As people across the U.S. take part in their annual Thanksgiving traditions, Indians players are making their own holiday preparations. TribeVibe caught up with several players to hear their plans for Thanksgiving this year, which range from 50+-person family gatherings to trans-Atlantic vacations.
Pitcher Joe Smith:
“I’ll head over to my aunt Wanda and Uncle Ray’s house where most the family goes. My aunt Judy always passes around a sign-in sheet because they like looking back and seeing who all has made it. It’s usually around 50-60 of us with too much food, of course. After we eat, some of my cousins, my grandpa, friends and Uncle Ray will pack in downstairs to get away from the crowd, and do what everyone likes to do after thanksgiving meal: Football and Nap.”
Pitcher Vinnie Pestano:
“I’m going back home to California for Thanksgiving. My Mom is having it at my parents’ house so it’ll be good to see my whole family. I’m thankful I have a wonderful cast of people in my support system without which I would not be the person or player I am today.”
Infielder Jack Hannahan:
“Where do I start? My side of the family (16 people) will be coming over to the house where I will be preparing a 22 pound turkey on the Big Green Egg!
“350 [degrees] for four hours and the big boy will be singing!
“I’m thankful for my loving and supportive family, a healthy baby boy, my loving wife and the baby on the way. I’m thankful for a mother and a father who have been married 37 years. They worked so hard to put four kids through private schools.”
Pitcher Justin Masterson:
“I am heading to the in-laws for thanksgiving in South Bend, Indiana. We get together with friends and family there and then on Friday we’ll have a party with my family. So I get two turkey dinners in a row. It’s just a good blessing to have food on the table and be amongst those whom we love. I think we need to make everyday Thanksgiving.”
Second Baseman Jason Kipnis is using part of the weekend to head overseas to begin a two-week vacation in Spain. His destinations include Granada, Sevilla, the Canary Islands, and Barcelona – where he plans on attending a bull fight and an FC Barcelona soccer game.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Indians and TribeVibe!
Indians Manager Terry Francona was the special guest on this afternoon’s episode of the PD Sports Insider on Cleveland.com. Francona joined hosts Bud Shaw and Dennis Manoloff from the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Glenn Moore of Cleveland.com to discuss a range of questions surrounding the club.
With off-season activity gearing up, Francona spoke at length about the outlook for the club’s winter, and what the club hopes to accomplish heading into next season. He also offered his take on the recent trade with the Blue Jays which sent reliever Esmil Rogers to Toronto for infielder Mike Aviles and catcher Yan Gomes.
“You hate to give up any pitching arms, but to get good players [sometimes] you have to do that,” Francona said on the show. “Toronto really regarded Esmil Rogers highly, and we get back a guy in Mike Aviles that can play Second, Third and Short, and probably left and right. He’s a guy who can play everyday, or he can move all over the diamond. He gives you a guy with great baseball acumen. He loves to compete – whether he’s in the lineup or on the bench – he’ll always bring something positive to a team. He’s got a little edge to him, which is good.”
Francona also offered his take on Gomes, 25, who hit .328 with 13HR and 59 RBI in 79 games at AAA last year.
“Yan Gomes is a guy that can play the corners and can catch,” said Francona. “He probably got caught up in an organization that had a lot of catching, which not too many teams can say. So again, we had a chance to bring in two good players for one, and where we are situation right now, I thought it made sense.”
The full interview is available on Cleveland.com: Watch Here
— TribeVibe contributor Max Lom
Update: Two Indians prospects, catcher Alex Monsalve and pitcher Trey Haley have been selected to play in the Arizona Fall League’s Futures Game. The game will take place on Saturday, November 3 at 8:00PM ET and will be broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com.
Although the Major League season ended Sunday night, many young players will continue to play through the winter as they aim to speed up their development by playing extended seasons. The Indians have a number of young players currently working on their game in the Arizona Fall League, while several others will be participating in Winter Leagues across Latin America.
The Arizona Fall League (AFL) began its 2012 season on October 9 and eight players from the Indians organization are taking part by representing the Scottsdale Scorpions in the extended season. Several players, such as shortstop Ronny Rodriguez and left-handed pitcher T.J. House, have excelled in the AFL as they look to improve on strong 2012 seasons in the minor leagues.
Rodriguez, 20, is rated the No. 5 prospect in the organization by MLB.com after showing impressive power (19 HR and 66 RBI) with the Carolina Mudcats (Hi-A) in the 2012 regular season. He is hitting .273 through 11 games in the AFL, with six RBI and three stolen bases.
House is coming off a promising season in which he was promoted from Carolina to Double-A Akron, compiling a 10-5 record and 3.56 ERA between the two teams. He has built on his 2012 regular season campaign with several strong performances in Arizona, striking out 18 batters over 17 innings of work, and posting a 1.59 ERA.
Both Rodriguez and House hope to follow in the footsteps of a number of current Indians players who have spent time developing their game in the AFL in recent years.
Jason Kipnis excelled in the AFL in the fall of 2010, and Vinnie Pestano appeared in the league in 2009. Both players went on to make their Major League debuts the following season.
The Arizona Fall League schedule ends on November 15, but similar leagues in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Mexico will take place throughout the fall and winter.
Notable current Indians have played in these leagues as well in recent years. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera played in the Venezuelan Winter League from 2007-2011, while catcher Carlos Santana and pitcher Rafael Perez each made appearances in the 2009 Dominican Winter League. Pitcher Esmil Rogers is expected to play in the Dominican this winter.
For more on the Indians prospects currently plying their trade in off-season leagues, read Tyler Emerick’s feature for MLB.com.
— TribeVibe Contributor Max Lom