BOSTON: Three hours before most major-league baseball games begin, players can usually be found lounging around the clubhouse listening to loud music, doing pregame interviews, playing cards and talking and texting on their cellphones.
But all the commotion in the visiting locker room at Fenway Park came to a complete halt Friday two hours before the 7:10 p.m. scheduled start. That’s when veteran slugger Jason Giambi ducked out of the room, walked down the tunnel to the dugout and out onto the field, put on a pair of headphones and stared into a television camera in front of him.
As Giambi went live on MLB Network with hosts Harold Reynolds and Brian Kenny, the clubhouse fell silent and a group of players, including outfielders Michael Bourn, Ryan Raburn and Michael Brantley, infielder Mike Aviles, first baseman Nick Swisher, reliever Vinnie Pestano and closer Chris Perez, huddled around the television to watch their teammate.
The interview lasted about 10 minutes and included topics such as the Indians’ surprising 27-19 start and the art of hitting. Not once during the segment did any of Giambi’s teammates speak. Instead, they were glued to the set in front of them, focused on his every word.
“It just goes to show you what kind of respect that man gets around here,” Swisher said. “You have to have guys like that on the roster. You really do. You can’t have a whole heap of young guys because the best thing you have in this game is experience.”
WALK THIS WAY — The stats of catcher Carlos Santana, a bunt single followed by four walks, during Thursday’s 12-3 win over the Boston Red Sox impressed many, including manager Terry Francona.
“That was unbelievable,” Francona said. “I can’t imagine having the patience to do that. Because he swings almost violently and he doesn’t miss that much. So when he gets to two strikes and he walks and swings at good pitches, it’s amazing. That’s why we like him hitting in front of [Mark] Reynolds. You can hit Mark down in the order and with Carlos’ on-base percentage, it works.”
NEED MORE TIME — Francona said right-hander Brett Myers’ velocity was down during his Double-A rehab start Wednesday with the Aeros at Canal Park.
“He had a kind of rough outing,” Francona said of Myers, who’s recovering from an elbow strain. “The velocity wasn’t quite where it was the time before.”
Tribe General Manager Chris Antonetti, who’s with the team in Boston, said Myers needs to make another minor-league start with one of the Tribe’s affiliates Monday.
— Stephanie Storm