Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Will the Tribe go young in 2011?

Good news as the Indians prepare for the opening of spring training later this month, as the Tribe may continue to let their numerous prospects get on the field this year.

According to The Plain Dealer, there’s a good chance that first baseman Matt LaPorta, outfielder Michael Brantley and infielder Jason Donald will be in the starting lineup. Justin Masterson and Carlos Carrasco are expected to be in the starting rotation and Lou Marson should be the backup catcher.

“This is a big year for a number of those players to take a step forward in a significant way,” GM Chris Antonetti told the paper.

Those six players, along with pitchers Rob Bryson, Jason Knapp, Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price, were all acquired in the trades that sent CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez out of town in the past few years.

Seeing them on the opening day roster will be a plus for fans, as hopefully this means the Indians have realized bringing in the David DeLuccis of the world isn’t worth it. If the team is going to struggle, at least let us watch the young guys who may actually have a future with the team develop.

In the absence of wins, at least give us hope.

For the Indians, the players have so little service time in the majors that the team doesn’t have to worry about free agency for a number of years.

We’re so glad to see the Tribe going young that we’re not bothered that they are pursuing pitcher Jeremy Bonderman, who spent the past eight seasons with the Tigers.

Bonderman was 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA last year in Detroit after missing most of 2008 and 2009 after having surgery for a blood clot in his pitching shoulder.

The economic reality is this is the kind of pitcher the Indians have to go after. And they are probably not going to ask Bonderman to be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.

Obviously they are hoping for another Kevin Millwood, who made 30 starts and led the AL in ERA in 2005, rather than another Jason Johnson, who went 3-8 with a 5.96 ERA in 2006.

More than likely, Bonderman will fall somewhere in the middle. And, for now, we’re OK with that.

***

St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford had some nice things to say about Browns coach Pat Shurmur, who was the Rams offensive coordinator last year.

“… for Pat, I think it’s a great opportunity. I’m excited for him,” Bradford told stltoday.com. “I hope hope he has all the success in the world except for when we play him.”

Bradford credits Shurmur with teaching the rookie quarterback the West Coast offense.

“He really just broke it down for me,” Bradford said. “He taught me how to stay within myself. Taught me how to go through my progressions. Really everything about an offense in the NFL, how it’s supposed to be run.”

Hey, what’s not to like about that?

***

Say what you will about the Dolans, but at least they are smarter than the Wilpon family that owns the Mets.

***

Who needs Fernando Torres when you have Luis Suarez? We know, it’s only one game.

But the Reds have climbed to seventh in the table, and have a chance to close the gap on fourth-place Chelsea this weekend.

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