Baby Steps





CLEVELAND—If it weren't for his young family, Wyatt Toregas might not be handling his new assignment so well.

After spending last season between Triple-A Columbus and making his major league debut with the Indians, the 27-year-old catcher felt he'd finally made it.

But when the Indians acquired catcher Lou Marson from the Phillies as part of the package for Cliff Lee and then signed veteran backstop Mike Redmond in the offseason, Toregas' career path was suddenly clouded.

First, Marson beat out Toregas for the everyday catching job in spring training. Then, Indians No. 1 prospect Carlos Santana was promoted to Columbus. After clearing waivers on April 3, Toregas was the odd man out.

"When it came down to it, I was given the option to go Akron and play every day or go to Columbus and back up," the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Toregas said. "For me, it was simple—I need to play every day. If I'm not playing every day, I'm pretty much throwing in the towel in on my career."

But the blow of swallowing his pride and coming back to Akron in his ninth pro season was softened a bit by the fact that off the field, Toregas and his wife Holly have their have their hands rather full now.

Two months ago, the couple had their first child, Alexander Reese Toregas, who keeps his doting parents busy in their home just 10 minutes from the Canal Park.

"Wyatt just needs to focus on the challenge in front of him," Indians farm director Ross Atkins said. "He's always stood out as a leader and good game caller. But he can continue to work on being a better overall defender with his throwing and controlling the running game."

Despite the career setback Toregas relishes his role as a new dad.

"I love it," said Toregas, a 2004 24th-round pick out of Virginia Tech. "The toughest part is getting the rest and the sleep I need. But I love going home to that little guy everyday."

SMOKE SIGNALS

• In his first 18 games with Columbus, Santana was batting .328/.451/.655 with a team-leading five home home runs.  

• Second baseman Cord Phelps also started the year on a high note in his second full season, hitting .375/.437/.500 in 17 games for Akron.