GOODYEAR, ARIZ.: Ryan Raburn didn’t start either of the Indians’ two exhibition games, but he has three home runs in three at-bats, two of which were part of the offensive onslaught unleashed by the Tribe, which beat the Cincinnati Reds 13-10 Saturday at Goodyear Ballpark.
It would be impossible for the Indians to keep up this pace, but in two games, the Tribe has amassed 24 runs and 31 hits, including four homers.
Last spring, Raburn hit six home runs.
Raburn has had his moments as a hitter for the Detroit Tigers, but last year his production slipped drastically, as he batted .171 with one homer and 12 RBI in 205 at-bats.
He is competing for one of two open utility jobs (Mike Aviles is assured of the other), so he is not guaranteed a position on the roster. But he is off to a good start.
Michael Brantley delivered two more hits Saturday, giving him four altogether, including three doubles. Shortstop Juan Diaz, who played 23 games with the Indians and spent the rest of the time with the Double-A Aeros and at Triple-A Columbus, has three hits in four at-bats, including three doubles.
NIPPED IN THE BUD — It figured that the first time a fly ball was hit out of the infield, the Indians’ fleet of speedy outfielders would botch the play.
It happened Friday, when a lazy fly was hit to right-center, where either Michael Bourn in center or Drew Stubbs in right could easily have run it down. Instead, the ball fell between the two, who waited for each other to make a move.
“I want the center fielder to take charge, but I also want the corner outfielders to go after balls until they’re called off,” Francona said. “Stubbs said that he wouldn’t do it again.”
HIS EDGE — Francona believes that players who rise to become regulars have a particular skill that allows them to make the breakthrough.
“Guys who survive to play every day have that,” Francona said. “With Lonnie Chisenhall, it’s his quick bat. To me, Lonnie looks like he can handle everybody’s fastball.”
FAMILIAR LOOK — Almost half the Reds’ lineup is filled with former Indians: Shin-Soo Choo, Brandon Phillips, Jack Hannahan and Jason Donald.
On the bench is former Tribe outfielder Ryan Ludwick.
STILL CAN’T WATCH — Former Tribe general manager John Hart still shies away from watching the Indians’ Game 7 loss to the Florida Marlins in the 1997 World Series.
“I can’t watch the video,” Hart said. “I’ve never seen it — maybe a little bit if I can’t get the channel turned quickly enough. You look back and say shoulda, woulda, coulda, but there’s nothing you can do to do to change it, so hang with ’em.”
MARCHING ONWARD — The Indians play two games this afternoon, taking on the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark and the Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale, Ariz.
Zach McAllister will start in Goodyear against Sam LeCure; Carlos Carrasco will start against a pitcher to be determined at Maryvale.
— Sheldon Ocker