Rosario struggles in first game in CF

March 17th, 2021

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Indians wanted to try in center field for the first time in Cactus League play on Tuesday, and the ball did everything it could to find its way to him.

Rosario caught a fly ball for the second out of the first inning of the Indians’ 17-8 loss to the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium before the wheels started to fall off the cart. The next play resulted in an error, as he attempted to make a catch while moving toward right-center field and the ball popped out of his glove. Nearly the exact same situation happened two innings later, giving Rosario his second error of the afternoon.

“I told him before the game, I said, ‘Hey, if you make an error, just blame it on me,’” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I didn’t get to multiple ones, but still I feel the same way. He’s certainly not the finished product, and we know that. … That's hard. You can kind of feel like you're on an island. He kept his head up and kept at it. I think he's OK.”

A few batters after his second error, Rosario committed his third miscue on a single in shallow center by David Fletcher. Although he booted the ball when he attempted to field it, the error was charged when he threw the ball away, permitting an extra run to cross the plate.

“We'll certainly keep giving him as many balls as we can in practice,” Francona said. “We don't want to hurt him. … You could even see when he threw that ball in to second, the game is going fast just because he's in a different position.

“If there's a point where it doesn't work, I wouldn't say it's because of today.”

The errors played a large part in starter 's odd pitching line, as he gave up nine runs, but just one was earned. In the plate appearance after Rosario’s third and final error, Shohei Ohtani launched a monstrous two-run homer that cleared the batter’s eye in center field.

“I told him, 'Listen man, this stuff's hard. Don't get down on yourself. Keep your head up,’” Bieber said. “He's going through a different transition and it’s not easy. If it was easy, everybody would do it. That's what I told him.”

Bieber threw more pitches than he would’ve needed to without the miscues behind him, however, the Tribe’s ace was a little more wild than he’s been over the past few weeks. Bieber hit a batter, walked two and fanned one on seven hits in three innings. But the 25-year-old made sure to focus on the positives.

“Yeah, absolutely I get frustrated,” Bieber said. “At the end of the day, it's your competitive nature. Like I said, I felt good, I thought stuff was coming out really good today except for the beginning of the third inning when I lost control a little bit, but was able to wrangle it back in there and complete the rest of the inning, which is something I think is good to work on.

“That's where I'm talking about spring training, keeping things in perspective and continuing to move forward.”

Roster moves
Prior to Tuesday’s matchup against the Angels, the Indians announced that reliever DJ Johnson had been reassigned to the Minor League depth camp. The club also added 19-year-old infielder Aaron Bracho to the depth camp roster and player pool (which stands at 72 players). Bracho is the Tribe’s No. 9-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

Hill throws first bullpen
Back in November, Indians reliever reached down to grab a jug of water on the floor of the passenger side of his car while driving. In the few moments he took his eyes of the road, he ended up rear-ending a van in front of him and breaking his wrist. After months of rehab, he was finally able to get back on the mound on Monday to throw his first bullpen.

“It was fun to listen to him, he was all talkative out there [on Tuesday],” Francona said. “It was good to see him have that little extra bounce in his step. He threw, I think, 17 or 18 pitches. It was all fastballs. He came through it just fine. He’s on a good track. Now that he can get on a mound, you’ll see, his demeanor looks a little bit more like Cam.”