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Francona's Thoughts: April 29 vs. Seattle Mariners

Manager Terry Francona talked about Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, Lonnie Chisenhall and more prior to Saturday's first pitch between the Indians and Mariners.

On Danny Salazar:

A: "Couple things One, his warmup used to be really long. Like, extended, long. They tried to cut that back a little bit. One, two hopefully get him deeper into the game and also maybe cut down on fatigue. So you’re balancing long-term health but you make a good point, because a lot of times that first inning has been tough I just thought the other day, I didn’t think he had a good changeup the whole day. Orly in the game, first couple hitters, got hits on changeups and after that we got sloppy defensively because then I thought he threw the ball pretty well. I think Danny’s actually in a pretty good place. Sometimes small sample sizes can be a little different, but I think for the long haul, he’s situated really well. I really do." 

On Carlos Carrasco:

A: "Well he doesn't walk every many people. He’s done such a good job holding runners, which is something maybe he wasn’t the best at. he wasn’t bad, but his awareness now and his ability to give our catchers a chance, that’s maybe a smaller thing, but it’s helpful. HIs ability to throw off-speed in any count, couple different [pitches], whether it’s the changeup, breaking ball, slider. He can shape that breaking ball depending on maybe the hitter or the style of hitter. And then he’s got plenty of fastball. He’s got the body and the stuff. He’s built in my opinion for 200 innings. Our anxiety coming out of camp was that he hadn’t thrown very much. It wasnt’ that we didn’t think he was any good. We just weren’t sure he was prepared. Well, he answered that. He’s in a good spot also. The numbers he’s putting up, they’re not done with smoke and mirrors. He’s doing it by pitching really well. "

On Carrasco throwing first-pitch strikes:

A: "I think that’s something that Mickey preaches to everybody. Everybody. When you show the guys the numbers, and I know you can’t just lay a fastball in there, but the numbers when they go 0-1 to 1-0 or when in hitters’ advantage counts. Like 1-1 counts, Mickey talks to them all the time about 0-0 and 1-1. Because the aggressiveness and the offensive numbers, it’s such a huge swing."

On Edwin Encarnacion's slow start:

A: "I think we knew going in that it had been his track record. That’s actually a lot of players that are like that. I think Edwin, the last 10 days, has shown a lot more aggressive swings. He’s starting to get his legs under him a bit. I think you’ll look up at one point, whenever it is, and you’ll go ‘Woah. He got there in a hurry.’ Even with the real slow start, he’s on pace for 30. I’m not real big on pace, but he’ll get to his numbers, I’m pretty confident about that, and when he does, our team will kind of have a different gear."

On Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor:

A: "It helps us win. I mean, you’ve got two young guys that, everyone wants to talk about Frankie, and I understand it. I love talking about him too. I just think Jose has gone under the radar a bit, and he just seems like he’s getting better. At some point, I know the guys lift and everything, but it’s not like you’re going to get stronger, stronger, stronger. But because he knows the league and he understands the way guys pitch him, you’ve seen him generate more power. It’s not just because of strength, but it’s because he’s a good hitter, and he’s using his legs, he’s getting in good hitter’s counts, and it’s because of that. There’s a lot he can do at the plate. You can bunt, you can hit and run, he hits the gap, he puts the ball in play and he hits the ball out of the ballpark. He pretty much does it all. He just might not look the part."

More on Lindor:

A: "Yes he does. And they both catch the ball. So as far as we look, we’re thrilled because I think we hope that – I know that Frankie was on everybody’s radar coming up through the minor leagues, and Jose got here quick, but there was a couple hiccups where he had to go back. You never want to see a guy like Brantley be hurt, but if not for that, I mean Jose took that and ran with it."

More on Ramirez:

A: "You never know. Because he had been sent down a few times. I know a lot of people thought he was maybe a utility player. He’s a middle of the order bat."

On Lonnie Chisenhall in center field:

A: “I think Lonnie, you can put him anywhere in the outfield. I think he’s a natural outfielder. He was a third baseman when I got here and I think everybody viewed him as a third baseman. I think where he was more comfortable, shagging balls in the outfield and it shows. I think if you have the tools to play center, it’s probably the easiest position to get jumps because you see the ball so well. But if you don’t have the tools, you can kind of feel naked out there. I think he’s a good outfielder, a good center fielder, and I think he’s going to be better as he tries to – I think going back on the ball in center is a little bit different than on the corners. Sometimes you have to put your head down and run to the spot. You don’t do that in the corners a lot. That’s different for him. To expect that to be seamless would be unfair. But I think he’s good. His throwing is so accurate. His release, if you were going to write up a manual and show a young kid, I’d use his. When you see a guy coming around third trying to score. You see a guy, when he gets the ball in his glove, to release, with Lonnie that guy doesn’t chew up much ground. You see other guys, they look they have a shot and then it’s like, ‘Man, he took three or four steps before the release.’”

On Edwin Diaz:

A: “He’s got good stuff. I thought the other kid was impressive too, Pazos. We saw Diaz, I think it was his major league debut, and he came in just firing. You could imagine a kid that has some adrenaline. He’s got a good arm. A real good arm.”

“I’m hoping they won’t want him to pitch today.”

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.


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