GOODYEAR, AZ (92.3 The Fan) – NOT WORRIED: One Indian that hasn’t been hitting all that great this spring is second basemen Jason Kipnis.
Kipnis is hitting just .163 (8-for-49) with two doubles, a homer and six RBI. While he’s not the only vet that has been in a bit of a funk this spring, manager Terry Francona isn’t worried about spring training numbers.
“I know what kind of at-bats (the veterans) are having,” Francona said. “The sample sizes are so small, and there’s days with the wind and the sun, its just not worth it.”
As a whole the Indians are hitting .282 this spring, good for 9th in the American League. The pitching has had some struggles, sitting 12th of 15 teams in the AL with a 5.22 ERA.
AHEAD OF THE GAME: Catcher Carlos Santana had quite the spring, playing on the undefeated (8-0) Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic, and then returning to the Tribe.
As far as being behind since he spent so much time away from the Indians, Francona says the catcher is in some respects actually ahead.
He was ahead of the game behind the plate because he caught so much,” Francona said. “There’s only two relievers he hasn’t caught, and we will make sure he catches them in the next couple of days.”
Santana has played in nine games with the Indians this spring, hitting .261 with one homer and seven runs batted in.
GOTTA HAVE DEPTH: If the starting pitching goes south or has injuries to deal with, the Indians have three starters with Major League experience waiting in the wings in the minors.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber all have thrown at one point or another in the Majors, and all will start the 2013 season in Columbus with the Clippers.
Francona knows that it’s nearly a for sure that you will need more than five pitchers at some point throughout the season, and not having depth can ruin a good season.
“It’s the easiest way to derail your season not having enough pitching,” Francona said. “Our first year in Boston we used five starters the whole year, and it never happened again.
“It’s the hardest thing to do, but I thought (GM) Chris (Antonetti) did a good job. There’s balance there.”
We shall see once the season starts how long it takes for the Indians to have to dip into the minors to grab one of those throwers that will be waiting in the wings.
AWARD DEDICATED TO FELLER: The Indians, along with Major League Baseball, the National Baseball Hall Of Fame and Museum and The USS ALABAMA Battleship Commission, have announced their support of a new award honoring the legacy of Bob Feller — The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award.
The award will be given each year to one Major League Baseball player and one Baseball Hall of Famer, while The Award Trust also has proposed that the United States Navy support a companion award, to be given to one Navy service member each year.
The award is the first crossover effort connecting the Navy and MLB; finalists for the Feller award will be announced in a ceremony around Memorial Day at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Winners will receive their awards in a ceremony on Veterans Day in Washington, D.C.
“This distinctly unique award will reward those who can measure up to Bob Feller’s courage and the strict standards by which he lived his life, every single day,” said Peter Fertig, creator of the award. John Cochrane, an Islip, N.Y., Councilman and a former Captain in the U.S. Navy for over 30 years, assisted in the creation of the award.
At the age of 23, Feller enlisted in the Navy immediately after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the start of World War II for the United States. He did so despite possessing a deferment with which he could have been exempt from service.