I guess that title’s not entirely true; Indians fans got to know Valbuena rather well during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. In 2011, his first call-up of the season lasted just one game. Perhaps they should’ve found a way to utilize his talents during the Chicago series, since he had good numbers against the White Sox last year. In fact, Valbuena was 4 for 8 off of Jake Peavy, and 3 for 3 off of John Danks in 2010 (who did not pitch during the brief 2-game series).
Since Travis Hafner was officially placed on the DL today, the Indians made more roster moves. Reliever Frank Herrmann was recalled from AAA Columbus and outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was brought to Cleveland as well. I was impressed with Carrera during spring training, so I’m excited to see what he’ll do with the big league club. It’s possible that Hafner sustained an oblique strain (he was scheduled for an MRI today); if this is true, he’s likely to miss 4 to 6 weeks. Hafner was hitting .345 with 5 home runs and 22 RBI; the .345 ranks fifth overall in Major Leagues. With Hafner and Sizemore both out of the lineup, the job really falls to Carlos Santana and Shin Soo Choo to come out of their respective slumps and pick up the slack. Part time players like Austin Kearns and Shelley Duncan need to have solid appearances when they’re in the lineup as well.
It seemed somewhat ominous when the Indians lost two of their five starting pitchers to the DL early this season, and they managed to keep rolling. They did this by solid performances from veterans like Fausto Carmona and Justin Masterson, along with excellent pitching from Josh Tomlin. While Jeanmar Gomez struggled at times, rookie Alex White contributed once he arrived in Cleveland. While my reflex is always to trend toward paranoia and negativity where these things are concerned, if the pitching staff managed to survive injuries, the offense could do the same. There’s no reason to believe Hafner’s and Sizemore’s absences will sink the Indians, even if I am starting to get a bit nervous!