Acta pleased with spring record
Manager thinks solid mark is a sign of things to come
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The games don't count, but they still count for something, in manager Manny Acta's mind.Acta takes a certain pride in the 16-7-2 record the Indians took into Tuesday night's game at Surprise Stadium against the Royals. And he thinks it's something fans should pay attention to. "They should be excited," Acta said. "Isn't it better to be 16-7 than 7-16? There's got to be a reason why we're 16-7. These guys are playing well and working on what we want them to work on." A year ago, under Eric Wedge, the Indians entered Spring Training with loftier expectations for the season ahead than they have now, but they faltered in Cactus League play. The Tribe limped out of Arizona with an 11-19 record, and that proved to be an ominous sign of things to come. What encourages Acta is the fact that the Indians won games early in camp with lineups that relied heavily on young prospects, and they're winning games late, with the regulars playing more frequently. "If our record was horrible, everybody would be saying horrible things about us," Acta said. "When you win and play good, it's good for the soul and it's good for the confidence of the young kids."
Choo negotiations at an impasse
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Indians have made attempts to lock up right fielder Shin-Soo Choo with a long-term contract, but negotiations don't seem to be going anywhere.Choo, who latched on with agent Scott Boras last month, is entering his final pre-arbitration season. He made $420,300 last season, and his contract for 2010 was renewed with a minimal raise. But that won't be the case in '11, when arbitration will cause Choo's value to increase considerably. The Indians, under general manager Mark Shapiro, have developed a reputation for locking up their pre-arbitration core players before their values escalate. The most prominent example came in 2006, when they signed center fielder Grady Sizemore to a six-year, $23.45 million deal with a club option for '12. It was, at the time, the largest contract given to a player with less than two years of Major League service time. What the Indians would ideally like to do with Choo, who was the only American League player to hit .300 with 20 homers and 20 steals last season, is sign the South Korean slugger to a five-year deal with a team option for a sixth. That way, they would buy out at least one and possibly two of his free-agent years, in addition to providing a clear picture of what Choo will haul in through his three arbitration years. To date, neither Boras nor Choo have shown much interest in going that route. And with the season set to begin in less than a week, it appears the Spring Training juncture the Indians -- who don't comment publicly on contractual matters -- have used to negotiate with their core players in the past, won't lead to anything with the 27-year-old Choo. "It's up to Boras and the Indians to figure that out," Choo said Tuesday. "That's not my job. My job is to worry about the team." Boras declined to comment on the contract discussions. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is also arbitration-eligible at season's end and also fits the mold of the type of core player the Indians have shown interest in locking up long-term in the past. It is unclear whether the Indians have made an attempt to sign Cabrera, who is represented by Alan Nero, to a long term deal.
LaPorta tweets in search of tunes
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Some people use Twitter to inform the world what they had for lunch, others use it to solicit practical advice.Indians first baseman Matt LaPorta has turned to his Twitter followers for the latter, as he is seeking suggestions for his 2010 at-bat music through the popular social media forum. "If I really like something they suggest, I'll use it," LaPorta said. "It can be anything, as long as it sounds good and it's appropriate, obviously." LaPorta, who often uses his Twitter account (@Gator4God) to quote Bible passages, came out to the song "God in the City" by Christian musician Lincoln Brewster. It's safe to assume LaPorta, who batted .254 with seven homers and 21 RBIs in 52 games in his rookie season last year, is looking for something along those lines.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.