06/20/11 7:40 PM ET
Fields to work with Tribe hitters individually
Club hopes new hitting coach will cut down on strikeouts
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
Bruce Fields, previously the organization's Minor League hitting coordinator, joined the team Monday to take over as hitting coach for Jon Nunnally, who was informed of his dismissal Saturday afternoon.
Fields, who said he was surprised by the move, was in Akron working with the Indians' Double-A affiliate hitters.
He said he will take an individual approach to coaching, focusing on each batter rather than what the team can do as a whole.
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"I'm not a guy that says everyone has to do it one way," Fields said. "I try to go individual-based, look at the individual and what I believe he needs and base what we do off of that. You can't cookie-cut hitters. All hitters are different."
Entering Monday's game, the Indians had the third-most strikeouts in the Majors. Manager Manny Acta targeted that as an area he'd like to see improve under Fields.
"Cutting down on the strikeouts will help us a bit," Acta said, "and having guys be prepared and make adjustments from series to series and be able to use the whole field."
To reduce the team's strikeout rate, Fields plans to work with hitters on pitch selection and batting with two strikes.
"With two strikes, we're going to have to battle," Fields said. "Before we get to two strikes, we need to be a little more wary about pitch selection. We can't hit everything. We need to really focus on the pitches we can handle."
O. Cabrera plays third base for first time
CLEVELAND -- Orlando Cabrera had appeared in 1,918 games over 15 seasons, but had never manned the hot corner until Monday.
Manager Manny Acta penciled in the Indians infielder at third base for the opening contest of the team's three-game Interleague series with the Rockies.
"He's been getting his work in over there," Acta said. "It gives us some flexibility. We want to see how he can handle that."
Cabrera wasn't sure what to expect, other than atom balls whizzing off the bats of opposing hitters.
"I'm expecting a lot of hard ground balls," Cabrera said, though he joked he wasn't sure if he would need body armor.
Acta said the idea for Cabrera to try his hand at third came about in Spring Training, and the veteran was open to it.
"I'm available for anything they want," Cabrera said. "It'll be a good challenge."
LaPorta's injury not as bad as first feared
CLEVELAND -- When Matt LaPorta fell to the ground during a rundown in Friday's 5-1 win over the Pirates, he feared the worst.
The Indians first baseman said he thought the extent of the injury was worse than what it turned out to be: a mild high ankle sprain.
"I thought I tore a ligament or had broken an ankle or something, but obviously I didn't," LaPorta said.
Instead, LaPorta -- placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday -- said he expects to miss two to three weeks.
He found himself in the rundown when trying to advance to third base on a grounder to shortstop. Tribe manager Manny Acta wasn't fond of LaPorta's aggressiveness in that situation, though the first baseman said he didn't regret attempting to advance.
"He knows not to," Acta said. "It's something that guys have heard in the Minor Leagues and Little League and everywhere. But sometimes it apparently kicks in, and they think they can do it."
After second baseman Cord Phelps hit a walk-off home run Sunday to beat the Pirates, the Indians retrieved the baseball for the rookie to keep.
Southpaw David Huff, pitching at Triple-A Columbus, was named International League Pitcher of the Week for June 13-19 after going 2-0 with an 0.64 ERA in two starts spanning 14 innings.
Catcher Jake Lowery, the Indians' fourth-round Draft pick who signed with the organization on Friday, went 4-for-10 with four RBIs in his first three games for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, a short-season Class A affiliate.
Zack Meisel is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.