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Indians Indians Archive Winter Haven Live: 3/11
Written by Tony Lastoria

Tony Lastoria
This is the debut of Winter Haven Live, a piece that hopefully can help bring the spring training experience home to the fans. Many fans cannot make it to spring training, where we dispatched Tony Lastoria to this week. So for the next week he's going to try and make this column the next best thing to being there as he provides some quick recaps of the happenings in camp, but most importantly ... provides lots of pictures and videos you do not normally see on TV, in the newspapers, or online. Enjoy!  This is the debut of Winter Haven Live, the beginning of a piece that hopefully can help bring the spring training experience home to the fans.

As a diehard Indians fan for well over 25 years, I always wondered what the spring training experience was like, and this being my first time taking it in it truly is an awesome experience.  As with any new feature or idea, things will be added and changed on the fly. Many fans cannot make it to spring training, and with that my goal is to make this daily column this week the next best thing to being there as I provide some quick recaps of the happenings in camp, but most importantly provide lots of pictures and videos you do not normally see on TV, in the newspapers, or on-line anywhere else.

When I originally thought of doing this report, I figured I would post tons of pictures. I am still doing that, but I also came up with the idea to shoot lots of video as well since there are numerous fans who have never been to spring training.  Video would provide a good way for fans to get a firsthand look at some of the action as if they were actually there. Also, a lot of fans have never seen 99% of the prospects in the Indians minor league system, so another one of my intentions is to also shoot a lot of pictures and video of several Indians prospects.

That said, until you actually undertake the task of video and trying to upload it on-line, you don't know what you are getting into
. I shot roughly an hours worth of video at camp on Sunday, but because I chose to shoot it in high definition quality video, one minute clips were too large (100 MB) so I am unable to host them on video hosting sites like YouTube, etc. As a result, I don’t have nearly the amount of video to share as I originally intended.

When I eventually get these files uploaded, I will share them at a later date, but for now I only have three video clips to share.  The reports later in the week will have lots more video as I opt for the more economical recording settings which will allow for faster uploads and smaller files.  Just one of the many things you learn on the go I guess. (Note: I am hardly a world class videographer, so please remember I am an amateur with the camera.  Remember that when watching.)

All that said, onto the news and highlights from camp on Sunday March 11th:

Yesterday, camp was somewhat quiet as the Indians were in Tampa playing the Yankees, winning 4-3 to improve their Grapefruit League record to 8-4. But, it was business as usual at Chain of Lakes Park as pitchers on the major league roster who did not make the trip to Tampa continued to get their regular work in, and the minor leaguers were also in action.

Major league roster pitchers who were left behind were: Jake Westbrook (#37), C.C. Sabathia (#52), Jeremy Sowers (#45), Matt Miller (#59), and Rafael Betancourt (#63). Also, some new faces and prospects as well: Aaron Fultz (#46), Tony Sipp (#70), Jason Stanford (#61), Rafael Perez (#53), J.D. Martin (#66), Brian Slocum (#54), Tom Mastny (#40), and Eddie Mujica (#49).  Here are some pictures of them in action:

Indians pitchers worked on throws to first and second base, as well as various other fundamentals. When they finished their brief workout (about an hour), they headed to the weight room.

With the Indians out of town in Tampa, the minor leaguers dominated the practice fields and attention from the few fans in attendance. Obviously, with the big crowd attractions from the major league camp playing in Tampa and no game scheduled in Winter Haven, there were only a handful of fans present.

However, for avid minor league followers such as me, it was heaven.

Minor league camp started late last week, and minor leaguers were all over the place in filling six practice fields. Prospects from every level of the organization littered the spring training complex, as players bustled about to get from field to field to take part in various activites. On one field you had pitchers working on pick off moves to first base while other players played pepper in the outfield, and then on another field you had players taking live batting practice with other players working on running from second to home on the hit.  And, on the remaining fields, there were various activities that players took part in such as working on getting good secondary leads at second base and positioning in the infield.

Here are some random shots of the action from camp Sunday.

The ballpark:

Indians outfield prospect Jordan Brown (#30) hanging around the cages:

Indians outfield prospect John Drennen (#26) gets ready to take some swings and hustles to the next field:

Various shots of the players going through drills on each field:

Random players hanging around the cages:

Jose Constanza (#20) and Brian Finegan (#12) chatting it up in the outfield while shagging balls:

Brian Barton (#28) taking instruction and in action:

Brian Barton and Ryan Mulhern (#24):

The Video 

Practice started at 9:45 am with the minor leaguers stretching:


2006 Carolina League MVP Jordan Brown (#30) took some swings in the cage:


Newcomer Matt McBride (#7), one of the Indians top catching prospects takes some swings:



I'll be in camp through Friday this week, so if you have any suggestions or ideas, please pass them along to me at

Up Next

I’m off to Disney with the family today (Monday), but I have a nice Q&A with The Hardball Times Jeff Sackmann that will post tomorrow (Tuesday). I’ll be back at the fields on Tuesday and through the rest of the week, with more reports starting up on Wednesday morning.  On Tuesday I plan to take in the morning minor league practices, then attend the Mets/Indians game at 1:05pm, and will also take in the Mike Trivisonno Show on WTAM 1100 which will be aired live from Beef 'O' Brady’s from 3-7pm.

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