The Indians will take tonight off and will depart for Toledo tomorrow morning. The scheduled off day has not kept me away from the Victory Field offices. My sales responsibilities keep me busy during the season. In addition to calling on prospects I will be keeping in touch with people from the road. So today is a great day to get ready for the upcoming trip.
The Red Sox annual Patriots Day game has helped pass the time. Thanks to the MLB app I’m listening to Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione. AT&T should consider me for an iphone testimonial. Whether it’s listening to a baseball game, editing the blog (from the bus!), or getting a post game quote to Brian Bosma, the iphone has made my life easier. The one thing it can’t do is tell you how to handle the business side of baseball. I’m afraid the nasty part of the game is going to show its face sometime this week.
INF Luis Cruz is expected to join the Tribe tomorrow in Toledo. Cruz was a bench player for the Pirates and the Delwyn Young signing pushed Cruz to Indianapolis. The Indians do not have to make a roster move because Cruz completes the 24 man roster. The question I have is where will Cruz play? Someone is going to lose playing time and the middle infield positions appear to belong to Brian Bixler and Shelby Ford. Let’s begin at short. When Bixler was sent down, the Pirates said they would rather Brian play everyday in Indy than sit the bench. That tells me they favor Bixler as a more long term option that Cruz. So maybe Bixler plays 5 out of 7 games at short, with Cruz filling in the other two days. Shelby Ford may be considered more of a prospect than Cruz and perhaps Ford will play second base 5 out of 7 games with Bixler and Cruz spelling him. Both of these scenarios leave Cruz on the bench for too many games. So I’m saying Cruz will play the outfield with Garret Jones or Jeff Salazar getting their at-bats as a DH. Just a guess and we will know more tomorrow.
Don’t expect Luis Cruz to come in and hit safely in 7 of his first 8 games. Cruz had a grand total of TWO at-bats with the Pirates. We saw this with Brad Eldred in 2007 and Bixler last summer. Both guys saw limited big league action and when they arrived in Indy their timing was off. Eldred was with the Pirates for about six weeks and appeared in 19 games hitting .109. The next 14 games with the Indians he would hit .218 (12-55) with 16 strikeouts. Bixler appeared in 34 April and May games for the Pirates hitting .175. He would be sent back to Indy and in his first 14 games hit just .143 with 8 strikeouts. After looking at the numbers two things stand out. Eldred’s Indy numbers were not as bad as I remember. (With his swing you remember the home runs and strikeouts. There we plenty of K’s that summer.) Big Country had 4 extra-base hits in his first 14 games with the Indians. Second, I didn’t realize Bixler appeared in 34 games and had 80 at bats. That’s a decent sample size. In any case both guys were off their game when they came to Indy and Cruz may soon be in the same boat.
Some news and notes before the team hits the road. Yesterdays scheduled starter Jason Davis will not pitch tomorrow. He threw a simulated game yesterday and will pitch in a real game Friday. Tom Gorzelanny will go tomorrow at Toledo with Daniel McCutchen pitching on Wednesday. Virgil Vasquez will pitch the opener at Columbus with Davis and Ty Taubenheim pitching the next two days. The move keeps Gordo, Danimal, and Virg on a five day schedule.
Check this out. A pair of former Indians worked together for a Las Vegas win. Have a great Monday and we’ll talk from the TOL.