Now that Carlos Santana is back from the WBC, manager Terry Francona can get on with the business of familiarizing the Tribe catcher with the signs he will work with.
Not just 1 is a fastball and 2 a curve. That’s the easy part, unless there’s a runner on second and flashing signs to the pitcher become more complex. Catchers are responsible for communicating all manner of defensive signals to the infielders.
“All week, we’ll be modifying our signs to go into the season,” Francona said. “We’ll take time every morning to work on communication, whether it’s defense or offense.”
Santana will play a pivotal role in relaying signs from the bench.
“It was tough, because Santana was using our signs, then theirs [Team Dominican Republic] and now he’s back here,” Francona said. “When guys don’t know what’s going on, that’s when the game speeds up. And a lot of it goes through the catcher.”
KIDS DAY — Cord Phelps hit a two-run homer and Francisco Lindor had three hits in the Indians’ 10-5 win over the Seattle Mariners.
In addition, Tyler Naquin drove in two runs with a single, and Jose Ramirez doubled, singled and had one RBI.
What do all these players have in common? They are integral parts of the Tribe’s farm system.
“It was really fun today watching Johnny Goryl,” Francona said.
Goryl has worked for the Indians for decades and currently is a consultant in the minors.
CHALLENGING THE WALL — Matt Carson has done it before and probably will do it again — run into the outfield wall, that is.
He skidded into it with his head trying to make a diving catch on Saturday, suffering a cut on his forehead and a strained neck.
DIALING LONG DISTANCE — The home run hit by Mark Reynolds on Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks was an impressive blast that cleared the left-center field scoreboard at Goodyear Ballpark.
The soaring fly ball probably traveled at least 460 feet and possibly more, but Reynolds refused to take the feat too seriously.
“Hey, it was spring training,” he said, then added laughing, “but I hit it against the guy I got traded for [David Hernandez]. But he’s really a great dude.”
How did it feel when he made contact?
“I didn’t feel it,” Reynolds said. “Eight out of 10 times you hit a ball, your hands hurt, but not this time.”
Reynolds’ reputation is that of a hitter who can turn around any fastball.
‘“He misses a pitch early in the game that was 92,” Francona said. “But he hits a 96 mile-per-hour fastball a mile. He’s geared for that kind of thing for sure.”
SPECIAL TUTOR — Former infielder Alex Cora is working as a commentator on ESPN, but he also showed up at the Goodyear complex to instruct the Tribe’s minor-leaguers.
“We want to let him get his feet wet,” said Francona of Cora, who played for the Indians in 2005. “Having guys like him around is good for the game.”
MARCHING ONWARD — The Indians return to Goodyear to play the Chicago Cubs today. Ubaldo Jimenez will start against Chris Rusin. The game will be televised by SportsTime Ohio at 4 p.m.
— Sheldon Ocker