Maybe this is another reason that Pena was get Dunn back to left.

Marte making positive impressionposted: Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Indians have been impressed by Andy Marte's bat and work habits, but general manager Mark Shapiro insists that Marte will open the season in Buffalo. "It's only right," Shapiro said. "He's never really opened in cold weather, and Buffalo is a good preparation for Cleveland." Shapiro also said that there is no consideration for moving Marte to first base or right field.

This has been a good spring for the Indians' two closest starting pitchers, Fausto Carmona and Jeremy Sowers. The 23-year-old Carmona was 93-96 mph most of the spring with his improving slider and probably is first in line, followed by Sowers. And if Casey Blake struggles out of the gate, Franklin Gutierrez, who is a great defensive center fielder, could get a shot in right. Gutierrez took a huge jump in his approach and plate discipline this winter in Venezuela and carried it over to spring training.


It may be just spring training, but Scott Kazmir's struggles this March raise the issue of how much his career may have been impacted by being rushed to the majors too soon. Good lesson.


One former Brewers coach said, "When it's all said and done, J.J. Hardy may turn out to be the best of their young infielders. He's going to fill out to 6-3, maybe 200 pounds, he could someday hit 20 homers, and he's a really good defensive shortstop. The improvement he made in the second half of last season [boosting his OPS 300 points] was amazing."


Reds manager Jerry Narron calls Edwin Encarnacion "the Grapefruit League MVP," but scouts are very concerned about the infeld defense, especially Dunn at first. "He just doesn't seem to take to the position," said one AL scout. "He's pretty rough over there."