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Some early season off day Tribe thoughts

Some early season off day Tribe thoughts
April 25, 2013
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With the Indians getting the day off today, I thought I’d take the time to throw my two cents in on a few of the latest hot topics of discussion amongst Tribe fans.

Mega Mark

It’s only the fourth week of the season, but Mark Reynolds already seems be one of the biggest steals of the offseason. The right-handed slugger was signed to a one-year deal by the Indians in the offseason worth only $6 million. At the time, it seemed like a low-risk move given that Reynolds was coming off a down year with Baltimore where he only hit 21 home runs. That’s an off year for Reynolds, who has averaged over 30 dingers per season over his career.

19 games into 2013, and Reynolds is already second in the league in home runs (7) and fourth in RBI’s (19). If he keeps up at this rate, he should expect to secure a number of write in votes on the All-Star Game Home Run Derby ballot, which he was strangely left off. However, whether he can keep it up is the question. For as much power and run-producing potential Reynolds has, he’s still been a very streaky hitter over his career with the tendency to amass high numbers of strikeouts per season.

The good news is Reynolds appears to be on track for a better year than what he had in 2012. He’s seen the ball well thus far as he’s hit .286 in 18 games and only struck out in 23% of his at-bats, which is down over 10% from his career average strikeout percentage. Now granted it’s still very early, but Reynolds has given us not only a power bat from the right side of the plate, but also the legitimate power threat in the middle of the lineup that can intimidate the opposition a bit, something we haven’t had in Cleveland in quite some time.

Coming Back From Injuries

The Indians have reinstated backup catcher Lou Marson from the 15-day disabled list and sent Yan Gomes back to AAA Columbus. Marson had been sidelined since the first week of the season after a violent collision at home plate in Tampa Bay. He returned to the lineup on Wednesday.

Marson’s comeback means only two players on the active roster remain on the 15-day DL, and they are center fielder Michael Bourn and starting pitcher Brett Myers. Bourn is expected to return soon after he gets his stitches removed from his index finger later this week. Myers will be out much longer, however, after being diagnosed with a ‘mild’ UCL strain, which is no laughing matter with pitchers, mild or not. Myers has a decent chance at pitching again this season, but the Tribe would be well-advised to prepare for him not returning in 2013.

The Indians have been hit by the injury bug early as they’ve had multiple players go down over the first month of the season. Fortunately, none of the injuries outside of Brett Myers’s have been all that serious. That said, serious or not, when a bunch of small injuries begin to pile up it can be a nuisance and affect the consistency of the team.

All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera has been day-to-day on multiple occasions, but hasn’t been out more than a few games. Catcher Carlos Santana went down after being hit in the thumb by a pitch from closer Chris Perez in the home opener. Bourn received stitches in his finger after being spiked while sliding into first base, and second baseman Jason Kipnis sat out for a few days with elbow soreness.

Injuries like these, both major and minor, are tough on a team trying to find its legs especially with a large portion of the roster now filled with new players, who still need time to get comfortable with their new team. It could explain some of the maddening inconsistency this ball club has endured in the early goings. Hopefully the team heals and finds its groove soon.

Goodbye for now, Yan Gomes!

After Marson was activated from the disabled list, the Indians sent catching prospect and utility infielder Yan Gomes back to AAA. Gomes turned some heads in his short time in Cleveland hitting two home runs and a triple in six games with the big league club. Gomes also impressed behind the plate as several Tribe pitchers have complimented him on his catching and game-calling skills. But despite the high marks, the team feels Gomes should have the opportunity to play every day in the minors to further refine his skills.

Gomes was acquired by the Tribe early last offseason along with super-sub utility man Mike Aviles from the Toronto Blue Jays for hard-throwing reliever Esmil Rogers. So far, the trade has paid off gangbusters for the Tribe as Aviles has proven to be a valuable asset in the wake of all the recent injuries to position players while Gomes is being groomed to be the Indians future backup catcher and has impressed thus far. I love ya, Lou, but this kid’s on his way up fast.

Let’s get back on track in Kansas City!

Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.

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