GOODYEAR, ARIZ.: The Indians have plenty of players who can steal bases, but sometimes they will bump heads with a pitcher bent on keeping them close to their base.
“Over the past couple of years, Josh Tomlin and Ian Kennedy are going to refuse to let you run,” Drew Stubbs said. “They’re going to be 1.1 [seconds] or better to the plate every time. When a pitcher does that, I don’t care how fast you are, as long as the catcher makes a decent throw, you’re probably going to be out.
“Josh does it with a slide step. He’s one of the quickest guys [to the plate] in the league. If he’s doing that, I don’t care if you’re Rickey Henderson, he’s tough to run on.”
Yet a pitcher who is zeroed in on a runner might not be paying enough attention to the batter.
“On the flip side, a pitcher is probably sacrificing some focus on the hitter,” Stubbs said. “So just because you’re not stealing a base, you’re taking his attention away to where he might make a mistake.”
TRIBE TOPS REDS — Carlos Santana homered and doubled off Cincinnati Reds starter Armando Galarraga, leading the Indians to a 9-1 victory over a Reds split squad in the final spring training game for both teams.
Santana hit his second home run of the spring in the fourth, a solo shot. Mark Reynolds walked and scored on a single by Matt Carson. Carson hit his fifth home run of the spring with a runner on in the fifth inning.
Brett Myers pitched five innings for the Indians, allowing one run and three hits. He struck out three.
UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM — Ever wonder why so many managers shy away from letting their hitters swing at a 3-and-0 pitch, even though it’s apt to be a fastball down the heart of the plate? So does manager Terry Francona.
“I never understood why people would automatically take a 3-and-0 pitch,” he said. “You try and put yourself in the best position to succeed. And too often you have the best hitter’s count you could possibly have, and you take the bat out of a guy’s hand.”
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM — Mark Reynolds is known for two things: home runs and strikeouts. But his game is a little more nuanced than that.
“In obvious situations when there’s a guy on third with less than two outs or when you’re trying to move a guy over, I’m going to try and not overswing,” he said. “But if there’s a runner on first with two outs and it’s the fifth inning, I’m going to try and hit it in the gap so my guy can score.”
SMALL BUT WORTHY REWARDS — Jason Kipnis said that Francona has only three rules: be on time, play the game the right way and respect the game and your teammates. So will abiding by these rules bring any perks?
“I don’t think Tito’s the biggest fan of three-piece suits,” Kipnis said. “I think we might go jeans and collared shirts [on charter flights]. But that’s also stuff we might have to earn by winning some games first.”
EYES WIDE SHUT — Francona said he never looks at the spring training stats of his players, even when exhibition season is over.
“I know what kind of at-bats guys are having,” he said. “The sample size is so small and you have things like the sun and wind being factors, so it’s just not worth it.”
— Sheldon Ocker
TRIBE DEFEATS REDS — Carlos Santana homered and doubled off Cincinnati starter Armando Galarraga on Saturday, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 9-1 victory over a Reds split squad in the final spring training game for both teams.
Santana hit his second home run of the spring in the fourth, a solo shot. Mark Reynolds, a free agent signed to designated hitter, walked and scored on a single by Matt Carson.
Carson hit his fifth home run of the spring with a runner on in the fifth inning against Cincinnati’s Jose Diaz.
Brett Myers pitched five innings for Cleveland, allowing one run and three hits. He struck out three.
The Reds played their minor leaguers. Galarraga, who will start the season at Triple-A Louisville, allowed two runs on five hits and four walks in four innings.
— Gary Schatz, Associated Press