It's noon at the Indians' spring training complex, and the Russell Branyan watch is on.
Branyan is supposed to be in the area, somewhere, to complete his physical before he signs a $2 million, one-year deal with Cleveland. Word is that he is undergoing an MRI as the final, critical step in the examination process. Branyan missed the final month of last season because of a sore back, probably one reason he had such a hard time latching onto a job over the winter.
Until Branyan passes his physical, manager Manny Acta doesn't want to talk about him or his potential contributions to the club.
Meanwhile, out on the field, the sun was shining for the first time in four days. Groups of pitchers threw bullpen sessions, including possible future stalwarts to Kelvin De La Cruz and first-round pick Alex White.
De La Cruz missed almost the entire season with an arm injury but seems to be throwing free and easy. In his only two starts of 2009, he gave up two runs in 12 innings and struck out 19 at Kinston.
Like many players who arrive at major-league camp for the first time, White appeared to be trying a little too hard, as if he can make the team by throwing a bullpen. Too many of his pitches landed in the dirt or were barely snagged by the catcher, who spent mu"ch of his time diving and rolling in the dirt.
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