I woke up this morning and I had no idea of the actual time. Then I wasn’t even quite sure where I was, or what day it happened to be. I think most of that has been straightened out at this point – it’s Sunday, I’m in Tempe and Arizona doesn’t leap forward an hour. With all of that accomplished, I realized that I have tickets to the split squad match between the Indians and Angels this afternoon at 1:05 (which I guess would be 4:05 back in Cleveland). I’m planning to live blog the game, but will be doing so from my phone…hopefully all will go according to plan!
Half of the team is in Surprise playing the Texas Rangers, the other half will be in Tempe (while half of the Angels will play the Reds in Goodyear). I didn’t think the Angels game was going to be broadcast, but now it looks like it will be on the MLB Network. The Rangers game will be on the radio.
Today’s lineup against the Angels in Tempe:
Ezequiel Carrera – CF
Jason Kipnis – 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera – SS
Travis Hafner – DH
Ryan Spilborghs – RF
Matt LaPorta – 1B (Casey Kotchman is a late scratch with a back tightness.)
Fred Lewis – LF
Jack Hannahan – 3B
Lou Marson – C
David Huff – starting pitcher
Other pitchers: Vinnie Pestano, Chris Ray, Danny Salazar, and Chris Seddon
Erick Aybar – SS
Howie Kendrick – 2B
Albert Pujols – 1B
Torii Hunter – RF
Vernon Wells – CF
Mark Trumbo – DH
Hank Conger – C
Jorge Cantu – 3B
Ryan Langerhans – LF
Garrett Richards – starting pitcher
Other bits of news:
– Three players will be reassigned to minor league camp tomorrow – RHP Austin Adams, RHP Tyler Sturdevant, and catcher Chun Chen. This leaves 59 players in camp with the Indians, with Opening Day 25 days away.
– Jose Lopez (in camp on a minor league deal) has been tearing it up so far this this spring, hitting .556 with a home run and a double (5 for 9). Lopez did well in the Venezuelan winter league – he hit .310 with 5 home runs and 12 doubles. Even though Lopez had offers from other teams this off-season, he chose the Indians because he felt they provided him with the best opportunity. He hopes to make the Opening Day squad. (Who *doesn’t* want to make the Opening Day squad?)
– On the opposite end of the spectrum, relief pitcher Dan Wheeler has not been having a great spring so far. I actually had a dream last night that he got progressively worse throughout Spring Training, and I thought to myself “well, looks like he won’t be making the team.” Then they announced that he made the Opening Day roster anyway and I was really mad. Maybe dreams even need to get in shape for the season during Spring Training.
– I went to see the Oakland Athletics vs. the Cincinnati Reds yesterday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium with a group from the Nine Conference. It was a mini Indians reunion with Manny Ramirez in the lineup for the A’s, and Bartolo Colon as the starting pitcher (and Brandon Phillips at second for the Reds). Colon looked sharp through four innings, and looked like he was in decent shape. It’s kind of mean to say this, but I honestly expected him to be large enough to have his own gravitational pull by this point. At least from where I was sitting, he looked to be in great shape. Manny received a warm reception from the crowd, but the star of the day was definitely Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who made his major league debut. When he hit his home run, the guy in our section wearing a wrestling mask went a little nuts on his vuvuzela.
– Even though I missed much of the Nine Conference, I still got to see some great presentations and guests yesterday. SABR’s Seymour Medal presentation was folded into the banquet this year, so I was able to chat with one of the most brilliant baseball researchers and writers, Dorothy Seymour Mills. There was an excellent keynote speech by Rob Fitts on the 1934 American player tour in Japan (that included Babe Ruth). One of the guests at the banquet was Ruth’s daughter Julia Ruth Stevens, who maintained a diary during her father’s trip to Japan.
It’s sunny…it’s warm…bring on the baseball!