GLENDALE, Ariz.: The more manager Terry Francona talks about Jason Giambi, the more it sounds like the 42-year-old slugger will leave camp with the Indians.
“He has a presence about him,” the manager said. “He doesn’t swing at bad pitches ever, and he still has his bat speed, so I’ve been impressed.”
In speaking about giving Giambi few at-bats against left-handers, Francona said, “He’s not going to play versus left-handers this year.”
That can be interpreted to mean that Giambi will hit against right-handers. He can’t do that unless he’s on the club.
“He’s always out there taking grounders at first,” the manager said. “Sometimes I’ll wave him off [the field]. He’s 42. We didn’t get him to run a marathon.”
Francona conceded that if he kept Giambi, the other two utility players would have to display the kind of versatility to allow the club to retain Giambi as a part-time designated hitter.
“We’d have to make it work,” the manager said. “That’s something to think about for sure.”
Mike Aviles, who signed a two-year contract, is guaranteed one spot. Ryan Raburn appears to be the front-runner for the other job.
Dodger pitchers prevail
Tribe hitters could do little with the Dodgers pitching staff, accumulating only five hits in a 5-1 defeat at Camelback Ranch.
But Yan Gomes continued to be one of the surprise stories of the spring with a double and walk in three plate appearances, raising his average to .417.
Corey Kluber started for the Indians and delivered three scoreless innings, giving up four hits and striking out two.
“He was great in attacking the zone, and he had a swing-and-miss fastball,” Francona said.
Cody Allen was the most impressive of the Tribe relievers, throwing one hitless inning and striking out one. In three spring innings, he has given up one hit and struck out four.
Frank Herrmann has seen Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels’ orthopedist, for a second opinion on his right elbow, but no results were available.
However, the fact that Herrmann went for a second opinion indicates that elbow reconstruction surgery is under consideration.
It’s an open secret that Ubaldo Jimenez will be the Tribe’s No. 2 starter, but Francona confirmed the choice on Sunday.
“Barring anything silly, that’s the way it’s going to work,” he said.
Seat belts optional?
Francona was motoring around the complex in an electric scooter that at times was on verge of going its own way without him.
The manager almost lost control of the vehicle as it careened down a hill, then had problems getting back up the grade.
“When I came back up the hill, I didn’t think it was going to have enough juice, and it started to go back to the other way,” Francona said. “Two groundskeepers saved me.”
“C” game today
The Tribe will play a “B” game today to allow three pitchers to get their work in.
Francona called it “more of a ‘C’ game, because we’re not even playing another team.” It will give Brett Myers, C.J. House and Matt Capps a chance to pitch.
The Indians travel to Mesa today to play the Cubs. Carlos Carrasco will start against Alberto Cabrera.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.