MINNEAPOLIS: Pressure? What pressure?
If the so-called pressure of a 162-game season coming down to the final four games of the regular season is getting to the Indians, it sure didn’t show before Thursday’s series opener against the Minneapolis Twins at Target Field.
Three hours before the game, pitchers Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, Clay Rapada and Cody Allen were out on an otherwise vacant field playing football as bullpen coach Kevin Cash watched over the group.
Tomlin, who is making his way back from Tommy John surgery, played quarterback, Rapada receiver and Allen defensive back.
“Aw, we’re just out having some fun,” said a smiling Tomlin a little later. “Keeping it loose.”
Two hours later during the Tribe’s team stretch before batting practice, the mood continued to be light-hearted.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall laughed and smiled as they practiced coordinating leaping high fives.
Hey, just keeping it loose.
This all came after Wednesday night’s team entertainment that included Indians rookies donning costumes as part of the club’s annual rookie hazing trip.
That would explain why reliever Preston Guilmet boarded the team plane dressed as Snow White, reliever Cody Allen as a chicken (appropriately, given the chicken-in-the-bullpen antics a couple of weeks ago), starting pitcher Danny Salazar as a penguin and infielder Jose Ramirez donning a Spider-Man outfit.
“Haha, check out this costume!” Salazar tweeted from the clubhouse along with a picture of himself stuffed in the penguin suit, not long after he helped lead the Indians to a 7-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Salazar struck out eight batters over 5⅓ innings in the win, improving his record to 2-3.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at email@example.com.