02/27/12 7:47 PM EST
Acta reveals much of his planned batting order
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
"Like you guys don't know what the order will be," Acta said with a laugh. "You're just waiting for me to say it."
As things currently stand, Acta said the projected lineup would include outfielder Michael Brantley in the leadoff spot, followed by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, catcher Carlos Santana, designated hitter Travis Hafner, first baseman Casey Kotchman and second baseman Jason Kipnis.
Two of Cleveland's starting roles -- third base and one outfield spot -- remain up in the air. Lonnie Chisenhall and Jack Hannahan are competing for the starting third base role, while a long list of players are vying for the outfield job in the wake of the news that center fielder Grady Sizemore (lower back strain) will not be ready in time for Opening Day.
Pestano hopes Perez recovers quickly
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Vinnie Pestano wants to eventually be a closer in the big leagues. That has always been the goal for the Indians reliever, but it is not one he wants to achieve just yet.
Pestano wants Chris Perez healthy and holding down the ninth inning for the Tribe.
"It's something I'm familiar with," Pestano said on Monday morning at Cleveland's spring complex. "It's something I want to do when the time comes. When that time comes, I feel I'll be well-suited for it. But, there's no hurry to be in that role."
Perez is currently sidelined with a strained left oblique -- an injury that might need a recovery period of four to six weeks. The Indians are hopeful that Perez will still be ready for Opening Day, but there are no guarantees. If the closer's injury lingers, manager Manny Acta said he would turn to Pestano as the temporary stopper.
Last season, during a solid rookie campaign that saw him claim the right-handed setup job, the 27-year-old Pestano posted a 2.32 ERA over 67 appearances for the Tribe. In 62 innings of work, he piled up 84 strikeouts against 24 walks, while limiting hitters to a .184 batting average.
Pestano worked as a closer throughout his Minor League career, and also at times during his time with Cal State Fullerton. Ever since he first got a taste of slamming the door in the ninth inning, Pestano began having aspirations of doing the same at some point in the Major Leagues.
"It's something I've been working forever, since I started closing in college," Pestano said. "The goal wasn't just to get to the big leagues -- it was to close games up here. Last year was a great stepping stone. I think setting up up here is a great way to actually prepare for doing that."
Pestano reiterated, however, that the best situation right now for the Indians is to have Perez at full strength and working the ninth.
"We're getting a little ahead of ourselves," Pestano said. "You've got to think about the human factor in all of this. C.P. is a very strong-willed person, and I wouldn't bet against him for being ready Opening Day.
"Hopefully, C.P. is healthy, and we get our bullpen order and we all get back to our same roles, because as people point out, when we're used in the roles that we're prepared for, we're a very, very dynamic unit.
"Having C.P. in the ninth is the best situation for our ballclub right now."
Canzler hopes to conclude ascent to Majors
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Russ Canzler did not need to decipher the writing on the wall. Tampa Bay made it clear to him in late January that it was going to do all it could to find him a new opportunity with a different team.
That chance has come courtesy of Cleveland, which acquired the first baseman in exchange for cash on Jan. 31. As soon as Canzler learned his landing spot, he examined the roster and saw a great opportunity for a fresh start.
"I think there's a very strong core of guys returning this year that can compete," Canzler said on Monday. "I feel like my situation especially, I feel like I'm coming in as a right-handed guy that can play multiple positions. That's something that this lineup needs is a right-handed hitter.
"I'm just looking forward to that opportunity to prove that I can be that guy that can be that right-handed bat."
As things stand right now, the Indians project to have at least six left-handed hitters with a pair of switch hitters in the starting lineup. Under the circumstances, having a couple of right-handed options off the bench will be important for the Indians. Canzler provides options for first and third base, left and right field, and designated hitter.
Last season, the 25-year-old Canzler hit .314 with 18 home runs, 40 doubles and 83 RBIs in 131 games for Triple-A Durham, earning International League Most Valuable Player honors as a result. The Rays called him up to the big leagues in September, and he went 1-for-3 in limited action down the stretch.
After eight years spent in the Minor Leagues, Canzler believes he is ready to test his game as a regular contributor on the big league stage.
"I know what I'm capable of," Canzler said. "I set a high bar for myself and I know -- just from experience in the last couple of years -- I know that I've progressively taken steps in my development as a player. I feel like I'm ready to take on that challenge of the Major Leagues.
"I think I showed last year in Triple-A that I'm definitely ready for the Major League level. Hopefully I can do that here in Spring Training."
Indians manager Manny Acta is also interested to see what Canzler does this spring.
"He's swung the bat well since he's been here in the early workouts," Acta said. "There's only so much you can see in batting practice, but obviously the last two years he has put up some good numbers in the Minor Leagues. He'll have plenty of opportunities in camp for us to look at him."
"We're intrigued by his bat. It's a quality right-handed bat according to our reports, and what he was able to do last year in Triple-A."
Marson helps Tribe relievers slow things down
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Given the high intensity level at which relievers typically operate, it can be hard for the pitchers to slow themselves down during a routine bullpen session in the early stages of Spring Training.
That was the case for Indians closer Chris Perez, who has a strained left oblique thanks to a max-effort approach during his first mound workout of the spring. Cleveland setup man Vinnie Pestano said it is a common problem faced by relief pitchers each preseason.
"I'm a guy that likes to work fast," Pestano said. "It's tough every now and then to pump the breaks, look up in the sky and check out the planes on the airfield behind the catchers just to go easy. Your adrenaline takes over a little.
"It happens every year to guys. Every year I can count three or four guys who hop on the mound for the first time and something happens. It's just one of those freak things."
Pestano noted that Indians backup catcher Lou Marson does a good job of helping pitchers maintain a conservative pace when necessary.
"Lou helped me out with that in my second bullpen session," Pestano explained. "There were times when I toed the rubber and went to throw a pitch and Lou was standing up looking off. He was helping me with my pace."
Marson said that approach is indeed intentional on his part.
"It has nothing to do with his effort level," Marson said. "It's just kind of the pace of his bullpen session. Especially with a lot of these relievers, 12 minutes is a long time for them to throw their side sessions, but they definitely need it.
"If they throw a bad pitch, I just kind of take a little more time between pitches, especially this early. You just concentrate on making good quality pitches. However hard they throw, that's up to them.
"You try to help them take a deep breath between pitches sometimes, especially with some of the young guys. They can get going too quick."
Minor League pitcher Austin Adams, who is in camp this spring as a non-roster invitee, has been shut down due to soreness in his right shoulder. Adams will be re-evaluated in a few days, before possibly resuming a throwing program.
Starter Carlos Carrasco has built up to throwing from a distance of 60 feet in his return from right elbow surgery. Carrasco, who is expected to miss the 2012 season, underwent a Tommy John elbow ligament replacement procedure on Sept. 21.
Right fielder Shin-Soo Choo keeps the bats inside his equipment bag wrapped in white cloth sleeves. Choo said he likes to keep the bats he uses on a daily basis as clean as possible.
As part of the Cleveland Indians Charities' donation program, Indians players and staff will be signing an estimated 4,000 autographs on Tuesday morning. Among the items they will be signing will be bats, baseballs, photos and jerseys.
Quote to note
"It's one of those things that becomes something big if you make something big out of it. I don't think there's any more pressure facing three-four-five in the eighth in a one-run than there is facing three-four-five in the ninth in a one-run game. You're still trying to go out there and get three outs." -- Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano, on closing