A Few Honorable Mentions

     I recently wrote about the possibility of Cleveland needing another outfielder in my first post. The organization has been keeping an eye on Zach Walters, although he has been an infielder during most of his career. As of now, they are training him solely as an outfielder, allowing him a chance to compete for one of the available outfielder positions. Throughout his brief two years and eight game career, his numbers have significantly dropped from one year to the next. It is possible he was playing with a problem waiting to happen, and it finally did when he tore the labrum in his shoulder diving into home plate on October 2, 2015. This is only a guess on my behalf, of course. There must be something about him, because they certainly haven’t given up on him. We’ll have to see when the time comes.

     Manager, Terry Francona has also been keeping an eye on newbie center fielder, Tyler Naquin, who has been swinging the bat very well in Akron’s minor AA Rubberducks. In 76 games, he pulled in a .313 average with 30 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.

     As far as the fifth spot in the pitching rotation, it appears as though Josh Tomlin and Cody Anderson are the two main competitors. They will be the first two pitchers to start the Cactus League games, Tomlin will start on March 1st and Anderson will start on the 2nd.

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Brantley Is A Workhorse

     Without a doubt, Michael Brantley is an individual who is determined to earn every penny of his payroll. During his right shoulder surgery rehabilitation, he has been giving the Indians Organization his all. Although the possibility of Brantley being available for Opening Day is pretty slim, he has continued to make it his goal.

     His progression is far better than expected, as he is already batting balls off of a tee, a step normally taken weeks later. Brantley, on the other hand, feels the opposite. “I feel like it’s going very slow,” he mentioned. “It’s a long process… but… I’m excited where I’m at right now.”

     “I love the fact that he’s pushing,” said Indians manager, Terry Francona. “I think he’s getting better quick, which is good.” Brantley had already pushed himself too hard in the past, and has assured Francona that he will be honest about his condition. “There’s a lot of trust there that he’s built up, as should be. He deserves that.”

     Even while playing through various health issues last year, Brantley still batted a healthy .310 with 45 Doubles, 84 RBIs and 15 home runs. His return will be golden.