WINTER HAVEN, Fla.–Max Ramirez is still slated to break camp with high Class A Kinston at the end of the week despite missing the bulk of the spring since leaving big league camp with elbow soreness.
Ramirez, who came over to Cleveland in the Bob Wickman deal last year, batted .307 with four homers in 127 at-bats at low Class A Lake County after the deal last season.
SIPP HURTING: The Tribe also shut down lefthanded reliever Tony Sipp with elbow soreness as a precaution. Initial reports were that the injury was not serious, and farm director Ross Atkins said Sipp has a 50-50 chance to break camp with Triple-A Buffalo.
ON THE POSITIVE SIDE: Outfielder John Drennen reported in the best shape of his brief career. The 33rd overall pick in 2005, Drennen bulked up in the offseason, and according to one Tribe official looks ‘much more like the Brian Giles comparisons we’ve been hearing since he signed.’
(To see more on Drennen, please turn over to David Hallâ€™s story at Kinston.com)
Also, first baseman Stephen Head has apparently turned it around–literally. On Saturday, he was the only member of the Tribe’s high Class A club to turn around 98 mph against Tigers righthander Joel Zumaya, lining out to second base.
If Head had faced Zumaya at some point before August last season, he’d have had no chance. “His swing was long, his at-bats were brutal,” says a scout from a National League club. “There was power one night, but you wouldn’t see it again for another week or two. And in between that . . . well, I guess the numbers kind of speak for themselves.”
Head batted just .235 with four homers in 477 at-bats last season. He injured his left thumb before spring training, and has really only been full-go for the last three weeks.
“I was working out and I fractured the top of my thumb, I strained a ligaments, pulled the muscles aroundâ€”thereâ€™s a capsule in there and I ruptured it,” Head said. “I was out for about eight weeks coming into spring trainingâ€”and Iâ€™m freaking out. But what that did was it allowed me to think about it, understand what I had to do with my approach more from the mental side and so far this spring itâ€™s just helped me out tremendously–Iâ€™m much shorter to the ball with a good load Iâ€™m comfortable with . . . I guess facing Zumaya kind of proved that.”
BYE-BYE: The Indians released Micah Schilling on Mondayâ€”the 41st overall pick in the 2002 draft. Schilling was touted as one of the top hitters in the that draft class, but struggled at the plate over five seasons in the minors, hitting just .242 with 12 homers in 1,386 at-bats.
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