Goodyear Notebook: 3/16
Morris On The Mend
Left-handed pitcher Ryan Morris suffered a shoulder injury last July with High-A Kinston which shut him down for the remainder of the season. After an offseason of rehab and getting his shoulder back in shape to handle a regular pitching load in 2010, he is currently participating in spring training and is getting close to 100%.
“It’s going well,” said Morris about how he feels so far this spring. “I came out a week earlier than I expected to, and when I came out here we had some talks about what we can do with prep work to get my arm better. So we have really been getting it loose with massages and deep tissue stuff to really loosen it up. What we determined was the back of my shoulder was so tight that my humerus started rolling up the front. Not necessarily an easy fix, but something that is curable. So we have just been really trying to stretch it five or six times a day and that’s what has really got me back so far.”
Morris is currently throwing 120 feet in his rehab, and this past Friday participated in his first ground work session where he threw 20 pitches and did well. He is about two weeks behind the other pitchers in camp, so is almost certain to open the season in extended spring training to continue to ramp himself up for regular game duty and to prove he is healthy.
“I am probably going to be starting up my bullpens this week whereas everybody else started up last week, so we’ll go from there,” said Morris. “It’s all going to depend on how things are looking, and if I get enough innings under my belt in extended then I could probably go straight into the season and hopefully jump right into a starting role.”
While the shoulder injury is concerning, it has not raised the concerns enough to where any significant changes will be done to Morris’ mechanics. There are some smaller things the Indians are trying to clean up, one being the way he pulls has hand behind his back during his motion.
“The only change that we are trying to work on is trying to avoid my hand getting back so deep behind my behind my back,” said Morris. “What it does is it kind of exposes my shoulder a little bit. Really it is just trying to stay inside with the ball when I separate my hands which should take some stress off of it. It is just kind of a muscle memory thing more than anything.”
Morris is at a crossroads as a pitcher in that he could remain a starter or will be converted to a bullpen role. For now he expects to stay in the starting rotation, which likely would be at Kinston whenever he is cleared for game action though he should see some considerable time at Double-A Akron this year if things go well for him from a production and health standpoint.
“I had my one-on-one meetings with [Farm Director] Ross Atkins and [Minor League Pitching Coordinator] Dave Miller, and they told me they see me primarily as a starter,” said Morris. “But in these next few weeks I may do some pen work and even when the season starts I could start off in the pen just to build my innings back up and build up my stamina.”
Growing Abreu: 20-year old Latin outfielder Abner Abreu has added some nice weight over the offseason, and he is up about 15-20 pounds to 190 pounds from his listed 170 pound weight last year when he played at Low-A Lake County. He is really starting to mature physically and grow into his long, lanky frame which could result into a power boom from him this season. He spent almost the entire offseason working on his plate discipline, the one area he really struggles in, so it remains to be seen how he does with that. His shoulder is good and he looks primed for a breakout season.
The Gang’s All Here: The first full squad workout in minor league camp officially kicked off on Monday. All players are now in camp, and the first official minor league spring games start up this Friday March 19th.
Better Late Than Never: If you think the report date for positions players was later than usual, well, it was. Position players will only get a little over three weeks between the start of spring camp and the start of the minor league regular season to get ready for the season. In year’s past the position players have always reported a little over a week earlier, but this year the Indians scaled back the time for them since nowadays players work out the entire offseason. It takes very little time for position players to reach midseason form, and really the length of spring training is due to the needs of the pitchers to be properly ramped up and ready for the upcoming season. As it is, a good percentage of the position players were already in camp and working out.
Nothing New On Lofgren: Still no word on what the final outcome is in regard to left-hander Chuck Lofgren. It appears that he has cleared waivers, now it is just a matter of whether the Indians take him back from the Brewers or a trade is worked out. The longer is takes to announce where he ends up, the more it seems a trade may be in the works between the Brewers and Indians for his full rights. All I can say at this point is that it is 100% confirmed that he was offered back to the Indians, but after that we’ll see what happens. Coincidentally, the Indians and Brewers played yesterday in Maryvale, so Indians GM Mark Shapiro and Brewers GM Doug Melvin likely discussed it during the game. Something should hopefully be known one way or another today or tomorrow. As soon as I hear something I will tweet it first @tlastoria.
Roster Moves: The Indians sent four players to minor league camp on Monday: left-handed pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz and right-handed pitchers Jason Grilli, Zach Putnam, and Alex White.