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“After four straight losing seasons, maybe this is the kind of team that will bring winning back to Cleveland. “I tell these guys, let’s start winning and bring the magic back. The city is so hungry for this,” says Jason Giambi, who is trying to make the team at age 42.
So far in spring training, this new tribe has been refreshing, eccentric, and entertaining. Nick Swisher, a guy who constantly spreads good karma around the clubhouse will give the Indians lineup that was ranked second to last in the league last season the punch it needs. “This is just the beginning,” Swisher says, “of another great made-for-Hollywood story, bro.” [Chen/Inside SI]
“Most notably: Will the 2013 Indians set a major league record in strikeout futility? And what does it really mean if they do? What other questions are there when prolific whiffers Mark Reynolds, Drew Stubbs, Swisher and Bourn come to town? The group combined to strikeout 621 times a year ago, each finding their way near the top of the category.
Stubbs, the former Cincinnati Reds outfielder, ranked No.10 in all of baseball last year with 166 strikeouts in 544 plate appearances. Reynolds was three spots behind him with 159 strikeouts in 538 plate appearances with the Baltimore Orioles and Bourn came in at No.15, with 155 in 703 plate appearances last year for the Atlanta Braves. If you stretch out to the top 30, the former New York Yankee Swisher struck out 141 times in 624 plate appearances to rank No.28 in baseball.
Adding fellow new additions Mike Aviles (77 strikeouts with Boston) and Ryan Raburn (53 with Detroit) to the mix, you get a group that struck out 29 percent of the time (751 strikeouts in 2595 plate appearances) a year ago, or 10 percentage points higher than what the league average was in 2012.” [Jonas Fortune]
“No one is saying Weeden is a franchise quarterback. He was a disappointment last year as a rookie, but he hardly cemented himself as a first-round bust. What you can say with certainty is this: Weeden has his best chance to succeed this season. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner wants to throw the ball downfield, and Weeden’s arm strength has the makings of being a good fit. It was evident that Weeden had become frustrated in Pat Shurmur’s conservative play calling. The Browns are expected to stretch defenses more under Turner and head coach Rob Chudzinski.
Call it a one-year trial or a one-season reprieve, but the Browns need to give Weeden another shot to prove himself. While Banner and vice president of player personnel Mike Lombardi didn’t draft Weeden, the Browns did invest the 22nd overall pick in last year’s draft on him. The Browns have to try to develop him. They have to develop someone eventually.” [Hensley/AFC North Blog]
“An odd season continued for Tristan. For nearly two months, he paced the league in getting his shots blocked. Then, for six weeks, he legitimately played liked an All-Star. Now over the last 8 games, a return to 10 points, 9 rebounds, and 44% true shooting. Early in the third quarter, Tristan made old-reliable, his righty-hook, while Dwane Casey screamed, “No middle, no middle, no middle” at his guys; they didn’t listen. Time for Tristan to head back-to-the-lab and master additional moves and countermoves. As long as he keeps hustling on the boards and busting his ass on D, his future looks rosy. His free throw shooting sits around 66% for the last three months, and certainly this season displayed flashes of a scintillating future. Tonight featured 14 points, 8 rebounds and perfect 6 of 6 foul shooting, bolstering his TS to 51% for the evening.” [Hetrick/Cavs the Blog]
“Livingston is also providing the veteran leadership right now that teams around the league often refer to as a defense mechanism for why they’re awarding tons of minutes to NBA players who are well past their prime. The underrated acquisition of Livingston is specifically paying dividends in terms of Dion Waiters’ development recently, too.
After Wednesday’s win, unprovoked by a question from anyone about Livingston specifically, Waiters made it a point to credit Shaun for helping him improve the way he’s seeing the floor and approaching the NBA game on a nightly basis.” [Bowers/Stepien Rules]