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Angels 5, Indians 2: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts

By Marla Ridenour Published: March 23, 2014

Thirteen final thoughts for the 13 wild pitches thrown by the Indians this spring.

1. Just how much Michael Bourn’s hamstring injury will affect the 25-man roster for Opening Day became even more evident Sunday. General manager Chris Antonetti, manager Terry Francona and his staff met for over three hours in the morning and announced only one move, telling 35-year-old right-hander Aaron Harang he would not make the team.

2. The Indians must still decide whether they have room for outfielder Nyjer Morgan and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall. They must fill the last spot in the rotation, choosing between Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer. They must debate whether they want Carrasco in the bullpen instead. They must see if they can keep eight relievers, with right-handers Scott Atchison, C.C. Lee and Blake Wood probably fighting to be No. 8. They must talk about whether designated hitter Jason Giambi will start the season on the disabled list with a fractured rib. They must pick between Chisenhall and converted catcher Carlos Santana at third base.

3. When the subject of the third base decision came up, Francona said, “Sometimes you eliminate things, like this morning with Aaron, and you gradually get to what you think is the right answer. Sometimes it doesn’t come in one big clump.”

4. Francona continues to rave about Santana at third, which could be the way the Indians are leaning. “I think he’s done a terrific job. He looks like a third baseman. I think he’s earned our trust,” Francona said.

5. The question the Indians are debating is not whether Santana knows how to play third, but whether the pressure of the regular season will affect him defensively.

6. “When the season starts, things are always different for everybody,” Francona said. “When the bell rings, it’s different, for pitchers, for hitters, for everybody. We may not fully knows exactly where he is for a while. You’re trying to make informed decisions without all the information, so you do the best you can.”

7. David Murphy, who will platoon with Ryan Raburn in right field, continues to struggle at the plate and is working on some things mechanically. Francona put Murphy in the leadoff spot against the Angels to get him more at-bats and he went 0 for 3. Murphy is now hitting .179 (7 for 39) in 13 spring games.

8. It appears Murphy will start the season just as he always has. In his six-year career, he carries a .228 average in March/April. When Murphy hit a career-high .304 in 2012 with the Texas Rangers, he batted .267 in March/April, .250 in May.

9. Asked if Murphy can find his rhythm, Francona said, “He will, whether it’s today, opening day, a month. He’s a good hitter.”

10. Antonetti and Francona said they would welcome Harang back in the minors, but Francona said he would be surprised if Harang doesn’t find a major league job.

11. Harang said he has thought about how much longer he wants to try to pitch in the majors, but didn't give himself a timetable. "It runs through your mind every once in a while, especially when you know it's getting later in your career," Harang said. "When I'm done I'll know it. A lot of guys try and push it longer than they should. I want to go out when I'm ready to go out. I don't know if that mindset will be pushing it past when I need to walk away. When the time comes, I think I'll know."

12. Harang didn’t know he wasn’t making the team when I talked to him. He was watching golf on his iPad.

13. Francona brought up an amusing conversation when he was looking for another emergency catcher besides Raburn. “I asked Elliot (Johnson) the other day, ‘Just tell me you would do it,’” Francona said. “He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Good enough for me.’ At that point you’re just looking for volunteers.” Francona didn’t care that Johnson has never caught a game in the major leagues.


 

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