CLEVELAND — What, Terry Francona worry?
Though his club entered Wednesday riding a season-high five-game losing streak and with its bullpen in the midst of an extended slump, the Indians manager appeared more confident than ever.
“I feel every bit as good about our ballclub right now as I did 10 days ago, if not better, because I’ve seen the fight they have in them and we’re pulling together,” said Francona, whose team held down first place in the Central Division before losing seven of its last eight games through Tuesday to trail two-time division champ Detroit by 2½ games. “There’s some things that haven’t gone well for us, but I think we’re going to be OK.”
Francona believes his players are handling adversity well.
“I think when you’re going through difficult periods, that’s when you find out about chemistry, because that’s when you get tested,” he said. “I get to see it from a different perspective than a lot of people, but I think we’re coming through it with flying colors. It hasn’t shown on the scoreboard this last week, but our team is coming together and I see it every day.”
Prized pitching prospect Trevor Bauer has cut another rap song, this time with an Indians theme. The quirky right-hander released “From the Gutter to the Grail,” on Tuesday and it was received well by Indians players, who blasted it on the clubhouse sound system prior to Wednesday’s game.
Third baseman Mark Reynolds used Bauer’s rap as his walk-up music for his first at-bat in the third, which resulted in a solo home run.
Here’s a sample of some of the lyrics: “From the gutter to the grail we rise up to win it. Wahoos on first with their eyes on the pennant … We get knocks. We flash leather for days. Kip and Cabby amaze with the Top 10 plays … Got Ubaldo always cruisin,’ gettin’ stupid, throwin’ cheddar. Other teams are lookin’ clueless ain’t nobody do it better. … Goin’ all in, Cleveland Indians. From the gutter to the bling. Now they call us champions.”
Francona was asked if he thought the move from reliever to starter contributed to right-hander Brett Myers’ right elbow injury. Myers, who pitched out of the bullpen in 2012, had his minor-league rehab assignment halted after two outings.
“That’s an interesting question,” Francona said. “I think that’s something we’ve talked about among ourselves. As he comes back, we’d like to let him come back as a starter. Saying that, I guess if it ever got to the point where we thought he could handle being a reliever, maybe that’s something we’d look at, just out of common sense, but I think the best way is to let him stretch out as a starter.”
Myers will be re-evaluated over the next few days with the hope he can begin another rehab stint.
Lou Marson (right shoulder strain) began a minor-league rehab assignment at Double-A Akron, but Francona said the catcher was weeks away from returning. When Marson is ready to leave the Disabled List, the Indians will have a decision to make. Yan Gomes has been playing well as Carlos Santana’s backup.
“Any time we ever run into a situation where we think we have too many good players, I’d take that every time,” Francona said. “That would be something nice to deal with.”
Marson, who has held down the backup spot over the past three seasons, has been on the DL since April 25.
Big League Choo
Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo returned to Progressive Field for the first time since being traded this offseason. He has noticed that it isn’t business as usual for the Indians, who added a wealth of veterans to the roster.
“We fell down in the second half the last few years (in Cleveland), but this year looks different,” Choo said.
Choo, 30, was in Cleveland from 2006-12. He is a free agent at the end of the season.
Cleveland entered Wednesday with 13 wins in its last 17 games at Progressive Field.
l Indians starting pitchers had posted a 3.67 ERA over the last 30 games prior to Wednesday.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at (440) 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.