Brown_ Grilli to undergo surgery By Anthony Castrovince MLB.com

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Brown_ Grilli to undergo surgery By Anthony Castrovince MLB.com Powered By Docstoc
					Brown, Grilli to undergo surgery
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The first cuts of Indians camp have come earlier than expected.

And these cuts will be all too literal for outfielder Jordan Brown and right-hander Jason Grilli.

Brown, the reigning International League batting champ, tore a meniscus in his right knee during outfield drills Friday and will have arthroscopic
surgery early next week in Cleveland, head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff announced. The surgery will cost Brown four to eight weeks of action,
so he can officially be counted out of the competition in the Tribe's outfield.

Grilli, a non-roster invitee to camp, appears headed for potential season-ending surgery, because he has a tear in his right quadriceps, just
above the knee. Soloff said there is a "high likelihood of surgical intervention" on the injury, but Grilli, at the Indians' urging, will receive a
second opinion on the matter in the next few days. So count the veteran Grilli out of the competition in the Tribe's bullpen.

While these aren't considered major losses, where the Indians' 2010 plans are concerned, they are nonetheless a blow to the club's depth.

"It's unfortunate," manager Manny Acta said. "Those are two guys who were in the mix."

Brown's chances of landing an Opening Day spot seemed slim, in the wake of the signing of first baseman Russell Branyan, who will likely push
Matt LaPorta back to left field. But Brown is an intriguing prospect for the Tribe, because he's done nothing but hit, when healthy, in the Minors.

Minor controversy erupted last year when Brown, on the heels of hitting .336 with a .913 OPS at Triple-A Columbus, was not given a
September promotion to the bigs. He was hoping to use this camp to impress a new coaching staff and silence doubts about his defense and
power, and he was off to a good start, having hit two homers in two intrasquad games.

"Hopefully this is a tiny little setback," Brown said. "If anybody is used to tiny little setbacks, it's this guy."

Brown, 26, was in the midst of outfield drills when he felt a pop in his knee.

"It's a step I've taken a million times," he said. "The doctor said the knee is a funny thing. You can do something to it with just an ordinary
move."

Grilli, 33, was also injured on a rather routine drill. He was running sprints on the agility field and injured his quadriceps while rounding a cone.

Soloff called the injury significant and somewhat rare for a baseball player.

"You see it in football players," Soloff said.

Grilli went 2-3 with a 5.32 ERA in 52 appearances for the Rockies and Rangers last year.


Grudzielanek's two-hit debut paces Indians
Huff, Talbot each toss two scoreless in battle for rotation
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
03/06/10 6:10 PM EST
INDIANS 4, REDS 2at Goodyear, Ariz.
Saturday, March 6

Indians at the plate: Veteran Mark Grudzielanek, competing for a middle infield utility spot, went 2-for-2 with an RBI double in his Tribe debut.
Andy Marte, out of Minor League options and trying to latch on as a corner infield option, took Johnny Cueto deep with a two-run shot to left in
the second inning. Outfield prospect Nick Weglarz contributed his fourth RBI in two Cactus League games.

Reds at the plate: Miguel Cairo, a non-roster invitee vying for a spot on the Reds' bench, helped his cause and broke up a shutout when he
took Tony Sipp deep with a two-run shot in the sixth.

Indians on the mound: Two candidates for the Tribe rotation, left-hander David Huff and right-hander Mitch Talbot, turned in strong outings.
Both worked two scoreless, with Huff allowing two hits and striking out three and Talbot allowing two hits and striking out one. Rule 5 pickup
Hector Ambriz labored through the fifth but came out unscathed on the scoreboard.

Reds on the mound: Cueto's outing began with a Joey Votto throwing error allowing Tribe leadoff man Michael Brantley to reach, and it didn't
get much better from there. He allowed four runs, two of which were earned, on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in two innings. Veteran
Arthur Rhodes worked a scoreless third against his former team, and closer Francisco Cordero worked a scoreless fourth.

Worth noting: Bob Feller, the senior member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and still spry at the ripe old age of 91, tossed out a
ceremonial first pitch in honor of this being the Tribe's first official "home" game of the spring season. Feller did not disappoint, tossing his pitch
from the rubber.

Also in attendance was Commissioner Bud Selig, who made his first visit to the Goodyear facility and called it "absolutely amazing."

Cactus League records: Indians 2-0; Reds 0-2.

Up next: It took more than 21 months, but Jake Westbrook will finally start a Major League game Sunday. It might only be an exhibition, but it
will be a big deal to Westbrook, who had Tommy John elbow surgery in June 2008 and missed all of last season. The Tribe's penciled-in
Opening Day starter will get the nod against the Rangers for a 3:05 p.m. ET/1:05 p.m. MT game on Gameday Audio at Goodyear Ballpark.
Right-hander Brandon McCarthy will start for Texas.
The Reds will make their first true road trip on Sunday when they face the Brewers in Maryvale at 3:05 p.m. ET/1:05 MT on Gameday Audio.
Bronson Arroyo will get his first spring tune-up against Milwaukee left-hander Doug Davis. There will be some interesting pitchers that follow
Arroyo, including fifth-starter candidate Micah Owings. A young sidearm reliever that's impressed in the early going, right-hander Enerio Del
Rosario will likely make his first appearance for Cincinnati. Nick Masset and Daniel Ray Herrera are also slated to come out of the bullpen.


Three hopefuls for last two rotation spots
Sowers' injury leaves Huff, Laffey, Talbot as front-runners
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jeremy Sowers is progressing well in his recovery from left shoulder soreness, but not well enough to be considered a
candidate for the Indians' two rotation vacancies.

Pitching coach Tim Belcher said the hope is for Sowers, who is throwing bullpen sessions every third day, to get into Cactus League games by
March 18 or 19, which would be too late to get him stretched out and ready for the start of the regular season, from a starting standpoint.

Sowers, who is out of Minor League options, could open the season on the disabled list or potentially compete for a bullpen spot.

"I wouldn't anticipate that we'd feel comfortable throwing him out there [as a starter] the first week of the season," Belcher said.

The Indians have already promised rotation spots to Jake Westbrook, Fausto Carmona and Justin Masterson. So if you're scoring at home, and
you're in a generous mood, the number of candidates for the final two spots is down to five -- right-handers Mitch Talbot, Carlos Carrasco and
Hector Rondon and left-handers Aaron Laffey and David Huff.

If you're being realistic, you know that Carrasco and Rondon are likely ticketed for Triple-A Columbus at the outset of the season, leaving the
Indians with three candidates for two spots.

The battle between Laffey, Huff and Talbot began in earnest this weekend, in a two-game set with the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark. Each
member of the trio turned in a pair of scoreless innings against the Reds.

"They're all tied for first," manager Manny Acta said. "They all pitched well."

On Saturday, it was Huff and Talbot toeing the rubber for the Tribe. Huff demonstrated the stuff that helped him win a team-high 11 games as a
rookie last year, while Talbot, also out of Minor League options, showed the stuff that made the Indians target him in the trade that sent Kelly
Shoppach to the Rays.

Huff, who allowed two hits while striking out three, said he didn't enter camp expecting to rest on the laurels of his 11-8 season. He showed
improvement over the course of 23 starts last year, going 4-1 with a 2.18 ERA over his last five starts to lower his season ERA from 6.57 to
5.61. But he doesn't expect anything to be handed to him.

"My ultimate goal is to do what I can do and get better," he said.

The 25-year-old Huff sees room for improvement in his pitch selection to fellow left-handers.

"This offseason, I worked on my left-on-left changeup," he said. "Now I'm confident with it. I'm trying to throw it more to lefties, and it looks like
it's working."

Talbot, 26, had his changeup and cutter working particularly well against the Reds in two innings in which he allowed a pair of hits and struck
out one.

As long as Talbot gets through this camp healthy and competes, he is assured of an Opening Day roster spot, in some capacity. Because he is
out of options, the Indians want to give him a shot. If he doesn't stick in the rotation, they feel he has the stuff to have success in relief.

Of course, Talbot has his preference, when it comes to his role. He wants to be a starter, and the opportunity he has with the Indians was
nonexistent with the Rays.

"With [David] Price and [Wade] Davis, their golden boys, I knew it wasn't looking too good as far as being a starter, and that's what I want to
be," Talbot said. "I was not really looking forward to being a long reliever and pitching once every two weeks or so. I'm really happy to be here
where I can actually compete for a starting spot."

A partial tear of an elbow ligament and a shoulder strain limited Talbot to 15 starts in the Minors last season. But he's healthy now, and the
Indians feel he has nothing left to prove at the Triple-A level. He won 13 games for Durham in both 2007 and '08.

"That's not easy to do in the Minor Leagues," said Belcher, "where you're making 27 or 28 starts."

Talbot made three appearances with Tampa Bay in '08, but the injury issues prevented him from a return appearance last year. The '09 season
was Huff's first exposure to the bigs.

Laffey, meanwhile, is the most experienced Major Leaguer of the three combatants, having logged 50 appearances, including 44 starts, with
the Tribe since '07, going 16-18 with a 4.39 ERA along the way. He was a tremendous help in both the rotation and bullpen last year (7-9, 4.44
ERA), but an oblique injury sidelined him midway through the year and he struggled in September.

Talbot's arrival to the organization obviously complicates matters for Huff and Laffey. One of them could leave camp unhappy because of the
new guy in town.

Acta said it will be a while before it's all sorted out. When asked if he could handicap the race, he didn't bite.
"We can't just hand out jobs," he said. "It's going to be interesting. That question will be answered by itself in about three weeks."

But with Sowers bowed out, the rotation picture is already getting clearer.


Castro Blog
Brown to miss 4 to 8 weeks; Grilli could miss entire season

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com

The news wasn't all that great for Jordan Brown or Jason Grilli on Saturday, after the Indians' doctors analyzed their MRI exams.

Brown has a torn meniscus in his right knee and will require arthroscopic surgery in Cleveland next week. He'll miss four to eight weeks of
action, so count him out of the competition in the Indians' outfield.

"Hopefully this is a tiny little setback," said Brown, the International League batting champ last year at Columbus. "If anybody is used to tiny little
setbacks, it's this guy."

Grilli's injury is no tiny little setback. He has a tear in his right quadriceps, just above the knee, that is likely to require surgery. Grilli, a non-roster
invitee who was to be a veteran bullpen option for the Tribe, could miss the entire 2010 season. Upon the Indians' request, he'll receive a
second opinion on the quadriceps injury before it's determined whether he'll have the surgery.

Here's the full story at Indians.com.

UPDATE: In other injury news, Russell Branyan, still working his way back from the back issues that sidelined him the last month of the '09
season in Seattle, will make his Cactus League debut Wednesday against the Padres.

That's the same day Matt LaPorta, recovering from hip and toe surgeries, is also slated to debut.


Acta lets Indians know he’s the boss
By Sheldon Ocker
GOODYEAR, ARIZ.: How do you tell the difference between a spring training camp run by Eric Wedge or Manny Acta?
Certainly, fans visiting the Goodyear complex to watch Tribe workouts can’t differentiate. That would be true if the manager was Pat Corrales or Dave Garcia, Doc
Edwards or Mike Hargrove, John McNamara or Charlie Manuel; pick any Indians skipper from the past 30 years.
Evaluating a manager cannot be done until you’ve seen him do his job on a daily basis for several months. At least. So what can we know about Acta, who is in his
first season as the field boss of the Indians?
Start with this: Whether you agree with his decisions or not, he’s his own man. It was Acta who moved Grady Sizemore from the leadoff spot in the batting order to
the No. 2 hole and elevated Asdrubal Cabrera to the top of the lineup.
It probably was Acta who decided to hand over first base to Russell Branyan, rather than begin the season with Matt LaPorta at first and use Branyan off the bench
to play first, third and spell Travis Hafner at designated hitter.
These were hardly innocuous moves. They have raised eyebrows among the fans and the media. If they don’t work, Acta will hear about it. That didn’t stop him.
Even before he asserted himself with the Sizemore and Branyan decisions, Acta made it clear that he is the boss. To be effective, managers have to act like they
deserve to be in command. Good managers possess a certain presence. When they walk into the clubhouse, you know they’re in charge.
That doesn’t mean the manager has to behave like a member of the British royal family or a bully fresh out of the slammer. Acta seems to have figured out the line
between showing too much bluster or too much deference to players who make three times his salary. He’s approachable and friendly, but there’s no question he’s
the CEO on the field.
Most fans don’t care about a manager’s relationship with reporters, but it affects the volume and quality of information they receive. Acta is more forthcoming and
candid with the media than was Wedge, who hesitated to confirm the sun had set even if it was pitch dark.
When the Tribe’s media consultant met with the players last week, someone asked Acta if he, too, had attended the session.
“I had mine for 21/2 years,” he said, referring to his time with the Washington Nationals.
As a big-league skipper, Acta has an advantage over most of the men who have held that job with the Indians the past several decades. He has done it before with
the lowly Nationals, a franchise that seems destined to be an expansion team forever.
Some fans criticized the Tribe for hiring a manager with Acta’s unenviable record. Did they expect him to lead the Nationals to the pennant? Keep in mind that
even good managers inevitably lose with no-talent players. Acta’s win-loss record with the Nationals should have no bearing on what the sporting public in
Northeast Ohio thinks of him.
That said, I don’t know if Acta will be a skillful manager or not. But he is intelligent, level-headed, and he seems to have done an enormous amount of homework
on the players he would see in spring training.
Given the fact that he spent most of the past three years in the National League, his knowledge of the Tribe is impressive. After he was fired by the Nationals, he
began watching baseball on television, including games involving the Tribe.
As the decision neared about his future - whether to take the job with the Indians or become the manager of the Houston Astros - Acta immersed himself in data.
When he talks about a player, he can recite accurate statistics, going back to his minor-league years. In speaking about pitching hopeful Mitch Talbot, Acta
mentioned that he won 13 games two years in a row, and that was in Triple-A Durham. Most baseball players - in contrast to golfers - get their own numbers
wrong.
I haven’t seen Acta run a game, but I anticipate that he will execute the kind of moves that other managers would make under the same circumstances. Running a
game is an overrated skill among managers. Not that it’s unimportant, but most skippers vary little in manipulating the chess pieces on the field.
Is Acta a small-ball guy or an Earl Weaver disciple, who waits for the three-run homer? I don’t know, but I hope he is neither. Listening to him, it appears that his
moves will depend on the situation and not some preconceived notion of how the game should generally be played.
How will Acta ultimately demonstrate he knows what he’s doing? The way a manager relates to his players is most important. Players have to buy into a
manager’s grand design for success. He has to sell the plan and himself to them.
Players don’t have to be fond of their boss; they do have to believe that he knows what’s best and that he will treat everyone fairly. That is not to say each player
should be handled the same way, because they all have different needs, different shortcomings and different strengths.
It’s an often overlooked requirement by fans, but a manager and his general manager not only must share the same goals, but they also must agree on how to
reach them. That can sometimes be difficult for the manager, who is hired to win or suffer the consequences.
At least, that’s usually the case. The Indians are not going to win every game. They might not win half their games. This is a club that must rebuild. That means
Acta not only is supposed to win as many as he can, but also oversee the reconstruction project.
I don’t expect this to be a problem. General Manager Mark Shapiro knows he is not in charge of the New York Yankees or Philadelphia Phillies. What probably is
most important to him are Acta’s contributions to the improvement of the young players, and whether the manager can persuade the veterans to play hard all
season.
Sounds simple enough. I know many of you fans think you can do it, so why not Manny Acta?


Selig visits as Tribe beats Reds
By Sheldon Ocker
GOODYEAR, ARIZ.: It was a banner day at the ballpark: The Indians beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 Saturday; Bob Feller threw out the first pitch attired in (gasp)
blue jeans; a couple of team mascots roamed the grandstand, and Commissioner Bud Selig showed up.
Selig, making a tour of spring training venues, had never seen Goodyear Ballpark.
“It’s just amazing,” he said. “I couldn’t have imagined being in all these spring-training venues.”
Selig began his baseball career in 1970 as owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, who are in their third Arizona spring training home.”
Major League Baseball is in the midst of a period of relative calm after dealing with steroid and amphetamine scandals. But the recent bust of an English rugby
player, who tested positive for HGH, has created a new issue for Selig.
The media and anti-drug organizations began a call for baseball and the NFL to man up and adopt the new blood test.
“We just had a summit about that in New York,” Selig said. “Everyone made their feelings known. The test is going to be analyzed. We have a noted expert, Gary
Green, working on that. When he is finished, he’ll get back to me. That’s where we are right now.”
Even if MLB decides that it’s a good idea to use the test, nothing will happen unless the players union agrees.
Whenever the World Series is played in sleet, snow and frigid temperatures - which seems to be happening more often - the issue of shortening the season arises.
“We’ve talked to clubs [owners] about cutting the schedule, and there is no interest in doing that,” Selig said, adding that trying to mitigate the effects of weather on
the postseason is an ongoing concern, and that he would have an announcement concerning the problem.
In recent months, Selig appointed 14 members to a committee that will make recommendations about on-field matters. Managers, general managers and owners
comprise the bulk of the group, which includes Indians GM Mark Shapiro.
Why Shapiro?
“I thought about this for a year,” Selig said. “Mark brings a unique, modernistic approach to the task. He’s very smart, and I haven’t been disappointed.”
For the second day in a row, the Tribe outgunned and outpitched the Reds, who have been outscored 13-4.
Andy Marte provided the biggest hit of the game, a two-run homer in the second inning. Mark Grudzielanek and Nick Weglarz each delivered RBI singles in the
first inning.
Grudzielanek, trying to earn a roster spot as an extra infielder, has been a consistent hitter for years.
“Today, he did what he’s done for 15 years,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “We’ll have to see what happens in spring training, but he can be a valuable piece
for us.”
David Huff started for the Indians and pitched two strong innings, giving up two hits and striking out three. He is not a lock to win a job in the rotation, but he
certainly is a strong candidate.
“There are reasons why this guy won 11 games,” Acta said, in praise of Huff’s workmanship Saturday.
But it’s far too early to name the rotation beyond Jake Westbrook, Fausto Carmona and Justin Masterson. Aaron Laffey, Mitch Talbot, Carlos Carrasco and Hector
Rondon are the other pitchers competing for the rotation.
“That question probably will answer itself in about three weeks,” Acta said. “Right now, they’re all tied for first.”
Huff is taking his lack of a guaranteed job in stride.
“It doesn’t make me feel any worse or any better,” he said. “I knew I was coming in to compete for a job.”
Talbot also faced the Reds on Saturday, giving up two hits and striking out one in two innings.
Tribe pitchers have walked only two in the first 18 innings of the spring.
It is not unusual for Feller to either throw out a first pitch or be introduced on the field before exhibition games, but seldom does he wear anything less than a full
uniform. On Saturday, he was dressed in an Indians jersey tucked into a pair of jeans.
An investigation is under way.
Both teams’ mascots - Slider for the Tribe, Gapper for the Reds - entertained the younger fans. Gapper took a break in the right-field clubhouse, removing his head
to take in a little fresh air.
The heat generated inside the costumes of most team mascots can be debilitating, but no moreso than players throwing baseballs.
“We were playing the Marlins, and some of their guys were playing catch,” Gapper said. “I suddenly realized they were getting closer to me, and then I felt
something pretty painful. One guy got me right in the middle of the back.
“But it’s better [for show biz purposes] if the players are willing [to participate]. So in that respect, getting hit was a good thing.”
And some people think mascots have an easy job.
Season in jeopardy
The injury suffered by Jason Grilli while he ran sprints on Friday might end his season before it begins.
Grilli, who was competing for a berth in the Indians’ bullpen, suffered a tear of the quadriceps muscle near the right knee.
“We’re still in the process of gathering information,” head trainer Lonnie Soloff said. “Part of the process will be to involve a second opinion. There is a high
likelihood of a surgical intervention that could cost Jason the balance of his season.”
Soloff said the injury was unusual among baseball players.
“It’s pretty uncommon to have this happen during a conditioning drill,” he said. “You see this injury in football players.”
Spring training over
Jordan Brown’s hopes of latching on to a reserve outfield or first-base job in spring training became moot when he tore the medial meniscus cartilage in his right
knee on Friday.
“He will have arthroscopic surgery early next week [at the Cleveland Clinic],” Soloff said. “The time frame for him to be back on the field is four to eight weeks.”
That timetable precludes Brown from having any chance of making the team in training camp, inasmuch as spring training will conclude in less than a month.
Brown had only an outside chance of making the roster, despite an impressive showing early in camp. He homered in each of the Tribe’s two intrasquad games.
His problem: Three other contenders for the same spot (Austin Kearns, Shelley Duncan, Trevor Crowe) all bat from the right side, an asset on a club that is
dominated by left-handed batters.
Branyan debut near
Russell Branyan won’t play in an exhibition game until Wednesday, but he is not nursing an injury.
The Tribe’s medical staff is being careful, because Branyan missed the last month of the 2009 season with a herniated disc.
“Russell is scheduled to play the same day as Matt LaPorta,” Acta said. “We have a program for him. He spent the winter taking care of his back, now we want to
get his legs ready.”
Marching onward
The Indians remain at home this afternoon to play the Texas Rangers. Jake Westbrook will get his first start of the spring and will be opposed by Brandon
McCarthy. Following Westbrook will be Kerry Wood, Jamey Wright, Alex White and Saul Rivera.
The game will be aired by WAKR (1590-AM) and WTAM (1100-AM).




Easy-going New York Yankee CC Sabathia shares details into what makes him tick, on the mound and off
John Harper
TAMPA - CC Sabathia won a Cy Young Award in 2007 with the Indians but he had to become a Yankee to come of age as a pitcher.
Sabathia was a three-sport captain in high school, admired for his maturity and leadership, yet it wasn’t until he was robbed at gunpoint as a 21-year-old major
leaguer that he realized how much he had to grow up.
The big-as-a-mountain lefty is already a Yankee through and through, delivering the championship for which the ballclub signed him to that seven-year, $161
million contract. For such a high-priced star, however, Sabathia managed to keep an awfully low profile in his first season in New York.
It’s the way he likes it. He’s as easy-going as he is popular with his teammates, a player GM Brian Cashman wanted at least partly for his reputation as a man who
brings people together. Somewhat like Derek Jeter, Sabathia is more comfortable talking about team than self.
But he has taken a most interesting path to this point, learning from some painful moments personally and professionally to become the ace of a championship
team as well as a family man who seems very comfortable with who he is.
Saturday he shared some details that offer insight into what makes him tick, on the mound and off.
As a pitcher, Sabathia admitted that upon coming to New York he brought some doubt about his ability to handle postseason pressure after a few poor starts with
the Indians, especially failing to close out the Red Sox in Game 5 of the 2007 ALCS when his team was leading the series 3-1.
He said his first season as a Yankee prepared him to take a different mentality into October and go about lowering his 7.92 postseason ERA.
“Playing with all those guys who had been there before had a calming effect,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I had to do everything. Previously I felt like I had to step up
and be the guy, go out and dominate, throw one-hitters and stuff.
“So I tended to overthrow, and I’d be all over the place, back to being that young pitcher who tried to throw the ball as hard as I could rather than learning to pitch
with command.
“Looking back that’s how I felt in the playoffs with Cleveland, and I didn’t pitch well. I felt like I let that whole organization down. That city. I’d grown up in that
organization, and we had a great team. I still feel if I would have pitched better, we would have won the World Series.
“So last year I felt I needed to have a good postseason, and by the time we got there it felt like I’d already pitched in so many big games for the Yankees. The
season opener, the home opener, the games with the Red Sox - all those games felt like playoff games, and I learned to deal with my emotions better. I was way
more under control in the playoffs than I had ever been.”
The result was dominance, as Sabathia went 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA in his five postseason starts. Essentially he pitched the Yankees to a championship and put to
rest any notion that he couldn’t handle the pressure.
Personally, he had a similar coming-of-age moment in 2002. Sabathia had always felt grown up for his age, in part because his mom, Margie, demanded it,
teaching him discipline by pulling him off the Little League field any time he acted up, once refusing to let him play basketball his entire sophomore season in high
school because he got a D in Spanish.
“My mom made me take responsibility for my actions,” he said.
As a result, teachers and coaches at his high school in Vallejo, Calif., which I visited upon his signing with the Yankees, couldn’t wait to tell me what a model
student and natural leader Sabathia was as a teenager.
Yet a few years later he allowed himself to be seduced by the heady life of a professional athlete. After he went 17-5 as a rookie in 2001, the Indians had signed
him to a four-year, $9.5 million contract, and by 2002, still only 21, he was living the high life. He was partying relentlessly, wearing flashy jewelry, playing the part
of a young star to the point where his mom, who visited him in Cleveland in May, warned him that he needed to slow down.
He laughed it off, and then a week later, he went from a nightclub to an after-hours party at a nearby Marriott, wearing $100,000 worth of jewelry and carrying
$3,200 in cash. It was after 3 a.m. when he was robbed at gunpoint by a couple of former Cleveland State basketball players, who were later arrested and served
jail time.
Sabathia was so shaken by the incident that, the next day, he called his ex-girlfriend Amber. They had been together since high school, but Amber had broken up
with Sabathia a couple of months earlier because of his big-league attitude. Sabathia was calling to ask her to marry him.
Nearly eight years later, they are indeed married with three kids, and Sabathia says he is grateful for being scared straight.
“It’s scary to have a gun at your head, but I really think it was a blessing in disguise,” he said. “I was putting myself in a position where bad things could happen,
and I’m glad I got the wake-up call early in my career.
“I got serious about my life again. At the time, Amber was in college at San Diego State, and we were having tough times, because I was off doing whatever - it
was a pretty crazy time.
“I really don’t know if we would have gotten married if that hadn’t happened, so I’m actually glad it happened. It changed my life for the better in a lot of ways.”
Sabathia turns 30 in July, and says he couldn’t be happier with both his family and professional life. For all of his West Coast ties, Sabathia decided to move east
full-time upon signing with the Yankees, and lives year-round in New Jersey now.
“My first winter with snow was tough for me,” he said with a laugh. “I’m losing my West Coast identity. But I love being a Yankee. After getting a taste of winning in
New York, and all the history, I don’t know why anyone would leave.”
New York Daily News LOADED: 03.07.2010



Indians commentary: Questions everywhere on 2010 team
Filed by Chris Assenheimer March 7th, 2010 in Sports.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. - If you think the Indians had a lot of question marks entering last season, get a load of this one.
Little is settled in the year 2010 for the Wahoos, which is not a good sign for a team that limped to the finish line last season with a 65-97 record
that was good for a last-place tie with Kansas City.
Clearly, the biggest questions surround the rotation, where the Indians have Jake Westbrook, Fausto Carmona and Justin Masterson slated as
the top three starters, with a pool of Aaron Laffey, David Huff, Mitch Talbot, Hector Carrasco and Hector Rondon vying for the final two spots.
Forget the collection of suspect starters trying to nail down the last two spots, take a look at the locks.
The No. 1 starter, Westbrook, is trying to come back from Tommy John surgery that cost him the bulk of the last two seasons. Who knows
whether Westbrook will make it through spring training, let alone an entire regular season?
And no offense to one of the more solid individuals that I’ve encountered in baseball, but Westbrook was no ace before he got hurt. We’re
talking a third or fourth starter here, a No. 2 at best on a bad team.
Behind Westbrook is Carmona, the 26-year-old right-hander who looked to be on the verge of greatness following a breakthrough season in
2007. But the man who stared down the Yankees with bugs on his face in the ‘07 Division Series has looked like a minor leaguer trying to find
his way the past two years.
The bottom line is that the Indians don’t know what to expect from Carmona.
The same can be said for Masterson, who will enter the season as a full-time starter for the first time in his career. He has been good out of the
bullpen and out of the rotation, but he hasn’t done either full time during his first two years in the big leagues.
If the Indians don’t get adequate efforts from the starting pitchers, they’re going to need a lot of offense, and that’s another question mark.
The two most high-profile hitters in the lineup, Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, are coming off injury-plagued seasons.
Hafner hasn’t been the same feared hitter since 2006, with an ailing shoulder greatly sapping his production the past two seasons. He says
he’s healthy, which should signal some resurgence, but he said that last year, too.
Sizemore’s subpar 2009 can be chalked up to him playing injured for the majority of the season. But that doesn’t explain his sagging batting
average, which has gone down on a yearly basis since he hit .290 in 2006.
This is a big year for Sizemore, who White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen once called the best player in the Central Division. He looked like a
perennial All-Star in the making, but the stock of Cleveland’s best overall player has fallen significantly.
Asdrubal Cabrera looked poised to have a big 2010 after hitting .308 last year but now he’s been moved to the leadoff spot for the first time in
his big league career. How will he respond to that?
Shin-Soo Choo also looks like a budding offensive star, but pitchers are going to adjust to him and there’s no guarantee he’ll adjust back this
season.
Then there’s the little obligation of serving in the South Korean military that he has to fulfill. It’s not likely, but it’s possible that Choo might have
to leave the Indians during the year and join the army. Kind of crazy, huh?
The addition of slugger Russell Branyan should help. He’s coming off a career year in Seattle, where he hit 31 home runs with 76 RBIs in 116
games, even putting up a respectable (for him) batting average at .251.
But Branyan’s been around for a while. Has he finally discovered the elixir, or were those numbers an aberration?
The Russ Bus is also dealing with injury issues, stemming from a bad back that ended his 2009 season prematurely and has prevented him
from taking the field for an exhibition game this spring.
The Indians will also employ inexperienced players at second base (Luis Valbuena), left field (Matt LaPorta or Trevor Crowe - as of now) and
catcher (Lou Marson). None of them has been on the big league level for a full year, and that’s the epitome of uncertainty.
Do we even have to examine the uncertainties in the bullpen?
It was terrible last year despite the addition of big-time closer Kerry Wood, who was pretty bad himself, struggling to a 4.25 ERA and just 20
saves.
A return to form from Rafael Perez and Jensen Lewis is critical to the relief corps’ success. Both, especially Perez, once looked like legitimate
late-inning relievers, but neither played the part last year and spent time in the minor leagues.
What are the Indians going to get from them this season?
Chris Perez looks like an up-and-coming setup man, but he hasn’t done it long enough to be counted on without question.
Then there’s the rest of the prospective pen pals - Joe Smith, Jamey Wright, Tony Sipp and Jess Todd. It’s not exactly a group that inspires
optimism.
Last but not least, new manager Manny Acta.
Acta is an energetic players manager who could get the best out of his new club, but we’re not talking about a seasoned skipper that owns a
winning resume. This is his second job after being fired by the lowly Washington Nationals, who were the worst team in baseball under his
direction.
Acta has inherited another last-place team and there’s no telling what he’s going to do with it.
Hate to rain on your parade the first week of the exhibition season, Tribe fans, but if there’s anything certain about your Indians, it’s that nothing
is certain.


Marte’s homer helps Indians beat Reds, 4-2
The Associated Press
Andy Marte hit a two-run homer to lead the Cleveland Indians to a 4-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

David Huff pitched two scoreless innings and the Indians, whose pitching staff was among the worst in the AL last year, have given up four runs
in their first two exhibition games.

“Another well-pitched ballgame makes us happy,” Acta said “That’s what we’re trying to do out here. To pitch two games with two runs apiece in
Arizona is very tough.”

Reds manager Dusty Baker was more impressed with right-hander Johnny Cueto trying to give a postgame interview in English.

“Go on, Johnny Cueto,” Baker said of the Dominican Republic native. “That’s improvement right there.”

Huff, a left-hander who led the Indians with 11 wins as a rookie, struck out three and gave up two hits. He’s battling several others for a rotation
spot.

“I’ve been working on the left-on-left change and it felt good,” Huff said after fanning lefties Chris Dickerson and Joey Votto with the pitch.

“It’s two games,” Acta said of Huff’s rotation standing. “Everybody’s tied for first.”

Cueto allowed five hits and four runs — two earned — over two innings.

“Cueto threw some quality pitches,” Baker said. “He was working on some things, a changeup, a cutter. He’s trying to perfect those things to go
along with the stuff he has.”

Part of Cueto’s comments were translated by a ballpark security officer. The hard thrower said he felt very strong after not pitching winter ball
for the first time.

“I just chilled at home,” Cueto said.

“I feel like I will have a good year. I am working on my curveball and I feel really good about what I’m doing.”

Veteran infielder Mark Grudzielanek, trying to win a roster spot in Cleveland, had an RBI double and rookie Nick Weglarz a run-scoring single in
the first inning.

“He did what he’s done for 15 years — hit,” Acta said of the 39-year-old Grudzielanek. “He’s in great shape.”

Marte’s two-run homer made it 4-0 in the second.

“For years, people have been labeling him as a perennial prospect who can’t hit up here,” Acta said. “He has shortened his swing and we’ll see
what happens.”

Miguel Cairo’s two-run homer off Tony Sipp in the sixth pulled the Reds to 4-2.

Baker got his first look at pitching prospects Mike Leake and Travis Wood against major-league hitters. Wood worked two hitless innings and
Leake, a first-round pick in 2009, pitched a perfect seventh. Each had one strikeout.

“It was the first time I’ve seen Wood,” Baker said of the second-round choice in 2005 who had a 1.21 ERA a year ago in the Double-A Southern
League. “He threw the ball great. Leake threw the ball as well as Wood. He moved it around changed speeds. He had an idea of what he was
doing.”

NOTES: Commissioner Bud Selig made his first visit to the 2-year-old Goodyear Ballpark, now the spring home of both Ohio teams. He said
Cincinnati is deserving of hosting an All-Star game at the Great American Ballpark, but noted “teams are lining up for it these days.” ... Indians
Hall of Famer Bob Feller, 91, threw out the ceremonial first pitch — right over the plate. ... Indians rookie 1B-OF Jordan Brown will have
arthroscopic surgery on his right knee next week and is expected to be out four to eight weeks. ... RHP Jason Grilli, in Cleveland’s camp on a
minor-league contract, is seeking a second opinion on his right quadriceps injury that may need season-ending surgery.

Indians off to 2-0 start after beating Reds again
Filed by Chris Assenheimer March 6th, 2010 in Tribe Notes.
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Hits: David Huff, who is one of a number of candidates for the final two spots in the rotation, was impressive in his first exhibition start, blanking
the Reds on two hits, while striking out three. … Mitch Talbot, also in the rotation mix, followed Huff with two scoreless innings, allowing two hits
and striking out one. … Utility infield candidate Mark Grudzielanek had two hits, including a double that scored Cleveland’s first run in the
opening inning. … Reliever Mike Gosling pitched a clean ninth inning to get the save. … Andy Marte hit his first home run of the spring, a
towering two-run shot to left-center off Reds starter Johnny Cueto in the second.
 Misses: Shin-Soo Choo made contact just once in three at-bats, striking out twice and leaving three on base. … Reliever Tony Sipp allowed
both Reds runs on two hits in the sixth inning, one of them a home run from Miguel Cairo. … Michael Brantley went 0-for-3 out of the leadoff
spot, grounding into an inning-ending double play in the fourth.


Free of Nats, Acta Gets Another Chance
By Tom Krasovic
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Manny Acta has managed 410 games in the major leagues, but because all of them were with the hopeless Washington
Nationals, how can anybody know whether Acta is or isn't the guy to take the Indians to where they want to go?

Acta may be the only manager who could've moved to Cleveland -- where the home team lost 97 games last year -- and then talked like he's
inherited a fast and sturdy car without anybody in baseball thinking him crazy.

Coming off a 59-102 performance in 2008, the Nationals lost 61 of 87 games to open the 2009 season.

That's when team executives reluctantly fired Acta. Because the manager goes when the stink gets too pungent.

Franchises can't fire their pasts. Nor can they escape them. And Washington's was particularly gruesome. There was Major League Baseball's
withering stewardship of the Nats in their previous incarnation as the Expos. And the chronic inability of MLB's hand-picked general manager
for the Nats, Jim Bowden, to find decent pitchers..

A .385 career win percentage repels perfume, but it had to say something good about Acta that both the Astros and Indians tried to hire him last
offseason. "He chose us over another team," says Indians general manager Mark Shapiro.

It didn't hurt Acta's job candidacy that an unprompted endorsement came from Braves manager Bobby Cox, a future Hall of Fame manager
whose club plays in the same division as the Nats.

However, the perfomance by the 2008 Nationals was so dismal that Acta took flak, too. Take the reaction of a few Padres players after they
swept the Nats near season's end. The Padres were on the verge of finishing with 99 defeats, but some of them were astounded by how sloppy
the Nats were. So were some other opponents. And scouts.

Manny Acta
I asked Acta if his players had quit on him. He paused. Then I asked him if he felt like had lost the team.

"People are going to say and write things," he said. "I don't think that was the case."

He then recited a litany of challenges he faced -- all of them later confirmed. Injuries walloped a team that had scant depth. Several players
were woefully short of experience.

He also pointed out that his first Nationals team, which compiled a 73-89 record and finished above the NL East cellar, achieved more than was
generally expected of it.

He is proud at how some young Nats developed. Among those he mentioned is pitcher John Lannan, who will start the team's opener this year.

One person who was close to Acta's teams said that, at times, the Nats players, "dogged it," but he said that "some of their ingredients" were to
blame. Translation: Bowden had acquired some dubious characters; whoever the manager was, he would've screamed into his pillow at night.

"I don't think Lou Piniella became smarter when he went from the Rays to the Cubs," Acta said.

The Indians talk highly of their players' work and team ethic.

"I don't think Lou Piniella became smarter when he went from the Rays to the Cubs."
- Manny Acta As Acta puts his fingeprint on the Indians -- his most notable move so far was to move leadoff man Grady Sizemore into the No. 2
spot -- he brings one skill set that many managers simply do not have. He's fluent in Spanish. He's the only active manager in the majors who
was born in the Dominican Republic, the No. 1 foreign source of ballplayer talent.

It was shocking to hear Indians utility man Luis Rodriguez explain his appreciation for the chance to play for Acta. Rodriguez has been playing
professional baseball since the Twins signed him out of Venezuela in 1997, but he said Acta is his first Latino manager at any level. Yep,
numero uno. There's more.

"He is the first Spanish-speaking manager that I've had," Rodriguez said. "It makes it easier."

Acta said he's driven to succeed for not only the Indians and himself, but for other Latinos who might want to become managers someday.

"That's one thing that I take very seriously because I know how hard it was for Felipe (Alou) to break in and open doors for us," he said, "and I
want to establish msyelf and do well and continue to open doors for guys like Felipe did before me."


Second Rebuild a Rocky Road for Tribe
By Tom Krasovic
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron James.

Where's the King of baseball who will rescue the Cleveland Indians?

"There is no LeBron James in baseball," says Indians executive Mark Shapiro. "Maybe Albert Pujols."
James and the Cavs represent Cleveland's best hope in many years of giving the hard-luck city its first major sports title since Jim Brown
powered Cleveland to the NFL title in 1964.

The Indians are the city's oldest sports franchise and compete with the Cavs for increasingly scarce fan dollars, but Shapiro says he would
congratulate his friend Danny Ferry, the general manager of the Cavs, if King James were to end Cleveland's title drought.
More Coverage: Indians 2010 Primer

"This city needs a champion," he says.

Here in the Arizona desert west of Phoenix, the Indians are preparing for their 107th season. Nearby are housing tracts that used to be cotton
fields. The cotton was processed at Goodyear plants in Akron, near where King James grew up. In better economic times, rubber, not a super-
human basketball player, was king in northeast Ohio.

Indians players chat and swat baseballs under cloudless skies. Twinkling less than a mile away on the desert floor are several commercial
airliners parked in an airplane graveyard.

Get ready for Opening Day as FanHouse breaks down all 30 teams in March to the Season

It's a surreal scene but one no odder than the visual of this Tribe team reaching the World Series, let alone ending the franchise's 61-year-old
title drought that's the longest in the American League by far.

An apt logo for these Indians would be an orange construction barrel, hundreds of which dot Ohio's fractured highways and interstates. But
although his pitching staff fills many Tribe fans with dread, Shapiro refuses to use the "R" word -- rebuilding.

Instead the Princeton man smiles inside his spartan office and talks of a youthful roster whose regulars include three 27-year-olds led by center
fielder Grady Sizemore, a pair of a 24-year-olds who will patrol the middle infield and potentially two corner players who are under 26.

"The predominant demographic in our clubhouse is young," says Shapiro, who will work his ninth season as the club's general manager before
handing off to longtime aide Chris Antonetti and assuming the president's job. "And if we're correct that it's young and talented, you know, we're
going to be fine, and we're going to be an interesting, fun team to watch this year."

Improvement from 2009 is likely if only because the Tribe lost 97 games -- their worst mark since 1991.

The team's most pressing unknown is whether several starting pitchers can rebound from recent misfortune.

Starting from the top, Jake Westbrook, the nominal ace, is 21 months removed from reconstructive elbow surgery and carries a career ERA of
4.31; enigmatic No. 2 starter Fausto Carmona, who won 19 games three years ago , needs a confidence serum or better radar after amassing
140 walks and a 5.89 ERA across 246 innings in 2008-09; left-hander David Huff is attempting to improve on his rookie season that brought an
11-8 record but also a 5.61 ERA and only 65 strikeouts in 128.1 innings.

The offense should be respectable if overly left-handed, but if the Indians pitch like they did last year -- their 5.06 ERA was 13th among 16 in
the league -- it'll be another tedious summer alongside Lake Erie. Attendance was about 1.7 million, half of what it was during Cleveland's
Baseball Mardis Gras summers of the mid-to-late 1990s. Not even the city's Chamber of Commerce would forecast the Indians to create good
times that rival the boom years of 1995-1999. There were five Central titles. Two AL pennants. A run of 455 sellouts.

Cash flowed into the franchise. Fans loved a spiffy new ballpark and watching the Tribe beat the stuffing out of opponents. Indians scouts had
found more offensive talent on high school and college fields than clusters of franchises were getting -- future major-league thumpers such as
Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Brian Giles and Richie Sexson.

What's more, the Indians had enough money to buy pitchers and keep their emerging stars. Shapiro says the Indians of the late 1990s had as
much spending power as the big-market Cubs and Dodgers do now.

All things considered, those days aren't coming back. Better to measure future Tribe efforts by the team's work over the past decade, when the
ballpark effect wore off and the farm system lost steam. Several years were lean, yet Cleveland also won two division titles and nearly another
one with 93 wins in 2005 -- a near-miss that bugs Shapiro more than even the team's Game 7 loss in the 1997 World Series. Nearly constant in
the 2000s, though, were declines in attendance.

With the Cavs again drawing sellout crowds of over 20,000 despite the NBA's hefty ticket prices, it's not fair to pin all of the Indians' challenges
on the region's economy. Just because a club is losing money, should ownership place a gun to management's head and order a roster
deconstruction? How would this Indians team fare if if still had ace Cliff Lee and former All-Star catcher Victor Martinez, who, after being
auctioned off by Shapiro and now play for the Mariners and Red Sox, under contracts that the Indians issued?

Shapiro did such a good job of rebuilding the Indians once, maybe ownership thinks he can do it again. Earlier this decade, he repeatedly
boosted the talent through trades or low-profile moves. He got Lee and Sizemore as part of a one-sided blockbuster with the Expos, third
baseman Casey Blake off the minor-league scrap heap, slugger Travis Hafner in a lopsided trade with the Rangers, shortstop Asdrubal
Cabrera in a deft swap with the Mariners and reliever Rafael Betancourt in a trade with the Red Sox.

Fausto Carmona

Abetting those efforts was a farm system that supplied pitching ace CC Sabathia, Martinez, slugging shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Carmona and
reliever Rafael Perez.

Rebuild Two looks less promising. But several young players players acquired in Rebuild One also inspired groans when they sputtered after
joining the organization.

This time around, Shapiro dealt Sabathia, Lee, Martinez and Blake for prospects.
Check back within a few years to see if the four hard-throwers that went to Cleveland -- Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Nick Hagadone and
Justin Masterson -- evolve into frontline pitchers. A common thread is that Cleveland's trade partner each times was one of the sport's shrewder
clubs: The Red Sox and Phillies.

"The predominant demographic in our clubhouse is young."
-- Indians GM Mark Shapiro So far, Indians fans have cause for skepticism. Sidetracked by shoulder surgery after coming over from the Phillies
as part of the much-panned Lee deal, Knapp is due back in July and will be in Single-A. Another ex-Phil, Carrasco is vying for Cleveland's No. 5
starting job and won't get it if he again serves up meaty fastballs like he did last year in compiling an 0-4 record and 8.87 ERA in 22 1/3 major
league innings. Two years removed from Tommy John surgery, the left-handed Hagadone needs to build innings in A-ball this year. Masterson,
formerly of the Red Sox, will try to win a starting job. Obtained with Hagadone for the All-Star Martinez, the former reliever has a good sinker-
slider mix and threw a four-hit, complete game against the White Sox last September.

Know that unless he drugs another GM, Shapiro, or, for that matter, any executive, is unlikely to match the trade in 2002 that, in addition to
Sizemore and Lee, brought future All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips from Montreal for pitcher Bartolo Colon. At the time, the Expos
feared they would be contracted after the '02 season and gambled that Colon could put them over the top (he didn't). Their young GM, Omar
Minaya, had a skeletal scouting staff and incomplete reports on his own minor-leaguers. The Indians, meantime, had several talent evaluators
who had worked for the Expos.

Shapiro makes a broader point about the industry's trade dynamic, then and now. "Younger players have more value now," he says, which
makes it tougher to get good returns when shopping veterans.

Shapiro's acquisition of Dodgers catching prospect Carlos Santana for Blake two years ago ranks as a good trade. Santana needs to sharpen
his catching skills but throws lasers. The switch-hitter has a .395 on-base percentage in nearly 2,000 plate appearances. He hit 21 homers
across three minor-league levels in 2008 and 23 more last year with Double-A Akron. The 22-year-old likely will open the season with Triple-A
Columbus. Based on how spring training goes, his teammates could include Michael Brantley, who may end up being Cleveland's best part of
the Sabathia trade. Brantley, 22, has a .387 career on-base percentage and stole 46 bases in 51 attempts last year in Triple-A.

Comparing the two rebuilding tasks -- but not using the "R" word -- Shapiro says the first "was a much more challenging, bigger task because
we literally turned over an entire roster, and we had very little in the farm system when we did it.

"The difference is," he says, "now we've got Grady Sizemore,.we''ve got [right fielder] Shin-Soo Choo, we've got Fausto Carmona, we've got
Travis Hafner, we've got Jake Westbrook, we've got [closer] Kerry Wood -- we've got some established major league players to bring these
young guys [along].

"When we did it before, we did it en masse."


Indians: Jordan Brown will have knee surgery
By Associated Press
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Spring training is over for Indians veteran Jason Grilli and rookie Jordan Brown.

Brown will have arthroscopic surgery early next week in Cleveland to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee, trainer Lonnie Soloff said
Saturday. Grilli is seeking a second opinion on an injury to his right quadriceps.

"We're looking at a timetable of between four to eight weeks for Jordan to return," Soloff said. "Jason has a significant injury and we're
gathering further information, but there is a high likelihood of surgery that could cost him the balance of the season."

Grilli was injured while running on Friday, minutes before Brown went down during outfield drills.

"Jason's injury is pretty uncommon in a conditioning drill," Soloff said. "He did it as he was slowing down and turning. You see it more often with
football players."

Brown understands the process of injury rehab. He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee following the 2007 season.

"I missed a lot of time in 2008 because I was stupid and tried to come back too soon," Brown said. "I felt OK, so I went out and ran hills. Not
smart.

"Hopefully, this is a tiny little setback," Brown continued. "If anybody is used to setbacks, it is this guy."

Brown hit .336 to win the Triple-A International League batting title in 2009, but didn't get a late-season callup to Cleveland. New manager
Manny Acta, however, had told the 26-year-old that he wanted to see what he could do this spring.

"You want to make an impression on a new staff," Brown said. "Not just offensively, but defensively and running the bases. I'm on an emotional
roller coaster right now.

"I felt something just going to catch a ball. It's a step I've taken a million times," he said. "The doctor said that knees are funny, that something
can happen with ordinary movement. I guess it did."

Grilli, 33, had signed a minor-league contract in December. He has pitched in 238 career games for five teams, compiling an 18-18 record with
two saves and a 4.74 ERA.


Jim Ingraham: Tribe needs Santana to be star in making
By Jim Ingraham
The start of the Indians' exhibition season marks the unofficial start of the countdown to Carlos Santana's arrival in the major leagues.
Barring an injury to someone else or a monster, impossible-to-ignore training camp by himself, Santana is not expected to be on the Indians'
opening-day roster. He'll start the season at Class AAA Columbus.

But he won't be in Columbus for long.

Santana is the Indians' catcher of the future, and with many observers predicting the Tribe to be at the bottom of the Major League Baseball
food chain in 2010, the future might as well start now.

Since 1990, the Indians have basically had just two eras of catchers. There were the Sandy Alomar Jr. years and the Victor Martinez years.
Those two did the bulk of the catching for the Indians in that span, mixed in with a handful of drive-by cameos (Einar Diaz, Josh Bard and Kelly
Shoppach).

Santana is now poised to extend the run of quality major-league catchers in Cleveland, starting sometime this season. Not surprisingly,
Santana is a top young prospect not drafted and developed by the Indians, but acquired from another organization — in this case, the Dodgers.

The Indians' projected starting lineup in 2010 will include just one player drafted and developed by the Indians. That's first baseman Russell
Branyan, who played with six other teams between reaching the big leagues with the Indians and finally becoming an everyday player with
them this year.

Jhonny Peralta was not drafted by the Indians, he was signed as a free agent. So was Martinez. The inability to draft and develop impact
position players is one reason why the Indians have had to trade Cy Young Award winners in each of the last two years — so they could
acquire top prospects they themselves were unable to find on their own.

This is not a new trend.

Over the last 25 years, the Indians have drafted and developed just three players who were impact hitters for them at the major-league level:
Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome. And the most recent of those was Ramirez, who was drafted all the way back in 1991.

The Indians have, however, done a very good job through the years of identifying and acquiring impact players from other organizations, such
as Joe Carter, Alomar, Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga, Travis Hafner, Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo.

But when you are stuck on the treadmill of having to trade established major-leaguers, in some cases stars, to replenish your minor-league
system, you're basically robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Which is why the Indians are where they are right now.

They are hoping the players for whom they traded Casey Blake (Santana), C.C. Sabathia (Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley), Cliff Lee (Carlos
Carrasco, Jason Knapp), Martinez (Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone), Mark DeRosa (Chris Perez, Jess Todd) and Franklin Gutierrez (Luis
Valbuena), among others, can help them to eventually become a contender again.

Of course, if they had simply kept, and been able to afford, Blake, Sabathia, Lee, Martinez, DeRosa and Gutierrez, they would still be a
contender.

Or if the organization's minor-league system had produced suitable replacements for the players who were becoming too expensive for the
Indians to keep, the Indians could have kept Sabathia and Lee right to the ends of their contracts, which would have improved their chances of
sustaining a run of contention, even if those players eventually left as free agents, instead of running up the white flag at midseason in each of
the last two years.

But that's all dirty water under a ramshackle bridge.

Moving forward, what little drama there figures to be in the 2010 season involves the anticipated arrival of Santana, whenever that may be.
The Indians won division titles with Alomar and Martinez behind the plate, and Santana will reach the big leagues a more decorated minor-
league prospect than Martinez was, though not quite as decorated as Alomar.

Like Martinez, Santana is a switch-hitter. Like Martinez, Santana will become the club's starting catcher as part of a roster rebuild. Like Alomar
and Martinez, Santana is expected to become one of the cornerstones around which the next chapter of Indians teams will be built.

It would also help the Indians if Santana could be an impact player from the moment he reaches the big leagues. As you may have noticed, the
Indians are short on star power. There aren't a lot of players on the roster who excite the masses. Grady Sizemore is just about it.

Santana has a chance to be a star-quality major-league catcher. The Indians, who are trying to rebuild on the fly, would love for Santana to hit,
and hit big, once he is summoned from Columbus.

Because theirs is a roster of character actors in need of a star.


Cincinnati Reds settle in to new home in Goodyear
by Peter Corbett - Mar. 7, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

The oldest team in baseball has the newest spring-training complex.

The Cincinnati Reds, with a history that goes back to 1869, played their first Cactus League home game Friday at Goodyear Ballpark against its
cross-state rival Cleveland Indians. The teams share the stadium and adjacent training fields.
"We're thrilled. I can't believe we're finally here," said Dick Williams, Reds vice president of baseball operations. "I've been coming out for two
years and watching it go from a cotton field to a baseball complex."

Extra fields, better weather and less travel time are among the big advantages of making the move from Sarasota, Fla., to Goodyear, he said.

Florida's Grapefruit League has teams all over the Sunshine State. Bus rides of two hours are common.

"We get a lot more time on the field," Williams said. "And players aren't sitting on long bus rides after games, which lead to stiff muscles."

Cincinnati also has a bigger clubhouse with a weight room, kitchen and video instruction room.

Players no longer have to eat sandwiches sitting at their lockers, and coaches don't have to put a board over a laundry hamper to look at
videotapes of players, he said.

It may take some time for Reds fans to get used to spring training in Arizona, he added, "but they'll adapt and change their patterns."

In 2007, Sarasota by a 225-vote margin turned down a $16 million plan to rebuild the Reds spring-training stadium.

Selig stops by
Filed by Chris Assenheimer March 6th, 2010 in Tribe Notes.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig paid a visit to Goodyear Ballpark on Saturday, discussing a number of subjects.

They included the prospect of HGH testing, condensing the regular season to avoid inclement weather in the World Series, the possibility of big
leaguers competing in the Olympics and Cleveland GM mark Shapiro’s contribution to the newly-formed on-the field committee.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks in Goodyear
Filed by Chris Assenheimer March 6th, 2010 in Sports Updates, Tribe Notes.
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Read comments and discuss this story

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig made his first trip to Goodyear Ballpark and came away impressed.

“In 1970, I think we had a half of a field (in Arizona),” Selig said. “This is remarkable. I think it’s a testament to all the people involved and a
testament to baseball’s popularity.”

Selig also touched on a number of other subjects:

* On the potential of HGH testing – “We are holding a summit in New York on Thursday. This is a test that they’re going to analyze. We’re very
aggressive in that manner and we’ll see.”

* On shortening the regular season to avoid inclement weather in the World Series – “I’ve told clubs that they would have to condense the
regular season and there’s no interest in that. We’ve been through this 1,000 times. We’re going to do the best we can. We’re not magicians.”

* On the contributions of Indians general manager Mark Shapiro to the newly-formed 14-man committee on on-field matters that includes
managers and executives – “He really has been tremendous. He has a very unique and modernistic approach. He hasn’t disappointed me at
all. He’s been very active and constructive.”

* On the prospect of major leaguers competing in the Olympics at some point – “It isn’t practical. We just can’t stop our season. It would create
chaos.”


Economic, team slumps don't keep Cactus League fans away

1 comment by Peter Corbett - Mar. 7, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Through economic slumps and championship droughts, Cactus League baseball fans and teams keep showing up in the desert.

The Chicago Cubs haven't won a World Series for more than a century, but last year, a record 203,105 fans attended their exhibition games at
Mesa's Hohokam Stadium.

Now there are 15 teams in Arizona for spring training, an even split with Florida's Grapefruit League. The Cincinnati Reds this year join the
Cactus League, sharing Goodyear Ballpark with the Cleveland Indians.

"I never visualized 15 teams," Cactus League Association President Robert Brinton said. "We've added six teams in 10 years. That's rather
rapid growth to say the least."

Coming off last year's record attendance of 1.58 million, league leaders are once again excited about another season and the boost spring
training gives to Arizona's troubled tourism industry. This is likely to be the first year that the Cactus League surpasses Florida's Grapefruit
League in attendance.

Still, at a time when tourism and baseball officials should be giddy with the league's success, there are emerging issues with keeping all 15
teams happy. That's because:

• A stagnant economy is slowing travel.
• There are 7 percent fewer games on the schedule than last year.

• Rapid growth will spread fans thinner at the ballparks, particularly in the West Valley suburbs where eight teams share four stadiums.

Plus, a dustup has emerged in trying to fund stadium improvements to keep the Cubs and other teams from bolting to Florida.

Stadium money gone

The Cactus League is a victim of its own success, Brinton and others say.

"The money has been allocated and spent" for baseball complexes to retain and attract the 15 teams, the league president said. "There's no
money for improvements."

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies convinced the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to build them a new $100 million
complex east of Scottsdale that will open next year.

Future funding for league facilities is up in the air.

Costs of success

Rep. John McComish, R-Ahwatukee Foothills, is pushing a bill to charge $1 more for each rental-car transaction and an 8 percent surcharge on
every Cactus League ticket. That would raise $58 million for a new Cubs stadium and practice facilities, and $81 million over 25 years for other
Cactus League improvements, McComish said.

"This is an economic driver for the state of Arizona," he said, adding that the Cubs generate $138 million in economic activity annually for the
state.

Still, other Cactus League teams and fans have balked at the proposed surcharge and rental tax. Several teams went so far as to boycott an
annual Cactus League kickoff event last week that was held in Mesa.

At Scottsdale Stadium this past week, Bob Gomez, a retired educator, said he was against paying a surcharge for San Francisco Giants tickets
to build a new complex for the Cubs.

"That's Mesa's financial problem," he said.

Others worry that escalating Cactus League prices are nearly equal to big league stadiums.

"We're a little shocked the tickets keep going up and up," said Tandy Holman, a winter visitor from Michigan at Thursday's Cubs opener.

Ticket prices generally range from $6 to $30.

Cubs fan Vester Damron, 27, of Fort Wayne, Ind., said he didn't mind paying $25 for his box seat at Scottsdale Stadium for the Giants opener.

He plans to take in four games during a 10-day visit. Damron is staying with a friend to cut costs but had to pony up $500 for a car rental. A
ticket surcharge and extra $1 for a rental car would not be a problem, he said.

Fans buck recession

So far, baseball tourists continue to show resilience.

On opening day Thursday, an average of 6,443 fans attended seven Cactus League games. It's early, but that is on pace for 1.47 million fans
this spring.

"Considering the economy the way it is it, it's still rather remarkable that we're getting the attendance we will be getting," Brinton said.

He predicted the Cactus League would have a hard time matching last year's record.

"Keep your fingers crossed," Brinton said.



Jon Heyman> INSIDE BASEBALL
Spring Postcard: Webb, young D-Backs look to bounce back Story Highlights
Although this team made the NLCS in 2007, it is still an exceedingly young group
The Diamondbacks aren't messing around when it comes to fundamentals
The D-Backs are heavily dependent on starter Brandon Webb

Location: Tucson, Ariz.

This spring, SI.com's baseball writers will be filing postcards from all 30 camps. To read all the postcards, click here.

Three Observations
1. Although this team made the NLCS in 2007, it is still an exceedingly young group.
Only Chad Qualls (31) and Bobby Howry (36) from the 40-man roster have reached the age of 31. That is generally a good thing. Yet,
they need to prove they know how to band together again, especially after last year's abject underachievement. Manager A.J. Hinch,
who took over for Bob Melvin last May, noticed last year that "the sense of urgency just didn't seem to be there.'' He believes the kids
were still living off their success of 2007 and early '08 and taking things for granted. "We stopped making plays,'' he said. But despite
their youth, it's not an immature group (rising star Justin Upton plus Mark Reynolds, Chris Young, Conor Jackson and Stephen Drew
are among the more mature 20-somethings you're going to find

2. The Diamondbacks aren't messing around when it comes to fundamentals.

Hinch, a Stanford man and former Olympian, is probably a fundamental kind of guy anyway, but following last year's disastrous season
-- he believes they're lifting what he calls the "black cloud'' of 2010 -- Hinch has them working OT on the basics. His good work didn't
show in the spring opener, however, as they played a sloppy game in an 11-1 defeat to the rival Rockies. A particular problem was
which base to cover in that game.

3. Maybe no team is more dependent on one player than the D-Backs are on ace Brandon Webb.

Last year, Webb's shoulder issue came to light on Opening Day. He pitched that day, and never again last year. His pain became an
omen for the season. "Losing Webb on Opening Day was a catalyst,'' Hinch said. Once again, he could be the key to the year. With
Webb at his best, he and Dan Haren form one of the better one-two punches in baseball. Without Webb, their rotation could become
somewhat suspect, especially at the back end.

Position Battle
Unless he loses his nerve, Ian Kennedy, a forgotten man in the Bronx, should be the No. 4 starter. D-backs bosses told him, "It's not
New York, there's no reason to be nervous.'' Assuming he follows that advice, and grows up a little (he had the propensity to say the
wrong thing at the wrong time in New York), he's in the rotation. Kennedy was once being compared to Mike Mussina for his nice, four-
pitch repertoire, but the latest comp is Brad Radke, still not too bad. That should leave only the No. 5 job as a competition between
unproven youngsters Kevin Mulvey, Bryan Augenstein, Billy Buckner and bounce-around veteran Rodrigo Lopez. The overall rotation is
very good, especially once Webb is ready to go. But the bottom of the rotation carries the potential to be an issue.

New Face, New Place
Adam LaRoche seems to be fitting in nicely here. He's going to be counted on to lengthen the lineup and improve the clubhouse, and
so far the reviews regarding the clubhouse are excellent. For one thing, LaRoche has no bitter taste from an offseason where he
passed up a deal that would have guaranteed $17 million over at least two years with the rival Giants to come to Phoenix for $4.5
million this year plus a $1.5 million buyout. "I've got no regrets, no complaints,'' LaRoche said. After he tried countering the Giants' offer,
they never called back, LaRoche said. He seems thrilled in Arizona, anyway. "My family loves Phoenix and I like playing at that
stadium. Obviously, I'd rather hit there,'' he said. "San Francisco was not first on my list, nothing against them.'' Cue Tony Bennett for
the San Francisco rebuttal.

Prospect Watch
The organization's top prospect, Jarrod Parker, could be ready this summer after Tommy John surgery set him back. Parker has been
held out of many deals, and the D-Backs have high hopes he'll eventually be a top-of-the-rotation starter. The entire Diamondbacks'
roster is filled with young players with enough experience that they are no longer considered prospects

Please Send
Experience needed, and the more the better. Veterans Howry, Kelly Johnson, Adam LaRoche and Aaron Heilman were imported to mix
with the still very youthful team and add some savvy and sagacity. Howry and Heilman are middle relievers and Johnson a middle
infielder who hit .224 last year in Atlanta, so LaRoche could become a key man. GM Josh Byrnes said LaRoche is already proving to be
a positive clubhouse influence. Yet, even LaRoche, who came via free agency in one of the better deals of the winter ($6 million
guaranteed) and is known as a steadying influence, hasn't been lucky enough to be part of many winners. Several players remain from
the successful 2007 team, but that seems like awhile ago now.

Not Done Yet
Conor Jackson, who was limited to 99 at-bats last year when Valley Fever decimated his season, is being counted on for a big
comeback season. Jackson brings excellent contact skills (.281 career batting average, .361 on-base percentage) to a team that strikes
out far too often and could be used in the leadoff spot, where he'll be a key to their overall productivity. He said he's back to full strength
and putting his acting career on hold to give baseball his full attention. Good thing.

Team Strengths
If Webb is back to being the pitcher who finished in the top three in Cy Young voting three straight times, they will have one of the best
tops to any rotation in baseball, right there with the Cardinals, Mariners and Red Sox. Dan Haren, who will start Opening Day, looks
primed for another big season after leading the majors with a 1.00 WHIP in 2009, so if Webb -- who's temporarily penciled in for game
No. 3 but may have to be pushed back a couple weeks after a sluggish start to spring -- can regain his form, they can match anyone.

Two rising stars, Upton and Reynolds, grace the lineup. Reynolds hit 44 home runs, has light-tower power and good athleticism (he's a
plus defender and stealer of 24 bases) while Upton carries MVP potential. He hit .300 with 26 home runs at age 21 last year and is
thought to be only scratching the surface of his potential. The D-Backs obviously think so also, or they wouldn't have given him a
$51.25 million, six-year extension early in spring.

Sleeper
Catcher Miguel Montero quietly had one of the best seasons of any catcher in the league last year, hitting .294 with 16 home runs. The
smallish Montero (5-11, 190) took over the top catching spot, which led to the D-Backs shopping Chris Snyder over the winter. They
thought they had a deal with the Blue Jays for Lyle Overbay (they're better off with LaRoche) before Toronto backed out after their
doctor made a murky claim about Snyder not quite being in shape (he appears to be in fine shape, by the way).

Parting Shots
There's a lot of young talent here, but there remains a question whether it's their time yet, especially after the disappointments and
disarray of last year. The rotation could be dynamic, but the bullpen remains a question without a dominant closer (tough veteran Chad
Qualls is back to handle the duties) and very dependent on kids (Juan Gutierrez, Esmerling Vazquez and Clay Zavada are back to play
key roles).

There are some seemingly big names in a clubhouse that's thought to have some anonymity: Billy Buckner, Zack Kroenke and Ryan
Roberts. Of course, Kroenke isn't really Zack Greinke, he only sounds like him. And Roberts isn't Brian Roberts (you can tell from the
tattoos as well as the missing B). Buckner does conjure up images of the 1986 World Series, though he's no relation. Now if only they
could find a new Mookie Wilson to come to camp, that would really be saying something.

It's time for a huge bounce-back year for the team, and especially for Young, the talented center fielder who provided hope with a big
September that brought him over the Mendoza line, from .188 all the way to .212. Young, a smart kid (his reported 1250 SAT is among
the highest in the league), needs to figure out how to get back to where he was couple of years ago. And so does the team. Here, they
all believe it can be done.


Bill Madden / Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox begins final season with hot new prospect and good old Yankee story
Bill Madden
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – In this his farewell season, Bobby Cox refuses to look back on his 28-year managerial career, which, with five pennants, a record 11
straight division championships, the fourth-most wins (2,014) all-time and one World Series title, makes him an automatic for induction in Cooperstown. Oh yes, he
also holds the all-time record of 151 ejections.
"I've never allowed myself to reminisce about all the great games - there'll be plenty of time for that down the road," Cox was saying the other day while observing
his latest prodigy, 20-year-old Jason Heyward, taking swings in the batting cage at the Braves' Disney World spring complex. "Right now, I'm only thinking of this
year and the possibilities it holds. I'll be honest, it (my last year) really hasn't hit me and it probably won't until that last pitch."
It would seem the 6-5, lefty-swinging Heyward, who scouts all agree is the complete package, has served as a fountain of youth for the 68-year-old Cox. Normally
guarded in his assessment of young players, Cox is effusive about Heyward (who has already picked up the moniker "Jay-Hey Kid"), in much the same way Casey
Stengel was in the 1951 Yankee spring training camp about another 19-year old "five-tool" outfielder named Mickey Mantle.
And speaking of the Yankees and Mantle, I wondered if Cox would at least care to reflect on his Yankee roots and what might have been. After all those years of
managing in Atlanta and Toronto, it largely has been forgotten that Cox came up in the Yankee organization as a third baseman, had a brief tour of duty in the
Bronx in 1968 and '69 and, on the recommendation of Yankee manager Ralph Houk, was then tapped to be a manager in their minor league system.
"By the time I got to the big leagues, my knees were shot," Cox said. "In 1970, I agreed to go back to Triple-A because they needed some help down there and
then at the end of the season (Yankee GM) Lee MacPhail came to me and said they had a managerial opening at (Class-A) Fort Lauderdale and they'd like me to
do it.
"The way I looked at it, it was a great opportunity to stay in baseball. To be honest, I didn't know what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I only had one year
of college because of baseball and I was prepared to go home and pick grapes and plums."
Instead, he managed six years in the Yankee system, the last four at Triple-A Syracuse, once being passed over for the Yankee job (when Bill Virdon was fired in
1975) because he was deemed not experienced enough by then-Yankee GM Gabe Paul. In 1977, the Yankees brought him back to the majors as Billy Martin's
first base coach, where he earned his first World Series ring.
Had he stayed around another year, he might well have become Yankee manager, but the Braves called first, hiring him as their skipper for 1978. He's been
managing in the big leagues ever since.
Then again, managing in the Yankee system provided Cox with sufficient notice of what it would be like to work directly for George Steinbrenner.
"When I was at Syracuse, George would call me all the time," Cox related. "We had to phone in our reports after every game and George listened to all of them.
He'd call me and start screaming, ‘What the hell is wrong with (Terry) Whitfield (a top Yankee outfield prospect at the time)? Why isn't he hitting?'
"Another year, they wanted me to make a second baseman out of our top prospect Otto Velez, even though he was an outfielder. Yeah, I had my share of
confrontations with George. Who knows what would've happened if I hadn't gotten hired by the Braves after '77? It just wasn't meant to be."
Nevertheless, Cox's name is still etched in a small part of Yankee lore. One June 3, 1968, he was part of the last triple play by the Yankees. Since then, every
team in baseball has had at least one. On that play, Minnesota Twins catcher John Roseboro hit a bases-loaded line drive back to Yankee pitcher Dooley
Womack, who threw over to Cox at third base for the second out. Cox then fired across the infield to Mantle (who played first base in the final season of his career)
to complete the triple play.
"That's about the only way my name could be ever linked with Mickey's," Cox said, laughing.
At least until next year when, in all likelihood, Cox will be voted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility by the Veterans Committee.
It's a Madd, Madd World...
• The Tampa Bay Rays must be hoping that the six-year, $51.28 million contract Justin Upton just got from the Arizona Diamondbacks will be a wake-up call to his
older brother, B.J., whose steady drop-off from the .300/24 HR/82 RBI season he had in '07 has prompted doubts about him becoming an elite player. Justin's
contract was the second-largest in D-Backs history.
• Another former No. 1 draft pick of the Rays, Delmon Young, finally seems to be starting to mature with the Minnesota Twins. Young, who caused the Rays
nothing but headaches in the six years he was in their organization, reported recently that the death of his mother last year after a long battle with pancreatic
cancer gave him new perspective on his life and his career. After the trade of Carlos Gomez this past winter, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire anointed Young as
the everyday left fielder – no doubt in hopes he'll start to justify the so far very one-sided trade in which Minnesota sent righty Matt Garza and shortstop Jason
Bartlett to Tampa Bay for him.
• Cubs manager Lou Piniella is really talking up 19-year-old shortstop Starlin Castro this spring. Castro, the Cubs' No. 1 prospect, advanced to Double-A ball at the
end of last season and was slated to start this season there, but Piniella, who is in the last year of his contract, is sounding like he'd like to bring him to the majors
now – which would allow him to move Ryan Theriot back to second base.
Say It Ain't So
"I really like the names of the guys we have. I don't know if I buy that 'on-paper' stuff because I've seen that turn into toilet paper, but if J.J. and the other guys stay
healthy, they have a chance to get us where we want to be."
- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper on his bullpen trio of Bobby Jenks, Matt Thornton and ex-Met J.J. Putz, who all have experience closing.


Ken Davidoff / Davidoff's Baseball Insider
Bobby Cox is no Roger Clemens or Brett Favre. This will be his final year as a manager.
You know when the team makes such an announcement, as the Braves did toward the end of last season, that it's serious. That means Atlanta management won't
be begging Cox to return for 2011.
Cox, who turns 69 in May, said he has found it easy to not get caught up in his personal situation. "It's just business as usual, honestly. Focus on the year," he
said. "It has some meaning, but not right now. It really doesn't."
It would be highly out of character for Cox, always regarded as a players' manager, to put the focus on himself. As for Cox's successor, the leading candidate
appears to be hitting coach Terry Pendleton, who helped Cox win his first National League pennant in 1991.
Hone on the range
For all of the Flushing boos directed toward Luis Castillo, he performed pretty well for the Mets last year. His .387 on-base percentage made him valuable, even if
he offered no power whatsoever.
But Castillo's value was diminished because he simply didn't get to many balls while playing second base. His Ultimate Zone Rating was -10.4, meaning that
according to the analysts at Baseball Info Solutions, Castillo cost the Mets 10.4 runs with his defense - compared with that of an average second baseman - over
the course of a season.
With that in mind, the Mets are working with Castillo, 34, on improving defensively.
"It's tough, because as players get older - we all went through it - you're going to lose a little bit of range," said Chip Hale, the Mets' highly regarded new infield
coach. "[Castillo] still has a lot of athleticism left. What I'm trying to do this spring is just get that out. Kind of push the envelope and see where we can go with it."
That entails nothing more sophisticated than infield drills designed to improve Castillo's flexibility at his position, Hale said, adding, "Sometimes as you get older as
a player, you sort of settle: 'This is what I can do.' We're seeing if we can get him out of that comfort zone a little bit."
Extra bases
The Mets clearly followed our advice last Sunday, signing Kiko Calero to a minor-league deal just days after we advocated doing so. This week, therefore, the
Mets should sign Joe Beimel, who limited lefty batters to a .297 on-base percentage.
After offering Billy Wagner arbitration in free agency, the Red Sox received the 20th and 39th selections in this year's amateur draft as compensation for losing
Wagner to the Braves. In other words, those picks could have been the Mets', had they opted to not dump Wagner's salary last August.
Cox said he has been in touch with John Smoltz, who remains a free agent. "He wanted to let us know where we should send his meal money," Cox joked before
adding, "He's staying ready."
Smoltz would've signed already had a team offered him a good deal; he and the Mets had some talks that eventually petered out. Now, though, Smoltz and Pedro
Martinez seem poised to let the season play out some and perhaps enhance their value as the need for pitching increases.


Nick Cafardo / ON BASEBALL / His memories are all pleasant
New Tiger Damon loved Sox, Yankees
By Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff | March 3, 2010
LAKELAND, Fla. - Now that he’s in a different uniform, he hopes Red Sox fans will forgive him for that awful indiscretion four years ago when he left Boston over a
$12 million gap and signed with the Yankees.
“I hope so,’’ said Johnny Damon after taking batting practice at Joker Marchant Stadium prior to the Tigers’ game against Florida Southern University yesterday. “I
know they all hate the Yankees up there and they were mad I signed with them, but at the same time, I did what I thought was right. And, really, it ultimately
worked out for them because they were able to win another championship in ’07 and then I was able to win one with the Yankees last year.
“I think I’ve always given everything I had to the teams I played for and tried to be a good teammate and do whatever it takes to help my team win. I hope the fans
recognized that in Boston and New York. I think my teammates did.
“Really, I loved what we did in Boston, bringing a championship to that city after 86 years. That was so special.’’
Which is why, when asked what was tougher on him - the end of his career in Boston or the end of his career in New York - he didn’t hesitate.
“I think after the Red Sox career was over,’’ Damon said. “This offseason, I kind of knew going into it that it was going to be difficult, given the market and the
economy.
“With the Red Sox, I didn’t want to leave. But when it came down to it, I told the Red Sox what was out there, and $12 million more was tough to turn down.
“I loved being with the Red Sox and I loved being with the Yankees. I didn’t want either to end, really, but it’s just something I have to accept.
“I’m happy I ended up in Detroit. I know a lot of the guys here and this is a team that came one game from making the playoffs, so we’re going to be a very
competitive team.’’
Damon spent four years with the Sox and four years with the Yankees, and the numbers he put up were very similar.
He played 597 games for Boston, 576 for the Yankees. He hit .295 for the Sox, .285 for the Yankees. He had a .362 on-base percentage for Boston, .363 for the
Yankees. He hit 56 homers for the Sox, 77 for the Yankees. He drove in 299 runs for Boston, 296 runs for the Yankees.
He eventually became a left fielder for the Yankees, the same position he’ll man in Detroit. It took him about 10 minutes in the clubhouse to be perceived as a
leader.
“I think when you watched him on the other side, he just came off as someone you’d love to be a teammate with,’’ said Miguel Cabrera, “and now that he’s here,
what a guy. What a fun guy who really loves to play. He adds so much energy here, and he’s a great No. 2 hitter. We’re all pretty excited about this.’’
Manager Jim Leyland lobbied hard to get Damon for his leadership, his prowess as a No. 2 hitter, and his ability to mentor Austin Jackson, the center field
prospect acquired from the Yankees in the Curtis Granderson deal.
After tumultuous offseason negotiations with the Yankees, Damon tangoed with the White Sox, whose offer got up as high as $6 million with about half deferred.
Damon said he considered that very seriously, but when they couldn’t go any higher, he decided, “If all things were relatively equal, I was going to sign with
Detroit.’’
And so, at age 36, he got a one-year, $8 million deal, which was $1 million more than he would have gotten from the Yankees, who paid him $13 million last
season, when he hit .282 with 24 homers and 82 RBIs. Damon also hit .364 in the World Series and made one of the great baserunning plays in Series history.
But all he has heard is how he and Scott Boras screwed up the negotiations. But did they?
“I think it’s baloney,’’ Damon said. “I was a player coming off one of my best years. You’re entitled to be a free agent. Going back to New York would have been
ideal. But they offered Nick Johnson a contract before me and then they kept listening to the media and rumors that were out there instead of dealing with us
personally, and that’s what irks me.
“That’s part of it, I guess - taking criticism. But I think Scott does a great job. I hope to prove to the other 29 teams that Detroit made the best free agent signing of
the offseason.’’
Some say Damon was crazy to give up a chance to hit at Yankee Stadium, a ballpark made for his swing.
“I think the home runs might end up being down, but the extra-base hits could go up,’’ he said. “Triples could go up if I hit the ball to right-center, but I feel fine
physically.’’
Damon is a .363 career hitter at Comerica Park, with 5 homers and 25 RBIs in 171 at-bats. He likes the carry of the ball to right field there, and also feels he can
take advantage of slapping it the other way.
Damon is 575 hits shy of 3,000 but feels he has a chance to get there.
“Obviously, it all depends on how my body feels as the wear and tear of the season happens,’’ he said. “But I don’t see why it couldn’t happen. I think I just have to
play and help my team win and not think about it.
“I wish I could run out into the outfield 155 times a year, but realistically I’m looking at 140 games out there. I will have to mix in some games at DH.’’
And there’s the uncertainty of where he’ll be every year from now on.
“That’s OK,’’ he said. “I didn’t think at this point of my career I’d have to go year to year, but I’m willing to prove myself. I’ll always go out there and be the best I can
be and we’ll see whether teams are still interested after this year.’’


Phil Rogers / Cardinals already planning way to keep Pujols
Franchise strives for way to reload farm system and devise finances to pay upcoming contract
Road games in spring training are generally of diminished interest to teams. They often only bring a handful of regulars along with candidates for the final spots on
the roster. But these games have a special significance to the Cardinals.
More than almost any team in the majors, the quality of their farm system is imperative. Thus, those weren't empty innings that the likes of Eduardo Sanchez and
Francisco Samuel threw when the visiting Cardinals lost to the Mets 17-11 Thursday, with Samuel surrendering six runs.
After trading away five prospects to get Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa last summer, including four of the team's top six in Baseball America's ratings, unproven
general manager John Mozeliak invested $120 million in the 30-year-old Holliday in January, signing him to a seven-year contract. He probably overpaid, as no
other team was known to offer nine figures. Now he finds himself dancing on the end of Albert Pujols' marionette strings.
Pujols, who has two years left on his contract, is due $16 million this season and in 2011. It's considered almost a given owner Bill DeWitt Jr. and Mozeliak will
keep him off the free-agent market, but at what price?
Figure $25 million a year is the least that will be required ($2.5 million a year less than the average on Alex Rodriguez's contract). Also figure DeWitt isn't going to
take the payroll up beyond $100 million, in part because he pays $20 million a year debt service on the new Busch Stadium.
That means that Holliday and Pujols will combine to take up about 35 percent of the payroll this season and in 2011, and then jump to an annual average above 40
percent for the next five years. Compare this to the Yankees, whose oversized payroll means the combined $57.3 million they're paying to Rodriguez and CC
Sabathia accounts for only about 27 percent of their total.
Mozeliak can obtain a little relief if he defers some of Pujols' haul but it's worth noting this has become a sticking point in the Joe Mauer negotiations because the
Twins won't do it. They think that compromises future competitiveness.
The Cardinals know they're going to have to be very creative building teams around Pujols and Holliday.
"We've certainly spent a lot of time discussing this,'' Mozeliak said about the distribution of payroll. "We know we are putting a lot of responsibility on our scouting
and player development staffs. But that's our challenge, and we're up for it. We know what we're getting into.''
Baseball America rated the Cardinals' farm system eighth among the 30 organizations at the start of 2009 but has dropped that rating to 29th, thanks to Colby
Rasmus' promotion to the majors and largely the trades that were designed to help manager Tony La Russa get back to the World Series.
The Cardinals expect a big season from the 23-year-old Rasmus. They're giving 26-year-old David Freese a chance to win a starting spot at third base this season
and hope homegrown Brendan Ryan can recover from wrist surgery to play shortstop as well as he did in 2009.
La Russa is excited about the possibility Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs will develop into solid setup men in front of closer Ryan Franklin. But the long-term health
of the organization lies in the development of pitchers a lot younger than those two, pitchers like Samuel and Sanchez.
There is a way Mozeliak could get a lot of flexibility. But you probably wouldn't want to be the guy who let Pujols get away. One way or another, it's going on
Mozeliak's permanent record.
"Sure,'' said the studious executive with the low profile. "I've been with Albert a long time. I hope we stay together a long time.''
Trying to help: You get a lot more than at-bats with Jim Thome. The Twins' decision to sign him as an extra player could pay huge dividends even if Thome
struggles.
"I've shown Justin Morneau my back routine and he has been doing it,'' Thome said. "It would make me feel real proud if it helped him stay healthy for another 10
years.''
Thome developed the back routine under Phillies trainer Jeff Cooper and refined it while working with the White Sox's Herm Schneider for four years.
"It works real well,'' Thome said. "I feel better now than I did years ago, not that I don't still have my bad days. But it has worked for me and I hope it works for
Morneau. There aren't many times you can help a guy who has won an MVP.''
His own boss: Derek Jeter doesn't have too many unfulfilled fantasies. His biggest these days has him moving from the dugout into the owner's suite of a major
league team.
Jeter confirmed to the New York Post that owning a team is "definitely a goal of mine.'' His reason for doing it are simple.
"Get to call the shots,'' he said
The one thing the Yankees shortstop would want in a team he owned?
"Discipline,'' he said. "That's what I learned here, that would be first."
The last word: "You define your own role.'' — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.


Phil Rogers / Nationals pick ex- Cub Marquis
They signed him over ex-Sox Garland because Garland didn’t want to mentor young pitchers
The Nationals signed Jason Marquis instead of Jon Garland after Garland said he had no interest mentoring younger pitchers. … Pat Neshek looks great in the
Twins' camp. He's not only back from Tommy John surgery but is throwing a changeup that will buckle knees. The Twins also are thrilled about the fitness of left
fielder Delmon Young. … The Cubs shrug off the Mets' late signing of reliever Kiko Calero. They were close to adding him to a thin bullpen but backed off after
thoroughly exploring the health of his arm. He could be this year's J.J. Putz for the Mets — minus the horribly one-sided trade that obtained Putz from the
Mariners. … Could the Yankees develop a late interest in Jermaine Dye? They signed Nick Johnson as a designated hitter because they wanted to replace Hideki
Matsui and Johnny Damon with left-handed batters but Johnson's lower-back problems have raised a caution flag given Johnson's history of injuries. … The
Angels are thrilled Scot Shields is back on the mound after major knee surgery last June. He is ahead of schedule and could be in the bullpen Opening Day. …
Manny Acta is moving Grady Sizemore from leadoff to the No. 2 spot, with Asdrubal Cabrera moving into the leadoff spot. Acta made the switch because he wants
Sizemore to hit with men on base more often. He's encouraged that Travis Hafner is healthy, which should help the middle of the order. … The Brewers are
excited about lefty reliever Zach Braddock, who'll start the year in the minors but could help in the second half. … The Dodgers have 21-year-old Clayton Kershaw
on track to start Opening Day. He'll be their youngest Opening Day starter since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, if you trust Valenzuela's listed age then of 21.
Chicago Tribune LOADED: 03.07.2010

Cincinnati Reds settle in to new home in Goodyear
by Peter Corbett - Mar. 7, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

The oldest team in baseball has the newest spring-training complex.

The Cincinnati Reds, with a history that goes back to 1869, played their first Cactus League home game Friday at Goodyear Ballpark against its
cross-state rival Cleveland Indians. The teams share the stadium and adjacent training fields.


"We're thrilled. I can't believe we're finally here," said Dick Williams, Reds vice president of baseball operations. "I've been coming out for two
years and watching it go from a cotton field to a baseball complex."

Extra fields, better weather and less travel time are among the big advantages of making the move from Sarasota, Fla., to Goodyear, he said.

Florida's Grapefruit League has teams all over the Sunshine State. Bus rides of two hours are common.

"We get a lot more time on the field," Williams said. "And players aren't sitting on long bus rides after games, which lead to stiff muscles."

Cincinnati also has a bigger clubhouse with a weight room, kitchen and video instruction room.

Players no longer have to eat sandwiches sitting at their lockers, and coaches don't have to put a board over a laundry hamper to look at
videotapes of players, he said.

It may take some time for Reds fans to get used to spring training in Arizona, he added, "but they'll adapt and change their patterns."

In 2007, Sarasota by a 225-vote margin turned down a $16 million plan to rebuild the Reds spring-training stadium.

				
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