02/23/11 7:36 PM ET
Lofton arrives in Goodyear as guest coach
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
The former outfielder is hoping that his appearance -- and reputation -- will work in his favor with the young players on Cleveland's roster during his stint as a guest coach this week.
"I think my name in the Indians organization is still fresh in their minds, so that helps," Lofton, 43, said. "I had success in the game, and hopefully they can look at that and say, 'Hey, maybe this guy does have something I need to know.'"
2010 Spring Training - Cleveland Indians
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"I run and stole bases and I played outfield and bunted, so that's what my specialty was. So I'm going to do what I can do to add to what they are doing," said Lofton, who owns and operates a film and television production company in Los Angeles. "I'm not trying to change a guy or make him do something different, or make them think they are doing something wrong, but just give them a little edge on certain areas they might need."
The Indians could improve on the basepaths. Led by Shin-Soo Choo's 22 stolen bases, the Indians stole 91 bases and ranked ninth in the American League last season. By contrast, Lofton set a single-season club record with 75 stolen bases in 1996.
"The main thing is to be aggressive," Lofton said. "You can't be timid out there. If you go out there and you get caught stealing, 'Hey, go again. Oh, well.' If you fall off the horse, you have to get on it again. I think a lot of guys get intimidated by getting picked off or caught stealing."
Lofton's excitement is evident. Before he even stepped on the field for his first workout, he talked about returning to Indians camp for another week of coaching at the end of Spring Training. He's especially eager to speak to speedy outfielder Michael Brantley, but said that he'll be happy to talk to any young player willing to listen.
"Each individual has their thing they need to work on and has their specialties, and I think a lot of these guys want to do so much more," Lofton said. "What I mean is that if you have two good tools, concentrate on those and don't try to be a five-tool player when you aren't. You can work on it but you make your main focus on being a base-stealer or home run hitter or slasher, if that is what you do."
Lofton speaks from experience. In 1995, Lofton's Indians won 100 games and made it to the World Series because of teamwork, he said. The Braves topped the Indians, four games to two, in that year's Fall Classic. But it's a season Lofton will never forget.
"Everyone had certain things they did and everyone stuck to the plan," Lofton said. "If these guys stick to the plan of what they do well, this team will be alright."
Lofton already knows this year's club is in good hands. He and Indians manager Manny Acta were teammates in Class A in 1990.
"[Acta] understood the game and he was smart, he just couldn't hit," Lofton said with a smile. "We had a barrier because of language, but we made it work because he was all about baseball. Now, he's managing and it's a good fit for him."
Santana will see some time at first base
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Get used to seeing Indians catcher Carlos Santana in the lineup.
The club likes the catcher's offensive skills so much that it plans on using him at first base in addition to his normal role behind the plate when Cactus League play begins. Santana could also see action at designated hitter when the regular season starts.
"Before I caught, I played third base and the outfield," Santana said. "I consider myself an athlete and I can play anywhere the manager wants me to play. I don't think there's that big of a difference between third base and first base, so I know I can handle it. I just want to play."
Santana added that his surgically-repaired left knee is fine.
"Things are great so far," he said. "I'm here working and learning what I have to do. I'm looking forward to the season."
Acta active in offseason with foundation
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The first Spring Training game is still days away and the first regular season game is not until April, but it's already been a busy year for Indians manager Manny Acta.
Acta's foundation, The ImpACTA Kids Foundation, recently built two baseball fields in his hometown of Consuelo, San Pedro de Macoris, in the Dominican Republic. He named the fields after Sammy Sosa and Rico Carty, who are also from the town. A third field, to be named after Julio Franco, is also in the works. Earlier this month, Acta's foundation opened a multi-use facility on the same complex and named it after San Pedro de Macoris baseball hero Alfredo Griffin.
The facility will feature classrooms, a public library and a computer room. Acta would eventually like the facility to house youth league teams.
"We are really proud and happy of the work we have done down there," Acta said. "It's a dream that I have and we are halfway to it."
Two weeks ago, Acta partnered with Save the Children, an organization which helps children in need across the world. The ImpACTA Kids Foundation has also planned a celebrity charity bowling tournament for the All-Star break.
"I have to thank the Cleveland Indians organization for being apart of it," Acta said. "The ImpACTA Kid Foundation is making an impact. We are very happy and we are going to continue to do that in Cleveland and where we are needed."
Indians have four on Top 100 Prospects list
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians are excited about their future prospects, and it appears that Baseball America is, too.
The Indians are one of 10 teams in baseball to have at least four prospects on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list. MLB.com released its Top 50 Prospects list in January.
Infielder Lonnie Chisenhall was ranked 25th on the list (No. 36 by MLB.com), while right-handed pitcher Alex White was ranked 47th. Infielder Jason Kipnis and left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz were ranked 54th and 61st, respectively.
"There is no doubt that drafting and developing our own players is what is going to get us to the top," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That's the goal. You also try to make sure you don't make decisions on newspaper rankings or scouting rankings or anything like that. We really trust the people who deal with them on an everyday basis."
Chisenhall, who was rated as baseball's 36th-best prospect, and second among third-base prospects in MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects list, hit .278 with 17 home runs and 84 RBIs in Double-A last season. White combined to go 10-10 with a 2.45 ERA and Kipnis hit .307 with 16 home runs and 74 RBIs in 2010 at Class A and Double-A last season.
Pomeranz is entering his first professional season.
Around the Horn
The Indians have scheduled a four-inning intrasquad game for Thursday morning at 10:45 (MT) at Goodyear Ballpark. Jeanmar Gomez is scheduled to start against Justin Masterson. David Huff, Joe Smith, Kelvin De La Cruz, Nick Hagadone and Doug Mathis are also scheduled to pitch. Carlos Carrasco and Mitch Talbot are scheduled to start Friday's seven-inning intrasquad on Field 1 at 1 p.m. (MT). Zach McAllister, Aaron Laffey, Joe Martinez, Frank Herrmann, Josh Judy, Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp, Jess Todd, Vinnie Pestano, Yohan Pino and Bryce Stowell are also scheduled to pitch.