With Jim Thome joining the club, the Indians have shaken up their roster some in advance of Friday’s game against the Royals. Left fielder Michael Brantley (wrist) and starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (elbow) have both gone on the DL, and left-handed reliever Nick Hagadone has been called up to make his major league debut.
Hagadone, a 2006 supplemental first-round pick of the Red Sox, was seen by many as just as important of a piece as Justin Masterson in the July 31, 2009 deal that sent Victor Martinez from Cleveland to Boston. However, his command deserted him in 2010, and the Indians opted to shift him to the pen at the end of the year. He’s been a fine reliever this season, amassing a 2.65 ERA and a 74/21 K/BB ratio in 68 innings between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.
Still, Hagadone’s stay could be a short one, as the Indians will need to replace Tomlin in the rotation next week. Jeanmar Gomez and Mitch Talbot will be candidates to claim the spot. Talbot, who cleared waivers and was outright to Triple-A earlier this month, pitched seven scoreless innings in his last start for Columbus.
Brantley’s absence leaves the Indians with just 3 1/2 outfielders in Shin-Soo Choo, Kosuke Fukudome, Ezequiel Carrera and Shelley Duncan. One wonders if they’ll consider giving Matt LaPorta the occasional start in left against a lefty. In Fukudome, Carrera and Jim Thome, they have three players who don’t typically face many southpaws.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.