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Cleveland Indians

Crowe makes big-league debut

By Sheldon Published: April 9, 2009

It was just another player making his major-league debut. Thousands of men have preceded him.

No big deal, right? Unless you're the guy jogging onto a big-league field for the first time, thinking that every eye is on me, and what if I trip over the baseline or strike out on a pitch over my head or throw a ball in the seats or crash into the star player who's trying to catch a fly ball? 

There are so many pitfalls and scenarios for disaster, almost too many to count. Or to worry about. Take a deep breath and just go out and play. 

That's what Trevor Crowe faced Thursday afternoon at The Ballpark in Arlington. Manager Eric Wedge wrote his name in the Indians' lineup for the first time: batting eighth and playing right field, the public address announcer would say.

"I'm very excited,'' Crowe said. 

How did Wedge inform the 25-year-old he would be playing? ""I did a little fly by with him,'' the manager said.

Something like, ""Hey Trevor. You're in the lineup today.''

"I wanted to get him in one of the first three games before we got home,'' Wedge said.

In four plate appearances, Crowe grounded out three times and struck out. He also caught three fly balls.

Crowe has played only 35 games at Triple-A, but Wedge and General Manager Mark Shapiro watched him closely in spring training and determined he was big-league ready. But only because David Dellucci strained a calf muscle late in camp did Crowe make the roster.

He might have concentrated on center field because he can run and has a strong arm, but there was an obstacle: Grady Sizemore. Crowe got the word not long after he was selected in the first round of the 2005 draft.

"We've got this guy named Sizemore,'' Crowe said, recalling the message. "I said, "I know. I've been watching SportsCenter for a couple of years. I know who he is.' '' 

Crowe isn't accustomed to sitting on the bench, but this isn't his first experience at waiting his turn.

"I dealt with it a little in college when I was fighting for playing time,'' he said. ""One thing college and the big leagues have in common is that in both places, you're trying to win. The minor leagues are for development, so I'm just going to try and help the team win.'' 

Crowe didn't rush to call anyone after he found out he was in the lineup. 

"My mom and dad (Terryl and David) will be at the game,'' he said. ""They'll find out I'm playing when they get here.''

HAFNER REPORT -- In addition to hitting his first home run of the season on Thursday, Travis Hafner finished the three-game set with the Rangers 3-for-11 with two strikeouts. 

"The ball came off the bat good today (on the homer),'' Wedge said. ""He had some good swings in this series, but he's not quite there yet.''

Hafner is coming back after undergoing shoulder surgery last year. 

NOT WORRIED -- Wedge has confidence that rookie left-hander Scott Lewis will handle the pressure and turmoil of Opening Day in Cleveland today. 

"I think with what we saw last year, it won't be a problem,'' the manager said. "He has that kind of personality trait (self confidence) that works to his advantage. It's one of his strong points. There's no reason to think he won't be able to handle Friday well.'' 

WHO'S ON FIRST? -- Victor Martinez played first for the second time in three games, and Kelly Shoppach was behind the plate to catch Carl Pavano

"Kelly caught Carl the last couple of times in spring training, and this is a day game after a night game,'' Wedge said. ""It's important that we have Victor in the lineup.'' 

Asked if Shoppach would be Pavano's regular catcher, Wedge said, ""This is not a set thing.''

MILLER TIME -- Adam Miller (finger injury) will throw a 35-pitch bullpen at extended spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., tomorrow. If everything goes as planned, he will throw live batting practice Monday and next Friday. 

NEW TRIBE HALL -- The Indians are instituting a new Distinguished Hall of Fame at Progressive Field to honor non-uniformed personnel who have made significant contributions to the franchise. 

The first two inductees will be former owners Dick Jacobs and Bill Veeck.

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