January 2013

Tribe trucks bound for Goodyear — and in good hands

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Have no fear, Indians fans, players and staff members: Your stuff is in good hands.

Two tractor trailers, operated by Cleveland-based Andrews Moving and Storage, the official moving company of the Cleveland Indians, pulled out of the bowels of Progressive Field on Thursday morning, bound for Goodyear, Ariz., and two months of Spring Training.

And to hear the drivers of those trucks, along with Indians veteran clubhouse and equipment manager Tony Amato, the 2,087-mile, 30-hour trip is – knock on wood – a piece of cake.

(Go ahead and knock on wood one more time. Thanks.)

“Everything usually goes smoothly,” Amato told TribeVibe Thursday morning. “Those (Andrews) guys do a great job; that’s what they do for a living. Our job is to get everything on the truck and when we get down there, everything gets unloaded properly.”

To wit: Andrews personnel, along with help from some Indians staffers, started loading the two trucks around 8 a.m., and about a half-hour later, each was packed nearly to the gills – neatly, of course.

Ed Fisher, one of the drivers of two tractor trailers headed for Goodyear, Ariz., is a Euclid native and Indians fan whose favorite Tribe player is Rocky Colavito.

Ed Fisher, one of the drivers of two tractor trailers headed for Goodyear, Ariz., is a Euclid native and Indians fan whose favorite Tribe player is Rocky Colavito.

Longtime drivers Ed Fisher and Bradley Holmes are manning the controls, with Fisher making his fourth trip to spring training – he first hauled the goods to Winter Haven, Fla., in the Indians’ final year there – and Holmes his first.

Fisher, a Euclid native who now lives in Parma, said the Indians’ trip is one of the highlights of his year, being a longtime Indians fan. He says it even ranks ahead of a trip he took out of Goodyear after dropping off the Tribe’s gear: He drove to Las Vegas and picked up Victoria’s Secret angels wings from its annual fashion show there and drove them to Columbus, home of Victoria Secret’s parent company, Limited Brands. (The models were not on the truck.)

“It’s memorable for me; it feels like you’re part of something special,” said Fisher, one of many Tribe fans who cites Rocky Colavito as his all-time favorite. “It takes a special talent to be a Major League player; my talent is driving the truck.”

Holmes, a Dayton native, also is a baseball fan, though he sheepishly admitted he’d be a bit more jazzed if he was hauling the Cincinnati Reds’ truck to Goodyear. Each driver, though, shrugged off any concerns about the trip, insisting it was as easy as a Sunday drive.

“It’s always smooth, and uneventful,” Fisher said.

The trucks include everything from player equipment and suitcases to miscellaneous items Indians front office members need for their two-month stays in Arizona that they can’t fit in a 50-pound suitcase for their flight. Waiting for Amato and his staff in Goodyear is Fletcher Wilkes, who manages certain operations in Goodyear and has the place ready to go when the trucks arrive.

It’s a marked difference from the team’s former complex in Winter Haven, which was dormant when the trucks pulled in.

“The year-round facility makes a major difference. (Wilkes) has everything prepped for us when we get there,” Amato said. “When we were in Winter Haven, we’d be chasing around doorstops, tables and microwaves for a week before we could even contemplate setting up. We’ll unload on Tuesday and have the clubhouse operational by Tuesday night.”

Pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear on Feb. 10, with the team’s first full-squad workout set for Feb. 15.

–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond

Sunny Weather and Timeless Tribe Memories ahead at Spring Training

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Can’t wait for Opening Day? For some Tribe fans, enjoying sunlit baseball games begins well before April. Spring Training is quickly approaching, with just eleven days until pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear, Arizona.

TribeVibe had the chance to speak with Ryan Lantz, Manager of Spring Training Operations, on what makes a trip out to Goodyear such an awesome experience for Indians fans.

“First of all, the weather is incredible this time year,” Lantz explained. A quick peek at the forecast and sure enough, it’ll be sunny: in the mid-to-high 70’s.
“It’s also really the perfect time to get an up close and personal experience with the players, in a laid back atmosphere.”

The meet-and-greets and availability of the players lends to plenty of opportunities for fans to get autographs and interact with the team.

“Once the workouts start, one of the best opportunities to get autographs is 8:30-11:30 AM. Before the games, the place to be is down the first-base line. You can also come and catch BP on the major fields.”

TV also spoke with Tom Bowen, a huge Tribe fan and a regular at Spring Training who is excited for a relaxing vacation and to meet some of the new Tribe players.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the players up close, especially [Nick] Swisher,” Bowen said. “In the past, my wife and I got the chance to meet and talk with Justin Masterson a few times, who is just a really friendly, nice guy.”

Lantz and Bowen both love that all of the Cactus League ballparks are within a 45-minute drive, with most being twenty minutes or less, which is a huge draw for those who want to maximize the amount of games they can attend.

“It’s really nice to be able to see some of the other facilities and teams,” Bowen continued. “You can watch half of the league within a 45-minute drive, which is really convenient.”

As Lantz pointed out, Goodyear is also conveniently located for fans who would like to explore outside of the ballpark, with ample places for golf, hiking, shopping, etc. Sedona, Scottsdale, and Phoenix are nearby, and the Grand Canyon is less a than four-hour drive away.

“I’m looking forward to traveling up to Sedona and spending some time in the parks in Phoenix; it’s very scenic,” Bowen said.

If you’re interested in learning more about Spring Training or want to head out to Arizona yourself, indians.com/spring has all the information needed to get you on your way to Goodyear. The Indians travel partner Professional Travel has some great packages to fit any size family, vacation and budget.

“They are very helpful with the planning; they helped us book an extra day onto our six-day package, and accommodated my brother and his wife who are coming from San Diego. We can’t wait!”

– TribeVibe contributor Courtney Shilling

Indians’ World Baseball Classic participants eager for competition

Indians catcher Carlos Santana, who will play for the Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic,  interacts with young Indians fans at Tribe Fest on Saturday. (Kyle Emery photo)

Indians catcher Carlos Santana, who will play for the Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, interacts with young fans at Tribe Fest on Saturday. (Kyle Emery photo)

With six members of the Cleveland Indians on World Baseball Classic rosters, there stands to be some friendly trash talk when Spring Training opens next month in Goodyear, Ariz.

Indians relievers Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez will help the United States squad, which has finished no better than fourth, take on some of the sport’s very big boys in the third installment of the WBC: Indians teammates Carlos Santana (Dominican Republic) and Asdrubal Cabrera (Venezuela) are members of teams loaded with Major League stars, while new Indians infielder Mike Aviles – and Tribe farmhand Giovanni Soto — join Yadier Molina (Cardinals), Carlos Beltran (Cardinals) and Alex Rios (White Sox) on the Puerto Rico team.

“There will be some back and forth, and that’s all part of it,” said Pestano, who with Perez formed one of the most feared bullpen duos in the majors last season. “Hopefully we get a chance to go against (Cabrera) and Carlos. Their teams are loaded.

“Maybe it’ll come down to us being the 1980 (U.S.) Winter Olympic hockey team: (Coach Herb Brooks said) ‘We’re not looking for the best ones, we’re looking for the right ones,’” he said with a smile.

The U.S., though, is no slouch, and the team’s pitching depth, especially in the bullpen, made Pestano unsure whether he’d even be included. Pestano, who in 2012 set a single-season club record with 36 holds, and Perez, who had 39 saves, are joined by Craig Kimbrel (Braves), Jeremy Affeldt (Giants) and Mitch Boggs (Cardinals), among others, in the bullpen, while Mark Teixeira (Yankees), Brandon Phillips (Reds), Ryan Braun (Brewers) and Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins) highlight the lineup.

The rotation includes 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, now of the Blue Jays, the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong and Atlanta’s Kris Medlen, among others.

“I’m very confident in (U.S. manager Joe Torre) and the team,” Pestano said. “Chris and I both are pumped about it; we obviously have a great dynamic. I’m not sure how it’s going to play out with the opportunities to pitch, because we have a lot of great arms. But … it would be special if me and Chris in any given day were given the ball to shut it down like we do during the regular season.”

What always was certain was the Indians’ representatives’ desire to play.

“I like the event because I’m from the Dominican and it gives me a chance to play for my country,” said Santana, who hit 18 homers and drove in 76 runs in his second full season in the majors in 2012. “Talking with (fellow Dominicans) Robinson Cano (Yankees) and Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays), they were all going and told me that the WBC is a good event.”

Indians infielder Mike Aviles will play for Puerto Rico in the WBC.

Indians infielder Mike Aviles will play for Puerto Rico in the WBC. (Kyle Emery photo)

Aviles, meanwhile, played for Puerto Rico in 2009 and is honored to again be donning the country’s uniform.

“I heard about it during the summer of last year, that it was a possibility, and I was open to it because I was excited to play in the last one, and it’s always an honor to put on a jersey of that caliber,” Aviles said. “I was just waiting to hear anything this offseason. … It’s just a matter of, I got the call, and it was made official, so I was pumped about it and excited, and I’m excited to put that jersey on again.”

Aviles was acquired from the Blue Jays in November along with Yan Gomes, who is the first Brazilian player to play in the major leagues and is considering playing for his home country in the WBC. Gomes is weighing playing against remaining at Spring Training with the Indians, in an effort to familiarize himself with his new organization and increase his chances of making the Indians’ Opening Day roster.

Meanwhile, the trade that brought the duo to Cleveland, along with playing in the WBC, has made for an interesting offseason for Aviles.

“I’m just pumped for the whole tournament and everything. I’ve got a lot of new stuff going on this year, between (playing for) Puerto Rico and (coming over to) the Indians, and I’m excited for this season just because there’s so much new, that I’m just excited for the upcoming season.”

Pestano, in interviews and on Twitter, made no bones about his desire to participate.

“I had heard from the end of the year that I had a chance to be on the team, but the list of possible players had to become a lot shorter,” Pestano said. “I didn’t know how I was going to fit in and the process was going down.”

The tournament starts with pool play – the U.S. is grouped in Pool D with Canada, Mexico and Italy — in Japan, Taiwan, Puerto Rico and Arizona from March 2-12. The next round, from March 8-16, will be in Tokyo and Miami, with the final portion set for March 17-19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Japan has won both World Baseball Classics.

United States World Baseball Classic roster
Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees
Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds
Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies
David Wright, 3B, Mets
Joe Mauer, C, Twins
Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers
J.P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays
Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
Adam Jones, OF, Orioles
Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins
Shane Victorino, OF, Red Sox
Ben Zobrist, INF, Rays
Willie Bloomquist, INF, Diamondbacks
R.A. Dickey, SP, Blue Jays
Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants
Derek Holland, SP, Rangers
Kris Medlen, SP, Braves
Craig Kimbrel, RP, Braves
Heath Bell, RP, Diamondbacks
Chris Perez, RP, Indians
Vinnie Pestano, RP, Indians
Luke Gregerson, RP, Padres
Glen Perkins, RP, Twins
Steve Cishek, Marlins
Jeremy Affeldt, RP, Giants
Tim Collins, RP, Royals
Mitchell Boggs, RP, Cardinals

–TribeVibe contributors Joel Hammond and Max Lom

Indians players gear up for this weekend’s Tribe Fest

Indians pitcher Vinnie Pestano is one of many Tribe players in town for Tribe Fest.

Indians pitcher Vinnie Pestano is one of many Tribe players in town for this weekend’s Tribe Fest. (Dan Mendlik photo)

The Cleveland Indians’ home opener, on April 8 against the New York Yankees, is only 80 days away. Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Goodyear, Ariz., in 23.

But #TribeFest, a fan festival designed specifically for Indians followers, is just one day away!

Tribe Fest is Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 6:00pm, with most activities taking place in the indoor service levels of Progressive Field.

So how can fans enjoy the entire experience at Tribe Fest?

  • Collect autographs from your favorite Indians
  • Practice your swing in the Batting Cages with Tribe players (for ages 12 & under)
  • Chat in a roundtable discussion with Indians broadcasters
  • Go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Indians’ Clubhouse
  • Finish the Twitter Scavenger Hunt for a chance to win a suite for a 2013 game
  • Take photos with Slider, Ketchup, Mustard and Onion
  • Play video games against your friends or an Indians player
  • Meet and greet with Indians alumni
  • Meet and tweet at the Tribe Fest Social tweetup
  • Create your own 2013 MLB FanCave Application
  • Have your haircut by the Tribe’s barber
  • Get an Honorary Indians Contract with the team
  • And even more …

With so many activities, what are your favorite players looking forward to the most at Tribe Fest? TribeVibe asked some Tribe Fest participants for their expectations on Friday:

  • “It’s fun to come out here and see everyone’s excitement and passion for the team.” — Corey Kluber
  • “Visiting the schools and seeing all of the fans in the different sessions.” — Cody Allen
  • “I know I have an hour in the Video Game Arcade, so I’m definitely looking forward to that. And the youth clinic fielding with Kipnis.” — Vinnie Pestano
  • “Seeing and talking to fans, going to the schools, getting out in the community.” — Jason Kipnis (Tribe Fest participants were visiting area elementary schools on Friday afternoon as part of the Indians’ community outreach efforts)
  • “The large autograph lines, where people are really excited. Seeing all of the little kids that are so happy to meet you.” — Lonnie Chisenhall

Still need to get tickets? If you buy in advance, up to two kids are free with each adult ticket. You can purchase them here or at Progressive Field.

We’ll see you at the ballpark!

 

– TribeVibe contributor Courtney Shilling

Winter Development Program gives Indians prospects a hint at life in the bigs

Cleveland Indians pitching prospect Shawn Armstrong

Cleveland Indians pitching prospect Shawn Armstrong (courtesy Akron Aeros)

The 14 players in town over the last 10 days for the Cleveland Indians’ 2013 Winter Development Program all know how to hit a fastball, or throw a fastball, or catch a fastball, depending on their position of choice.But where the group may have needed a few pointers was on the secrets to being a good professional, or how best to acclimate to a locker room full of veterans, or how to deal with media scrutiny.

The Indians’ goals with the Winter Development Program are to familiarize prospects with and strengthen the Indians’ organizational culture. In turn, the hope is that this year’s 14 participants take the information and experiences from the week and return to their minor league clubs as stronger leaders who set an example for their teammates.

The week consisted of workouts at Progressive Field and other nearby facilities, along with chats with Indians general manager Chris Antonetti, new manager Terry Francona, vice president of player development Ross Atkins and others within the organization. Special guests such as former Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini, now an ESPN analyst, and ESPN senior baseball writer Buster Olney also spoke.

“The value is that they hear very similar messages from very successful people about what it takes to be great, to be the best at what you do,” Atkins said. “All the people they’re hearing from are the best at what they do and all have great baseball perspective or pro sports perspective.”

For the group of Tribe youngsters, the input was invaluable. TribeVibe spoke with some of the new faces Monday afternoon at Progressive Field about the experience.

“Hiring all the different voices, from Ross to Chris Antonetti, makes me want to work that much harder to get up here and play for these guys,” said Shawn Armstrong, a 22-year-old righty who rose steadily in 2012, with 45 appearances across Class A Lake County and Carolina and Class AA Akron. In 64 innings at Carolina and Akron, he went 2-3 with a 1.69 ERA and 74 strikeouts.

“They told us what they expect of us and what it takes to be a big leaguer. Now more than ever, I want to show these guys that I want to be here, that I want to be an Indian.”

T.J. House

T.J. House (courtesy Akron Aeros)

T.J. House also impressed in 2012: The 23-year-old left-hander from Picayune, Miss. split his 2012 between Carolina and Akron, and went 10-5 in 27 combined starts, with an earned run average of 3.56. He also was 3-1 in six starts for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League.

He said he remembers vividly the last time he was at Progressive Field: Aug. 15, 2008, before he signed his first big-league contract after being drafted by the Indians in the 16th round. 

“The main key of being here is getting the familiarity of the place,” said House, who like Armstrong, a North Carolinian, joked about not particularly enjoying Monday’s cold weather on the lakefront. “You don’t want to come here down the road and not know what it looks like, where you’re going, who the staff is. The main key is getting the introductions to all of the staff and the front office.

“The next thing is, talking about the different aspects of the game, it’s good to pick these guys’ brains and see how they were successful, or maybe how they weren’t successful and then what they did to get back to that place.”

Tyler Holt

Tyler Holt (courtesy Akron Aeros)

Tyler Holt, meanwhile, views the program as a pick-me-up in the long days of the offseason. Holt, a 23-year-old outfielder, also split time in 2012 at Carolina and Akron, hitting a combined .258 with 29 stolen bases, 15 doubles and 9 triples in 136 games.

“Talking with the manager and other front office people, it’s an eye opener, and it humbles you to know they think highly of you and if you keep working at it, good things will happen,” Holt said.

“Hearing the guys here is a reminder of the things you need to do to get to the next level; these are things you know, of course, but you need a reminder maybe over the winter and this is good for that. This game can be a grind at times; it’s 162 games. But talking with those guys, they’ve been through it. It’s not like you’re talking to your dad, who wants you to succeed but hasn’t done it.”

2013 Cleveland Indians Winter Development Program participants

INF Jesus Aguilar

RHP Shawn Armstrong

CA/1B Yan Gomes

RHP Preston Guilmet

RHP Trey Haley

LHP T.J. House

OF Tyler Holt

INF Francisco Lindor

RHP Fabio Martinez

OF Carlos Moncrief

INF Ronny Rodriguez

RHP Danny Salazar

LHP Giovanni Soto

INF Tony Wolters

–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond

A second career for Masterson? Righty right at home on the radio dial

NCAA BASKETBALL: JAN 09 Cleveland St at Wright St

Look out, Jim Rosenhaus. Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson is getting awfully comfortable behind the microphone.

Masterson, who enters the 2013 season entrenched as one of the Tribe’s top pitchers, joined Indians On Deck host Al Pawlowski on the broadcast of the Cleveland State-Wright State men’s basketball game on Wednesday night from Dayton. And while his chosen second career might be as a pastor, as he told Indians.com recently, he’s showing his broadcasting chops.

Wednesday was the third time Masterson has joined Pawlowski for a Vikings game; CSU previously had beaten Butler last January and Ball State in November with Masterson providing color commentary. The Vikings weren’t as fortunate on Wednesday, as the Raiders won, 69-53.

So, how did Masterson get started on the CSU games? And how does he do? Pawlowski answered a couple questions for TribeVibe:

TV: Did Justin approach you last winter when he joined you on the CSU-Butler game, or did you reach out to him to gauge his interest?

AP: Justin and I have always had a good relationship and we would talk about things outside of baseball. Toward the end of the 2011 (baseball) season, we got to talking about college basketball. He knew that I called the Cleveland State games on radio and said, “If you ever need a color guy, I’d be glad to help you out!” I told him that would be great, I would love to have him, and we made plans to do the Butler game, which was the first broadcast we did together in January of 2012 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The games in that part of the country are good for him because he lives just outside of Indianapolis. He grew up in Beavercreek, which is just a few minutes away from the Nutter Center (Wright State’s home arena).

TV: How is he on the calls?

AP: He’s very good on his calls. He does his homework, reads the game notes, checks out the press conferences online and keeps up with Cleveland State when he can, so he has some good insight. I told him last night that it was like we were doing our 30th game together, not just our third. He has a good instinct for where to jump in with color on radio, which can be tricky in basketball. We have a good chemistry calling the game. He also is into college basketball, so he really knows the game.

TV: Is there any chance of Justin taking your job, or Tom Hamilton’s or Rosey’s any time soon?

AP: He’s received great reviews from our fan base, so yes. He may have all three of our jobs when he retires from baseball! Another side note: The fans love him. Several came up to him at the scorer’s table and he’s great with them. We saw about a dozen Tribe fans down in Fairborn last night. Most of them are also CSU fans, so they love the fact that he’s supporting the Vikings.

Meanwhile, Nick Camino, who covers the Indians for flagship radio station WTAM AM1100, tweeted on Wednesday night, “Justin Masterson is cracking me up on CSU radio call. Let’s go Vikes!” (Camino had a vested interest in the game, as he lost a bet with Indians righty reliever Joe Smith, who went to Wright State.)

Camino — who confirmed he now must wash Smith’s car at an unspecified future date as a result of losing the bet — later added, “As a color analyst, Justin knew when to talk and when to stop talking. That’s important during a radio broadcast, especially for the analyst. It sounded like he read up on both the Vikings and Raiders, because he not only knew players but also what types of plays they run and the the defensive styles they play.”

–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond

Top Prospect Francisco Lindor added to large cast of players attending Tribe Fest

Photo by Jesse Piecuch - MiLB.com

Photo by Jesse Piecuch – MiLB.com

The Indians confirmed today that one of the organization’s top prospects, Francisco Lindor, will be one of many players on hand at Tribe Fest, presented by KeyBank, on January 19 and 20.

The 19 year-old shortstop prospect was named the Indians’ top prospect in 2012, and the no. 13 overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com. After being selected in the 1st round (8th overall) of the 2011 MLB Amateur draft, Lindor made his professional debut last season as an 18 year-old.

The switch-hitter showed both pop at the plate and speed on the base-paths with the Single-A Lake County Captains in 2012. In 122 games he posted a .352 OBP with 24 doubles, 6 HR and 27 stolen bases.

MLB.com prospect expert Jonathan Mayo offered this assessment of Lindor:

 
“Lindor has a very advanced approach at the plate as a switch-hitter, and should hit for average and power from both sides. He gets on base and is a heady runner. There’s no question about his defensive ability, with a plus arm and range. While Lindor is a teenager who spent the year at Class A Lake County, don’t be shocked if he’s able to move faster than most prepsters.”
 

In addition to Lindor, a large cast of current and former Indians will attend Tribe Fest, and fans will have an opportunity to interact with them on both Saturday and Sunday. A full list of Indians attendees is below:

Terry Francona, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, Vinnie Pestano, Lonnie Chisenhall, Drew Stubbs, Carlos Carrasco, Zach McAllister, Francisco Lindor, Nick Hagadone, Corey Kluber, Cody Allen, Tom Hamilton, Jim Rosenhaus, John Adams, Katie Witham, The Cleveland Blues and Slider.

Tickets are still available for both days of Tribe Fest, and fans can get more information at Indians.com/TribeFest

Trevor Bauer meets with Cleveland media for first time

Bauer

Newly-acquired pitcher Trevor Bauer, a key piece of the three-team trade with Arizona and Cincinnati last month, met with the Cleveland media for the first time today. He began the Q&A session with his story of how he first heard the trade news: while he was in the middle of eating a Chipotle burrito.

“My agent called and said ‘you were just traded, and we need to talk about some stuff.’ I said, ‘OK, but can I go inside and eat my burrito real quick and get back to you?’ He didn’t let me finish my burrito – I only got through half of it.”

On coming to Cleveland:

I’m excited to be here. I’m excited to come to a city that has very passionate fans, and an organization that I feel is very welcoming, and very excited to have me and really going in the right direction. So it has kind of been a blessing this off-season and I am excited for it.

On what he learned in his time with Arizona:

I think the biggest thing was probably the importance of throwing Strike One, and getting into advantage counts, attacking hitters and putting pressure on the hitters to swing the bat. The one start that I had the best success, I was ahead in the count all the time, and it just makes pitching a lot easier.

On his unique warm-up routine and pitching style:

I think I’m an exciting player to watch because the things I do are a little bit different…I throw the ball far [in warm-ups – see here for an example] – that’s one of them. I wave a black rod around, which not many people do, so that’s a little different. My first warm-up pitch of every inning I do a crow-hop on the mound and throw as hard as I can to get in the feel of being aggressive. My mechanics are slightly different – it’s a little bit more of an aggressive delivery than a lot of the other deliveries out there right now. So it’s just little things, little differences, that make me fun to watch – I hope, anyway.

On the purpose of his unique routine:

It’s designed to prevent injury. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you can’t stay healthy and on the field, then it does you absolutely no good. My first and foremost goal is to be durable and that’s the only way you can actually increase your talent.

On meeting and playing for Terry Francona:

He seems really welcoming and open-minded and really just a pleasure to talk to, which is still kind of surreal for me. I watched baseball growing up and remember Terry Francona managing the Red Sox and they win a World Series and now I’m sitting here shooting the breeze with him – it’s kind of a cool moment for me.

On potentially making the Major League team:

Everybody wants to be part of the major league team, and I’m no different in that aspect, but I really try to focus on the things I can control, and the only thing I can control is getting better. I’m young still (ed. Note: Bauer turns 22 next week). Sometimes I don’t feel very young, but I am young, and if I get too caught up in: ‘am I in the big leagues? Am I not in the big leagues’ then it doesn’t do me any good, and I get distracted from what I should be focusing on, which is building up and improving myself, so I can pitch for a long time, which is what I want to do.

– TribeVibe Contributor Max Lom

Swisher and Francona discuss the outfielder signing for the Tribe

Swisher

The Indians unveiled the team’s newest outfielder, Nick Swisher, at a press conference at Progressive Field on Thursday afternoon.  The former Yankees standout could barely contain his enthusiasm throughout the event, speaking about his excitement to join the Indians and play for manager Terry Francona, while being close to his roots at Ohio State University and Parkersburg, WV.

TribeVibe caught up with both Swisher and Francona to get their thoughts on the slugger joining the team.

New Indians Outfielder Nick Swisher

On how he feels to have signed for the Indians:

We’re excited to be here. This is the team that rolled out the red carpet in the right way, hit me in the heart in the right spots, and like I said before, every time we would sit back and look at the situation, all roads would lead to Cleveland.

On whether he originally expected to sign with Cleveland:

“[I was surprised] because we had a good amount of teams going on, and at the end when everything was on the table, we kind of laid it out, and like I said, this was the place we wanted to be… you never know how things are going to shake out. You never know how the market is going to work, but to be in the position we are – getting five years – that’s what we wanted – and we could not be more excited about the opportunity. It’s going to be great.”

On his time with the Yankees and his role in the Indians clubhouse:

“It was a great time. I had an awesome time, you know. I like to think I have fun wherever I go, but just to be part of an organization like that with the tradition – and the winning tradition – that rubs off on you, so hopefully that is something I can bring over here. Maybe be more of a leader in the clubhouse then I ever have been before, and I’m excited about that. I’m excited to get together with the guys, and be part of that team. From what I’ve heard from the guys, it’s a great locker room, a great group of guys, a bunch of guys that want to win, and I’m hoping this year we have a chance to.

On his feeling after his “recruiting visit” to Progressive Field:

We were walking out of here like ‘man, these guys did it right!’ It was just an amazing situation to be in, and I think they tugged on the right strings. They went Ohio State on me, they brought back Jim Tressel – one of my idols, who I hadn’t seen in years – and like I said, they did it right, and I could not be happier about the way it turned out.

Indians Manager Terry Francona

On his expectations for Swisher in the Tribe’s lineup:

He has hit anywhere from 2nd to probably 6th in the order. You can bet he’s not going to hit 6th, but I can see some scenarios where maybe he does hit 2nd. We’ll see, and you know I was being honest when I said I want to sit down and talk to guys about it.

On his philosophy for selecting the batting order:

You can’t let guys choose their spot in the batting order, but when there’s a comfort zone, I want there to be that, and I want there to be some consistency where I don’t want guys showing up every day and having to look at the lineup. I don’t think that’s healthy. You know, you go through injuries and things like that where guys have to make adjustments, but I like to be really consistent.

On the impact of Nick’s father Steve Swisher, a former Major Leaguer:

I think more often than not you see guys respect the game that grew up in households like that…I’m sure that Steve is extremely proud of Nick. I was actually watching him during the conference and you could see he was kind of beaming, as he should.

– TribeVibe Contributor Max Lom

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