Indians bats rally late, trounce Mariners, 8-5
Tribe relievers hold Seattle to one hit over final eight innings
Player of the Game: Ryan Raburn (2-for-3) with a homer and 2 RBI
It wasn’t a good start for Indians minor league right-hander Travis Banwart, but that wouldn't stop Tribe bats and bullpen from going quietly. Trailing 5-1 after six innings of play, Cleveland relievers helped the offense outscore Seattle 7-0 over the final three frames to trounce the Mariners, 8-5 for their sixth straight victory this spring.
Signed to a minor league deal this winter, Banwart gave up four runs to Seattle in the first inning capped off by a two-run single by second baseman Nick Franklin. The Indians would climb their way back, adding a run in the fourth inning to get on the scoreboard.
It wasn't until the seventh that the Tribe put their hitting shoes on, posting four runs in the inning thanks in large part to two key hits. Utility man Elliot Johnson continued his hot hitting adding a RBI triple before outfielder Ryan Raburn launched his second homer of the spring to knot the ballgame up at five runs apiece.
The club pulled away with the victory in the ninth, adding three more runs after top prospect Francisco Lindor hit the go-ahead pinch-hit double that gave the Tribe the win.
Raburn keeps rockin'
It's spring, which means Raburn is already looks to be in mid-season form.
Since joining the Tribe last winter, Raburn has looked like one of the game's best power hitters in a short amount of time. Now hitting 23 home runs in 299 at-bats in his Indians career (including spring training and wild card game), he's averaged a long ball an astounding 13 at-bats.
No matter the season, the 32 year-old has showed he wasn't just a flash in the pan last year, translating the great spring he had at Goodyear Ballpark to Progressive Field.
Can he do it once more this year?
Collecting just 242 at-bats one season ago, there should be no reason why Raburn can’t exceed the 300 mark this time around even with splitting time with David Murphy. Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery for things to click, and that is exactly the case for Raburn.
Relievers ease the pain
It's not the best bullpen on paper, but like every year, there's reason to be optimistic.
Tribe relievers looked incredible Wednesday posting 8 1/3 innings of one-hit baseball, giving up no earned runs while walking two and striking out six.
Southpaw Nick Hagadone got things going with a scoreless 1 1/3 innings, followed by quiet frames from Colt Hynes, Scott Atchison and Bryan Shaw. For Hagadone, it was his third inning this spring without allowing a run.
- Non-roster invitee Jeff Francoeur continues to impress, now hitting .300 (3-for-10) with a double and two RBI so far this spring.
- Lindor, 20 is now 3-for-9 (.333) in his first big league camp with a homer and four RBI.
- Tribe starter Danny Salazar will make his first spring appearance this Friday in a three inning “B” simulated game. If all goes well, he could see game action as early as next week.
It may be exhibition games, but Cleveland improves to a 6-1 record this spring as the team sits at the top of the Cactus League standings.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported early Wednesday that ace Justin Masterson is willing to negotiate signing a shorter contract extension. A free agent at season's end, Hoynes also reported that the deal could be for 3-4 years for an estimated $40-$60 million.
If signed to at least a three year extension, that would leave shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera as the only player on the Indians 2013 playoff roster that will be a free agent after this season.
There aren't many opportunities a player approaches a team with a contract extension, or better yet, willing to take less money guaranteed. There's no question for a mid-market team like Cleveland, shorter extensions and less dollars are huge. Yes, Masterson is a good player, but you have to believe Tribe skipper Terry Francona is a big reason why the 28 year old wants to stay and continue wearing Chief Wahoo.
Your move Chris Antonetti.
Up next for Indians: The Tribe travel back to Goodyear Ballpark Thursday to take on the Chicago Cubs at 3:05 p.m. Making his second spring start, Masterson will get the nod and be opposed by left-hander Travis Wood.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Lindor is getting close to be MLB ready. A sept call up at the end of year and becoming the starter in 15.
Johnson and Francouer continue to battle to make the club.
Spring training is always interesting to me. While we all know that the performances mean little if anything.....it is still great to see some guys like Lindor and others playing well.