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Indians Indians Archive The View from Goodyear
Written by Al Ciammiachella

Al Ciammiachella

good_eye_smallI arrived in Goodyear this morning at around 11am with my dad, just in time to catch the very end of MLB batting practice before their road game against the Milwaukee Brewers.  If you ever head down to spring training, make sure you swing by the practice fields prior to the away games for this little treat.  It’s free, and you get to walk right up to the fence and watch the position players hone their craft (and the pitchers goof off shagging flies in the OF).  It’s also the best opportunity for autographs, and it’s about as close as most people will get to major league baseball players.  The kids really love it, as there are plenty of home runs pounded over the fence to give them opportunities to get their hands on a ball.  And like Crash Davis says, in the show, they hit white balls for batting practice. 

As the players and coaches walked away from the field, there were plenty of requests for autographs, but two names rang above all others.  “Graaadyyyyyy!  Sandyyyyyy!”  Both Sizemore and Alomar Jr. obliged the fans and signed for quite a few of the folks who were out there watching.  Again, if you go to spring training and only attend the big league games in the stadium, you’re doing yourself a disservice and missing half the fun.

After BP ended, I headed over to the minor league fields to see what the kids were up to.  It was a camp day in Goodyear, so all of the minors guys were around.  The best thing about camp days is that there is a lot of time for individual instruction in addition to live game action.  For example, at the beginning of the afternoon, Travis Fryman was on one of the side fields working with Chase Burdette on scooping low throws over at 1B.  Later in the day, Burdette was in one of the intersquad games facing live pitching.  Some other quick observations from the intersquad games:

·         CC Lee is nasty.  He has absolutely filthy stuff.  He threw two good innings, the first in which he struck out the side in order.  His defense let him down a little in the next inning, as he gave up an unearned run off of a double, a couple of errors and a sac fly.  But he was sitting consistently between 91-94, and touched 95 a couple of times.  When you can throw a 94 MPH sidearm fastball on the black (as he did to K Wes Hodges looking), that’s pretty tough for a righty to hit.  Check out the pictures below for what it looks like when Lee is coming at you from his sidearm slot.


  • Roberto Perez, who I have already told you is the best defensive catcher in the system, solidified that standing with perfect throw to 2B to nab a runner who was foolish enough to test him.  The runner got a pretty good jump, and it wasn’t even close at 2B.  The pop time on the throw? A remarkable 1.8 seconds.  I had 1.78 seconds and one of the Indians coaches had 1.82, so we’ll round to 1.80 even. 

·         Bryan Price threw a pretty solid inning, touching 96 and sitting between 92-95.  He didn’t throw many offspeed pitches, working primarily off of his power fastball.

·         Jeremie Tice hit a bomb off of starter Matt Packer, clearing the left-centerfield fence by quite a bit.  Packer had struck out a pair and looked like he was going to  cruise through the inning, but an Abreu single and Tice’s bomb proved otherwise.  Packer did come back to strike out

·         Adam Miller lives!  He threw a scoreless in the A game, sitting pretty consistently between 92-94 MPH with his fastball.  He threw Alex Lavisky a knee-buckling curveball to put him in the books looking to end the inning. Here's what it looks like when the big Texan brings it:


·         Nick Bartolone is fast.  He’s also small. He looks younger than everyone else out there, until he starts playing.  He’s a great athlete and just looks like a ballplayer.  He was able to tag up and take 2nd base on a flyball to medium-deep CF.  I never thought he’d even try it, but he slid in safely under the tag. 

After the minor league games ended, there was still just enough time to make it to Maryville to watch the big boys take on the Milwaukee Brewers.  We couldn’t have picked a better stadium to go to, as the Brewers offer bratwurst, various BBQ options, fresh cut French fries and several beer options at their concession stands.  Really a top-notch effort, and pretty much what you’d expect to appease the fans coming down to AZ from Milwakuee. They even had the traditional sausage race. Mitch Talbot got the start for the Indians, but it was the Brewers who unleashed the fury on him.  Talbot gave up 7 runs on 14 hits in 6 innings of work, including a solo bomb that almost cleared the batters eye in CF off the bat of and a grand slam from Carlos Gomez.  Honestly, he was lucky to only give up the 7 runs.  Everything the Brewers hit off of him was hard, and even the outs were loud outs.  Choo made a nice play in RF on a sinking, twisting liner, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Uncle Orlando wears a chest protector the next time Talbot pitches.  He had a couple of balls rocketed at him at 2B, two of which he made really nice plays on to record the outs.

Louie Valbuena butchered a high, easy pop foul behind third base in the first inning.  That’s discouraging to see from a guy who is trying to make the team as a utility infielder.  He did have a really nice RBI bunt with two outs in the 4th.  He caught the Brewers defense napping, and pushed the ball past the pitcher on the right side of the infield.  Milwakuee 2B Rickie Weeks tried to flip the ball straight to 1st from his glove, but it wasn’t in time to nab Valbuena.

Pronk was looking like v.2010, remaining patient at the plate in drawing a walk and then flying out to shallow LF.  That is, until he drilled a solo HR over the right-centerfield wall in the bottom of the 8th inning.  I was walking around the park at the time, and probably could have fought off some of the 10-year olds that were scrambling for the ball and picked myself up a nice souvenir, but discretion reigned the day. 

In other news, Josh Tomlin has been selected as the team’s fifth starter to open the season.  David Huff and Jenmar Gomez both had strong outings on Thursday against the Giants, but apparently the front office had already made up their minds to go with Tomlin.  Huff started Thursdays game and struck out two over five shutout innings, and Gomez relieved him, striking out four and giving up one run over the final four frames.  Tomlin has had an excellent spring, giving up just one earned run in eight innings of work.  In addition to the eight major league innings, Tomlin logged plenty of scoreless innings in “B” games and minor league games.  So he’s earned the first shot at the 5th starter spot, with Huff and Gomez sent to AAA to be the first two options if (when) injury or ineffectiveness dictates the need for another starting pitcher.

Back out to Goodyear this afternoon for a triple-dip.  Columbus and Akron take on the Brewers minor league affiliates at 1pm local time, then the Indians play the Giants at 7pm. 

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