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Indians Indians Archive Spring Training Rundown: Masterson Rounds Into Form
Written by Nino Colla

Nino Colla

JMasterson01STI'm a little obsessed, sometimes.

I dig fantasy baseball. It is a reason I started the Tribe Daily Invitational last year. I can't get enough of it. One year when I had the time (and no life) I was in about 12 leagues. I'm not exaggerating either. I paid attention to all of them and drafted all the teams. I had several on ESPN, several on Sporting News, and the rest on Yahoo. I had a problem.

Of course not a single one was for money. I just enjoy the labor of picking a team and managing it. If you think I am obsessed with baseball, you think correctly.

I'm down to a few leagues a year now a days. Right now The Tribe Daily Invitational II is the only one that I have so far, but I'll probably be in a few more before the season starts. I did my first mock draft on Tuesday, an exercise in me trying to determine where players are going on average. 

You know what struck me?

Usually I'm taking Indians as sleepers. Grabbing a Justin Masterson at the end of the draft because I think he'll be a sneaky start that puts up some great numbers that I don't have to spend a high end pick on. Taking Shin-Soo Choo because I'm convinced he's going to bust out and be one of the best all-around fantasy gems available.

This year, the Indians are worth something. Granted you'd be crazy taking a pitcher not named Chris Perez in standard leagues. But Michael Bourn is the guy to have for steals, Nick Swisher produces enough to be one of the top two outfielders on most teams, and even guys like Michael Brantely and Jason Kipnis have value. Last year it probably started and ended with Carlos Santana and Shin-Soo Choo.

I'm not taking sleeper Indians this year, if I'm taking them at all. I try to avoid out of sheer want to keep that player regardless of how they are playing. You won't believe some of the year's I've held onto Travis Hafner because I was convinced he was going to get healthy and dominate. 

What I also know is that if spring training counted, I'd have already picked "Rakin'" Ryan Raburn off the waiver wire. 

I'd also have Lonnie Chisenhall on my bench, cause, well, he's awesome, and because we all know my team name, right.

Now is your chance, still taking interested folks in the Tribe Daily Invitational II fantasy baseball league. You can e-mail me ( with an e-mail and your interest, or the other fun methods such as Twitter and Facebook. 

You know you want to. I came in fifth last year, I can't be that good. I am obsessed though.


Dodgers - 0 | Indians - 4

Well look who is starting to find himself as spring progresses. Throwing four scoreless, Justin Masterson found that Masty-like groove we are so accustomed to seeing from him against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Four innings, three hits, three double plays, three strikeouts, sounds like a Masterson day.

"We had a bunch of double plays," Masterson said. "The ball was on the ground. A couple base hits. I mixed in a few sliders today and was around the zone. It was more or less where we want to be this early in spring."

The Mastard was on point and doing the double-play thing we are used to seeing him do. Six groundball outs to no fly-ball outs, sounds about right.

Pair of Twos: The Indians put up runs in the fourth and fifth innings, with Jason Giambi knocking in a pair of those off his one hit and Yan Gomes going 2-for-2 with a pair of runs scored and another knocked in. Matt Carson had the other RBI and Mark Reynolds doubled with a run scored to top the scoring.

Walking Chiz: Lonnie Chisenhall walked twice and went 0-for-1 and now has a .524 OBP this spring. That's in addition to his six runs scored, eight runs batted in and eight hits in 18 at bats. Chiz is really doing some good work so far, but knows it is very much early in spring.

Lefty Madness: Other than a few scratches, the bullpen was lock down in the innings following Masterson. Rich Hill gave up a hit and a run, but struck out a pair. Following him was all the other lefties up for a bullpen job, Nick Hagadone, who struck out a pair with no blemishes, and Scott Barnes, who pitched an inning and got the first out of the eighth, and notched a strikeout.

The 'B' Game: Scott Kazmir got some work in for the Indians in a 'B' game with the intentions of throwing a lot of breaking pitches. He did just that and impressed a lot of people, including pitching coach Mickey Callaway who said his slider had depth. Kazmir ended up going three scoreless and what's important is that he looked good and his fastball topped out at 93. Callaway says Kazmir is pitching with quite the chip on his shoulder.

Next Game: In regular rotation fashion, Ubaldo Jimenez will follow as the Indians take on the Giants at Goodyear. Matt Capps and Cody Allen will pitch too.


You know I'm forever a fan of Jody Gerut, and if you don't, it's probably the first time you've read something I've written. There's another fine gentleman that has endeared himself to me thanks to his stint with the Tribe, and that is none other than the Hawkman, Shelley Duncan. Even though he is now with the Tampa Bay Rays, I'm still a fan and will always pull for him.

So this story is touching, and yet amazing. Shelley is not the one battling health issues, but with two of his family members dealing with them, two twins now in the picture, and oh yeah, his job pretty much taking him away from home more often than not, that has to put a lot on his mind.

Best wishes to Shelley and his family as they try and get through this incredible situation and further more, hope he latches on with the Rays. He's a useful player and a good person, so he deserves it.

Shin-Soo Choo is not the only guy sharing a facility this spring with his old team. Don't forget Drew Stubbs (yeah yeah, Jason Donald too). Stubbs called it a little strange at first, but at least he's familiar with the area. Stubbs has worked on his swing this offseason, with the Reds assistant hitting coach before he was traded, and has simplified it.

"The biggest thing right now," Francona said, "he's really simplified his swing, which is great. I think the fight for him will be to stay there. When he goes through a period where he's not swinging the bat well, fight to stay where he is, not to change. That's not an easy thing to do."

Stubbs has added a toe tap to replace a leg kick that he employed in his stance for timing. It should be a huge change from all the changes he was trying to implement in-season last year, as he was, according to him, listening to too many people during his rough 2012 season.

He still had some pop, so if he can get back to production he was putting up pre-2012, the Indians are that much better offensively.

Ryan Raburn has claimed his first victim in the battle for a roster spot. Okay, maybe Ezequiel Carrera had something to do with it as well, but it is rather odd that a veteran free agent on a minor league deal has been reassigned so early in spring. Usually it's prospects getting their feet wet or depth guys, not Jeremy Hermida.

But Hermida is gone to minor league camp, already, so there. Joining him are actual minor leaguer Jesus Aguilar, and pitcher Edward Paredes. Hermida will actually stay with the Major League squad and gain at-bats before those minor league games actually start. No chance to win a roster spot at this point.

Speaking of winning roster spots, David Huff does have the opportunity to just that. What that roster spot would entail? Huff really doesn't care, as long as it gets him on the team.

"Whether I'm starting or I'm in the bullpen, I don't care. It's a job in Cleveland. I don't care where it is. I can be giving signs over at first base, as long as I'm up there."

And remember, Huff has no options, so when Francona says he is in "every" mix, he means it. Tito mentioned that Huff needs to locate his pitches better for greater success. Listening to what the manager wants can't hurt either, because he sure as heck didn't do that at times when Manny Acta was around and that probably hurt him.

Terry Francona said that since the WBC has spring running longer, that even though he made his debut weeks into spring games starting, that it will be like a regular spring for Joe Smith. Smitty made his debut on Tuesday, throwing an inning against the Giants. Even though he gave up some runs, 13 of his 14 pitches were for strikes. Smith was all good on Wednesday and reported no issues.

Michael Bradley is still on the mend from his forearm laceration. He is reportedly close to having his stitches removed with a clear to return to game activity soon after.

Hopefully you are paying attention to Al C's prospect countdown, which got underway on Wednesday and will start counting down his 61 prospects. 

Finally, I have several humorous videos to show you right now...

This pretty much needs no real introduction or comment to follow up. I can just show it you and you will understand everything about how the universe works and why it is an awesome place to be.

Terry Francona rides a scooter.

Yup, there it is. I will say nothing more.

The other is the Nick Swisher video where he promotes that Cleveland is a "Tribe Town", following in the promotional campaign the Indians are rolling with this year. NBC Harball Talk's Craig Calcaterra has quite the humorous encounter with Swisher when he was visiting the Indians camp yesterday, and the video is also embedded there.

I hit the clubhouse at 7:45 and Swisher was marching up and down, coffee in hand, slapping backs, slapping chests, offering up Ric Flair-style “wooo!”s and many, many “bros!” Really, I spoke with Swisher for about three minutes and I got no less than ten “bros.” He’s so excited to be back in Ohio, bro! He’s stoked to be “one of 750 major leaguers, bro!” I mentioned that, like him, I once lived in Parkersburg, West Virginia and he said “I used to live out by the Cracker Barrel on Route 2, bro!” He’s got a daughter on the way. I asked him if he’s still going to be this amped at eight in the morning once the baby arrives and he said he said “don’t bet against me, bro!”

So I think we all know what the monthly award will be this year, right?

Maybe Nick Swisher will end up winning several "Bro of the Month" awards this season. Let's hope so.


Nino is in full baseball mode here and on The Tribe Daily, his own Indians blog. Don't miss all the fun, photoshopped Indians players, and LOLTribe ridiciulousness.

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