18 Non-Roster Players Invited To Camp

The Indians have extended non-roster invitations to Major League spring training camp to 18 players. All are part of the the organization's farm system, including recent first-round selections Lonnie Chisenhall (2008), Alex White (2009) and Drew Pomeranz (2010). Three players who have spent time in Cleveland, right-handers Anthony Reyes and Justin Germano and catcher Luke Carlin are included.

Juan Apodaca, C
Travis Buck, OF
Luke Carlin, C
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Adam Everett, INF
Justin Germano, RHP
Jack Hannahan, INF
Chad Huffman, OF
Jason Kipnis, 2B-OF
Doug Mathis, RHP
Cord Phelps, INF
Paul Phillips, C
Yohan Pino, RHP
Drew Pomeranz, LHP
Zach Putnam, RHP
Anthony Reyes, RHP
Bryce Stowell, RHP
Alex White, RHP

Buck, Everett, Hannahan and Phillips were signed as free agents to minor-league contracts this offseason. Huffman was claimed off waivers from the New York Yankees in September.

All will be competing for a spot on the Indians' 25-man roster. Those with the best opportunities appear to be Buck, Everett, Chisenhall, Phelps, Kipnis and perhaps Germano, Huffman and Stowell.

Third base is wide open entering camp, though veteran infielder Jayson Nix probably is considered at the head of the pack in the race to claim the starting spot. Everett, who has seen most of his action at the big-league level at shortstop, could play there, though he likely will be competing to win a job as a utility infielder playing third, short and second base.

Chisenhall, with a good spring, could snag the job. The Indians believe he isn't far away offensively, but the former shortstop still is making defensive adjustments at his new position.

He hit .278 (128-for-460) with 22 doubles, 17 homers, 81 runs & 84 RBI in 117 games at Double-A Akron in 2010. He had a big second half for the Aeros, batting .294 (57-for-194) with 10 doubles, nine homers and 47 RBI in 51 games, but the thinking is he needs at least a half-season at Triple-A Columbus.

Phelps is a long shot to win a spot as the starter at either third or second. The Indians would not want him on the roster as a backup, preferring that he play regularly at Columbus if he does not earn a job in Cleveland.

Phelps has played primarily second base throughout his career and recently was tried at third. He had a solid season at the plate in 2010, hitting a combined .308 (136-for-442) between Akron and Columbus. He also batted .324 (12-for-37) in the International League playoffs to help the Clippers win the championship.

Selected by Cleveland in the third round in 2008, Phelps finished fifth in batting in the 2010 Arizona Fall League with a .367 average.

Kipnis, picked in the second round in 2009, has an outside shot of claiming the starting job at second base following a fine offensive season in the minors in 2010. He hit a combined .307 (159--for-518) with 96 runs, 32 doubles, 8 triples, 16 homers and 74 RBI in 133 games between Class A Kinston and Akron and was named the Tribe's Minor League Player of the Year.

He joined Columbus in the playoffs and batted .455 (10-for-22) with 9 runs, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers and 3 RBI in 5 games. He then went to the Arizona Fall League and finished tied for fifth with 19 RBI.

Kipnis was switched from outfield to second base following the 2009 season. He is adjusting to the new position.

Buck could claim a spot as a fourth outfielder in Cleveland, where an even bigger opportunity awaits if veteran Grady Sizemore is not fully healed from knee surgery as expected. Huffman also will be in the mix for a job.

Right now, it looks as if the Cleveland outfield will be Shin-Soo Choo in right field, Sizemore in center, with Austin Kearns, Michael Brantley and Trevor Crowe battling for the left-field job.

Buck batted .250 in 170 games for the Oakland Athletics over parts of the past four seasons. Most of his numbers were accumulated as a rookie in 2007, when he hit .288 with seven homersand 34 RBI in 84 games. He spent most of 2010 on the injured list and hit .298 in 32 games at Triple-A Sacramento.

Huffman hit .274 with 10 homers in 74 games at Triple-A and got a brief call to New York, where he batted .167 in nine games for the Yankees. The 25-year-old had some big seasons in the San Diego organization earlier in his career after being the Padres' second-round draft choice in 2006.

White and Pomeranz most likely will not be breaking camp wit the Indians, but manager Manny Acta is eager to get a good look at both.

White is a right-hander who won the Bob Feller Award as the organization's top minor-league pitcher in 2010. The 22-year-old went a combined 10-10 with a 2.45 ERA at Kinston and Akron. In 150 2-3 innings, he gave up only 123 hits and 46 walks, striking out 117.

Pomeranz was the fifth overall pick last June, but signed too late to start his pro career. Last spring at the University of Mississippi, he went 9-2 with a 2.24 ERA. In 100 2-3 innings, he allowed only 71 hits, walked 49 and struck out 139.

Putnam and Stowell could claim a bullpen role, but both would need a light's-out camp. The right-handers are considered among the organization's brightest bullpen prospects.

Putnam went 4-2 with a 3.69 ERA and three saves between Akron and Columbus, working mostly in middle relief. The Indians love his slider/sinker combination and aggressive approach.

Stowell was only a 22nd-round choice in 2008, but had a breakout season last summer. He went 3-1 with a 2.14 ERA and seven saves at Kinston, Akron and Columbus. The Indians were not surprised. They drafted him a year early and gave him a much bigger signing bonus to convince him not to stay in college.

In 67 1-3 innings, Stowell allowed only 42 hits and struck out 102. He still has some command issues. He walked 36, but when he gets his sweeping slider into the strike zone, he is very intimidating.

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