SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Indians pitching prospect Austin Adams had hoped for more in his first taste of Spring Training with the big league team, but an unfortunate right shoulder injury hindered his experience.
As Adams prepared to head back to Minor League camp, the pitcher was doing what he could to focus on the positives.
"It's been a good experience," Adams said. "I haven't been able to throw any innings or anything. I threw a few bullpens and got shut down. A minor injury came up and I'm waiting to find out more about that. But it's been a good experience just being around the guys and the coaches."
Cleveland announced on Sunday that Adams, reliever Tyler Sturdevant and catcher Chun-Hsiu Chen would all be officially re-assigned to Minor League Camp come Monday, trimming the Tribe's roster to 59 players. All three players suffered injuries that cost them a chance to do much in front of the Major League staff.
Adams, who has stopped throwing again after recently working his way back on a mound, underwent an MRI exam on Saturday to further evaluate the extent of his shoulder issue. Sturdevant has also been dealing with a right shoulder injury, though manager Manny Acta said he was expected to be ready ahead of Adams.
"Sturdevant and Adams were kids that we were looking forward to seeing out there," Acta said. "Unfortunately, they got hurt. ... It's better for them to just go to the other side and get ready for their season."
Adams, 25, went 11-10 with a 3.77 ERA in 26 starts last season for Double-A Akron, compiling 131 strikeouts against 63 walks over 136 innings. Adams -- a fifth-round pick by the Tribe in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft -- projected to open this season as roughly the ninth or 10th starter on Cleveland's rotation depth chart.
The 26-year-old Sturdevant enjoyed a steady climb up the organizational ladder in 2011, advancing from Class A Kinston to Double-A Akron before ending the year with Triple-A Columbus. In all, the righty went 7-3 with a 2.65 ERA in 42 games. Sturdevant struck out 82 and walked 19 across 74 2/3 innings.
"We feel that he might be able to contribute this year if he doesn't take a step back," Acta said.
Chen, 23, rolled his right ankle during a recent workout and is considered day to day with a sprain. Last season, the catcher hit .262 with 16 home runs, 24 doubles and 70 RBIs in 113 games with Double-A Akron.
Their time in big league camp was brief, but it was nonetheless valuable.
"It was very good just being on a first-name basis with them," Adams said of the big league coaches. "I got to know all the pitchers more, and just being in the clubhouse with all the guys, it made for a more relaxed atmosphere around everybody."
LaPorta takes injured Kotchman's place
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- This early in Spring Training, the Indians would rather take a conservative approach when it comes to aches and pains.
First baseman Casey Kotchman arrived to camp on Sunday with some tightness in his lower back, prompting Cleveland to pull him from the starting lineup for the Tribe's Cactus League game against the Angels in Tempe, Ariz. Kotchman is considered day to day with the injury.
"He just showed up today with a little bit of a sore back," Indians manager Many Acta said on Sunday morning. "This is the right time to be cautious with those little injuries."
Kotchman, 29, was signed to a one-year contract over the offseason to serve as the Indians' starting first baseman this season. His signing has put Matt LaPorta's status with Cleveland in limbo for the time being. LaPorta is trying to win a job with the Indians, but he is likely ticketed for Triple-A Columbus.
On Sunday, LaPorta replaced Kotchman in the lineup against the Angels, heading into the afternoon stuck in an 0-for-10 dry spell that included five strikeouts through six Cactus League contests. In Kotchman's place, LaPorta broke out of his slump and went 2-for-4 in the batter's box for Cleveland.
Acta said LaPorta's offensive progress is coming along slowly so far this spring.
"He's working on different stuff," Acta said. "It's tough to work on stuff when you're not going to be out there every single day in Spring Training. It has taken him a while to put it in play outside of practice. It must be hard for him, because he knows that he's trying to make the club and production is probably going to help him.
"He's got to keep pushing, because when you make adjustments, you don't see the results overnight."
Pie exits Tribe game after slamming into wall
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Indians outfielder Felix Pie exited Sunday's 6-1 Cactus League loss to the Rangers in the eighth inning after running hard into the center-field wall at Surprise Stadium.
With two outs, Texas' Luis Hernandez drilled a pitch from Cleveland right-hander Frank Herrmann to deep center field. Pie attempted to track down the fly ball, but crashed into the padded wall before falling to the ground. After a few minutes on the field with team trainers, Pie walked off the field.
"He was just dizzy," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "The trainers decided to take him out of the game. They checked him back there. There's nothing wrong, at least with the tests they gave him. But he was a little dizzy, and we didn't want to take a chance."
The Tribe signed Pie to a Minor League contract over the winter and brought him to camp as a non-roster invitee. The Indians have two outfield roles available -- one starting job and one bench job -- and Pie is among a handful of players being considered.
Pie, 27, spent last season between the Majors and Triple-A in the Orioles' system. In 85 games for Baltimore last season, the left-handed-hitting outfielder hit .220 with no home runs, eight doubles and seven RBIs.
The Indians had two of their four candidates for the fifth-starting role take the mound on Sunday in a pair of split-squad contests. Righty Kevin Slowey allowed two runs on five hits in three innings against the Rangers, while lefty David Huff gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits in three frames against the Angels. Jeanmar Gomez and Zach McAllister are also competing for the fifth rotation spot.
Indians manager Manny Acta indicated that lefty reliever Rafael Perez (shoulder soreness) is progressing well in his throwing program. Acta said Perez looked and felt good in his latest bullpen session, adding that the pitcher will likely face hitters in a simulated setting within the next few days.
The Indians have scheduled an official "B" game against the Cubs for 1 p.m. ET on March 19 at Cleveland's player development complex in Goodyear, Ariz. The game does not count toward Cactus League play and is free for the public to attend.
Quote to note:
"In Triple-A, we had a really solid group of guys. We had a nickname down there kind of like the 'Bullpen Mafia.' We called ourselves the 'Columbus Cartel.' It's always fun to have that. When you have a nickname, it becomes that symbol to yourself that it's about the 'Bullpen Mafia.' It's not about any individual." --Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano, on the bullpen's nickname