About half way through Spring Training (3/6-3/13), all the news is based around injuries and cuts. Chris Perez is progressing nicely through his shoulder rehab and has started throwing on the side, but will most likely not pitch again in a game in Goodyear. Michael Brantley is also doing better and rejoined the Indians lineup on Sunday. He should have no problem making Opening Day in Toronto. Blake Wood, a waiver claim from Kansas City, had elbow surgery and was placed on the 60 Day DL. He will miss all of 2013. Frank Herrmann also had elbow (Tommy John) surgery and will be out for the entire year. Mark Reynolds has returned from his time off and finally played in a game on Wednesday. Finally, Daisuke Matsuzaka was pulled from Monday's game with cramping in his calf. The severity of this injury is not yet known.
The biggest cut so far was Ben Francisco, who was immediately signed by the New York Yankees. Most of the other cuts were minor leaguers already on the 40 man roster that were sent to AAA camp. These players never had much of a chance of going north with the big league team, but may be seen later this season. The biggest non-40 man cut was probably Matt LaPorta who never got to play in a game this Spring. With the cuts and injuries, one player did move up as well when Rich Hill was added to the 40 man roster. Hill has pitched 5 innings this Spring and is yet to give up a run, while striking out five. He could be used as the 8th man in the bullpen as a long-man or could be an extra lefty in addition to Nick Hagadone.
The Indians played pretty well this week, despite poor weather and the loss of the World Baseball Classic players. The team went 3-1-1 with one cancelation. The pitching has been especially impressive over that time with two shut outs including great starts by Scott Kazmir (0 ER allowed in 8 IP this Spring) and Justin Masterson. Ubaldo Jimenez had a nice start as well, throwing 5 innings on Wednesday (3/13) against the White Sox while allowing just two runs.
The WBC Indians have played well for their home countries, but the first one is already back, with Asdrubal Cabrera returning for Wednesday's game after Venezuela was knocked out in round one. Vinnie Pestano, Mike Aviles, Giovanni Soto and Carlos Santana all moved on to round two in Miami and will miss at least a few more games as their teams continue to strive for the championship.
Rich Hill now has a "leg-up" on the competition.