On the first Sunday of Spring Training out in Arizona, the Cleveland Indians competed in two different intrasquad games. With half the team in Goodyear against Cincinnati and the other half in Maryvale against Milwaukee, three new Cleveland pitchers stole the spotlight.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, 32, pitched the third and fourth innings against the Reds. He needed only 10 pitches to do, walking one batter but retiring the other six he faced. His effort spurred the Indians to a 3-0 win with 7 pitchers combining on a 1-hitter. Despite Dice-K’s positive peripheral stats, there were some conflicting scouting reports of his performance. Per Tom Withers of the Associated Press:
Matsuzaka did not top 89 mph on any of his pitches. Scout told me he was having trouble locating fastball. Same scout unimpressed.
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) February 24, 2013
Matsuzaka likely is a long-shot for a consistent rotation spot with the Indians in 2013. He doesn’t have much of any long-term prospects with the organization, although certainly his pre-existing relationship with new manager Terry Francona will help. Meanwhile, over in Maryvale, two other new pitchers provided nice outings as well.
Lefty Scott Kazmir, 29, arrived in relief of starter Carlos Carrasco, 25, who allowed four runs in a chaotic first inning. Kazmir restored order: He struck out one batter and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. He had just 9 pitches, all strikes. This all is good early news for the former strikeout champion who hasn’t pitched in the majors since one outing in 2011. Reports indicated he was feeling good afterwards too, per the Chronicle-Telegram’s Chris Assenheimer:
Kazmir said he feels better now than he did during his best years. Threw 94-95 in winter ball. #Indians
— Chris AssenheimerC-T (@CAwesomeheimer) February 24, 2013
Trevor Bauer, 22, then replaced Kazmir. The highly touted prospect, named No. 17 in baseball by MLB.com, punched out two batters and allowed two hits in his two innings of work. All 12 of his pitches were strikes. Unsurprising, Cleveland writers already were taken aback by his quirky warmup routines. Per 1100’s Nick Camino:
Trevor Bauer does crazy throw on his 1st warm up pitch every inning. Starts behind the rubber and throws as hard as he can to catcher. Wow!
— Nick Camino (@CaminoTribe) February 24, 2013
Obviously, this is just one of the many premature Spring Training storylines for the Tribe (hello, Ryan Raburn). We probably won’t have any clear indication about the leader for No. 5 rotation spot for at least another 2-3 weeks. For now though, this all was good news for new pitchers that have arrived in the last few months.