Hernandez and Tribe ready for post-season

The Indianapolis Indians closed out their Victory Field portion of the regular season on September 1 with an impressive 48-24 record and finished the season with an overall record of 89-55. The 2012 squad now holds the best record since the 1997 squad.

With so many games under their belt, it gets tough to stay mentally focused and engaged in season. Infielder Anderson Hernandez said that the key is to just stay strong.

"It's a little hard, you know. It's really hard because we play 144 games, so there's a lot of good times and then there's a lot of bad time," Hernandez said. "You just have to stay strong mentally. You have to be strong and you try to be tough and do your best."

Hernandez was recently named the Tribe's Defensive Player of the year. On the field, Hernandez has played in every infield position as well as in left field. His versatility and capabilities to play these different spots earned him the honor. He said that he doesn't try to be a "hot dog" about it, but that receiving the award was nice.

For a majority of the season, Hernandez has played at second base. He said that he started the year as short stop and then was moved to second base. He also said that playing third is a little bit more challenging than the other two positions.

"You feel like you're a little backwards," Hernandez said. "But you just try to do things the same there as you would at second."

Switching between the positions and never knowing where you'll be in the lineup for a particular game can add more stress to the already tedious career; however, Hernandez said that in order to play different positions with ease, you just have to be ready in your defensive position.

"You have be ready because one day you'll see your name down as short stop, one day it'll be at second base and one day you'll be at third," he said. "you know, you'll just get the ground balls everywhere and I'll pick up the ground balls anywhere because I'm ready.

One more regular season game stands between the Indians and the first playoff game. Hernandez said that he and the entire team are ready for whatever comes.

"This is going to be my fourth playoff [appearance] in my career, and I hope we win the whole things," he said.

Although every season is different than the last, Hernandez said that this particular season is going to be more different because of the late roster changes. Pitchers Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson, Chris Leroux, infielder Brock Holt and catcher Eric Fryer were recently recalled by Pittsburgh. Replacing them are pitchers Gerrit Cole, Kris Johnson, Logan Kensing and catcher Miguel Perez.

"They [the playoff seasons] are really different. I mean, right now, we have a pretty good team here, but a few good guys got called up," Hernandez said. "So now we have new guys taking their places, so it's going to be a little different than it was in the regular season. But we're going to try to do our best and try to win. That's what we're here for."

With just a day to relax before the first post-season game, Hernandez said that the team is not making any special preparations. They are going about their normal routing of batting in the cages, batting on the field and focusing on keeping everything the same. The Indians will host the first two games of the post-season and are looking to extend their winning record even further by taking the championship.

Once the season is over, Hernandez said that he plans to return to the Dominican Republic and catch up on some much needed rest, but he also plans on squeaking in a game or two of baseball.

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