Indians Give Chen Camp Experience





GOODYEAR, ARIZ.—The Indians invited Chun Chen to major league camp, but the young catcher is not there looking to earn a job.

Well, at least not yet.

For now, the 22-year-old from Taiwan will help with bullpen sessions, with so many pitchers populating camp.

Of course, a nice perk is that Chen, signed in 2007, will gain valuable experience working with Sandy Alomar Jr. on his defense while he's around the former Indians catcher and current first-base coach.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder has the potential to be that coveted power-hitting catcher after the standout season he enjoyed last year.

In his third professional season, Chen split 2010 between low Class A Lake County and high Class A Kinston, where he combined to hit at a .315/.404/.521 clip with 12 home runs.

His doubles led all Indians farmhands, and his average was second-best in the system. He also appeared in the Futures Game.

With his bat getting him this far—he is the Indians' No. 22 prospect—his defense is the next piece of the puzzle. Improvement there will get him invited back to camp next year as more than just an extra glove behind the plate.

He had 18 passed balls in 60 starts at catcher last year, struggling specifically with pitches in the dirt. However, the strong-armed Chen did throw out 37 percent of basestealers.

Another aspect of his game Chen will spend the spring working on is his grasp of the English language. Manager Manny Acta pointed out upon Chen's arrival, "That is very important for a catcher."

As it stands, Chen's Spanish is a better second language—which can't hurt.

SMOKE SIGNALS

• The Indians removed 28-year-old righthander Joe Martinez from their 40-man roster.

• The Tribe signed 16-year-old catcher Kevin Calderon out of the Dominican Republic for a bonus of $80,000.