Injury concerns for Bourn; Reds rally over Indians, 5-4
Swisher homers, but Cincinnati bats upset Tribe late for walk-off win
Player of the Game: Steve Selsky (1-for-1 with game-winning two-run double)
With the luck of the Irish on his sleeve, a two-run double by Reds minor leaguer Steve Selsky to the green outfield sealed the contest over the Indians Monday afternoon, 5-4.
Cincinnati jumped out to an early lead scoring three times in the second inning off Tribe starter Corey Kluber, highlighted by a two-run triple by Reds third baseman Todd Frazier. Cleveland bats would respond quickly, as a solo homer by Nick Swisher put the Indians on the board before tying the ballgame up in the seventh on a RBI double by Tyler Holt.
Knotted at three apiece in the ninth, Tribe minor league shortstop Tony Wolters gave his team a late one run lead on a RBI single, before Cincy stole the show a half inning later on the walk-off hit by Selsky for the victory.
On the afternoon, Kluber allowed three runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. Recently named the Indains No. 2 starter by manager Terry Francona, Kluber walked two and struck out five in his fifth outing of the spring. The two walks he yielded Monday were his first two he's given up in 14 1/3 innings of Cactus League action.
Swisher belted his second homer of the spring off Cincinnati starter Mike Leake in the fourth inning, as the first baseman went yard for the second day in a row. Both home runs have also come off right-handers which is a good sign considering the 33-year old hit just .220 against righties last season.
Over his last four games, Swish is hitting .363 (4-for-11) with those two homers and two RBI.
A sign of good things to come from the founder of Brohio? Only time will tell of course, but there's reason to be optimistic that Swisher will post better numbers at the plate in his sophomore year in Cleveland.
Bourn hamstring injury a concern
As if catching the reigning division champion Detroit Tigers was a hard enough task, one of the Tribe's key offensive players has caught a case of the injury bug.
Center fielder Michael Bourn was diagnosed with a left hamstring strain before the ballgame Monday, where he will be shut down for at least a week of spring training action. The injury news, while minor, leaves Bourn's Opening Day status in question going forward.
Through 10 games this spring, Bourn is hitting a mere .214 (6-for-28) with no RBI, extra-base hits or stolen bases. While the injury to his left hamstring is the same hamstring he had surgery on this past October, the Indians medical staff noted both are unrealated.
Don't push the panic button just yet Tribe fans, we are still two weeks away from the start of the regular season. The good news is that the injury he suffered at the end of last year is unrelated to the new strain, but there is still reason to be concerned.
Last season was a down year for the 31-year old outfielder, playing in just 130 games and hitting .232 with a .299 OBP after the All-Star break. Bourn made $7 million in 2013 where his salary is set to double to $14 million at the start of this year. There's no question, he needs to be better and live up to the former All-Star and Gold Glover he was in Atlanta and Houston.
Another injury certainly doesn't help, especially that it more than likely will effect his speed on the bases once again. Cleveland would be wise not to rush Bourn back too soon, as they need their lead-off man more than ever to be 100 percent healthy for the long six-month journey that lies ahead.
- Reliever Josh Outman recorded yet another scoreless inning of relief Monday against the Reds. The lefty has now compiled five shutout innings innings this spring allowing just two hits, one walk and four strikeouts. Coming to Cleveland in from Colorado in the Drew Stubbs trade this past December, Outman went 3-0 with a 4.33 ERA in 61 appearances in 2013.
- Elliot Johnson collected a double in three at-bats as he continued his hot hitting this spring. The former Rays utility man is almost a virtual lock to make the Opening Day roster, leading the Indians with 12 hits and six RBI. Another infielder in third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall also continued his tear at the dish, adding a triple in the seventh inning.
- The Tribe experienced their first taste of Instant replay Monday when Reds manager Bryan Price challenged a play in the fifth inning. Brandon Phillips was originally called out attempting to steal third base, but after Price challenged, the umpire crew reversed the original call as the replay took only one minute to review.
Despite the loss, Cleveland still sits at the top of the Cactus League standings with a 14-4-2 record this spring. Two of the Tribe’s four losses have now come against Cincy.
The team also announced another round of roster cuts before Monday’s ballgame, as six more players were let go from the Major League Spring Training roster. Southpaw relievers Nick Hagadone and Scott Barnes were optioned to Triple-A Columbus, while pitchers Travis Banwart, Tyler Cloyd, J.C. Ramirez and Mike Zagurski were reassigned to minor league camp.
The big league roster currently sits at 46 players.
Up next for Indians: The Tribe will try to avoid dropping two straight for the first time all spring, as they host the San Francisco Giants under the lights of Goodyear Ballpark on Tuesday at 10:05 p.m. EST. Right-hander Zach McAllister, recently named as the team's third starter will toe the rubber for the Wahoo’s against Giants former All-Star Ryan Vogelsong.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.