03/29/12 6:45 PM ET
Sizemore shifting rehab to Cleveland
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
Indians general manager Chris Antonetti noted on Thursday that Sizemore has shifted his rehab to Cleveland, where he will continue to work closely with Jim Mehalik, the team's physical therapy consultant.
"Jim's been integral in his care and his rehab throughout," Antonetti said. "We wanted to have the continuity in care and a continuity in the rehab. When Jim transitioned to Cleveland, it made sense to have Grady go there as well."
Sizemore, who underwent micro discectomy surgery on his lower back on March 1, has not progressed to baseball activities yet. Antonetti indicated, however, that the center fielder was on pace with the team's expectations for his rehab.
"He's on track at this point," Antonetti said. "I think we'll get a better sense of the time frame [for rejoining the Indians] once he begins to initiate baseball activities."
Reliever Asencio acquired from Braves
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With Opening Day looming a week away, the Indians continue to look for solutions for their Spring Training competitions.
On Thursday, Cleveland acquired right-hander Jairo Asencio from the Braves in exchange for cash, throwing another arm into the mix for one of two available bullpen jobs. The Indians designated reliever Henricus van den Hurk for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Asencio, who is expected to arrive in Goodyear, Ariz., within the next few days.
"It's a guy that our scouts have liked for quite a while," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "He's got a good fastball, a good slider, a track record of pitching late in games in the Minor Leagues and some good strikeout rates as well. He's had a history of missing bats.
"He'll come in and try to win one of those last spots in the 'pen."
This spring, the 27-year-old Asencio struck out 12 batters in 11 Grapefruit League innings, posting a 3.27 ERA across 10 appearances. He is out of options, meaning he would need to clear waivers if the Indians decide they want assign him to a Minor League affiliate.
As things stand, the only virtual locks for bullpen jobs are closer Chris Perez, setup men Vinnie Pestano and Tony Sipp, sidearmer Joe Smith and lefty Rafael Perez. Cleveland's other bullpen candidates include Frank Herrmann, Nick Hagadone, Dan Wheeler, Jeremy Accardo, Chris Ray and Robinson Tejeda.
Asencio spent the bulk of last season with Triple-A Gwinnett, going 3-2 with a 1.81 ERA and 26 saves in 47 games. He amassed 70 strikeouts against 22 walks over 54 2/3 innings. In the process, Asencio limited International League hitters to a .196 average.
In two brief stints in the Majors with Atlanta in 2009 and 2011, Asencio posted a 6.23 ERA in nine games. This past offseason, Asencio had a 1.07 ERA and 10 saves for Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League before capturing the Caribbean Series Most Valuable Player honor by saving three games.
Asencio has led the International League in saves twice (2009 and '11) and has gone 42-44 with a 3.68 ERA in 303 career Minor League games between tours in the Pirates and Braves organizations. The right-hander -- formerly known as Luis Valdez -- missed the entire 2010 campaign due to visa problems.
"We're obviously aware of it," Antonetti said of Asencio's past visa issues. "We've certainly done our due diligence. He cleared all immigration obstacles of getting over to the United States, so we view those issues to be in the past and don't anticipate him having any problems moving forward."
Acta not alarmed by offense's struggles
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians are not sounding any alarms yet over their poor offensive showing this spring. As far as manager Manny Acta is concerned, he simply wants to see the lineup begin clicking on Opening Day.
"That'd be a good time," Acta said. "As long as our guys are healthy when we leave camp, I'm not saying we're going to be the '27 Yankees, but I think we're going to be OK offensively."
Cleveland's offense -- an issue over the past few years -- has labored throughout its Cactus League schedule. Entering Thursday's split-squad contests with the Rockies and D-backs, the Indians were hitting just .239, which ranked 13th in the American League.
Through 26 games, the Tribe had scored three runs or fewer 14 times, two runs or fewer 11 times and one run or fewer five times, including two shutouts.
"We haven't scored runs," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "With individual guys, we've seen some quality at-bats. In some cases, guys haven't had a lot to show for it despite having some good at-bats. Hopefully, over the next few days, we're able to string some of those at-bats together as we run our regular lineup out there more frequently."
It is worth noting that lineup regulars such as center fielder Michael Brantley (hitting .296, entering Thursday), designated hitter Travis Hafner (.300), first baseman Casey Kotchman (.310) and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo (.271) have had decent spring showings. And, if the starting nine stays healthy, Antonetti believes they can hold their own this year.
"I still think this team has the potential to score enough runs," Antonetti said. "When you look around the diamond, there are a lot of guys that have either a track record of Major League success, or the potential to be very good Major League hitters.
"While it hasn't always necessarily been evident here in Spring Training, we still have that belief that once the season starts, they'll be productive if healthy."
Huff strains right hamstring, leaves game
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- David Huff's chances of winning the No. 5 spot in the Indians rotation took a hit Thursday when the left-hander was injured one batter into his start against the D-backs.
Willie Bloomquist hit a chopper back up the middle that Huff deflected with his glove. The ball bounced toward first base and Huff ran over and tried to flip the ball to first with his glove.
The flip sailed over first baseman Casey Kotchman's head and bounced into the dugout.
Huff suffered a strained right hamstring and was removed from the game.
After being tended to in the dugout, Huff limped to a motorized cart and was taken off the field to the Indians' clubhouse.
No details on the injury were immediately available.
Huff was battling Jenmar Gomez and Kevin Slowey for the final open spot in the Cleveland rotation.
-- Steve Gilbert>
Quote to note
"The results of Spring Training are not necessarily indicative of results during the season. What I'm mostly focused on is guys being healthy and their process in being prepared for the start of the season." --Indians general manager Chris Antonetti, on the offense
Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said on Thursday that there is nothing new to report on pitcher Roberto Hernandez, who remains on baseball's restricted list while dealing with visa problems. Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona) continues to work out at the club's academy in the Dominican Republic while trying to obtain a new working visa from the United States. "It remains out of our hands," Antonetti said.
Antonetti praised the spring showing of young left-hander Nick Hagadone, who is in the mix for a bullpen job. Through eight appearances, Hagadone had a 2.00 ERA over nine innings. "Nick's done a good job," Antonetti said. "Of the relievers in camp, he's one of the guys that has probably pitched the best."
The following players were released from the Indians' Minor League camp on Thursday: outfielder Henry Dunn, catcher Moises Montero, right-hander Nate Striz and right-hander Tony Dischler.