Rehabbing Indians Michael Bourn and Jason Giambi were the main attraction in the RubberDucks’ game on Friday night against Bowie Baysox at Canal Park, but it was young phenom Francisco Lindor who stole the show.
Lindor, who saved a run with a great leaping play at shortstop in the second inning, hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 13th inning to give the RubberDucks a 2-1 victory.
“Ironically, I thought he wasn’t trying to do too much with it.” Ducks manager Dave Wallace said. “A lot of guys’ tendencies at times, especially with a chance to win the game with one swing, is to get big and try to do too much.
“I thought he just got a good pitch up in the zone and put the barrel on it.”
With Bourn and Giambi in the lineup, it’s hard to imagine a Double-A lineup more formidable at the top than the one the RubberDucks used.
Bourn, in center field, led off and played the first nine innings and Giambi got three at-bats as a designated hitter in the three-hole with Lindor sandwiched in the middle.
After going 0-for-4 in his first rehab game with the Ducks on Thursday, he wasted no time finding an opportunity to test his hamstring on the basepaths, leading off with a single to left field.
After Lindor lined out to deep center and Giambi struck out swinging, Bourn encouraged Indians fans in attendance by stealing second base, though it’s not certain that he beat the throw that skipped into center field.
“I had [running] on my mind,” Bourn said. “I wanted to test it out since I hadn’t been able to do it all of spring training.”
Bourn finished 1-for-5 with a strikeout and the steal.
Giambi finished 0-for-2 with a walk and two strikeouts, but, in his veteran form, made 23-year old Bowie starter Tim Berry work hard in the process. Giambi saw five pitches in his first strikeout and drew a six-pitch walk before working a 12-pitch at-bat that ended with a strikeout in the fifth inning.
“I feel good. No pain at all,” Giambi said. “It was nice to actually get out there and see somebody throw from 60 feet. Every pitch I’ve seen has been in the cages at 50 feet. It was nice to see so many change-ups and breaking balls and hit under the lights.”
When Giambi walked in the third inning, it created an interesting scenario.
Bourn, age 31, was on third base after reaching on a fielders choice. Lindor, 20, was on second after reaching on an error. And then Giambi, 43, stood on first. The bases were loaded with three generations of Indians players, present and future.
“Some of these guys could be my kids,” Giambi said. “It’s fun. It’s nice to see the next up-and-coming generations of ballplayers. Lindor is going to be something special, no doubt about it.”
Giambi, who served somewhat of a player-coach role last year with the Indians, looks forward to taking his time in Akron to mentor some of the organizations most exciting young players.
“I don’t know how long I’ll be down here, but hopefully I can make a difference to someone if they have some questions,” Giambi said. “I just kind of sit back and see since it’s my first day here. You can’t just go and start talking to kids. You kind of let them come to you and see what they want to talk about and if they want some help fixing some things.”
Giambi will take today’s afternoon game off and instead travel to the training complexes at Cleveland to get in a workout. He will return to Akron to play on Sunday and re-evaluated his status from there.
“I know I’ve got to play for sure Sunday,” Giambi said. “I think Sunday will be a good gauge for me, I’ll talk to [Indians manager] Tito [Francona] and [General Manager] Chris [Antonetti] and kind of let them know where I’m at.”
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