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Defensive metrics don’t like Cleveland LF Michael Brantley due to his range; Indians disagree

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 27, 2015
BrantleyFielding

Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley currently is one of the best examples of the eye test not matching up with the numbers.

Most view him as a solid, above-average left fielder who’s dependable and has a good arm. The defensive metrics say his arm is fine but overall, he’s pretty below average in the field.

Indians manager Terry Francona, who often has a good balance of trusting the numbers but also trusting what his eyes tell him, doesn’t get this one.

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Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona supports rule changes; Two new ticket packages announced

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 26, 2015
Francona

Things are about to pick up for the Cleveland Indians as their first spring training game against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, March 3 draws near. Camp is underway, drills are being run and the games are close. 

Already, new commissioner Rob Manfred has announced three new rules that will be imposed for the 2015 season. Reactions have ranged from optimistic to Big Papi-level pessimistic. 

The changes include hitters having to keep one foot in the batter's box except after foul balls and other exceptions, managers having to challenge plays from the dugout and players having to be ready, promptly, following commercial breaks. 

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How do you feel about MLB's rule changes for 2015 season? (Poll)

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 24, 2015

Commissioner Rob Manfred is already making his stamp on the game and has proposed three rule changes for the 2015 season in an effort to speed up games. 

The three changes: 

* Managers must challenge plays from the dugout

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Gain earlier access to Cleveland Indians single-game tickets by registering for Online Onsale

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 23, 2015

Cleveland Indians fans, a reminder that you can gain earlier access to single-game tickets by registering for the Indians Online Onsale.

To register, you can follow this link and enter your contact information. The deadline to do so is this Friday, Feb. 27. 

Once signing up, you’ll receive an email the morning of Tuesday, March 3, with a password to the Onsale, which begins that day at 10 a.m.

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Cleveland Indians injury updates on Nick Swisher, Jason Kipnis, Brandon Moss, others

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 19, 2015
Swisher

As spring training gets underway, the Cleveland Indians on Thursday provided updates on several rehabbing players around camp, including second baseman Jason Kipnis, first baseman/outfielder Nick Swisher, outfielder Brandon Moss and others.

The Indians’ pitchers and catchers reported Wednesday. The first spring training game is March 3 against the Reds.

Kipnis (left ring finger surgery) is currently unrestricted in his defensive work and throwing and is working through a return to hitting. He is expected to resume hitting soon and be available for game activity in early March.

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Cleveland Indians RHP prospect Tyler Sturdevant suspended 50 games for positive amphetamines test

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 18, 2015

Cleveland Indians right-handed pitching prospect Tyler Sturdevant tested positive for amphetamines and is being suspended 50 games without pay. 

Sturdevant, 29, currently on Columbus' Triple-A roster, will serve his suspension at the start of the Triple-A season. 

Sturdevant had a combined 2-2 record and 2.65 ERA between Double-A Akron and Columbus last season. 

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Cleveland Indians agree to minor-league deal with LHP Bruce Chen, per report

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 17, 2015
Bruce

The Cleveland Indians and left-handed pitcher Bruce Chen have agreed to a minor-league deal, per a report from CBSSports.com writer Jon Heyman. 

The deal, per the report, includes $1 million in base salary and another $1 million in performance bonuses. 

Chen, 37, began the 2014 season in the Kansas City Royals' starting rotation, but he lost his spot early in the year due to back issues. 

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Jason Giambi, former Cleveland Indian, 20-year-pro, tells NY Daily News he is retiring from playing

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 16, 2015
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Jason Giambi, 44, told the New York Daily News on Monday that his playing days are over.

“After 20 seasons, I have decided to officially announce my retirement as a Major League Baseball player,” Giambi said in a statement.

Giambi went on to thank his family, the four teams he played for (Oakland A’s, New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies, Indians), his former managers, coaches and fellow players, the media and the fans.

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Cleveland Indians getting some high praise from ESPN this week; Includes top-5 MLB ranking

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 16, 2015

Pitchers and catches report on Wednesday (you may want to look at pictures as players arrive in the sun just to stay warm). As the 2015 baseball season finally arrives, the Indians have been on the receiving end of quite a bit of praise from a couple of baseball writers at ESPN over the last few days. 

First, David Schoenfield ranked all 30 MLB teams, and the Indians came in all the way at No. 4, the highest in the American League, with a 90-72 record. Only the Pirates, Dodgers and Nationals were ranked higher. 

Here's just an excerpt of what he wrote: 

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Plan for the Cleveland Indians beat going forward; What to look for on the Indians blog

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 16, 2015

As many of you have obviously noticed, the great Sheldon Ocker retired following the 2013 season and last year, the Indians beat was covered with a committee.

I’m honored to say I have taken over the beat after spending 2.5 years with the Beacon and close to half a year with the Northeast Ohio Media Group. It’s a real dream to be able to do this, so thank you to all for the early support and the support going forward. I grew up about 10 minutes south of Akron, so it’s nice to be able to stay home.

We wanted to bring you up to speed regarding this space, the Indians blog. Going forward, this will be a very active space, especially once we reach the final two weeks or so of spring training and of course the regular season. The stories will still be there in print but this will be your first place to get Indians news. And, I want to bring the readers as close to what's going on as possible. 

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Cleveland Indians have interest in outfielder Dayan Viciedo, per report

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 15, 2015
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The Cleveland Indians are showing interest in former Chicago White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo, per a report from Paul Hoynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Viciedo, 26, was released earlier this month following an abysmal 2014 season in which he hit .231 with a .281 on-base percentage and actually had one more strikeout than he had hits (122-121). He’s also often thought of as one of the poorer defensive outfielders in the game.

His lone positive quality is his power (21 home runs last season, 25 in 2012). He’ll hit for power given at-bats, but his poor average and defense cause his value to plummet. Per Fangraphs, he hasn’t posted a positive WAR in two seasons. What that means is that Viciedo, two years in a row, has had less value than an average replacement player at his position around baseball. His line-drive percentage has also fallen two years running, from 22.1 percent in 2012 to 17.3 percent last season.

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Cleveland Indians prospect Brian Ruiz suspended 80 games for performance-enhancing metabolites

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 13, 2015

Cleveland Indians outfield prospect Brian Ruiz has been suspended 80 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing metabolites. 

Ruiz, 22, hit just .260 with three home runs in 85 games last season for Lake County (A). 

A 41st-round draft pick in 2011, Ruiz played primarily in left and right field for Lake County. 

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Cleveland Indians announce start times, TV schedule; Includes additional 6 P.M. home games

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 12, 2015

The Cleveland Indians on Thursday announced the start times and TV schedule for the 2015 season.

Some of these details were already known, but here’s the full rundown, courtesy of the Tribe:

* All 162 games will be televised this year. Nearly all (158) will be on SportsTime Ohio. Three will be on FOX Sports 1 and one (June 27 at Baltimore) nationally on Fox. In addition, the season-opener against Houston on April 6 and an Aug. 17 road game in Boston will be nationally televised on ESPN.

* Select weeknight home games in April and May will begin at 6:10 p.m.: April 27-29 and May 12-13.

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Indians name Travis Hafner, Charles Nagy, John McDonald Special Assistants

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 10, 2015

The Indians announced the additions of three former players as Special Assistants on Tuesday, including former slugger Travis Hafner, starting pitcher Charles Nagy and utilityman John McDonald. 

Hafner and McDonald will each be in the capacity of Special Assistant to Player Development and Scouting. Nagy is returning to the Indians in the role of Special Assistant to Player Development. 

Hafner played 10 of his 12 MLB seasons in Cleveland and is eighth on the all-time franchise list with 200 home runs. His best season was in 2006, and his mark of 110 RBI that year stands as the single-season record for Indians designated hitters. 

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Cleveland Indians prospect Justus Sheffield pleads guilty to two charges

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 7, 2015

Cleveland Indians left-handed pitching prospect Justus Sheffield pleaded guilty to charges of underaged drinking and criminal trespass stemming from an incident last month in Tennessee, per reports. 

The Northeast Ohio Media Group first reported the news. 

Sheffield received a deferred judgment, meaning if he stays clear of trouble for the next year, his record will be expunged. 

Per the report, Sheffield and two former teammates from high school broke into a Tullahoma, Tennessee man's residence accusing him of "messing around with his girlfriend." Sheffield admitted to have been drinking at the time. 

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Detroit Tigers DH Victor Martinez has torn meniscus in knee; James Shields will land somewhere soon

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 5, 2015

Some quick MLB notes on a cold Thursday -- 

Detroit Tigers designated hitter and former Indians catcher Victor Martinez has a torn meniscus in his left knee, the team announced Thursday.

Per reports, Martinez tore it during workouts. Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery.

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Update: Indians SP Danny Salazar will not face charges for sexual assault complaint, per reports

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 4, 2015
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UPDATE (6 p.m.): Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar was investigated but will not face charges for a sexual assault complaint, per a report from cleveland.com. 

In that report, Cleveland Police spokeswoman Jennifer Ciaccia released a statement, saying, “Detectives presented the case involving the rape allegations with the suspect being Danny Salazar to the city prosecutor’s office today and no charges were issued against Mr. Salazar.” According to the same report, the incident occurred at a Cleveland strip club the night of Jan. 22.

Multiple phone calls and messages to Ciaccia and the Cleveland Division of Police Public Information Office by the Beacon Journal went unanswered Wednesday. 

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