players are coming back from injury, younger players are ready to take on more of a defined role, new players join the team – and managers need time to see how all the parts fit.

For the Indians, all three reasons given above can be given for Manny Acta rightfully taking his time determining what the Indians’ batting order will be come April 1.

INJURIES: Grady Sizemore and Carlos Santana, two huge parts of the Indians offense, are still rehabbing from serious knee injuries. If both can come back healthy, the Indians’ offense will look dramatically different that if they cannot.

YOUNG PLAYERS: Matt LaPorta didn’t hit for average – only .257 – but he did show the power that excited the Indians when they made him the focal point of the C.C. Sabathia trade. LaPorta hit 22 home runs last year and could be primed for a big season, but his average makes him a liability higher in the order. In a perfect world, Acta would probably like to hit LaPorta 7th or 8th, but if the Indians struggle to score they may need to move him up.

The same could be said for Jason Donald and Michael Brantley. If Sizemore can come back healthy he will be at the top of the order while the youngsters get more experience down low. That would allow them to be spark-plug players.

NEW PLAYERS: The Indians latest signing, Orlando Cabrera, has yet to pass his physical so he isn’t officially an Indian, yet. Position players don’t need to report until next week, so Cabrera isn’t required to be in camp. If he is, the Indians have a solid veteran to place right in the middle of the order – 5 or 6. If Cabrera can’t play anymore, the Indians will be forced to jumble the lineup.

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