I was so excited to have baseball today, I almost couldn’t stand it! For a brief time, all of the players are in camp before several of them scatter to their respective World Baseball Classic teams. This means that spring training games started about a week earlier than they usually would, in order to give teams some extra time before the WBC. Since it’s very early in spring training, you can expect some uneven performances and mistakes. Players are rusty, and scores can run up quickly; by the end of games, you have a lot of minor leaguers and invitees on the field. Here are some of the highlights from today’s game (at least some things that stuck out to me).
– Shin-Soo Choo led off the game against Geovanni Soto. Didn’t have to wait long to see him in a Reds uniform.
– Soto was starting today so the team could get a look at him before he left to pitch for Puerto Rico in the WBC. Acquired in the Jhonny Peralta trade, the 21-year-old Soto spent all of 2012 with the Double-A Akron Aeros. He struggled some against a tough Reds lineup, although the Indians radio broadcast implied that the umpire gave him a really small strike zone. He only made it 2/3 of an inning before he hit his pitch count, giving up 5 ER and 3 hits, while walking 2 and striking out none. For someone young who has never pitched above Double-A, it’s not shocking that he struggled very early in spring training against some talented hitters.
– At one point, Drew Stubbs and Michael Bourn miscommunicated on a fly ball in the outfield and let it fall. They need to get used to playing together, particularly since they’re both used to being center fielders. This didn’t really surprise me either, since things like this are very common early in the spring.
– In his first at-bat, Nick Swisher got an RBI hit as Asdrubal Cabrera scored from second.
– Lonnie Chisenhall went 1 for 2 with a 2-run home run. Tom Hamilton was already in mid-season form calling the shot.
– Some other hitters that had nice days – Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana went 2 for 2.
– A few of the guys in camp on a minor league contract that could win a utility role with the team saw action today. Ezequiel Carrera went 0 for 1 with a walk, Ryan Raburn went 1 for 1 with a home run and a walk, Ben Francisco went 0 for 1, Jeremy Hermida went 1 for 1, Tim Fedroff went 1 for 2, and Jason Giambi went 0 for 1 in a pinch hit appearance.
– Overall, 27 position players made some form of appearance in today’s game.
– Seven different pitchers appeared in the game – Soto, Fernando Nieve, Vinnie Pestano, Joe Martinez, Rich Hill, Matt Langwell, and Frank Herrmann. Herrmann got the win after pitching a perfect ninth; Pestano also pitched a perfect inning. All of the Reds’ runs were earned against two pitchers – Soto and Martinez.
– Mike McDade, claimed off waivers from Toronto this offseason, hit a three-run double to win the game in a walk-off for the Indians.
The Indians face the Reds again tomorrow, only this time they will be the visiting team. The game will once again be broadcast on WTAM 1100 at 3:05 p.m. and the starters are Brett Myers for the Indians and Alfredo Simon for the Reds. This early in spring training, they’ll probably pitch no more than 1-2 innings.