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Game interrupted by false alarm

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 27, 2013

   GOODYEAR, Ariz.: Today's game between the Indians and Mariners was delayed for five minutes in the eighth inning, when an alarm was triggered by a child.

   The sound of the alarm was followed by a recorded voice announcing that the ballpark should be cleared because of an emergency. Dozens of fans left before it was determined that no emeregency situation existed. 

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Tribe drops first Cactus League game

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 26, 2013

   After five consecutive wins to start the exhibition season, the Tribe lost a 4-1 decision to the Royals at Goodyear Ballpark today.
   The lone meaningful hit was struck by Matt Carson, who homered for the second time in the spring. Jason Kipnis and Cord Phelps doubled, but the offense generated only five hits.
   It was an all reliever day on the mound, with Giovanni Soto the sole pitcher to struggle, In two-thirds of an inning, he allowed three hits, two runs and two walks. In two appearances, he has given up seven runs and six hits in 1 1/3 innings.
   Keep in mind that he pitched at Double-A last year and is only 21. 
 

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Masterson Opening Day starter

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 26, 2013

   Not surprisingly, Justin Masterson will start the season opener in Toronto on April 21.
   It will be the second year in a row that Masterson has received the honor of being the first Tribe starter out of the blocks.  Francona told Masterson in the dugout before the game.
   “”I was hoping for it,’’ Masterson said today. “”Tito (manager Terry Francona) told me there were some things that might be a possibility, and it turned out to be true.
   “”It’s exciting. It’s where I want to be, the first guy out there to set the tone.’’
   With Masterson No. 1 in the rotation, Ubaldo Jimenez almost certainly will be No. 2.

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Brantley ""probably'' out 10 days

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 26, 2013

   GOODYEAR, Ariz.: Michael Brantley is likely to miss 10 days after he sustained a deep cut near his left elbow, when he was spiked sliding into third base Mpnday.

   ""We definitley want it to heal properly,'' manager Terry Francona said this morning. ""He probably will be out about 10 days. It's not going to alter anything. It just gave him a little scare.''

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Brantley hurt as Tribe beats A's 14-10

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 25, 2013

   PHOENIX:  Michael Brantley ripped his fourth double of the spring today but ended up in the hospital after incurring a deep cut near his left forearm.

   ""They took him to Good Samaritan and stitched him up and he was sent back to Goodyear,''manager Terry Francona said. ""His forearm was sliced up pretty good.''

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Indians home opener sells out in six minutes

By Ron Ledgard Published: February 25, 2013

The Indians' home opener against the New York Yankees sold out in six minutes after tickets went on sale this morning.

It was one of the fastest sellouts in Indians history, according to an e-mailed team release.

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Tribe takes two

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 24, 2013

   PHOENIX: Carlos Santana and Ezequiel Carrera homered to give the Indians seven home runs in four exhibition games, as the Tribe won twice on split-squad today, beating the Brewers 7-4 and shutting out the Reds 3-0 in Goodyear.
   Santana’s first homer of the spring came with a man on in the third inning; Carrera’s solo blast came in the sixth.
   For the first time this spring, Ryan Rayburn did not go deep. But he did have a single in two at-bats. In his first two games, he was 3-for-3 with three home runs.
   Carlos Carrasco, Scott Kazmir and Trevor Bauer, all vying for the rotation, pitched the first five innings, and David Huff delivered two scoreless innings beginning in the sixth. Huff gave up one hit and struck out two. 
   Back at Goodyear Ballpark, seven pitchers held the Reds to one hit. 
   Zach McAllister and Daisuke Matsuzaka each threw two scoreless innings; Jerry Gil threw 11/3 innings; Cody Allen, T.J. House and Preston Guilmet pitched one inning apiece.
   Rich Hill threw two-thirds of an inning and allowed the only hit plus two walks. He also struck out two.
   Olin Santos doubled and drove two runs.
 

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Raburn sets tone in Tribe's 13-10 win

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 23, 2013

   GOODYEAR, Ariz.: So far, spring training has been a festival of hitting for the Indians, who beat the Reds 13-10 today at Goodyear Ballpark.

   Ryan Raburn, who was jettisoned by the Tigers after last season, hit two more home runs to give him three in as many at-bats. He started neither Friday's game nor today's.

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Indians rally in ninth to win exhibition opener over Reds

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 22, 2013

GOODYEAR, Ariz.:  Mike McDade delivered a bases-loaded double in the ninth to give the Indians an 11-10 win over the Reds in the exhibition opener at Goodyear Field this afternoon.

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Tribe meets for rules discussion

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 22, 2013

   GOODYEAR, Ariz.: The Indians met this morning with three league officials, who clued them in on any rules changes or new interpretations.

   ""About the only thing was the third to first move, which has been eliminated,'' manager Terry Francona.

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Indians early signs; lefty not vital; exhibition season starts Friday

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 21, 2013

When Indians pitchers began throwing batting practice earlier this week, catchers began giving pitch signs. In the past, pitchers would indicate by hand signal what pitch they were throwing.

"It’s more like a game situation," manager Terry Francona said. “We aren’t playing intrasquad games, so we try to find other ways to kind of simulate games. That’s the way pitchers really pitch, so it seems to make sense."

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Nick Swisher still a hot topic around Indians

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 20, 2013

GOODYEAR, Ariz.: After watching Nick Swisher up close, Carlos Baerga can relate to the new Indians right fielder.

"We need a guy like him in the clubhouse to keep everybody alive,’’ Baerga said. “He’s kind of a crazy guy, like me."

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Pitchers named for exhibition opener

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 20, 2013

   GOODYEAR, Ariz.: Giovanni Soto will be the first Indians pitcher to take the mound when exhibition season begins Friday against the Reds.

  Vinnie Pestano, Joe Martinez, Rich Hill, Matt Langwell, Fernando Nieve and Frank Herrmann will follow.

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Baerga, Hart to be inducted intoTribe Hall of Fame

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 20, 2013

   GOODYEAR, Ariz.: Former second baseman Carlos Baerga and John Hart, the general manager who presided over the Indians' glory years of the 1990s, have been chosen by the club for induction into thr Tribe'sd Hall of Fame.

   Baerga was a strong offensive player, who made the All-Star Team in 1992, 1993 and 1995, and led Cleveland in hits from 1991-'93 and again in 1995. In 1992 and '93, he became the first second baseman since Rogers Hornsby in 1922 to put together consecutive seasons of 200 hits, 20 home runs and 100 RBI.

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Suspension still hanging over Carrasco; no harm no foul; Soto pitching in WBC

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 19, 2013

  Carlos Carrasco still has a six-game suspension hanging over his head from throwing at the head of Billy Butler of the Royals on July 29, 2011.
   The suspension was never served because a serious injury forced Carrasco to undergo elbow reconstruction surgery in September, 2011. Having recovered fully, Carrasco is considered the frontrunner to win the final spot in the rotation but still faces the prospect of dealing with the suspension.
“”I don’t know what’s going to happen,’’ Francona said, hoping that after so much time has elapsed the term of the punishment will change.
   Most pitchers did not want to throw over the top of protective “”L’’ screens for batting practice because it restricts their arm movement.
   No casualties were reported, but Justin Masterson and Vinnie Pestano were tagged in the leg with batted balls and didn’t flinch.
  “”Somebody took one off the heel, but it was no big deal,’’ Francona said. “”I think they all get more out of it without the screens, and the drill is for the pitchers.’’
  Giovanni Soto moved from the provisional list to becoming a member of Team Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic tournament that begins in early March.
 

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Francona betting that bullpen will continue to be strong

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 17, 2013

  One of the most overworked cliches in baseball is that from year to year, bullpens tend to be erratic, and there isn’t much anyone can do about it.
  For the past two seasons, Tribe relievers have defied that adage, and manager Terry Francona doesn’t see why his bullpen won’t continue to maintain its consistency.
  Why?
“”These guys are pretty good,’’ Francona said. “”When you have an anchor at the end, it makes it easier to put together a bullpen. You build it backward to forward.’’
   Closer Chris Perez has 75 saves in 83 opportunities the past two years. Vinnie Pestano has become a slam-dunk setup man, and Joe Smith has been close to flawless as the seventh-innning specialist.
  “”Vinnie has turned into a dominating pitcher,’’ Francona said. “”Joe has always been tough on righties, and now he can get lefties out.
  “”Then we have young guys like Cody Allen – his stuff is nasty—and Nick Hagadone. His stuff is off the charts. But with some of these long lever guys (tall), it just takes awhile to get enough repetitions.’’

  At the moment, having a left-hander in the bullpen is not a sure thing.
Hagadone has the best chance to latch onto a job, though Scott Barnes, David Huff (if he does not remain a starter) and Rich Hill will have a chance to compete for a spot.

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Francona on pitch counts, Carrasco

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 16, 2013

  What value does Terry Francona give to pitch counts?

  Like most managers, he thinks they help gauge a pitcher’s fatigue, but he is not a slave to them.
  “”It’s one of a lot of different ways to protect your pitcher and keep track of his work load,’’ Francona said today.
  He has learned not always rely on pitch counts.
  “”They can be a little false,’’ he said. “”What but they do – when you know your guy – is when he get to a certain point, you think he better be doing this.’’
   Pitchers can have easy innings and tough ones. Not all pitches are created equal, and a starter who has breezed through seven innings might be fresher than a pitcher who has struggled through three innings.
  “”Pitch counts can be overrated,’’ Francona said. “”Part of it is how strenuous the pitches are.’’
   Carlos Carrasco continues to impress Francona, even thought he’s coming off elbow reconstruction surgery. 
   “”It looks like the hard work paid off,’’ the manager said. “”I’m trying not to get too excited, but it’s hard not to.’’
  Nevertheless, Carrasco does not have a guaranteed spot in the rotation.
  “”There’s going to be a group of guys who fight it out,’’ Francona said. “”But with his stuff, the ceiling is up to him.’’
 

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Indians make Michael Bourn signing official

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 15, 2013

GOODYEAR, Ariz.: The Indians made the signing of Michael Bourn official this morning.

Bourn will make $48 million over four years and can make it $60 million for five with s vesting option. Manager Terry Francona already has said that he will play center field and lead off to take advantage of his speed. Bourn led the National League in steals three times.

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Nick Swisher leaves Indians camp for mother's funeral

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 15, 2013

GOODYEAR, Ariz.: Nick Sweisher has left camp to attend the funeral of his mother in Columbus. He is expected to return Saturday night.

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Bauer's rap song puts him in the middle of controversy

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 14, 2013

   GOODYEAR, Ariz.: Pitching phenom Trevor Bauer and a buddy became embroiled in controversy after tweeting a rap song that they engineered.

    Bauer said he was taken by surprise when the hip-hop piece was viewed by many as criticism of Miguel Montero, the catcher for the Diamondbacks who made critical remarks about Bauer after working with him last year.

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Smith on road back; Francona wants a favor

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 13, 2013

   Seventh-inning relief specialist Joe Smith said his sore oblique isn’t going to affect his readiness to begin the season on time.
  “”I’m already throwing from 75 feet,’’ he said. “”I should be throwing off the mound soon.’’ 
  Manager Terry Francona said that right-hander Trey Haley will be held back because of “”a balky shoulder.’’
  “”We’re going to hold him back for a week,’’ the manager said.
  Matt LaPorta, who underwent surgery to clean out his hip, isn’t expected to see game action until mid-March.
  “”Opening Day is not the finish line for him,’’ Francona said. “”And he knows that.’’       

  Chris Perez and Vinnie Pestano are scheduled to pitch for the Team USA in the WBC, but Francona will ask officials if they can return (from the other side of Phoenix) to pitch in an exhibition game during the tournament.
  “”I’m going to call (manager) Joe Torre and see if that’s all right,’’ the manager said. “”I don’t see that it would be a problem, but I’ll ask. It’s only 20 minutes away.’’
 

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Tribe makes Matsuzaka signing official

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 13, 2013

   With Daisuke Matsuzaka having passed a physical, the Indians today formally announced his signing to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

   Matsuzaka, 32, has a major-league record of 50-37 and a 4.53 earned-run avareage in six seasons with the Red Sox, but he will be a longshot to make Cleveland's rotation.

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Indians make signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka official

By Associated Press Published: February 13, 2013

Daisuke Matsuzaka has officially joined the revitalized Indians.

The Japanese right-hander, limited to just 18 starts the past two seasons because of elbow issues, signed a minor-league contract this morning. The 32-year-old is being reunited with manager Terry Francona, beginning his first season with the Indians. The two spent several seasons together with the Boston Red Sox.

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Indians issue injury update on four pitchers

By Ron Ledgard Published: February 12, 2013

The Indians issued injury updates this morning on four pitchers who are recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery -- Chen Chang Lee, Blake Wood, Josh Tomlin and Carlos Carrasco.

Here is the Indians statement:

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1590 WAKR & Tribe renew broadcast deal

By Stephanie Storm Published: February 11, 2013

For at least the next three years, Indians fans in the Akron area can continue to tune into 1590 WAKR to hear Tribe games.

 

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Indians sign Michael Bourn to $48 million, four-year deal

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 11, 2013

The Indians keep pulling surprises, the latest coming tonight when several sources confirmed that they have signed free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn to a long-term deal.

Upon passing a physical, Bourn will be rewarded with a four-year, $48 million guaranteed contract with a vesting option that would increase the value of the deal to $60 million.

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Tribe signs Giambi to minor-league deal

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 9, 2013

   Late Saturday night, the Indians signed another big name, but it might be a litte late, like five years.

   Forty-two-year-old Jason Giambi agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to major-league spring training camp.

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No arbitration for Aviles;Tribe signs reliever

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 7, 2013

   The Indians today avoided arbitration with utility infielder Mike Aviles by signing him to a two-year guaranteed contract plus a club option for a third season.

   Aviles can play second, third, short and might log time in the outfield. He also is  a candidate to receive some at-bats at designated hitter.

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Tribe signs catcher to minor-league deal

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 5, 2013

   The Indinans signed free agent catcher Omir Santos to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to major-league spring training camp.

   Santos, 31, spent 2012 in the Tigers' and Rockies' organizations. His combined numbers at Triple-A Toledo and Triple-A Colorado Springx: .310 batting average with 16 doubles, two home runs and 30 RBI in 61 games. He also played three games with the Tigers.

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