Indians pregame notes: Giambi’s return, Swisher struggling and the end of umpire ejections
CLEVELAND — Terry Francona considered activating Jason Giambi for this weekend’s series against Toronto, but the Indians decided that Monday would be better when a four-game series begins against Kansas City.
This series features two of the more overworked bullpens in the American League. The Blue Jays lead the league with 56 innings pitched and the Indians are sixth at 50 1/3 innings.
"We were thinking about it Sunday but based on our bullpen and keeping our team in order if we shoot for Monday that will make things easier," Francona said on Friday. "Every manager should have the luxury of having G once. Fortunately no other manager is going to because he is going to stick with us. He gets it. He just wants to help."
Giambi played three games with Double-A Akron and was 0 for 8. He said he feels no effects from the rib injury he suffered on March 7 when he was hit by a pitch by the Cubs Edwin Jackson.
The one thing that impressed Giambi during his stint in Akron was how much things have changed in the minors.
"It’s been 20 years since I’ve played any type of minor-league baseball so it was fun," he said. "They have technology, iPads and know what guys did last year. Even the stadiums are gorgeous. Even when I played you had to dress in shifts and had one locker that three guys were sharing and eating peanut-butter sandwiches. Now they are catering out food. It is well worth the investment. If these kids are going to be your next players in the big leagues it is well worth the investment."
EJECTION SEAT: With replay taking out most arguments, many also feel that will also take out most ejections. That hasn’t bee the case so far as there were four managerial ejections through the first 18 days of last season and three so far this year.
While some feel that replay has taken away the beauty of an umpire-manager argument, Francona said that hasn’t been the case.
"You go out there 3-4 times a year and make an idiot of yourself. They never change the call," Francona said. "You always hear that they are trying to pump up your team but I don’t buy that. How many games I’ve been thrown out of we’ve lost the majority of those games. About once or twice a year it feels good to blow off some steam. When you’ve got to that point. It’s gone too far."
LINEUP NOTES: The Indians are going with the same lineup as Thursday. While some have focused on Carlos Santana’s woes, Nick Swisher was 3 for 23 on the recent six-game road trip and was 0 for 7 in Detroit. Swisher’s stats haven’t been much better at home where he is 5 for 25 with a home run and four RBI.
"You don’t have a remedy or pill to take. You have to ride it out and work hard," Francona said. "The guys who are struggling, they are going to get to their level. When they get hot they will get real hot."