Vinnie Pestano. - USA TODAY Sports
The last time the Cleveland Indians played a baseball game was last October 3rd; they lost 9-0 to Chicago, ending what was the most agonizing second half of a season in recent memory. Manny Acta had been fired the week before, and interviews were being scheduled to determine his replacement.
Cleveland at Cincinnati, 3:05 PM
That time seemed so long ago, didn't it? It's still winter here in Ohio but as far as baseball is concerned, it's spring, both in the season sense and in the attitude sense. For this organization has been reborn into something that we wouldn't have recognized five months ago.
The first game of spring training is notable only in that it's the first real baseball action of the year. The starting pitcher will likely only go an inning, possibly two, and by the fifth inning the lineup will look like a preview of this season's Clippers team. There's very little that can be learned today, other than if the player gets through their first appearance healthy.
Here's the slate of pitchers scheduled to go today:
LHP Giovanni Soto (NRI). He's a pitching prospect, but because of his roster status (off 40-man roster) and level (ended last year at AA) is fairly far down on the depth chart. He's not pitching to make the club this spring, but can certainly help set the stage for an opportunity later in the year.
RHP Vinnie Pestano. Early in the season the top relievers usually come in first so they get a chance to face the other club's major-league hitters.
RHP Joe Martinez (NRI). Doesn't really have a shot at making the club; his goal is most likely a rotation spot in AAA.
RHP Fernando Nieve (NRI), Was a starter in Albuquerque last year, and was awful. He has a cool nickname though: The Snowman.
RHP Frank Herrmann. The development of a secondary pitch has turned The Herrmannator into a viable major-league reliever. I think he can make this club.