2/13/2014 9:20 P.M. ET
Francona effusive in praise for Jeter
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Manager Terry Francona saw plenty of the Yankees' Derek Jeter during his days at the helm of the Red Sox. On Thursday, Francona had nothing but praise for the shortstop, who on Wednesday announced his plans to retire after this season.
Well, Francona did work in a quick jab before moving on to the superlatives.
"I wish he would have quit in '05," quipped Francona, who won the World Series with Boston in 2004. "No, you know what? If you're a baseball fan, he is the walking example of what's good in baseball. You respect him so much, and yet you want him to have as little to do with the outcome of a game if you're his opponent. That's probably the biggest compliment you can give him. He's going to find a way to beat you, whether it's on the bases, on defense or at the plate.
"And again, because I was in that division, I saw it too much. He ranks right up there with the most respected players. I'm glad he's walking away on his own terms. We'll probably get to see him seven times this year. I hope he goes 0-for-28 and we give him a nice plaque or something."
Francona said that during Boston's heated games with New York, Jeter always made a point to look toward him in the dugout before his first at-bat. And once Jeter began offering that sign of respect, Francona made sure to notice.
"Very few guys would I probably even pay attention," Francona said. "But with him, I have so much respect for how he did it. I saw him in the [Arizona] Fall League when he was 19, and I thought he was the same guy six, seven years, 10 years, 18 years later. And I mean that as a compliment."
Off-field issues in the past, Hagadone focuses on 'pen
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Left-hander Nick Hagadone has nothing other than competing for a spot in the Opening Day bullpen on his mind this spring. He can do that now that his off-field issues are firmly in the rearview mirror.
Earlier this offseason, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association found a resolution to the grievance Hagadone filed against the Indians during the 2012 season, and he was awarded big league service time and compensation for his stint on the Minor League disqualified list that year.
Hagadone broke his left forearm slamming a door following a July 6 outing against the Rays. Rather than place him on the disabled list, Cleveland optioned him to the Minors and put him on the disqualified list.
"We're very relieved to have it in the past," general manager Chris Antonetti said. "I think we continue to believe that Nick's going to be a big part of our bullpen and our team going forward. We can now put that issue behind us."
"I'm happy that it's not hanging over my head anymore," Hagadone said. "It's just over, and we can all move on and really just focus on baseball."
As camp opens, Hagadone is one of six lefties jockeying for position in the bullpen race. The top two lefties on the depth chart are Marc Rzepczynski and Josh Outman, but the Tribe will also look at Hagadone, Scott Barnes, Colt Hynes and Mike Zagurski.
"Zep did great for us, and we traded for Outman," manager Terry Francona said. "We'll try to get a handle on where we are with all of them. That's the goal of Spring Training. We're certainly not just going to make decisions on six, seven, eight, nine innings of Spring Training."
Last season the 28-year-old Hagadone recorded 30 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings and limited left-handed batters to a .211 average, but he ended with a 5.46 ERA and walked an average of six per nine innings. Over the winter he made some changes to his delivery -- widening his stance and increasing his tempo -- with the goal of improving his walk rate.
"It's just small adjustments that are going to help me be more athletic," Hagadone said, "and make my delivery more repeatable. It should make it easier for me to throw strikes. That's really what I need to do, just simplify things and go out and do it."
Two arbitration cases on horizon for Tribe
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians went more than two decades without going to an arbitration hearing. Come Friday, Cleveland will have gone to two in a span of eight days.
On Thursday, general manager Chris Antonetti said that the team had hoped to settle on a contract with pitcher Josh Tomlin, but the sides will take their respective cases to an arbitration panel on Friday in St. Petersburg, Fla. On Feb. 7 the Indians won their case against reliever Vinnie Pestano.
"Our clear preference is to always negotiate a settlement," Antonetti said, "and I think we have a very long track record of demonstrating that and trying to do it. But it has to be an equitable settlement, and one we think makes sense. In both Vinnie and Josh's case, we felt we made very earnest efforts to try and reach an agreement. Unfortunately, we weren't able to.
"So at this point the arbitrators can decide, and then we can move on. I think that's the most important thing -- we can get it behind us and move on. We've now done it with Vinnie. It's in the past. And as of Saturday it'll be in the past for Josh as well."
Tomlin, who appeared in only one Major League game last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, is seeking $975,000, whereas Cleveland has offered $800,000. The 29-year-old right-hander -- 23-19 with a 4.92 ERA in 60 career games with the Indians -- heads into camp as a candidate for the fifth rotation spot.
Pestano asked for $1.45 million but will earn $975,000.
The Indians also have a hearing scheduled for Feb. 20 with rotation leader Justin Masterson, who has requested a salary of $11.8 million. Cleveland has countered with $8.05 million and is hopeful an agreement can be reached before the two sides go before a panel.
"I'll always be optimistic," Antonetti said. "We're going to continue to negotiate with Justin. Again, our clear preference would be to negotiate an agreement. Hopefully, that's possible in his case. If it's not, there's a mechanism in place to resolve it."
Indians working to save Bob Feller Museum
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians are doing their part to keep the doors to the Bob Feller Museum open.
The museum, in the Hall of Fame pitcher's hometown of Van Meter, Iowa, has experienced financial troubles in the years since Feller's passing in December 2010. The Indians are working with the museum's board on potentially bringing some items to Cleveland.
"Bob Feller was the engine that powered the museum," said Bob DiBiasio, the Indians' senior vice president of public affairs. "Unfortunately, since his passing, the business model for the Bob Feller Museum has not been working. As we move forward, our primary objective is to foster Mr. Feller's legacy in the two places he called home -- Van Meter, Iowa, and Cleveland."
To help reduce costs, the museum has remained closed during the winter, but the plan is to reopen later this spring, around Opening Day. DiBiasio, who is also on the museum's board, confirmed that the facility has seen its membership dwindle, to roughly 100, over the past four years, after that number stood at around 400 in the past.
In 18 seasons with the Indians, Feller went 266-162 with a 3.25 ERA in 570 career contests, including 279 complete games. The eight-time All-Star was signed by the Indians in 1936, and made his big league debut that season at the age of 17.
Quote to note
"I'm willing to do whatever it takes. I want to win baseball games. That's the whole goal. I don't care what it has to take -- I want to win. With the strides that we took last year, we're in a great spot. We're moving forward in a fast direction. It's going to be fun and exciting. It's a good time to be a Cleveland Indians fan." -- left fielder Michael Brantley, who signed a four-year extension on Thursday
• Saturday will mark one year since the Indians inked center fielder Michael Bourn to a four-year, $48 million deal, and general manager Chris Antonetti was asked on Thursday if he might have a similar surprise up his sleeve this spring.
"We're continuing to look for ways to improve the team, wherever those opportunities might be," Antonetti said. "But I really do feel good about the group we have in camp. I feel like we have what we need to contend for the Central and earn a postseason berth, and hopefully compete for a World Series."
• Position players are not required to report to camp until Saturday, but nearly the full squad is already on hand. A handful of veterans -- Nick Swisher, Bourn and Jason Giambi -- have not arrived yet, but manager Terry Francona isn't keeping attendance.
"It's not a test. There's enough trust built already. Guys know what to do," Francona said. "If they're here, great. It's fun to see them. It's a relaxed atmosphere where they can get their work done. The guys that aren't here, that doesn't mean they're not working. Jason Giambi, he doesn't need to be here. Guys know what they need to do."
• Right-handed reliever Bryan Price, who was added to the 40-man roster during the offseason, tweaked a hamstring during fielding drills on Thursday and left practice early. More information is expected on Friday.