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Indians spring training behind the scenes: Carrasco collects baseball cards; Swisher gets new art

By Stephanie Storm Published: February 23, 2014

Indians spring training camp brought with it Saturday the realization that baseball players can find it just as rewarding to collect baseball cards as fans do. I mean, who knew?

Before heading for home following Saturday’s workout, right-handed pitcherCarlos Carrasco to took a minute to page through a large black binder stuffed full of Topps baseball cards neatly stored in hundreds of clear vinyl pages.

When asked about his collection, Carrasco explained it’s a new hobby for him and his children that he undertook about a year ago. But Carrasco doesn’t just collect the cards that he buys by huge box full, he also sends some of them to guys he plays against and asks them to sign their card.

Carrasco is the father of three children - including two boys, who helped dad organize the cards by team during the offseason.

After flipping through some of the pages early Saturday afternoon, he settled on the Cleveland Indians portion and removed the card of former teammate Ubaldo Jimenez.

“Don’t need this one,” he said, flipping aside the new Baltimore Oriole’s old Tribe card, “he’s not here anymore.”    

PATIENCE REWARDED – Two fans spent at least two hours waiting on Nick Swisher in the players’ parking lot Saturday afternoon, looking to barter an exchange. One had drawn an illustration of Swisher playing and wanted him to sign the framed art in exchange for giving Swisher his own copy to keep.

When the first baseman finally emerged from the clubhouse and walked out to his car, he gladly obliged. Swisher even took picture with the artist, who then took more shots of Swisher signing, using his car’s trunk as a make shift table to rest the frame on while applying his signature. 

OFFSEASON ACTIVITIES – Whether in the major or minor leagues, baseball players tend to spend the off season doing all the things that they don’t have time to do during the eighth-month grind of the season.

For right-handed pitcher Austin Adams, that meant spending a lot of time over the fall and winter immersed in his favorite off-season hobby of deer hunting.

“I got three and my dad got one,” Adams said. “That’s a lot of meat till next year.”

Adams used to make venison jerky, but the process to dry and smoke it takes too long, so he hasn’t had any to share in spring training for a couple years now.

Minor league catcher Jake Lowery (who like Adams, played last season at Double-A Akron) had more domestic duties to attend to - helping his fiancé start preparing for their November wedding.

“We got a place picked out, a photographer in place, the pictures for the engagement announcements and save-the-date cards done,” he said. “So far, it’s been pretty painless.”

SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST – One of my favorite moments from Saturday came courtesy of MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, who overheard a gem of conversation during the team’s morning workout between veteran designated hitter Jason Giambi and left-handed pitcher Josh Outman. Here’s the tweet from @MLBastian:

“In live BP, Giambi spotted mechanics flaw with Harang & told Outman he was tipping pitches. “I do it all,” Giambi joked. “I'm a bargain.”

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