White among Tribe non-roster invites
Fellow top picks Chisenhall, Mills will also attend camp
CLEVELAND -- Big league camp is not just for big leaguers. There are plenty of evaluating eyes to go around, and new Indians manager Manny Acta and his staff will want to get a feel for players at various levels of the player development pipeline.
With that in mind, seven non-roster players from the Tribe's system have been extended invites to camp in Goodyear, Ariz. -- right-handed pitchers Alex White, Yohan Pino and Frank Herrmann, infielders Lonnie Chisenhall, Beau Mills and Niuman Romero and catcher Damaso Espino. That brings the Tribe's total number of non-roster invitees up to 16. White was the Tribe's first-round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. He was the 15th player taken overall. This will be his first exposure to the big league coaching staff and will mark the beginning of his first professional season, though he did participate in the Arizona Fall Instructional League shortly after he signed for a $2.25 million bonus. It remains to be seen where the 21-year-old White will land, but it's expected that he'll begin 2010 in a starting role, perhaps at Class A Kinston. White went 8-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 16 starts as a junior at the University of North Carolina last year. Chisenhall, 21, is another No. 1 first-round pick who will be getting his first look at big league camp. The 29th overall pick in the 2008 Draft, Chisenhall split last season between Kinston and Double-A Akron, batting a combined .258 with 31 doubles, 22 homers and 92 RBIs in 123 games. He hit .467 in the Eastern League playoffs for the Aeros, who won the EL crown. The Indians drafted Chisenhall as a shortstop, but he's made the transition to third base. He ranked second among the organization's hitters in home runs and third in RBIs last year. While White and Chisenhall aren't currently projected to reach the bigs this season, Herrmann and Pino might have a shot, as both figure to begin the season at Triple-A Columbus. Though not expected to be in the mix for an Opening Day job, Herrmann, 25, could eventually emerge as a relief option for the Tribe this season. He converted to bullpen work last year and was a combined 4-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 49 appearances, including five starts, between Akron and Columbus. He had a 2.53 ERA over his final 35 appearances, walking 11 and striking out 41 in 57 innings. Pino, 26, was an intriguing addition to the organization as the player to be named in the trade that sent Carl Pavano to the Twins. For the '09 season, he was a combined 9-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 42 games, including 14 starts, between three stops in the Twins' and Indians' farm systems. He was 4-2 with a 2.49 ERA in 10 starts at the Triple-A level and was 3-3 with a 3.65 ERA in 14 games in the Venezuelan Winter League after the season. Pino, who went unclaimed in the Rule 5 Draft, will likely be in the Columbus rotation at the outset of 2010. The 23-year-old Mills, a first baseman, was the Tribe's first-round pick in the 2007 Draft, and this will be his third big league camp. He spent 2009 at Akron, where he hit .267 with 33 doubles, 14 homers and 83 RBIs. He played fall ball in the Arizona Parallel League after the season. Romero, 24, was a September callup to the Tribe last year, but he was removed from the 40-man after the season. He batted .252 with 27 RBIs in 81 games with Columbus last year, while seeing time at all four infield positions. Espino, 26, was signed by the Tribe as a Minor League free agent before the '09 season. He split the year between Akron and Columbus. He batted .261 with 10 doubles, two homers and 14 RBIs in 49 games for the Clippers.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.