It felt like spring in Lima on Wednesday.
It felt like spring training at the Milano Café with Indians broadcaster Jim Rosenhaus in town as part of a Maverick Media client luncheon.
Can I tell you that I am excited about the Indians this year. Even after three straight losing seasons?
It’s the time of year folks. Hope springs eternal in the spring with spring training.
Rosenhaus admitted the very same thing, “Everyone is undefeated at this point. Everyone is healthy, too. We can’t wait to start the season.”
Well, not everyone is healthy for the Indians.
Outfielder Grady Sizemore continues to recover from microfracture knee surgery.
“I would be surprised if he is ready by April 1 (opening day), but I think Grady knows it is better to be totally healthy before he gets back to the grind of playing everyday,” said Rosenhaus, who heads to the Indians spring training home in Goodyear, Arizona next week.
Rosenhaus went through the Indians lineup and seemed pleased with the possibilities.
“At catcher, Carlos Santana looks healthy and hopes to resume what looked to be a promising rookie season until his knee injury. At first base, this is an important year for Matt LaPorta to prove he can be an everyday first baseman and hit for power. The pressure is on him since he was a number one draft pick and came to the Indians in the CC Sabathia trade.
“At second base, the Indians are a physical away from signing veteran Orlando Cabrera. Asdrubal Cabrera returns at shortstop and can we forget third base,” he told the group at the luncheon in reference to a big hole in the Indians infield.
“Our outfield is the best in the division if Grady is healthy in center with Shin Soo Choo in right, and Michael Brantley in left.”
Rosenhaus said the Indians have also re-signed Austin Kearns, who did well for the Tribe last season before being traded to the Yankees.
The Indians radio pregame show host and play-by-play fill-in likes the Tribe’s bullpen with Chris Perez as the closer. “After Mariano Rivera and Joakim Soria, you have to put him in that category.”
The starters are led by Fausto Carmona at the top of the rotation followed by Justin Masterson, Mitch Talbot and Carlos Carrasco. The fifth spot is still up for grabs, but Rosenhaus says don’t be surprised if eventually it is filled by former number one draft pick Alex White out of North Carolina.
When asked why he didn’t mention Travis Hafner in his lineup assessment, Rosenhaus laughed.
“It has been a struggle for Indians’ fans to try and understand the troubles of Hafner, who is just a designated hitter, yet can’t be in the lineup regularly because of his surgically repaired shoulder. He will never be the Hafner we knew in 2006 with 42 homers and 117 RBI, and then got the big money contract. But maybe he can hit 20-25 homers and that would be an upgrade over his last injury plagued seasons.”
Rosenhaus would not give a win total for the Indians for 2011.
“I think they need to get off to a good start, which the Indians haven’t done since 2007. They say you can’t win a championship in April, but you can lose one. I just can’t wait for the season to get here.”
I told you it was spring in Lima on Wednesday.
The Indians are undefeated as of Feb. 17.
That may change April 2, a day after opening day. But hope springs eternal, remember?
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