Results tagged ‘ Bryan Shaw ’
Participants can face off against Tribe players including Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis, among others
Exclusive ‘Tackle the Tribe’ draft set for Aug. 23 at Progressive Field – participants interact with players during draft, autographs, food and beverages, watch game in suite and more!
Cleveland Indians fans now can play fantasy football against Tribe players in a new charity league called Tackle the Tribe.
Indians players scheduled to participate in the league include Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, Bryan Shaw, Marc Rzepczynski and Scott Atchison.
Participants will make a one-time donation of $2,000 (including up to one co-manager) and will receive an exclusive Draft Day experience at Progressive Field on Saturday, August 23, as the Indians take on the Houston Astros. The experience will include:
- A live, moderated fantasy football draft with the players and a few surprise guestsin the Terrace Club Pub at Progressive Field
- Food and beverages during the draft (cash bar)
- Photo opportunity with players
- Autographed swag by all participating Cleveland baseball players (items provided by Tackle the Tribe – no autographs allowed during the event)
- Behind the scenes tour of Progressive Field
- VIP access to batting practice
- Ticket in Champions Suite (including food and beverage) to the Astros-Indians game
Plus, participants will interact with the Tribe big leaguers throughout the fantasy football season and have the chance to win more great prizes. Those interested can find details at bigleagueimpact.org/events/cleveland.
Proceeds of the league will benefit the Greater Cleveland Foodbank, Clean Water in Africa, Cleveland Indians Charities and Big League Impact Basic Needs Initiative. Big League Impact has brought together baseball stars from teams in 10 cities around the country for charity fantasy football leagues.
Big League Impact held its first fantasy football league last year in St. Louis with Adam Wainwright and his Cardinal teammates launching “Waino’s World,” and this year, more than 60 big league players have agreed to participate in the charity initiative, including over a dozen 2014 All-Stars. Leagues will be hosted by Kershaw (Los Angeles), Wainwright (St. Louis), Freddie Freeman (Atlanta), Cole Hamels (Philadelphia), Tim Hudson (San Francisco), Max Scherzer (Detroit), Skip Schumaker (Cincinnati), Neil Walker (Pittsburgh) and David Wright (New York).
With Josh Tomlin earning Tuesday’s victory, Indians starters have gone 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA (7 ER/48.2 IP) and 54 strikeouts against 10 walks over the rotation’s last 6 starts here at Progressive Field…over the last 4 games, Tribe starters have allowed just 2 earned runs across 28.1 IP (0.64 ERA) with 31 K’s and 5 walks.
Making his 2014 season debut, Tomlin worked into the 7th inning and picked up his first Major League victory since July 5, 2012 vs. Tampa Bay (W, 6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R-ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR, 93 pitches/66 strikes)…Tuesday was his first ML appearance since a 2.0-inning relief outing on September 3, 2013 at Chicago-AL; marks his first start since July 27, 2012 at Minnesota.
Tomlin faced just 2 more batters than the minimum through his first 4 innings, allowing a pair of singles in the top of the second – retired the side in the top of the 3rd on 7 pitches.
Entered Tuesday’s game on a consecutive scoreless inning streak of 20.0 spanning over his last 3 starts for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers.
Shaw was tabbed with an unearned run in the top of the 9th, but shut the door on the Twins to earn his first save of the season.
Marks his 4th career save and second with the Tribe; also September 20, 2013 vs. Houston.
Tonight’s unearned run was the first tally Shaw has allowed here at Progressive Field since August 23, 2013 vs. Minnesota, snapping a streak of 18.0 consecutive scoreless outings.
Atchison bridged the gap to Bryan Shaw, striking out 2 over a scoreless 8th inning.
Opposing batters have gone just 6-43 (.140) vs. Atchison this season.
–Photos by Dan Mendlik/Stats courtesy of Indians Baseball Information Department
Some facts and figures from our Baseball Information department on the club’s solid pitching of late.
Zach McAllister’s 6.2 scoreless inning performance tonight lowered the rotation’s home ERA to 3.14 (37 ER/106.0 IP), including a 1.28 ERA (6 ER/42.1 IP) over the club’s last 6 home starts.
In the rotation’s last 22IP, Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber and McAllister have allowed 1 run and 12 hits, striking out 27. Those three pitchers have combined for a 0.41ERA in that span.
McAllister scattered just 5 hits across his 6.2 innings of work on Monday (ND, 6.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO, 1 WP, 114 pitches/76 strikes), marking his second scoreless start of the season (4/9/14 vs. SD, 7.2 IP) and his 3rd career scoreless outing of at least 6.0 innings.
He fanned a season-high 8 batters, matching his career-high accomplished 3 previous times (last, 8/23/11 vs. Seattle).
His 114 pitches signaled a single-game high for Tribe hurlers this season, one more than Masterson’s 113 on April 28 at Los Angeles-AL.
McAllister has allowed just 3 earned runs over his last 25.1 innings (1.07 ERA) at Progressive Field dating back to last September (4 starts); over that stretch he has registered 20 strikeouts and just 4 walks, while limiting batters to a .211 (20/95) average against.
Bryan Shaw stranded 2 inherited runners, increasing the Tribe’s bullpen count to 48 of 57 on the season (84.2 %); entering tonight the Tribe held the 2nd-best percentage in the Majors behind only Boston (84.0%, 42 of 50).
Marc Rzepczynski threw one pitch in the top of the 10th, stranding an additional 2 runners – Tribe’s bullpen has now stranded 50 of 59 inherited runners (84.7%).
Cody Allen tossed a scoreless 9th inning for the Tribe, fanning 2 of the 4 batters he faced. He has registered scoreless outings in 15 of his 16 appearances this season, and has recorded 4 strikeouts over his last 2.2 innings (3 games).
CLEVELAND, OH – The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has signed INF JASON KIPNIS to a six-year contract extension thru the 2019 season with a club option for 2020.
Kipnis, who turned 27 yesterday, is coming off his first American League All-Star selection in 2013, hitting .284 (160-564) while leading the 2013 AL Wildcard Champions in runs (86), hits (160), RBI (84) and steals (30) in just his second full Major League season. He became just the sixth Indian in the 113-year history of the franchise to eclipse the 15 home run/30 steal barrier and finished tied for 7th in the AL in walks (76), tied for 9th in steals (30) and finished in the top 20 in RBI (T16th, 84) and on-base pct (14th, .366).
Entering his fourth overall season in the Majors, he has quickly established himself among the league’s best second basemen, finishing 3rd among MLB second sackers in OPS (.818), 2nd in stolen bases and tied for 3rd in RBI among his second base peers in 2013. The Chicago, IL native’s team-high 84RBI were the most by an Indians 2B since Roberto Alomar (100) in 2001 as he became the first Tribe 2B since 1948 to lead the team outright in RBI.
The homegrown product was originally selected by Cleveland in the 2nd round (63rd overall) of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Arizona State University. An outfielder in high school and college, Kipnis began the transition into the infield during the 2010 campaign and made his debut at second base in 2011 less than a year later. Jason is one of 16 Indians on the current Major League roster under team control thru at least 2016. That list includes:
- Cody Allen
- John Axford
- Michael Bourn
- Michael Brantley
- Lonnie Chisenhall
- Yan Gomes
- Jason Kipnis
- Corey Kluber
- Zach McAllister
- David Murphy
- Ryan Raburn
- Marc Rzepczynski
- Carlos Santana
- Danny Salazar
- Bryan Shaw
- Nick Swisher
The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has signed C YAN GOMES to a six-year contract extension thru the 2019 season with club options for 2020 and 2021.
Gomes, 26, established himself as the club’s everyday catcher in the second half of 2013, hitting .294 (86-293) with 18 doubles, 2 triples, 11 home runs and 38 RBI in 88 games. The Sao Paulo, Brazil native also had a large impact behind the plate, as the club went 49-30 (.620) over his 79 starts at catcher while Indians pitchers recorded an ERA of 3.56 (281ER/710.0IP) when Yan was catching. He also threw out an AL-high 38.3% (18-of-47) of the runners attempting to steal while registering a .996 fielding percentage.
Yan was acquired from Toronto along with INF Mike Aviles on November 2, 2012 from the Toronto Blue Jays after beginning his professional career with the Jays in 2009. He made history with Toronto in May of 2012, becoming the first Brazilian-born player in Major League Baseball history.
MLB Leaders, Catcher OPS (Minimum 275 plate appearances)
- Joe Mauer, MIN — .901
- Jason Castro, HOU — .884
- YAN GOMES, CLE — .837
- Yadier Molina, STL — .836
Players under team control through 2016
- Cody Allen
- John Axford
- Michael Bourn
- Michael Brantley
- Lonnie Chisenhall
- Yan Gomes
- Jason Kipnis
- Corey Kluber
- Zach McAllister
- David Murphy
- Ryan Raburn
- Marc Rzepczynski
- Carlos Santana
- Danny Salazar
- Bryan Shaw
- Nick Swisher
CLEVELAND INDIANS (8-1-1) vs. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (6-5-0)
RHP Josh Tomlin (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Wily Peralta (0-0, 0.00)
Spring Game #11/Home #6 » Sun., March 9, 2014 » Goodyear Ballpark » 1:05/4:05 p.m. (MST/ET) » SportsTime Ohio, WTAM/IRN/webcast
NINE TONIGHT: After dropping their Cactus League opener to Cincinnati on Feb. 26 by a score of 8-3, the Cleveland Indians have not lost over a 9-game span, going 8-0-1 following yesterday’s 4-4 tie with the Padres in Peoria.
THE INDIANS ON TV…: Beginning with this afternoon’s tilt against the Milwaukee Brewers, SportsTime Ohio will carry each of the Indians’ next 5 games on TV through Thursday…Matt Underwood & Rick Manning are scheduled to be in the booth for all 5 and will have a number of in-game interviews with Indians players and coaches throughout the week.
…AND ALSO ON YOUR RADIO DIAL: Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus will also have this afternoon’s call on stations across the Indians Radio Network, including WTAM in the Cleveland market…the game will also be available with an MLB audio subscription on Indians.com/webcast.
…BUT I CAN’T GO BACK I KNOW: Time stands still here in Arizona, as much of the country lost one hour last night by rolling their clocks forward as part of Daylight Saving Time…aside from the now 3-hour time difference between Phoenix and Cleveland, those of us here in the desert were largely unaffected (AZ now aligns with the Pacific Time Zone).
“TWO OAT SODAS GARY”: A city with no shortage of high-quality microsuds, Cleveland is set to host the Milwaukee Brewers today at Goodyear Ballpark for the first of two meetings between the two squads, as the Tribe will host the Brew Crew again on March 26…club’s met 3 times last spring, with the Indians winning 2 of those…Cleveland and Milwaukee have not met in the regular season since the Brewers swept a 3-game set at Progressive Field in June 2009 (Milwaukee has won last 7 regular season tilts)… Cleveland is 201-205 all-time vs. the Milwaukee franchise (1969-present) in regular season play, which includes a 7-11 mark in Interleague Play since the Brewers made the switch to the Senior Circuit.
YESTERDAY’S RECAP: Cleveland and San Diego battled their way to a 4-4 tie before the game was called after 10.0 innings at the Peoria Sports Complex on Saturday afternoo…MICHAEL BRANTLEY (2 2B, RBI) led the way for the Tribe with 4 hits (4-for-4, 2 2B, RBI), including a key RBI-single in the team’s 3-run first inning…ASDRUBAL CABRERA and CARLOS SANTANA also drove in runs, while Santana recorded 3 assists at third base…TYLER CLOYD (2.0IP, 2H, 0R) took the bump first in the starter-by committee affair for the Indians, while SCOTT ATCHISON, BRYAN SHAW, AUSTIN ADAMS, SCOTT BARNES and MIKE ZAGURSKI also enjoyed scoreless outings.
BULLPENNINGS: Indians pitchers who were scheduled to throw bullpens this morning at the Goodyear Complex: RHP CARLOS CARRASCO, RHP COREY KLUBER, RHP FRANK HERRMANN.
LET IT “B”: The Indians announced Saturday that the club will participate in its second “B” game of the spring, as Cleveland will host the Chicago White Sox at 10:00AM AZT/1:00PM ET on Tuesday, March 11 at the Goodyear Development Complex…the Indians edged the Angels 3-2 in a March 4 “B” game here in Goodyear.
UPCOMING BROADCAST INFORMATION: The Cleveland Indians announced on Monday that SportsTime Ohio will televise 154 games in 2014… FOX will broadcast nationally the Tribe’s June 21 game vs. Detroit – which will feature the Indians Hall of Fame induction of Omar Vizquel – while six other games (April 5, May 10, June 7, July 19, July 26 and August 9) will be broadcast on FOX’s new FOX Sports 1…SportsTime Ohio will also air Beating the Odds: The Al Rosen Story on March 13 at 3:00pm and a Tribe Report Season Preview on March 19 at 9:00pm.
CLEVELAND INDIANS (2-1-0) vs. SEATTLE MARINES (3-0-0)
RHP Aaron Harang (0-0, 0.00) vs. LHP Randy Wolf (0-0, —)
Spring Game #4/Home #3 » Sun., March 2, 2014 » Goodyear Ballpark » 1:05/3:05 p.m. (MST/ET) » WTAM, IRN, Indians.com webcast
SCHEDULED TO PITCH AFTER HARANG:
IT’S A SHAME ABOUT RAIN: The Indians and White Sox were rained out yesterday for their scheduled tilt at Camelback Ranch, as Cleveland’s squad was pulled off the bus just prior to the team’s scheduled departure from Goodyear…just one other game on the Cactus League slate was rained out yesterday, a 7:10PM affair between the Cubs and Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields…7 other contests were played to completion, including the Rockies/Reds game here in Goodyear, some of those impacted by rain delays…the Indians experienced one rainout last spring in Surprise, although that contest was called in the top of the 3rd inning with Kansas City holding a 3-2 lead.
THE GREAT ONES ADJUST: In the wake of yesterday’s rainout, Saturday’s list of probables was shifted to today’s game, while several other pitching adjustments were made…JUSTIN MASTERSON had been scheduled to get today’s start against Seattle, but was instead scheduled to throw a sim game this morning at the Goodyear complex along with AUSTIN ADAMS, FRANK HERRMANN and MIKE ZAGURSKI.
THE DOWNEASTER ALEXA: The Indians are set to square off against a team other than Cincinnati for the first time this spring, as they host the Seattle Mariners here at Goodyear Ballpark…Cleveland is 1-6-2 against Seattle in 9 meetings all-time since moving to the Cactus League in 2009…the two clubs split a pair of decisions last spring, as the Tribe finally notched their first ‘W’ in Peoria on March 23 (10-5) after going winless in the first 8 meetings…Cleveland held a 5-2 advantage over the M’s during the 2013 regular season, sweeping a 4-game set at Progressive Field in May before dropping 2 of 3 at Safeco Field in July.
–Photos by Dan Mendlik
Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding this weekend’s Tribe Fest event, presented by KeyBank, at Progressive Field!
Where can I get tickets for Tribe Fest?
The easiest, most convenient way to get Tribe Fest tickets is by visiting Indians.com/TribeFest. Our Tribe Fest HQ features plenty of information about the event, plus ticket information. General Admission tickets are $10, and children under the age of 12 get in free when reserved with adult ticket purchases at Indians.com/TribeFest.
Can I walk up and purchase tickets on the day of the event?
Yes, our ticket windows outside Gate A will be open. However, by purchasing in advance at Indians.com/TribeFest, fans can avoid waiting in line at the ticket windows – potentially in cold weather. Additionally, tickets for children age 12 and under are $5 on the day of the event.
How many autographs can you get with an autograph ticket?
You are guaranteed at least one autograph from an Indians roster player, alumnus or prospect, depending upon which autograph session you purchased. In some cases, there will be more than one player, alumnus or prospect at a session, but those details are to be determined and not guaranteed. Fans who have purchased an autograph ticket are guaranteed at least one autograph.
My ticket does not specify what autograph session I bought. How do I tell where I need to go?
On your ticket – either a ticket we printed and sent to you, or you purchased at home – there is a six-digit Ticketmaster code. That code will guide you once at Tribe Fest.
The codes are as follows:
- ROAADT/ROACHD: Roster A session
- ROBADT/ROBCHD/ Roster B session
- PROADT/PROCHD: Prospect session
- ALUADT/ALUCHD: Alumni session
Once you arrive at Tribe Fest, look for the signage directing you to the appropriate autograph session location. Indians staff will be wearing Tribe Fest Staff T-shirts if you need assistance finding your location, and we will be checking tickets in line to make sure fans are in the right place.
How many items can I have autographed?
Each fan with an autograph ticket can have one item per player/alumnus/prospect.
Can I bring items to be autographed?
Yes! But, whether you have items to be signed or use a card provided at Tribe Fest, the same one-autograph per person per player applies.
Can I get autographs without an autograph ticket?
The only way to guarantee an autograph is by bundling an autograph ticket with a General Admission ticket at the time of purchase. However: If an autograph session’s 250 slots are not sold out, fans can stand in line after all autograph ticket holders for a chance to get an autograph. Again: The only way to guarantee an autograph is by bundling an autograph ticket with a General Admission ticket at the time of purchase.
Can I take pictures with the players in the autograph line?
Given the strict time schedule of our players during the event, and to keep the autograph lines moving, no pictures will be permitted with the players. Gameday staff will be on hand to ensure lines keep moving to ensure all fans who have purchased an autograph ticket get their autograph.
For fans who want to take pictures with players, there is a Player Photo Booth located in the Club Lounge, where 1-2 Indians players will be appearing each hour for photographs with fans. Photos are free with your camera or can be purchased via our FanFoto group.
Do you have full player list for Friday’s Tribe Fest VIP Premiere event?
Scheduled to appear are: Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes, Mike Aviles, Danny Salazar, David Murphy, Corey Kluber, Bryan Shaw and more. (All player appearances for the entire weekend are subject to change.)
When will Nick Swisher be there, and what autograph sessions will he take part in?
Player appearances will be determined at the event and will not be announced beforehand, due to all player appearances being subject to change.
How can I add additional autograph tickets?
There is a limit of one autograph ticket per General Admission ticket purchased; to purchase additional autograph tickets, you must add them at the Guaranteed Autograph Ticket Booth once inside Progressive Field for Tribe Fest.
If fans want to purchase an additional guaranteed autograph ticket within a different Tribe Fest session – for example, they are attending Saturday 10-2, but want an autograph session within the Saturday 4-8 session – they will need to General Admission/guaranteed autograph ticket bundle.
Can I change my autograph session?
There are no refunds or exchanges for Tribe Fest tickets. Additional autograph tickets may be purchased at the Guaranteed Autograph Ticket Booth inside Progressive Field during event hours, based on availability.
Do I need a waiver?
Only those fans participating in activities in the batting cages, inflatables & games, Haircut Like A pro and Kids Clubhouse are required to sign a waiver this year at Tribe Fest. Completing a waiver and receiving a wristband at one activity is good for all activities throughout the day. If you return for the second day of TribeFest you must complete a new waiver to participate in the above mentioned activities.
Does a baby need a ticket?
Per Progressive Field policy, children 2 and under do not need a ticket.
Can I bring a stroller[JK1] ?
Yes! Strollers can be checked during the event. Stroller check-in is located by the Info Booth and Guaranteed Autograph Ticket Booth.
Where’s the best place to park?
Gateway East Garage, accessible via Bolivar Avenue and Huron Road, will be open for parking during each Tribe Fest session. Surface lot and meter parking around the ballpark also will be available.
Can I purchase Indians Season Tickets or Group tickets, or talk with Indians ticket representatives, at Tribe Fest?
Yes! We will have a Season Ticket and Group Ticket table in the Underground Service Area tunnel during the event, where reps will be on hand to answer fans’ questions about the benefits of becoming a Season Ticket Holder at Progressive Field. Remember: Our Season Ticket Holders saved over 40%, on average, over Single-Game buyers at Progressive Field in 2013.
Additionally, current Season Ticket Holders can visit our Fan Cave table at Tribe Fest to talk with their Client Service Specialist.
Can I buy single game tickets for 2014?
Our Single Game tickets will be available in a 2014 Online On-Sale in early March, with more information about registration for the on-sale available next month.
Can I purchase Indians merchandise at Tribe Fest?
Yes! There will be three locations for merchandise purchases: in the main Underground Service Area, in the Club Lounge and near Autograph Station 3, located on the underground level near the Kids Clubhouse. Plus, the Indians Team Shop on the main concourse level will be open and accessible as well.
Will there be a Twitter Scavenger Hunt again?
Yes, there will be. Stay tuned to @Indians and our website for further details, but the scavenger hunt returns and the prize remains the same: The entire Social Suite for a game! (12 tickets, food/beverage not included)
The Cleveland Indians on Thursday signed free agent RHP JOHN AXFORD to a Major League contract.
Axford, 30, owns a career Major League record of 22-19 with a 3.29ERA and 106 saves in 281 relief appearances (273.2IP, 240H, 100ER, 329K) with the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals since debuting in 2009. He tied for the National League lead (Craig Kimbrel/ATL) with 46 saves in 48 opportunities in 2011 and finished 6th in the NL in saves (35) the following season. His 49 straight save conversions stretching over 2011-2012 represent the fourth longest streak in MLB history. The Simcoe, Ontario native, who played collegiately at Notre Dame and Canisius (NY), began his professional career in 2007 in the Yankees system before latching on with the Brewers organization prior to the 2008 season.
The hard-throwing right-hander split the 2013 season between Milwaukee and St. Louis, going a combined 7-7 with a 4.02 ERA in 75 relief appearances (65.0IP, 73H, 29ER, 26BB, 65K). He finished tied for 4th in the NL in games pitched and recorded a Postseason ERA of 1.59 in 6 games for the National League Champion Cardinals (5.2IP, 2H, 1ER, 9K, .105AVG) after posting scoreless outings over his final nine regular season appearances (7.2IP, 11K) for St. Louis. After recording an April ERA of 8.44, Axford enjoyed a stretch from May 15-July 24 where he allowed just 1 run (1ER/28.0IP) over 32 outings. He has never been on the Disabled List over his five-year big league career.
In order to clear a 40-man roster spot for Axford, the Indians designated RHP Trey Haley for assignment.
Both Axford and Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti chatted with reporters via conference call on Thursday to discuss the deal. Below are their comments:
Signs of a bounce-back season
Chris Antonetti: He has maintained all of his stuff. He still has an elite fastball and a very good secondary pitch. He made some adjustments towards the end of his year when he got to St. Louis that got him back to the pitcher he was when he had all of the success in Milwaukee. As we look at a lot of information from our scouts, video analysis and analytics they all pointed to a bounce back year after looking at the way he pitched in September. We thought it was the right guy to take a chance on, and we are confident that he will help stabilize the back end of our bullpen. As we have seen, roles in the bullpen can evolve over the course of a season, but our expectation is that John will be our closer.
On Axford’s challenging 2013 season
Antonetti: I think he got ramped up early for the WBC [World Baseball Classic] and then he fell into some challenging habits early at the start of the season. If you look at him after his first four outings, his results were actually pretty good. I think he threw 60+ innings, and his ERA was under 3.00 with good strikeout and reasonable walk totals. His first four outings of the season were challenging. I think he gave up runs in each of those outings. Whether or not that was attributed to the WBC directly or not is hard to say, but I think once he stabilized after the first 10 days or so he pitched pretty well for the balance of the year. He threw especially well at the end of the season and into the postseason.
Confidence in Axford and current bullpen alternatives
Antonetti: We feel that we have a number of quality options for the back end of our bullpen. We feel that John will fit in seamlessly out there. He has experience pitching in high-leverage situations and pitching on competitive teams. We think he will have a tremendous amount of success in that role but we also, as is important for us to do, have alternatives and options. Our job is to build the best bullpen we can, and build in as many quality, late-inning options that we can. As we saw first-hand last year, things don’t always go as planned.
On Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen and others filling vital roles
Antonetti: Both guys did an extraordinary job in the roles they were in. We feel either guy would be capable of expanded duties, whether that was pitching in a closer role, or even in the primary set-up role. We still feel those guys are capable of doing that, but in bringing a guy like John aboard give us someone back there with a little bit more experience and improves our options. I think we feel better about the guys that we have now than we did at the start of the offseason. We feel that we have improved our options, but if there is a way for us to continue to improve we will continue to look to do that, whether that’s in the bullpen or the rotation.
On deciding on Axford
Antonetti: We examined all of the alternatives out there, but in the end we felt John was a very good fit, not only for our team on the field, but in the clubhouse. He is very well-respected as a teammate in the places he has pitched recently. We feel like he will fit in well in our clubhouse and be a leader in our bullpen.
On going through the free-agency process
John Axford: It definitely was difficult. I had to take a lot of different things into account. This was my first experience in the free agent market and I enjoyed it too. It was fun but it was also difficult.
On his desire to play for Cleveland
Axford: The opportunity to step into a closers role was a big part of it. There were quite a few factors including the team itself and how well they played last year. It’s always good to play for a contending team and a team that’s done well and had success. The makeup of the team and the clubhouse seems like a fit that I will enjoy and that I will enjoy being with for an entire season. Obviously talking to Terry Francona as well before even signing [played a role in my decision]. Hearing everything from him, and the approach he wants to take – he was just very up-front with me about the way he feels about me, the team, the city and the organization. All of those things were telling of a team and organization that I wanted to be a part of.
On challenging 2013 season
Axford: I really don’t want to make any excuses for myself, but in all honestly I just don’t think my arm was ready at the beginning of the year. I pitched in the WBC, and I loved every minute of that – it was great to pitch for my country, but there is something telling about throwing 98 mph. against Team USA and then not being able to hit 91-92 mph. in the second outing of the season. It could have just been a dead-arm issue since I got ready a little too early, but my velocity was definitely down for the first couple games of the year. After those games were out of the way my arm started feeling a lot better and everything kind of clicked again. If you erase those first four games my year last season was actually a decent one. Unfortunately, we can’t get rid of every bad game.
On interest from other clubs
Axford: There were certainly other teams in the mix and that was the most difficult part. I’ve never had to make this decision before of actually choosing between teams. As a non-drafted free agent twice, teams never really wanted me. When I signed with the Yankees originally in 2007 it was the only team that I tried out for. With the Brewers, it was the only team that actually came out to a tryout that I was pitching at. This is the first time that I’ve ever had that opportunity. The difficulty of making that choice was tough, trying to put all the pieces together of what would work, and like I said, it really seems like a great clubhouse. The guys that I have talked to, including Terry, said it’s a great clubhouse and they love every moment of enjoying time with the guys. The team had a good season last year, and they are really stepping into the forefront of where baseball in Cleveland should be.
Close to home
Axford: Cleveland is very nearby to my home. It’s very drivable, I can see my family and they can come see me a lot easier which is fantastic. I live literally northeast on the other side of Lake Erie in a town called Port Dover – my family and I only live about 4 hours away.