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Goodyear Notebook: 3/15

Goodyear Notebook: 3/15
March 15, 2010
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Al is in Goodyear this week with me to follow the Indians and the minor league teams. Today he provides some of his observations from the B game back at the Goodyear complex and then the big league game in Peoria on Sunday.

The Indians were split up on Sunday, with a 7-inning "B" game in Goodyear at one of the minor league fields in the morning in addition to the normal spring training game against San Diego in Peoria. The best part about this setup? The B game ended at 12:30, which allowed for a nice 25-min drive from Goodyear to Peoria so I was able to catch both games. Score!

- Kelvin De La Cruz started for the Indians in the B game in the morning. He threw two innings and only gave up one run, but struggled a little with his command and was up in the zone for much of the time. Jensen Lewis followed De La Cruz, and got hammered. He gave up 2 runs and even the outs he recorded were loud. Joe Smith was up next, and delivered a scoreless frame. Chris Perez followed him and gave up one run on a couple of hits.

- The most impressive pitcher on the day for the Tribe by far was Zach Putnam. Putnam threw the final two innings of the short game, and was nothing short of dominant. He gave up just one hit, a seeing-eye goundball down the 3rd baseline. His splitter was really working, and got several swing and miss strikeouts on pitches in the dirt, including Reds top hitting prospect Yonder Alonso. Add this outing to his scoreless inning against the Angels the other day, and you can tell that his work with new coach Charlie Nagy is paying off. The thing fans have to remember about Putnam is that he was both a pitcher and a hitter in college, and never really worked exclusively as a pitcher until the Indians drafted him in the 5th round of the 2008 draft. This means he has more room to grow than many pitching prospects. Putnam has a solid four pitch mix with a changeup and slider to go along with the nasty splitter and of course his fastball, so he could start or relieve long-term. Look for him to start the year in the Akron rotation with a chance to move up to Columbus if he continues to impress.

- The bats never really got going for the B squad, as they tallied just 2 runs. The Reds started Aaron Harang, and he gave up one of those runs in 4 innings of work. Travis Hafner got 3 AB's, walking, striking out and grounding out. Matt McBride hit the ball hard several times. One really encouraging thing was seeing Beau Mills hit the ball hard to the left side. Mills flew out to the warning track in deep left field, and went the other way with a tough pitch on the outside corner for a solid single. If Mills can keep using the whole field, hopefully he can get his bat back where it was in his 2008 Carolina League MVP campaign for Kinston.

- The major league game had its share of prospect fun as well. Nick Weglarz started in left and hit 5th against the Padres. He fell down 0-2 in his 1st AB, then fouled off a couple of tough pitches before being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for an RBI. He finished the day 0-2 with a walk on a 3-2 pitch (no big surprise) and the HBP. It seemed like the Padres pitchers were making a concerted effort to pitch Wegz inside. His 3rd AB featured several pitches inside off the plate, in addition to the HBP in his 1st AB. That could be something to keep an eye on in case the Padres think they found something in his swing that would leave him susceptible to hard stuff inside.

- Carlos Santana caught the last several innings, and the Padres ran on him twice. Santana threw out Luis Durango when he overslid second base, but Drew Cumberland was able to get a huge jump off of Jeanmar Gomez and slid in safely despite a strong throw from Santana. Both throws showed off Santana's cannon arm, and if he just cleans up his throwing mechanics a little, he will be a solid defensive catcher. At the plate, Santana was 1-2 with a solid single up the middle.

- Alex White threw two-thirds of an inning, and escaped without allowing a run. He came in with one out and a runner on 1st and walked the first batter he faced. He then threw what was scored as a wild pitch (but I thought should have been a passed ball), allowing both runners to move up. He got out of trouble when he got a hard lineout to Peralta at 3rd, who was then able to step on the bag for the double play. He didn't pitch great, but managed to get out of the inning without giving up a run.

- Hector Rondon threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings, although he did allow an inherited runner to score. Rondon did a nice job holding Padres leadoff hitter Evereth Cabrera close 1st to allow Wyatt Toreagas to catch him stealing. Rondon threw over a couple of times, varied his delivery times to home plate and Cabrera was unable to get a good jump.

- Jason Donald made a great defensive play in the 4th, ranging up the middle for a Cabrera grounder and throwing out his speedy counterpart...Jeanmar Gomez threw two solid innings, striking out two and giving up just one hit...Wes Hodges had a bad error at 1B, dropping a routine throw from 2B...Jamey Wright threw a scoreless inning in his attempt to make the bullpen.

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