Peralta still sounds a bit mystified over how the third base situation played out last year. "In Spring Training, they didn't say to me that I'd be playing third base [during the season]," he said. "Then one day in the middle of the season, they say I'm playing third base."
"It's the best layer of suck we've had in a long, long period of time"
Young Mike LaPorta had a memorable 2008 and is looking like he will be better in 2009. He played in the Futures Game and the Summer Olympics, got traded from Milwaukee to Cleveland for CC Jackass, then got married and played winter ball in Venezuela. No wonder he was grateful for spring training: It' s the first chance had to relax in months. That relaxation has led to increased success on the diamond this April.
After 20 spring at-bats, Mike LaPorta slugged .550. Three of his six hits went for extra bases. "Yeah, I've been beating the snot out of the ball," LaBomba said "too bad I'm stuck here until arbitration is less in my favor."
While the scouts like LaPorta for his bat, if not necessarily his glove, some other Cleveland outfielders made a splash this spring.
Among those that aren't, Ben Francisco is unable to hit anything that isn't coming at him 97 mph and right down the middle of the plate.
"That kid really sucks," one scout said of Francisco. "Every at-bat is a lousy at-bat."
Indians general manager Chris Slaphiro spent several minutes bitching over Francisco, Crowe, Peralta, infielder Tony Graffanino, manager Eric Wedge and several other coaches during a conversation with reporters Wednesday.
"It's the best layer of suck we've had in a long, long period of time here," Slaphiro said.
This will be where most of our decision making takes place. We have Cliff Lee, Fausto Carmona and Carl Pavano. Then we have six or seven other guys for the last two spots."