GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It was a bittersweet Monday morning for Cleveland reliever Frank Herrmann.Like many of his teammates -- and plenty more around Ohio -- the right-hander was thrilled to see the state so well represented in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16. It's just a shame it came at the expense of his bracket. Herrmann, the Indians' representative in MLB.com's Big League Bracket Challenge this month, blamed some faulty advice for picking Missouri to win it all (the second-seeded Tigers were shocked in the first round by 15th-seeded Norfolk State). "I've been taking some heat in the clubhouse for that," Herrmann said. "I took a shot with Mizzou. I felt like they could make a run and you want to differentiate yourself in these things a little bit. They were coming off a good Big 12 win. I just thought they were the team to go with. I leaned on some people who I thought were in the know, and it just didn't work out." Nine of Herrmann's Sweet 16 picks remain in the tournament -- including North Carolina State, his boldest pick in the bracket that came to fruition. "That's what's painful sometimes, when your champ's out in the first round and you make some good under-the-radar picks," Herrmann said. "No one really cares about those." It's the first time in NCAA Tournament history that four teams from the same state -- Ohio University, Cincinnati, Ohio State and Xavier -- have advanced to the Sweet 16, leaving the victory-starved fans in Cleveland with a little something more to cheer about this week. "I've lived in Ohio most of the last seven years of my life, whether it be Lake County, Akron, Columbus or Cleveland, so I've been around this state," Herrmann said. "It's definitely exciting. I just hope it doesn't take away from fans coming down here to come to our games. But it's crazy."
Brantley nursing tightness in hamstring
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians center fielder Michael Brantley left in the second inning of Cleveland's game Monday afternoon against the Dodgers with tightness in his right hamstring.Manager Manny Acta said it was a precautionary move. The Indians are off on Tuesday, which will allow Brantley to rest. "The trainer's probably going to reevaluate him tomorrow," Acta said after the Tribe's 4-3 win. "They feel it's nothing serious, but the day off helps, definitely." Acta said Brantley's hamstring tightened up when he led off the bottom of the first inning and grounded out to second base. He played the first two innings in center field before Ryan Spilborghs replaced him. "[Felix Pie], Spilborghs and [Aaron Cunningham] -- we need to give them a look in center anyways," Acta said. "Some better than other ones, but they can play center." Brantley, 24, was already filling in for Grady Sizemore, Cleveland's regular leadoff hitter and center fielder who has been bothered by injuries over the last two years and is set to begin this season on the disabled list. Brantley filled in for Sizemore last season before right wrist and hand issues put him out of action in mid-August. Brantley is hitting .280 with three runs and four RBIs in nine Cactus League games this spring.
Tribe acquires Stoneburner from Texas
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians announced Monday that the club had acquired infielder Davis Stoneburner from the Rangers, thus completing the Feb. 21 trade that sent left-hander Kelvin De La Cruz to Texas.
De La Cruz was reacquired by the Indians on March 15.
Stoneburner, 27, was a Rangers' ninth-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of James Madison and has made the climb from the Class A California League to the Double-A Texas League in the last two seasons. He spent the 2011 campaign with Double-A Frisco, where he hit .269 with nine homers, 47 RBIs and 64 runs in 116 games.
Stoneburner -- a career .273 hitter -- will report to Goodyear and be be assigned to Minor League camp.
Lowe's quick work a benefit to fielders
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians veteran Derek Lowe says he always likes to work quickly on the mound, to help keep his position players alert behind him. With brisk temperatures and gusting winds making for an unusually uncomfortable day in Goodyear on Monday morning, it was surely appreciated.Lowe threw the first five innings of Cleveland's "B" game against the visiting Cubs, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out two. "You need to throw 85 pitches, and I threw exactly 85," Lowe said after his outing. "Obviously, it's probably a little much for five innings. But I think it doesn't matter where you pitch or what time, you've got to take it seriously and go out there and do the work. You can't just go through the motions and use that as an excuse. You can't just go through the motions and use that as an excuse. You've got to go out there and try to get better every time out."
Lowe, entering his 16th big league season and first with the Indians, is pegged to fall into the third, fourth or fifth spot in Cleveland's rotation this season. He's made three Cactus League appearances (two starts), scattering four earned runs on seven hits over nine innings.None came under such chilly conditions as Monday, but Lowe said of his pace on the mound -- "sometimes I don't think I even breathe in between," he quipped -- could help him and the position players stay active on the diamond. "I do it for the position players, to be honest with you," Lowe said. "I've just watched the game over the years and listened to position players. When you want them to make plays, you don't want someone out there as the human rain delay. You want them to feel like every pitch there's gonna be action and not a lot of time between the pitch." Lowe has averaged at least 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings in four of his last five seasons, but he said he'll rely more on his fielders this season. With the way he works, he can keep them in the game. "My strikeouts are gonna be tough this year because I'm in the other league," Lowe said, referencing his last seven seasons in the National League. "I normally struck out the pitcher. This year, it's gonna be a little tougher for me."