White Pushing Limits For Indians





CLEVELAND—When the Indians plucked Alex White with the 15th overall pick in the 2009 draft, the North Carolina righthander found himself on the Tribe's fast track to the major leagues.

That was fine by the quiet-spoken White, who began his professional career at high Class A Kinston last season and was promoted to Double-A Akron by mid-May. Between the two stops White had a 2.45 ERA in 26 games, striking out 117 batters while issuing 46 walks.

Based on the way the 22-year-old dominated Double-A batters for half a season, he could have jumped to Triple-A last year. However, Indians farm director Ross Atkins said it was predetermined to limit White to 150 innings (he led Indians farmhands with 151).

"Of course you always want to keep moving, but you have to trust they know what they're doing and have your best interests in mind," White said.

Although White heads to spring training with the goal of pitching his way into the Indians' rotation, the Tribe brass will likely slow him down a little.

"He'll go into our Triple-A rotation this year and try to make an impact (in the major leagues) at some point in 2011," Atkins said. "That's not etched in stone, but that's the most realistic situation at this point."

Not only did the Tribe brass limit White's innings last season, they also challenged him to use his four-seam fastball more—even when his deadly two-seamer could often get the job done quicker.

White began his career with the Tribe with a question mark as to whether his future was as a starter or a reliever. White revealed that the 2010 season was a testing ground, one he used to prove to his new bosses that he had the stuff to be considered for a spot in the Tribe's rotation in the near future.

"Alex gave us very little doubt that he's going to be able to (start)," Atkins said. "He convinced us that that's an option . . . By all means, he's going to be developed as a starter and we have supreme confidence that he'll be one in the middle of our rotation someday."

SMOKE SIGNALS

• Like White, third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall will open the year at Columbus but also likely make his way to Cleveland during the season.

• Lefthander Jeremy Sowers will miss the 2011 season after having surgery in February to repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder.