PHOENIX: The offense continued to roll, keeping the Indians undefeated in five exhibition games, but there was bad news for the Tribe, which beat the Oakland Athletics 14-10 Monday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Michael Brantley ended up in the hospital briefly after suffering a cut near his left forearm.
“They sent him to Good Samaritan and stitched him up and sent him back to Goodyear,” manager Terry Francona said. “His forearm was sliced up pretty good.”
Brantley doubled in the third inning to drive in a run, and when the left fielder threw wildly back to the infield, third baseman Josh Donaldson left the bag to chase the ball. However, he hustled back to take a relay and tagged Brantley out. In the process, he spiked Brantley in the arm.
“There’s a lot of spring left, so it will be all right,” Francona said.
Even though Tribe pitchers gave up 17 hits, the Indians won easily with 10 of their own.
Yan Gomes led the attack with a home run, double and five RBI. Matt Carson also homered and drove in two runs. Ryan Raburn had two singles and one RBI, but his batting average dipped to a mere .750. Cord Phelps and Ben Francisco doubled.
Pitching was spotty after Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Vinnie Pestano combined for five scoreless innings. Matt Capps gave up two runs and three hits, Frank Herrmann allowed four runs and five hits, Matt Langwell was stung for two runs and three hits, and Fernando Nieve gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits but struck out three in one inning.
Ezequiel Carrera is out of options, which means he can’t be sent to the minors without clearing waivers.
“There’s a lot to like with him,” Francona said. “We’re going to have him play some right field. It’s important to have some answers; we have to find out about him. If we don’t, we’re going to lose him. I don’t doubt that for one second.”
Carrera, a career center fielder, is one of several contenders for either one or two reserve outfield spots.
In four games, Carrera is 1-for-7 with a home run. He also has walked three times.
Francona recalled a situation that occurred soon after the Boston Red Sox signed Daisuke Matsuzaka to a $52 million contract after paying his Japanese team $50 million for the right to negotiate a contract with him.
“He told me he couldn’t throw his split with this [an American] baseball,” Francona said. “Japanese baseballs come wrapped in foil, and they feel a little tacky plus they’re a little bit smaller. So I could understand why he was having trouble.”
Of course, Matsuzaka soon became accustomed to throwing his new ball and the issue melted away.
For the 20th consecutive year, the Indians’ home opener is a sellout.
When individual game tickets went on sale Monday morning, the remaining seats for the April 8 opener against the New York Yankees sold out in six minutes.
But fans can still secure tickets for the home opener by purchasing a full-season ticket package.
The Indians return home to Goodyear Ballpark today to play the Kansas City Royals. Matt Albers will start (in an all bullpen day) against Wade Davis.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.