The Indians get ready to play the Reds today in their Cactus League season opener. There are still questions about who will be filling in some vacant holes that are still in question. There are 5 pitchers in the mix for the open 5th starter spot. Josh Tomlin, Jeanmar Gomez, David Huff, Aaron Laffey and Anthony Reyes are the pitchers going after the spot. Against the Reds, Tomlin will start, and Laffey is scheduled to make a relief appearence. Tomlin had 12 starts with the Tribe last season going 6-4 with a 4.56 ERA. Laffey was 2-3 with a 4.53 ERA in 29 appearences with only 5 starts. Tribe manager, Manny Acta, says he will narrow the list of the above 5 down after the first couple weeks of games. Look for some good pitching from the Tribe in these first couple of weeks of Cactus League ball.
Spring Training is finally underway. The Tribe hopes that their infield defense improves with the pick up of Orlando Cabrera. As for the pitching, it looks like Fausto Carmona will be locking up the ace starter, and Chris Perez will be closing out the games. Fausto, who is making $6.1 million this season with a $7 million option for next season, has not always been consistent throughout his career, but Tribe manager Manny Acta is optimistic that he will produce this season. Carmona spent time in the minors working on his mechanics and mental side of the game. He finished 2010 with a 13-14 record and a 3.77 ERA. The Tribe’s closer, Chris Perez, finished the 2010 season with 23 saves. In 63 innings, he struck out 61 and held his opponents to a .182 batting average. Perez recorded a 1.71 ERA last season, the second lowest amoung relievers in the American League. If Carmona stays consistent this season, and Perez stays on point as their closer, the Tribe will have a great starting-closing pitching duo between the two of them.
As Spring Training is just around the corner (pitchers and catchers report to workouts on Tuesday), the Indians are getting ready for the start of the 2011 season. It is reported that the Tribe signed veteran infielder Orlando Cabrera to a one-year major league contract. As of right now, Cleveland has shown no plans of moving Asdrubal Cabrera from his shortstop position, most likely meaning Orlando Cabrera will be competing for the open spot at second base. Where ever the 36 year old Orlando Cabrera ends up, adding a veteran to the infield can jump start the defense with a little more confidence, less errors and a few more double plays. Hopefully the Tribe’s DH, Travis “Pronk” Hafner will get his numbers back on track after they took a dip last season due to shoulder surgery. Indian’s manager says he will monitor Hafner’s at-bats and plans to give him the occasional day off against the lefty.
As Spring Training nears, the Indians look to add righted-handed Jeremy Bonderman to their rotation. Indian’s general manager, Chris Antonetti, declined to comment about the Tribe nearing negotiations with the experienced ex-Detroit Tiger free agent, though Dave Dombroski, Tiger’s general manager, stated Detroit was no longer in the running for the righty, and Antonetti is still looking for outside help with starting pitching. In Bonderman’s 8 years with Detroit, he was 67-77 with an ERA or 4.89 in 207 outings. He was a part of the ’06 Detroit Tigers World Series run, but since has lost much of the drop on his go to stike out pitch, the slider, due to surgery on his right arm. Bonderman would be a nice third or 4th starter to join Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson and Mitch Talbot in the rotation. Bonderman has played in the AL Central his whole career, so he is quite familiar with the power houses in the divison, the Twins, Chi Sox, and his ex-team the Tigers. Look for the Tribe to make a move on this free-agent.
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