CLEVELAND INDIANS (4-1-0) vs. CHICAGO WHITE SOX (2-1)
RHP Zach McAllister (1-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Erik Johnson (0-0, —)
First Pitch: 3:05 p.m. (ET)
Radio: Indians.com webcast
SOUTHSIDE SHOWDOWN: The Indians and White Sox will take another stab at getting their head-to-head exhibition debut in the books as Saturday’s scheduled Spring lid lifter was washed away by afternoon showers…the two clubs will let that game slide and just play the remaining two contests already on the slate…the Indians went 2-1 against their Central Division foes in 2013 Cactus League play before going on to have a historically successful season against them in the regular season…the Indians hold a 6-2-3 record against the Pale Hose since the move to the Cactus circuit and were undefeated until a 7-1 loss in the spring series finale of 2012.
TRIBE BATTING NOTES: Through the first 5 Cactus League games, the Indians offense checks in with a .241 (39-162) batting average with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 27 RBI and a .383 SLG%…the Tribe ranks 3rd in the CL with 5 home runs and trail only 5 clubs for the Major League lead…Cleveland also leads the Cactus League with 22 walks and has stuck out just 32 times…INF Elliot Johnson went 3-3 yesterday and now leads the club with 4 base hits on the young campaign; his 4 RBI are also T1st on the club…OF Michael Brantley (3-4) and INF Erik Gonzalez (3-7) each round out the lineup with 3 hits…SS Francisco Lindor has gone 2-6 with a 3-run homer and 3 runs scored…INF/OF Ryan Raburn has already logged 7 total bases (.500 1 HR, 2 RBI) and has scored a pair of runs…CA Jake Lowery hit a grand slam in his only at bat of the spring.
TRIBE PITCHING NOTES: Tribe hurlers have combined to post a 3.60 ERA over the club’s first 5 games of the exhibition schedule and are limiting opposing batters to a Cactus League best .211 (35-166) average against…Indians pitchers have issued 36 strikeouts and allowed just 16 free passes through 45 innings…RHP Carlos Carrasco checkes in with a team-high 4.0 innings (1 ER, 1 BB, .214 avg) while his 3 punchouts are tied with RHP TREVOR BAUER and RHP C.C. Lee for tops on the club…RHP Preston Guilmet, RHP Zach McAllister, RHP Josh Tomlin, LHP Josh Outman and LHP Nick Hagadone have each logged appearances of multiple scoreless innings thus far.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. – In his role as the Indians Director of Baseball Information, Bart Swain already has a pretty unique role.
He and our Assistant Director of Baseball Info, Court Berry-Tripp, travel with the team and serve as the direct liaisons between the players and the front office, media and fans.
But Swain has made the role even more unique: When called upon, he throws Batting Practice to the players, something he began in the 1996 season and that stuck after former Indians Hitting Coach Charlie Manuel saw him do it and apparently thought he was good enough to keep on.
“I’ve thrown BP since high school,” the 44-year-old Elyria High grad said last week in Goodyear. “I played in high school, but I wasn’t very good. This was a way to make myself useful.”
Swain joined the Indians in 1992 and worked for two years as an intern in the Media Relations department. He moved into the Director role in 1995 and has been there since.
Players like to give Swain a hard time about his throwing, but it appears he’s serviceable, at least, in the role. Tribe infielder Mike Aviles, for one, was glad Swain was around during last year’s Tribe Fest; Aviles had just been traded to Cleveland and was in town and looking to hit.
“He said, ‘I’ll throw,’” said Aviles, who is with his third big-league team. “I said, ‘I thought you were the PR guy.’ He’s the only PR guy I’ve been around who does it and it’s pretty cool.”
OK, but how does he throw?
“It’s not that bad. It’s actually pretty good,” Aviles said. “He has his days. Sometimes he’ll let loose a changeup and is in the ground… He gets his momentum back though.”
Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall was equally back-handed when complimenting Swain.
“He’s better than he was,” Chisenhall said with a good-natured smile. “He throws a solid BP. He can get out of sync a little bit, and he’s not in the upper echelon of BP throwers. But if you have to hit, he’ll do.”
GOODYEAR, AZ – Moms and dads, rest easy: You have kindred spirits in many members of the Tribe 40-man roster.
Eighteen players in that group have children, and like you, face the day-to-day challenges involved with working a full-time job while raising young kids. That group includes starting pitchers Justin Masterson, whose wife, Meryl, had twins in the offseason, and Corey Kluber, whose wife, Amanda, also gave birth in January. Yan Gomes’ wife, Jenna, is expecting.
Those players are gearing up for another season, when the parenting becomes more complicated. During the season, players arrive at the ballpark around Noon or 1pm for home games, and stay until 11pm or later. When the team takes road trips, the players often are gone for 10 days or more.
That can stressed-out moms and dads who don’t get nearly enough time with the kids.
“It’s tougher for the wives,” said Kluber, who has two daughters, Kendall and Kennedy. “It’s challenge for them, because for the most part, they’re handling a lot of the duties with the kids for much of the season.”
Amanda Kluber and the couple’s daughters will move to Cleveland from their home in Jacksonville, Fla., for the season, but even that doesn’t offer much respite from mom duty, Corey said: The moms don’t get much alone time with their husbands at the ballpark.
Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and his wife, Meredith, have a 2-year-old son, Cutter, and are expecting another boy in April, shortly after Opening Day. And like Kluber, Chisenhall says it can be difficult to find a happy medium between work and family.
Not only do the players spend a lot of time away from their families during the season, but when they are at home, they’re tasked with getting enough rest so they can be in the best shape possible for the next day at the ballpark.
“It’s challenging at times, especially on her. You leave for extended periods of time,” Chisenhall said. “Hat’s off to all the wives and moms who stay home; Meredith has a 2-year-old boy who is … active. Sometimes he’s great sometimes he’s a handful.”
For Mike Aviles, who with wife, Jessy, has three daughters – Kyla, 9, and 3-year-old twins, Adriana and Mayia – he says at times he knows the other 24 guys in the clubhouse better than his girls.
“This is a great life, and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Aviles said. “On the outside looking in, I don’t think people realize how much we’re away from our families.”
The players’ busy schedules and lack of “us” time at home makes them appreciate the offseason even more, when they’re able to escape for a few months to enjoy more downtime with their kids – and give their wives a break.
The Klubers head back to Jacksonville, Fla., while the Chisenhalls are back to North Carolina and Aviles & Co. back to Utah. Family time commences.
“That’s how I look at it, a way to make up for lost time during the season,” Corey Kluber said. “I throw and work out, but I don’t have many other commitments, so I’m able to enjoy it more with (the kids).”
John Axford, the Tribe’s new reliever who owns a film/TV/theater degree from Notre Dame, had a great Sunday night: He picked correctly on 18 of 18 Oscars, earning notoriety nationwide.
He chatted about his background, his picks and more on Monday in Goodyear; here’s a transcript:
How fun was that last night?
It was fun, I was watching online, not even watching live. I was getting updates from people on Twitter, when I was 3 for 3, 5 for 5. When it kept going – when it got to 14, I’m already at the same amount as I picked correctly last year.
It got more intense. When I was 16 for 16, I just assumed I had it locked. I assumed Matthew McConaughey and “12 Years a Slave” would win.
Were you surprised it got so much attention?
I was kind of surprised it got that big. I gained 2,500 followers on Twitter, and it was on Deadspin, Yahoo, MLB Fan Cave and The Hall of Very Good. So, it’s interesting. I’ve done it four years now; people tend to follow it more frequently as the years go on.
Was there one pick tougher than others?
Director; I wanted Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) to win; he’s one of my favorite new directors in Hollywood.
But I have a soft spot with Alfonso Cuaron. He did just a great job with “Gravity.” To do what he did with not much around, he did a remarkable job. He also did one of my favorites of all time, “Children of Men.”
How did you get started with movies?
I loved them growing up. My father and I, going on baseball or hockey trips, we’d stop at stores and pick up movies and watch together. We’d get old Westerns. In college, tried out a couple majors before realizing that wasn’t what I wanted to do, figured I’d give film a shot.
Had you seen all the nominated films?
I’ve seen quite a few of them; I try to get in as many as I can. It’s tough during the season, and in the offseason I like to spend as much time with my family as possible. In Spring training I try to catch up, and on road trips.
If not film, what would you have done?
I backed (the film degree) with a Master’s in Sports Administration, so I could stay in the game as much as possible. But I do love the film side. I loved the feel of film; I was able to play with it, cut, splice it, put together a story myself. I would love to do that at some point in my life, but it may be harder to get into Hollywood than it is to play MLB.
Who are your favorite actors?
Most recently, Christoph Waltz; he has won two Oscars in the last four years (“Inglorious Basterds” and “Django Unchained). It all depends on their work. If I told you that Matthew McConaughey would win an Oscar three years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. Now that I’ve seen “Mud” and “Dallas Buyers Club,” I can see what kind of actor he can be.
How are you at NCAA brackets?
Pretty terrible, actually. A lot of people asked; you do not want me doing those.
CLEVELAND INDIANS (3-1-0) at TEXAS RANGERS (1-2-1)
RHP Corey Kluber (0-0, 18.00) vs. RHP Colby Lewis (0-0, —)
Spring Game #5/Road #2 » Monday, March 3, 2014 » Surprise Stadium » 1:05/3:05 p.m. (MST/ET) » Indians.com webcast
HOME OPENER SELLS OUT IN 15 MINUTES: The Cleveland Indians 2014 Home Opener on April 4 at 3:05 p.m. vs. the Minnesota Twins is officially SOLD OUT, marking the 22nd consecutive home opener sellout and the 21st at Progressive Field, which opened in 1994….since the Indians in 2009 moved the initial on-sale date to Spring, Opening Day sellouts have become official on March 30 (2009), April 8 (2010), March 24 (2011), March 15 (2012) and February 25 (2013) – this year’s initial on-sale was pushed a week later than last year’s…fans wishing to attend 2014 Opening Day still can secure tickets by purchasing a full Season Ticket package…Season Ticket Holders once again will save over 40% on average of Single-Game ticket purchasers in 2014.
WEEKEND ROSTER MOVE: The Cleveland Indians yesterday announced the club has acquired INF JUSTIN SELLERS from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations…to allow room on the 40-man roster the club designated INF DAVID COOPER for assignment…Sellers, 28, has appeared in 82 games for the Dodgers over the last three seasons (2011-2013) and hit .270 (88-326) with 4 triples, 6 homers and 65 RBI in 89 games between AAA Albuquerque and the Dodgers last season. ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The Indians have a total of 64 players in major league camp for the start of Cactus League play; this includes 24 non-roster invitees in addition to players on the 40-man roster…the club has 32 pitchers, including 25 right-handers (8 non-roster) and 7 lefties (1 non-roster), 7 catchers (5 non-roster), 16 infielders (6 non-roster) and 9 outfielders (4 non-roster).
TEXAS TWO STEP: The Indians travel to Surprise Stadium for the first of two Cactus League matchups with the Texas Rangers this spring…the Tribe dropped both exhibition tilts against Texas last spring, and have lost 4 straight Cactus League games against them dating back to 2011 – Cleveland is just 2-8-1 against Texas since joining the CL circuit in 2009…the Indians went 5-1 vs. the Rangers in 2013 regular season play, securing the club’s first winning season vs. Texas since 2008…the two clubs will square off 7 times this season with Cleveland having won 5 consecutive contests.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — John Axford has never pitched a perfect game on the baseball field, though he’s been close to perfect in past seasons as one of baseball’s elite relievers.
On Sunday, he was perfect … in a different arena.
Axford, who holds a degree in film, television and theater from Notre Dame, and is quite the movie buff. And he made Oscar predictions on Sunday afternoon after the Indians beat the Mariners, choosing winners in 18 categories on his Twitter account.
He nailed them all.
Axford’s picks were:
- Best Costume Design – The Great Gatsby
- Best Visual Effects – Gravity
- Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Dallas Buyers Club (could be because I watched it last night and the images are fresh in my mind).
- Best Editing – Gravity
- Best Song – Let it Go (from “Frozen”)
- Best Score – Gravity
- Best Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki (“Gravity”)
- Best Documentary Feature – Twenty Feet from Stardom
- Best Foreign Language Feature – The Great Beauty
- Best Animated Feature – Frozen (Unlike the past, this is going against my kids…They love Despicable Me 2 and The Croods)
- Best Adapted Screenplay – John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”)
- Best Original Screenplay – Spike Jonze (“Her”) (The music video lover in me is made this choice!)
- Best Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyongo (“12 Years a Slave”)
- Best Supporting Actor – Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”)
- Best Actress – Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”)
- Best Actor – Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”) (Hands down…Sorry again Leo)
- Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity”) (I have a soft spot for Cuaron. He did one of my favorite films of all time…Children of Men)
- Best Picture – 12 Years a Slave
Axford signed with the Indians this offseason as a free agent and is Terry Francona’s presumed closer; before establishing himself with the Brewers and the Cardinals, he was a baseball nomad, perfect for Spring Training, when so many players in Goodyear and across the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues have big dreams.
He originally was drafted by the Reds in 2005, but was not offered a contract. He then pitched for the Melville Millionaires and throughout the Yankees’ minor-league system before signing with Milwaukee. He pitched in the minors in 2008 before making his big-league debut late in 2009. In 2010, he took over the closer’s role to acclaim, earning 105 saves over two seasons. In 2013, he struggled a bit and was traded to the Cardinals, where he was an important piece of a World Series bullpen.
Axford is next set to pitch on Tuesday, when the Indians play host to the White Sox at Goodyear Ballpark.
Today’s edition of The Rosey Report features Aaron Harang — who started in today’s win over Seattle and allowed one run in two innings — along with MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian with news and notes and the usual snippets from Terry Francona’s daily media briefing.
Tune in by clicking the play button below!
–Photos by Dan Mendlik