Crowe Gets The Call




CLEVELAND—Two days.

That's how long Trevor Crowe remained in minor league camp after he was optioned there the final week of spring training.

Forty-eight hours was all it took before Indians reserve outfielder David Dellucci went down with a strained left calf muscle, opening the door for the young switch-hitter to make his major league debut as a member of the Indians' Opening Day roster.

In addition, because the move came before the regular season began, it doesn't count against the 25-year-old's three option years.

"Maybe it's just my youth, but I feel I'm ready to go," Crowe said. "I'm ready for any challenges they throw my way. While I only spent 35 games in Triple-A, I spent pretty much three years in Double-A."

But just because he broke with the club, it doesn't mean Crowe, a 2005 first-round pick out of Arizona State, will stay with the Indians long—this time around at least.

The Tribe's brass would prefer that their No. 1 draft pick (14th overall) in 2005 get everyday playing time—even if that means as part of the star-studded outfield at Triple-A Columbus—as opposed to limited duty as a pinch-runner and seldom-used fourth outfielder in Cleveland.

The Indians will first give Shin-Soo Choo and Ben Francisco a shot at holding down their respective outfield corner spots. But if either falters, Crowe will once again be prepared to pounce on the opportunity.  

Despite battling injuries last year, Crowe batted a combined .302/.381/.485 in 344 at-bats between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Buffalo—although only 35 games came at the Triple-A level.

"Crowe can play all three outfield positions, and . . . can pinch-run for us late in games," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "I don't think Choo is ready to play every day yet, so Crowe could help us there."

SMOKE SIGNALS

• The Indians signed righthander Juan Lara, 28, to a minor league contract. When Lara suffered life-threatening multiple injuries in a Nov. 2007 car accident in the Dominican Republic, few expected him to ever return to the field.

• The Indians parted ways with two minor leaguer pitchers in separate deals for players to be named later or cash considerations: lefthander Shawn Nottingham to the Pirates and righthanded reliever Ed Mujica to the Padres.