Barfield busier than ever this spring
Infielder learning to play plethora of positions with roster spot in sight
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- A typical day for Josh Barfield begins right about the time the sun rises over the Indians' Player Development Complex. Before 8 a.m., Barfield has already worked out and spent some time in the batting cages."I'm learning like 40 positions, too," Barfield said with a smile. "This has been the busiest Spring Training of my career, for sure."
Busy, sure. But there's a reward possibly waiting for Barfield at the end of camp.The Indians are dangling a 25-man roster spot in front of Barfield, encouraging him to learn multiple positions and improve his plate discipline in order to earn it. Odds are Barfield will claim that spot and serve as the last man on the Tribe's bench, and therefore his primary goal in camp is to prove to manager Eric Wedge that he can contribute not just at his native second base, but also at third base and in the outfield spots. "I think it's been a pretty smooth transition," Barfield said. "I feel comfortable at all of them. I get a lot of early work in, and getting some reps in the game only helps with the comfort level." There have been, and will be, hiccups along the way, like when Barfield bobbled a ball hit to him at third and made an off-target throw to first when fielding a grounder against the Brewers on Thursday. It was his second error at third base this spring. The throw from third is longer and more mechanical than what the 26-year-old Barfield is accustomed to. "It's a different arm angle," Barfield said. "From second, you're [arm is] more down low. At third, you've got to be more over the top. That's been the biggest adjustment ... just learning new arm angles. I was a little sore the first couple weeks from using muscles I'm not used to using. But it gets a little easier and easier every day." Barfield makes the transition to the outfield sound -- and look -- easy. Wedge has said Barfield has already proven he can be counted upon as a backup to Grady Sizemore in center. It helps that Barfield was mentored by his father, Jesse, a two-time Gold Glove winner in the Blue Jays' outfield in the 1980s. "It's just running down fly balls, finding the cutoff man and hitting him," the younger Barfield said. "It's actually a little less stressful than the infield, where you've got rockets coming at you."
|"I understand the game more, because now you really have to pay attention to the game and digest it. I'm more valuable to my team."|
|-- Josh Barfield|
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.