Cleveland Indians: News and Notes


Posted Mar 15, 2004


WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- The Indians will enjoy their only day off of the spring on Tuesday before returning to exhibition play Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers.

Left-hander Jason Stanford will start for Cleveland with right-handers Jose Jimenez, Dave Lee, David Riske, Giovanni Carrara and Bob Wickman also scheduled to pitch.

Right-hander Jason Bere is scheduled to start Thursday at Chain of Lakes Park against the Red Sox, followed by lefty Cliff Lee. Right-hander Jake Westbrook will face his former team, the New York Yankees, on Friday and that game could be a sellout.

Left-hander Mike Porzio, a 31-year-old who has pitched for the White Sox and Rockies, has been shut down because of tendonitis in his shoulder. Porzio was signed as a minor-league free agent in December and invited to the big-league camp.

A five-game winning streak through Sunday gave Cleveland a 9-3 record, best in the Grapefruit League. Not surprisingly, some players have posted impressive numbers:

* 1B Ben Broussard is hitting .550 (11-for-20), which leads all AL players, as does his seven doubles and .640 on-base percentage.

* 1B Travis Hafner is batting .450 (9-for-20) with three homers (tied for second in the AL) and six RBI.

* 3B Casey Blake has a team-high 11 RBI, with three homers and a .333 average.

* INF Ricky Gutierrez is batting .636 (7-for-11) with four RBI and four runs scored.

* OFs Grady Sizemore (.400, 3 doubles, 2 triples), Matt Lawton (.400, 4 doubles), Coco Crisp (.391), Alex Escobar (.348) and Jody Gerut (.333) are all off the good starts at the plate, as are CA Victor Martinez (.353) and INF John McDonald (.300).

Hoping to pick things up:

* INF Lou Merloni, who pinch-hit a three-run homer in his spring debut, has gone just 1-for-12 since and is hitting .154 overall.

* INF Brandon Phillips is also batting .154.

* LHP Scott Stewart, acquired from Montreal in December, has a 14.73 ERA in two outings, covering 3 2-3 innings.

* RHP Jack Cressend is 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA over three outings and 4 2-3 innings.


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