Barfield adjusting to utility role
Indians second baseman adding third base, outfield to resume
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Josh Barfield's spring has been and will continue to be a juggling act.
A second baseman by trade, Barfield has been asked to add third base and all three outfield spots to his repertoire. The carrot dangled in front of him is a utility job with the big league club."I've got to be efficient," Barfield said. "I can't neglect one position or the other." The Indians, and manager Eric Wedge in particular, have been happy with what they've seen from Barfield during the team's early workouts. Wedge said Barfield moved around well at third base and handled the outfield well. The real test will come when the Cactus League schedule begins later this week. While Barfield said the move to the outfield is no big deal, the move to the hot corner can be a challenge the first time around. "I feel pretty good over there," Barfield said. "Fielding ground balls is the same. Putting yourself in a good position is the key. I feel comfortable over there. I just have to get more reps." As far as Barfield's offense is concerned, he spent the winter in the Phoenix area, working regularly at the Indians' Player Development Complex, and he appears to have made some strides. Members of the coaching staff have remarked that in watching Barfield on video, his swing is much more reminiscent of the one he had during a dynamic rookie season with the Padres than the one he's displayed in two rather unremarkable years in the Indians' organization. "That's what I've been working on a lot," Barfield said. "I want to shorten it up and get better." Where Barfield has really struggled the last two years is in pitch recognition, and that's another area the Indians hope he can address in camp.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.