Results tagged ‘ Shin-Soo Choo ’

The DiaTribe: Q&A with Mark Shapiro from Goodyear

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Editor’s note: This Q&A with Indians President Mark Shapiro, conducted in Spring Training, has been republished here with the permission of Al Ciammaichella and The DiaTribe.

For the second year in a row, Indians team president Mark Shapiro was kind enough to take an hour out of his very busy spring training schedule and sit down for an interview with me in beautiful Goodyear, Arizona. Here’s a link to last year’s interview in case you missed it. We covered a wide variety of topics, including the difference in the 2013 and 2014 free agent market, Yan Gomes, ticket pricing, promotions, Francisco Lindor and of course, Justin Masterson and the breakdown in his long-term contract negotiations. The following is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation this past Friday.

Al Ciammaichella: This offseason was much quieter/different than last offseason. Were the moves you made last year looking forward to this year’s free agent class where you signed guys like Swisher and Bourn knowing this offseason would be quieter?

Mark Shapiro: We always have to take an opportunistic lens when it comes to free agency. When we look at free agency, if we’re dependent upon it to build our team, then we’re in a very difficult, if not impossible, spot. The reality is that we’re either looking for where the value is in the market or looking to be opportunistic. Last offseason there happened to be two guys that fit multiple year, positional needs for us at values we thought we could afford and who have some other special attributes, especially in the case of Swish, but really Bourn too, as a leader as well. They filled gaps we had in our system, where we felt like we didn’t have anyone coming up at all. And we also knew that this offseason there was a lot national TV money coming into the system and a lot less guys, so there were going to be more resources available, greater demand and less supply. So while it’s already a tough market, that was going to make it nearly an impossible market. So I look at last year as our chance to make a bigger splash in free agency, and this year was going to be “are there little things we can do?” I think we studied David Murphy, who I think is a good pick up for us. He’s going to improve both the defense, and give us a really good platoon and depth in the outfield.

AC: We talked a lot about levers last year, which became one of my new favorite buzzwords. How did you decide what levers to pull this year, with Murphy, and how did you decide which not to pull, with not bringing back guys like Ubaldo and Kazmir?

MS: Those decisions are never as simple as “do you want the player or not?” I think that the fan tends to look at it as “you didn’t want the guy.” We loved what Kaz did for us, we wanted him, but the level of risk involved with multiple years and the level of risk involved with those dollars just didn’t fit our payroll parameters this year with the natural, built in escalation of contracts. I think with Ubaldo, same thing. It ended up being a good deal for us, particularly in light of what we gave up, but it wasn’t the right fit for us this year. When you talk about levers, I think the neat things to think about from last spring to this spring are the evolution of a guy like Yan Gomes. Where all of a sudden, you look at Gomes and there’s a guy who leverages his ability to impact a game at more than just his position because of what he means defensively, what he means for his passion for making pitchers better, for helping to call a game. So I always like to think about, “where are the guys that can impact a game beyond objective statistics? Beyond just their own performance?” And Gomes is a guy who when he started to catch last year, I think that was one of the keys to our team really taking off.

AC: So when you traded for Gomes, and I could sit here all day and talk to you about Gomes, but when you traded for him, did you have any idea he’d be that much of an impact defensively? I’ve talked to some Blue Jays guys, and they were of the opinion that he was maybe a 3rd catcher while he was with the Jays.

MS: Any GM or front office guy who tells you he knows exactly what he was getting when he traded for a guy is just pounding his own chest. What you do is you try and find something you like, a defined attribute that you like about a guy. Even when we traded for Asdrubal or Shin-Soo Choo, there were always questions. We never thought they’d both be as good as they were, never. So when we traded for Yan Gomes, we thought that maybe he could catch, but really what he was, was right handed power, and a guy who could play multiple positions. That’s what we thought. When we got him, I think we did a smart thing, similar to when we traded for Justin Masterson. We didn’t know Masterson could start, but we knew he could be a dominant bullpen guy. But in our situation it’s important to maximize the value because we can’t go out and buy those things. So we put Yan back there, and right away Tito and the staff said “this guy’s got pretty special hands, he’s got some strength behind the plate.” When you go back and look at his career, whether it’s in Tennessee (in college) or in the Toronto system, he played behind Arencibia both places, and they had D’Arnaud there as well. So he was behind two of the best young catchers in the game and he never got to catch much. He just took right to it. He got better and better. He’s a worker, he’s smart, he’s tough, he has a lot of the attributes you look for in a catcher.

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Transcript: Conference call with VP of Player Development Ross Atkins

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Indians Vice President Ross Atkins took time from his most recent trip to the Dominican Republic – where, he kindly informed those of us back in Northeast Ohio, it’s about 85 degrees – to answer fans questions via conference call on Friday afternoon.

He also mentioned that Carlos Santana and Danny Salazar were in the Dominican this week at the Tribe complex. Atkins, who oversees all Minor League operations – the Indians just named Joe Wendle and Cody Anderson as the organization’s Minor League Players of the Year — opened with this primer on the offseason:

“This is an exciting time for us. The (Minor League Player of the Year) process is one that, of course, performance is going to have a large part. But we look at performance in many ways: In the minors, one thing that we often will put a little more time stock in is how they did it. Did they go about it the right way? Does he embody what we’re looking for in a future Indian player?

“There are no better examples than Joey Wendle and Cody Anderson. They understand the fundamentals and mechanics. We vote among player development staff and front office on those awards, and it was abundantly clear that these two represent the Indians very well, among a very good group of players.

“That (Wendle) beat out (shortstop prospect Francisco) Lindor suggests how good Wendle is. He’s already an incredible story; he does not have a huge pedigree. Cody, too, came from Feather River Community College. Similarly, he wasn’t a pitcher in college, or in high school; he’d pitched very little. They’re very confident players, and their confidence comes from work.”

Question: One of the players that stick out is (outfielder) Bryson Myles. Where will he start?

Answer: Bryson Myles is one of our best surprises. He will all but be in Akron. He’s a really interesting story: He was a football player who didn’t play a bunch of baseball and slipped a little in the draft. We were really excited about his athleticism. He worked at the right things, and that’s hard to learn: Not everyone enjoys learning what it takes to become a great base runner, and other things like that. Learning how to put all the information together and prioritize it is vital. For Bryson, it clicked midway through the season. He lost some playing time, and that was part of what made it click for him. His focus took up a notch. Then came confidence and then came results. He’s a very promising story.

Question: I think other intriguing guys are (pitchers) Ryan Merritt and Louis Head.

Answer: Merritt is interesting; there’s not many MLB players that are 6-feet, 165 pounds. We have no signs of him not being durable or not holding up; the strikeouts are there and the walks aren’t. He keeps the ball in the ballpark, and commands the ball better than anyone in our system.

Louis will be a reliever, and he’s had some success. He will have to outwork people and continue to get outs; that’s the nature of the beast with relief pitchers. (Editor’s note: Head played at all three levels in 2013, while Merritt finished the season with the fourth-best ERA in the Indians Player Development System.)

Question: When will Minor Leaguers report to Spring Training?

Answer: With us having a facility in Goodyear, a lot of guys come in very early, in January. We incentivize them for that. A lot of it depends on what position they’re in, where they are in their careers. We’ll have everyone there by March 9. Half of them will be there by Feb. 20. The reason for (some of the later arrivals) is that the MLB season is much longer than the minor league seasons in many cases, so some guys report later.

Question: What players with current MLB team do you model the minor league system after, in terms of work ethic, preparation and workout routine?

Answer: There are a few players that have evolved and that’s changed. (Former Indians outfielder) Grady Sizemore was at the pinnacle .(Former Indians outfielder Shin-Soo) Choo was a model. (Outfielder Michael) Brantley is a current incredible model for our young players to look to. (Second baseman) Jason Kipnis is an exceptional model. (Starting pitchers) Corey Kluber and Zach McAllister are off the charts from a work ethic standpoint.

Right now, Danny Salazar is a good model. He’s experienced a lot, being 24. He’s had Tommy John surgery, was signed out of the Dominican at 16. He didn’t come onto the scene as quickly as he would have hoped, but now he has and made a splash. He has all the intangibles. It starts with the player’s vision. He understands that and then follows through with the plan.

Question: What’s the plan for (2013 top pick) Clint Frazier?

Answer: He played half the season in Arizona. In his first at-bat, he hit a home run. He finished the year with an above-average OPS, was getting on base, hitting for power. He really took to center field, too; playing center as a pro is a little more demanding, with the pace of the game. He has it all, has all of the skills to do exceptional things. All of those other things, work ethic, will determine his route. It’s extremely difficult for a high school player to become a MLB player, because of expectations and demands. Sounds easy, but it’s very challenging. We have little doubt he’ll have a solid big-league career.

Question: What are our strengths at each level and what are our weaknesses?

Answer: Our system is balanced, especially with middle infield prospects and lower-level bats and position players. That’s where we’re strong. There are areas where we want guys to make strides forward. We feel very good about (Trevor) Bauer. Remember, he’s a year younger than Danny Salazar. He didn’t have the year he hoped for, but at 22, we’re still very encouraged.

We feel very good about some of the starters we have working their way up. They all have the intangibles. We have to have guys make positive strides each year; that’s what we had this year.

Question: What is the organization pushing (Lake County shortstop) Dorssys Paulino on?

Answer: We had him in Arizona this fall, and he’s been working on strength, conditioning and agility. His mobility and agility don’t match the strength he has, and that’s somewhat common in Dominican athletes. We’ve been working on his speed and agility. He’s going through a very rigorous offseason, and likely will start in Lake County again. He turned 18 last year; it was an adjustment to cold temperatures, 13-hour bus rides, and very little BP outdoors due to weather. That’s atypical, so it was an interesting spring for him. For a young Dominican player trying to find his groove, that’s not easy.

Question: Do you have an update on (2012 first-rounder) Tyler Naquin?

Answer: Tyler was among the group that was special to watch, with Joe Wendle and others. They were the leaders of the Arizona Fall League. He was at the forefront. One of the most encouraging things about him: He’s made an incredible adjustment and he did it in season; he’s spread out his lower half. There were some questions and he’s silenced them.

Choo returns to Progressive Field, visits with former teammates

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Patting down the center field wall and shagging flies in the outfield, former Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo felt comfortable in his return to Progressive Field. A new member of the Cincinnati Reds, Choo relished the opportunity to visit Cleveland and play in front of former teammates and fans who watched him develop as a young player.

In 2012, Choo started 151 games in right field for the Tribe. Despite having started just one game in center field in an Indians uniform — he made 57 starts in left field and 338 starts in right field — Choo has become the everyday center fielder for the Reds.

Choo indicated that his routine of familiarizing himself with each ballpark’s center field surroundings proved unnecessary at Progressive Field. His experience in right field in parts of seven seasons in Cleveland made his walk-through somewhat quick on Wednesday.

“I go to every different ballpark and check the field, how soft the fence is, how [the ball] bounces back,” he said. “Here, I played a long time; I know [the stadium], so I was just comfortable.”

When Choo finally stepped in the batter’s box to lead off the game, his teammates debated about whether they were hearing boos or “Choos” from the Cleveland faithful.

“It was very exciting to play. Usually, when you play a former team, you’re nervous and want to play better,” Choo said. “When I was traded from Seattle to Cleveland, I played the best I could against Seattle. I don’t know why, but I don’t ever feel like that against the Indians.

“Still, I want to win; I want to play good. I’m excited to play and see my old teammates and fans that I used to play with at this field for six years.”

Choo spent six seasons in Seattle’s minor league system before making his major league debut on April 21, 2005. Just over a year later, Choo, who had played in 14 games at the major league level, was traded to Cleveland in exchange for first baseman Ben Broussard.

A former fan favorite, Choo posted an overall batting average of .291 over more than six seasons with the Indians. This past offseason, Choo was part of a three-team trade that ultimately sent him to Cincinnati, where he holds a .295 batting average and a .449 on-base percentage.

Choo said he felt unusually comfortable and excited to face his former team in Cleveland, the city and the organization that gave him his first real shot at becoming a big league player.

“I saw the Indians build and make me into an everyday player,” he said. “When I was traded to the Indians, their front office, their manager, Eric Wedge, gave me an opportunity to help. That’s why I’m here.”

And there he stood, in the visiting clubhouse, sporting his road grays and a Reds warmup jacket as he prepared to play his former team for the fourth time this season.

“Yesterday, I took a couple steps past the visiting clubhouse, and I stopped and went back,” Choo said. “I like [Cincinnati] a lot. Cleveland and Cincinnati are similar cities. It’s a really big baseball city, huge fans, and Cincinnati has really good teams, winning teams.

“Everybody wants to play for good teams and winning teams, but it’s not easy. I want to take this opportunity with a winning team to make the playoffs and the World Series.”

-TribeVibe contributor Megan Golden

Batting Practice photos: May 29

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National baseball writers weigh in on the Indians’ trade

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The Indians’ three-team, nine-player trade was the biggest news in the baseball world on Tuesday night, as the Tribe acquired young right-handed starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, and relievers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw from the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as outfielder Drew Stubbs from the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds acquired Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald from the Indians in return, and sent young shortstop Didi Gregorious to the Diamonbacks, who also received Tony Sipp and Lars Anderson from the Indians. After news of the trade broke, many prominent national baseball journalists weighed in on the potential impact of the trade. A selection of their tweets and stories are below:

Jon Heyman @JonHeymanCBS

love the #indians part of this deal. bauer and stubbs. great job.

Jerry Crasnick ‏@jcrasnick

I’m with @keithlaw: Really liked what #indians did in trade. Thought #reds did well to get Choo.

keithlaw ‏@keithlaw

Love it. “@Buster_ESPN: The Indians are going to get Bauer in the deal with the Diamondbacks.”

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

The Indians need arms. And they get a good arm in Trevor Bauer, who was the No. 3 overall pick in 2011.

Buster Olney@Buster_ESPN

It really is amazing that the Indians ended up with Trevor Bauer essentially in return for a one-year rental, Shin-Soo Choo.

Chris Rose ‏@ChrisRose

Cleveland fan overload right now. @indians huge trade w @Reds @dbacks and @cavs up late @lakers. Head about to explode!!

Rob Neyer – SBNation

“Each of the three clubs is receiving one linchipin. The Indians: pitching prospect Trevor Bauer. The Reds: star outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. The Diamondbacks: shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius.”

“It’s a fascinating deal, because all three of the linchpins are completely different sorts of players…The Indians need arms, and Bauer’s a great start.”

What are your thoughts on the Tribe’s big trade?

– TribeVibe Contributor Max Lom

Party like a Season Ticket Holder

Last night, current Season Ticket Holders gathered postgame for an invitation only party featuring refreshments, opening remarks by Indians president Mark Shapiro and autograph sessions with the Tribe.

“We were pleased to entertain approximately 2,000 of our best customers at the ballpark for signings with all members of our 25-Man Roster and a chance to play catch on the grass of Progressive Field,” said Indians Director of Fan Services Dave Murray. “Days like this are one of the many benefits of being an Indians Season Ticket Holder.

TribeVibe took to the event chatted with a few of the night attendees about their time at the ballpark and their tenure as Season Ticket Holders.

Dad & 18 year Season Ticket Holder, Vivian Shanafelt and daughter, Nancy Hennings of Medina, OH

TV: How long have you been a Season Ticket Holder?

Shanafelt: I have been a Season Ticket Holder since  1994.

TV: What’s the biggest benefit of being a Season Ticket Holder?

Shanafelt: Other than the games, [the Indians] give us a suite, a free suite, for a game. It’s really nice [to be in] a suite once a year.

TV: As a Season Ticket Holder, what’s the most memorable play you’ve seen while in the ballpark?

Shanafelt: There was one game, that my daughter and I saw, where a ball bounced right off Jose Canseco’s head and went over the fence!

Indians 101 Refresher Course: The May 26, 1993 Indians vs. Rangers game produced this gem of a home run. Mr. Shanafelt and his family were there watching.

TV: How close were you sitting?

Shanafelt: We were sitting fairly close. We were near home plate. [Canseco] was in right field, but when my daughter and I talk about the Indians, we talk about that story. We just enjoy baseball. I enjoy bringing my daughter and my grandkids to the game with me.

Social Suiter & Season Ticket Holder, Michael Kaus and wife, Tenille Kaus of Akron, OH.

TV: How long have you been a Season Ticket Holder?

M. Kaus: I think we’ve been Season ticket Holders for about four years now.

TV: What made you choose to be a Season Ticket Holder?

M. Kaus: It’s really some of the best value for your dollar that you can get in Cleveland. We sit in the bleachers and we really enjoy it.  The prices are low, it’s great to go to the game and if you haven’t been there in a while going there you can smell the fresh cut grass – it’s just really a fun time.

TV: Since you attend so many games, what has been your favorite moment in-park?

T. Kaus: Last year we actually caught a ball that Grady Sizemore threw into the stands. This year, I think our favorite memory was being able to watch the fireworks on the field.

TV: So, as a part of the Season Ticket Holder event the whole team will be available for meet and greets, who are you looking forward to seeing most?

T. Kaus: Sandy Alomar.

M. Kaus: Yeah, Sandy Alomar and Vinnie Pestano. We’re definitely looking forward to it – it’s going to be fun.

Christopher Evans who has Season Tickets through his company Marsh-McLennan Companies located in Downtown Cleveland.

TV: Tell us a little bit about your company.

Evans: Marsh-McLennan does risk management. We work with many of the companies in the greater Cleveland and Northeastern Ohio area. Our company holds Season Tickets which we use to take clients out to the ballpark and from time to time we, employees get to come take our kids out to the yard, have a good time and enjoy the game.

TV: What’s the biggest advantage of taking your clients out to the ballgame?

Evans: It’s a good opportunity – it’s a loose atmosphere – we can share a meal; have good time without the pressure of [making] deals. Sometimes you talk business other times you don’t. Just last [homestand], I was [at Progressive Field] with a client talking about babies. My wife and I just had baby and so did my client. We spent the game talking and connecting about kids and family.

Sometimes when you’re at a ballgame with a client, the conversation can drift from business to family life pretty quickly because you see all the kids out [at the game] and it [reminds] you of your family.

TV: Do your kids come to the games with you often?

Evans: Yeah, my daughter and I go to a lot of games. I have a 3 year old and a 3 week old who just came to his first game today. I’m proud to say my new son, Warren, made it all the way through the game – 9 innings. Amazingly, my 3 year old daughter made it all the way through 9 innings too – that’s the real accomplishment.

TV: What’s your most memorable time at the ballpark?

Evans: Today. My son’s first ballgame. Tonight, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Sandy Alomar. I grew up watching him as a kid. And obviously, I like seeing the young guys getting it done like Asdrubal Cabrera. I would say to other Tribe fans, any chance you can come out to the ballpark and spend time with your family – do it.

-TribeVibe Contributor Erin Parker

 

Indians Game Information for Sunday, July 15

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CLEVELAND INDIANS (45-42, 2nd, -3.0 G) vs. TORONTO BLUE JAYS (44-44)
RHP Derek Lowe (8-6, 4.43) vs. RHP Carlos Villanueva (3-0, 3.05)
First Pitch: 1:07 p.m. (ET) at Rogers Centre
TV: WKYC  Radio: WTAM, Indians Radio Network
Series Notes:

POWER SURGE: Cleveland went deep 3 times in yesterday’s defeat, as it marked just the 3rd time over the past 3 seasons for the Indians to hit 3-or-more home runs and lose (23-3 record in those games from 2010-12)…the Indians have slugged 21 home runs over their last 13 games beginning June 28, which is tied with New York-AL and Toronto for 2nd-most in the majors over that span behind Pittsburgh (24)…that works out to an average of 1.6 HR-per-game for the Tribe since June 28, after generating 0.8 HR-per-game from Opening Day through June 27.

WAITING FOR THE RIGHT ONE: Cleveland’s offense saw an average of 3.9 pitches-per-plate appearances in yesterday’s loss (172 pitches/44 PA), continuing a season-long trend for the Tribe…the Indians have averaged 3.87 pitches-per-PA overall this season, which is the 6th-best figure in the A.L. and 9th-best in the majors…Cleveland also leads the majors with 319 walks and ranks 4th with a .334 team on-base pct. behind Texas (.341), St. Louis (.340) and New York-AL (.336).

GLOVE WILL KEEP US ALIVE: Cleveland’s defense has been charged with just 5 errors over the club’s last 18 games, playing error-free baseball in 6 of the last 7 and all but 4 of those 18 contests overall; Cleveland’s .986 team fielding % (46 E/3309 TC) is 3rd-best in the A.L. and 4th in the majors behind Seattle (.989), Chicago-AL (.989) and Cincinnati (.986).

BE LIKE MIKE: MICHAEL BRANTLEY has gone 6-for-8 with a double, HR and 2 RBI in this series…additionally, he has hit safely in 5 straight at-bats against left-handed pitching to raise his season average vs. LHP to .303 (33-109), which is now higher than his season average vs. RHP (.297)…Brantley is the first strictly left-handed Indians batter with a hit in 5+ consecutive AB vs. LHP since teammate SHIN-SOO CHOO from July 26-27, 2009 and one of just 7 LH-batters in the majors to pull the trick this season.

HITS IN 5+ STRAIGHT AT-BATS AS LEFTY VS. LEFTY, 2012
Brett Gardner, NYY (5) April 10-17
David Ortiz, BOS (6) April 13-18
Norichika Aoki, MIL (5) May 17-18
Joey Votto, CIN (6) May 25-27
Joe Mauer, MIN (5) June 13-25
David Murphy, TEX (5) June 12-July 4
Michael Brantley, CLE (5) July 13-14

Indians Game Information, July 8

CLEVELAND INDIANS (44-40, 2nd, -3.0 G) vs. TAMPA BAY RAYS (44-41)
RHP Zach McAllister (3-1, 3.93) vs. RHP James Shields (8-5, 4.11)
First Pitch: 1:05 p.m. (ET) at Progressive Field
TV: STO, WKYC.  Radio: WTAM, Indians Radio Network
Series Notes:

DOUBLE-VISION: With the help of 5 more two-sackers last night, including 3 in a 3-run 2nd inning, Cleveland has 153 doubles this season, 5th-most in the A.L. and 9th-most in majors…the 2nd-inning matched a Tribe season-high for most doubles in a single frame (3x)…SHIN-SOO CHOO (T2nd, 26) and MICHAEL BRANTLEY (8th , 23) both rank in the A.L. top 10 for doubles.

HOTTER THAN JULY:  The Indians are off to a 5-2 start in July with the help of som esolid outings by members of the club’s starting rotation…Tribe starters have logged an A.L. -best 44.0 innings this month, 4th-most in baseball, while recording quality starts in 6 of 7 games…the staff has a combined 2.95 ERA (13ER/39.2IP) in those 6 quality starts (4.30 ERA in July overall due to 8ER over 4.1IP in Friday’s 10-3 loss to Tampa Bay).

OFFENSE, MERCURY BOTH RISING: The Indians are batting .311 (131-421) with 16 homers and 74 runs (6.2 RPG) over the last 12 games to raise Cleveland’s team average from .248 to a season-high .257…club had a combined .248 (423-1703) avg. in April (.245) and May (.250) while scoring 4.4 runs per-game, but has been hitting at a .271 (318-1174) clip beginning June 1 (June-.263, July .301) with 4.7 runs per game.

Indians Game Information, July 7

CLEVELAND INDIANS (43-40, 2nd, -3.0 G) vs. TAMPA BAY RAYS (44-40)
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (7-7, 4.59) vs. LHP Matt Moore (5-5, 4.17)
First Pitch: 6:05 p.m. (ET) at Progressive Field
TV: Not televised.  Radio: WTAM, Indians Radio Network
Series Notes:

THE STANDINGS: The Indians lost 10-3 to Tampa Bay last night and fell 3.0 games behind Chicago in the A.L. Central standings, as the White Sox beat Toronto 4-2 at U.S. Cellular Field…Cleveland has been in first place (sole possession or shared) for 40 of 93 days overall this season, including 35 consecutive days from April 24-May 28; club has been in 2nd place for 13 straight and 37 of those remaining 53 days…Cleveland held a season-high 4.0-game lead on May 17 and has trailed by as much as 3.5 games (twice, last June 29).

AROUND  THE  BLOCK:  Cleveland  holds  a  70-43  advantage  all-time against Tampa Bay (1998-2011), including a 41-17 mark here at Progressive Field…the Indians are batting .315 (123-391) with 15 homers and 67 runs (6.1 RPG) over the last 11 games to raise the club’s season average from .248 to .257…while he does not qualify for league leader status, JOSE LOPEZ is batting .349 (15-43) w/ RISP this season, going 5-for-his-last-8 in those situations…the Indians have a 14-2 record when JOE SMITH, VINNIE PESTANO and CHRIS PEREZ all appear in the same game.

SOMETHING TO CHOO ON: SHIN-SOO CHOO has reached safely via hit or walk to lead off the Indians’ half of the first inning in 22 of his 48 starts in the lead-off spot, all coming since May 24 (7-singles, 5-doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs, 4 walks); has batted .330 (66-200) with 8 HR, 21 RBI and a .964 OPS  in  those  48  games/starts…he  ranks  among A.L.  leaders  in  doubles (T1st, 26), runs (T5th, 56), OBP (7th, .386) and extra-base hits (T9th, 37).

Independence Day with Indians Around the World

Indians catcher Carlos Santana and citizens of the Dominican Republic celebrate their independence from Haiti on February 27.

Carlos Santana: In the Dominican, everyone celebrates by taking off their job. They try to have fun with the day — fun with the family, with brothers, everyone. They put the flag up that day to celebrate it and Dominican independence. We eat rice, fish, chicken, beer, and whiskey.

Indians infielder Jack Hannahan and citizens of the United States celebrate their independence from Great Britain on July 4.

Jack Hannahan: Growing up, we would always go to my cabin in northwestern Wisconsin. I’d bring a bunch of buddies, my brother would bring his friends, and both of my sisters would bring a bunch of their friends. We would go up there and spend the 4th of July weekend up there. We would light some fireworks up at the beach, and we’d just celebrate that way.

Indians infielder Jose Lopez and citizens of Venezuela celebrate their independence from Spain on July 5.

Jose Lopez: It’s really good. Everyone hangs out at the beach and sees the fireworks at about 7:00 or 8:00. The families, especially, have reunions and get-togethers. It’s a pretty cool day.

Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and citizens of South Korea celebrate their independence from Japan on August 15.

Shin-Soo Choo: I’ve lived there for a long time, and everybody takes the day off of work. Everyone puts the Korean flag near their house.

-Megan Golden, TribeVibe contributor

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