By: T.J. Zuppe
With spring training just on the horizon for clubs around major league baseball, new Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona is already in Arizona and preparing to welcome pitchers and catchers to report.
The Tribe’s skipper took a few moments to look ahead at the upcoming spring and discuss his club when he joined Tony Rizzo and the Really Big Show on ESPN 850 WKNR.
What’s the feeling you have entering spring training?
“There’s always a good vibe coming into spring training… It’s always the same feeling. It’s the rebirth of a new year. The weather is nice. It signifies a new start. I think we have reason to be optimistic. I think people in Cleveland are dying for a team they can be proud of. I think Chris (Antonetti) and our guys have done a good job this winter. There are no guarantees. But I can’t wait to get on the field with these guys and see how good we can be.”
What is your biggest concern entering spring?
“Every manager will always tell you, it’s pitching. If you pitch, you always give yourself a chance to win. And thankfully we seem to have a lot of depth. When you show up every day during the season and you slot a guy in there that you think gives you a chance to win, that’s when things are probably going to go well.”
Are you ready to say who you’ll start on Opening Day?
“We wouldn’t do that. Obviously we are counting on Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Brett Myers. Those are the veteran guys. We need them to log not only a lot of innings, but good innings… We have some competition, which is good. I think we’d love for our young guys do well. Saying that, we’d love for them to earn a spot, not just be given a spot. I think we’re pretty comfortable… I think we’ve made some progress.”
What are your thoughts on pitcher Trevor Bauer?
“I think he seems like a nice kid. Quirky is not the worst thing in the world. If somebody wants to win 18 games or so, they can be as eccentric or quirky as they want. It’s part of responsibility to try to get to know him, also… He’s a nice young man. His throwing program is just a little different than everyone else. But he’s a hard worker. He’s extremely polite. There’s a lot to like…”
Who will start in centerfield?
“I told Michael (Brantley) and Drew (Stubbs), that when they both got out here we’d sit down together and walk through it. When I talked to (Michael), I said I don’t even know what our roster is going to look like. Until our roster is done, this is a silly conversation… What I want to do is put the team in the best position it could be… I’m sure both want to play centerfield, I have no idea both will do what’s right… That’s the least of my worries right now.”
What is your advice for third-baseman Lonnie Chisenhall?
“Its easy to say don’t try to do too much. But at the same time we’d love for him to do a lot. We’ll probably protect him from time to time against left-handers, but what we want him to do is take the job and run with it… This kid has some kind of bat speed that you just can’t teach… We can also protect him a little bit. We’ve got Mike Aviles. We want to find a way to play him a lot… You’re going to see him everywhere. Don’t be surprised if you see him play a lot, because he’s good.”
Who will play DH?
“Chris McGuiness is a guy we have to get a good look at… If you see him getting him more playing time than other guys, that’s not coincidence… It could come from various ways. It could come from guys shuffling around the field. It could come from a name that surprises everybody. It could come from a name we haven’t signed yet. Chris (Antonetti) is always trying to work. We’re just trying to figure that out the best way we can.”
How can we get you on twitter?
“I might be too phenomenal (on twitter). I can’t do it”
To listen to the entire ESPN 850 WKNR interview with Indians manager Terry Francona from the Really Big Show, Click Here
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