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Cleveland Indians

Barfield sees the whole spectrum

By Sheldon Published: May 5, 2009

Josh Barfield took a whirlwind tour of the best and worst that baseball has to offer Monday night.

In a span of four innings, Barfield went from hero to goat to hero again, as the Indians rallied three times to earn a 9-7, 12-inning win over the Blue Jays. 

Until then, his only appearance for the Tribe came on April 14, when he was used as a pinch hitter and thrown out trying to steal second. 

Barfield entered Monday night's game as a pinch runner in the ninth inning and scored from second on a close play at the plate on Asdrubal Cabrera's single to right that tied the score.

When the inning ended, Barfield trotted to left field for his first-ever appearance as a major-league outfielder. Sure enough, a two-out fly ball on which he got a slow start landed in front of him for a two-run single that tied the score 6-6.

But in the 12th inning, Barfield singled sharply to center to snap the tie and continue a rally that reached three runs.

"It was nice to get back out there and be able to contribute,'' said Barfield, who was deemed expendable and sent to Columbus for 12 games when the Tribe needed an extas reliever.

Barfield had little doubt he would score in the ninth, even though Alex Rios had a play.

"I should be able to score on anybody unless the ball is hit hard right at someone,'' he said. ""I was breaking with the swing and with two outs, you don't have to read anything.''

Manager Eric Wedge didn't think that scoring was automatic.

""Probably nobody scores but him,'' he said. "He got there quick, but he barely scored.''

Of the ball that fell in front of him, Barfield said, ""That's the way it works (for inexperienced defenders). But I played out there in spring training, so I have a pretty good comfort level.''

There was a reasonable explanation of why Barfield broke so tentatively on the fly ball.

""The guy took a big swing and hit it off the end of the bat,'' Barfield said. ""I probably could have gotten there (otherwise).''

Having a big game in Toronto is special to Barfield, because his father, Jesse, played the outfield for the Blue Jays.

"It never fails, when I come here I get about 50 Jesses,'' Barfield said. ""When I do something here, it means a little bit more. There's a lot of history here for me. We used to live down the street from the ballpark when I was a kid.''

That's when his playmates were Prince Fielder, Cecil's son, and the sons of Lloyd Moseby and Willie Upshaw.

MIX AND MATCH -- In the bottom of the 12th inning Monday night, the Indians looked like this on defense: Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera was at short, third baseman Mark DeRosa was at first, shortstop Jhonny Peralta was at third, rookie Luis Valbuena was at second, and second baseman Josh Barfield was in left. 

"You have to do what you have to do to win the game,'' Wedge said. ""That's why we try to be so versatile.''

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED -- The ball Matt LaPorta hit for his first big-league home run Monday night was thrown back on the field by a fan displaying his loyalty to the Blue Jays and disrespect for the Indians. 

But the fan inadvertently helped the Tribe. The ball was picked up by one of Cleveland's players sitting in the dugout, making it unnecessary to bargain with the fan to get it back.

What will LaPorta do with the baseball? ""I'll probably save it when I get a house and can have some sort of trophy room,'' he said. 

AN OMEN? -- The Tribe begins a two-game series at Fenway Park tonight, with Red Sox DH David Ortiz still looking for his first home run of the season after 99 at-bats (pending the outcome of Tuesday night's game with the Yankees). 

Who was victimized by Ortiz's last home run? Cleveland, of course, on a pitch thrown by Zach Jackson Sept. 22, 2008.

CONDOLENCES -- Long time Cleveland Stadium and Progressive Field usher Joe Corrado died Monday night at age 94. 

In recent years, Corrado was posted at the door to the press box and became a friendly acquantance to the writers and broadcasters who worked the games. Corrado began as an usher in 1949 and continued on the job until the end of last season, a span of 49 years.  

FARM FACTS -- Lonnie Chisenhall homered, doubled and drove in four runs, but Kinston lost 10-9 to Salem.


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