Inside the Wigwam

By: T.J. Zuppe

Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians – Progressive Field

Tuesday: RHP Josh Beckett vs. RHP Josh Tomlin – 7:05PM

Wednesday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. RHP Mitch Talbot – 7:05PM

Thursday: LHP Jon Lester (0-0 – 8.44) vs. RHP Fausto Carmona (0-1 – 30.00) – 12:05PM

Healthy Hafner?

For the past couple of seasons, one of the biggest question marks has always been the overall health of designated hitter Travis Hafner. If opening weekend was a sign of things to come, maybe the Indians finally received a favorable answer.

Indians Designated Hitter Travis Hafner

In the first three games against the White Sox, Pronk is hitting .385, with a home run and two driven in.

He nearly missed a second homer in Saturday’s game, and has been getting around on the ball much better than years past.

“It’s just good to get off to a good start,” Hafner said. “I feel good swinging the bat. Looking forward to keeping it up.”

On top of health, another reason for optimism with the stick is his approach, which he has changed from the previous years. Through those adjusted mechanics, he believes he is feeling much better.

“I just feel good and looking forward to every game.”

More than just numbers, Hafner passed the eye test over the weekend. Even his singles had more authority reaching the outfield, and was able to get the good part of the bat around on inside pitches.

Can this continue?

This is only a question Hafner can answer. Track record says no.

He will be eager to prove otherwise.

Starting Off On The Wrong Foot

The Indians starting pitchers  experienced the weekend from hell.

The top three men in the Tribe rotation (Fausto Carmona, Carlos Carrasco and Justin Masterson) combined for an earned run average of roughly 9.72.

In 16.2 innings, they surrendered 18 runs, on 28 hits.

If it was not for Masterson’s solid seven-inning performance on Sunday, manager Manny Acta might be looking for more relief. In those seven frames, Masterson only surrendered one run, kept the bullpen fresh and was able to pick up the team’s first win of the season.

The biggest question mark entering the 2011 campaign was the starting pitching. It does not put anyone at ease to watch the top two starters get lit up in the first weekend.

Sizemore, Smith On the Mend

The Indians are not quite at full strength to begin the season, but a couple of players are making strides to rejoining the big club.

Outfielder Grady Sizemore and right-handed relief pitcher Joe Smith will be playing with the Class-AAA Columbus Clippers on Tuesday at Huntington Park. They will both be taking part in an exhibition game against Ohio State at 6:35PM.

Sizemore was placed on the 15-day disabled list to continue rehabbing from micro-fracture surgery on his left-knee. Smith was also DL’ed, as he mends from an abdominal strain.

Fans in the Columbus area can purchase $5 tickets by visiting ClippersBaseball.com

If all continues as planned, the two will begin a rehab assignment at Class-AA Akron on Thursday, April 7th.

Indians Launch New Campaign And Videos

For those that have not had a chance to see the new videos the team has put together, you might want to take a few minutes to check them out.

“What If”

“The Ball

These videos accompany the team’s new slogan: “Creating Memories.  Connecting Generations. Celebrating Families.”

Despite what you may or may not think of the current team, the videos should leave you with a few good memories, and even more goosebumps.

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