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Terry Pluto is bringing back optimism from Goodyear, Ariz.
Commentator Pluto likes what he sees from revamped Indians during his annual trip to Indians Spring Training

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
Mark Reynolds is impressing Pluto and fans at Spring Training.
Courtesy of Chuck Crow, Plain Dealer
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WKSU commentator Terry Pluto goes to Spring Training each year to write columns for the Plain Dealer. And this year, he says there's a different vibe.

There are new faces as the result of the Indians' off-season spending spree -- Nick SwisherMichael Bourn and Mark Reynolds. Pluto says they're excited to be there, and players who were on the roster last year are glad to see them, after the 2012 season saw the team rack up 94 losses. 

Listen to Terry Pluto's commentary

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Terry Pluto talks about the quirks and potential of Bauer, Giambi

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Upbeat at camp
Terry Pluto likes what he sees after spending just a few days at Indians training camp in Goodyear, Ariz. "There’s a real feeling of optimism that at least it could be a fun baseball season. I don’t hear a lot of people predicting a pennant, but I think there would be severe disappointment if you had a rerun of losing 90 games again.” 

Pluto adds: “And finally you add [new manager] Terry Francona on top of it and it really is the frosting on the baseball cake they’re trying to bake here. He’s very, very popular with the players.”

Roster includes some surprises
The Tribe finalized its pitching rotation this week, and it includes the improbable Scott Kazmir. He was an All-Star with Tampa Bay in the mid 2000’s. But, Pluto says that by 2012, Kazmir suffered some injuries, his arm "got weak" and he was pitching in the Atlantic Independent League.

“That’s kind of the devil’s island of baseball. That means every team in organized baseball has passed on you.”

But the Indians signed him in hopes that he could recapture some of his old glory. “He’s got not all the old stuff, but quite a bit of it. He’s had a good spring, and we’ll see if it holds up during the regular season.”

Roster highlights and low-lights
As for the other players that round out the Indians’ $100 million investment, Pluto says it’s a mixed bag so far this spring.

"Michael Bourn looks like a guy who thinks Spring Training is a good time to run around, sweat and get in shape. He’s maybe hitting .200. I have a feeling, at least I hope, that when the regular season lights go on, so does he. You hardly notice him.”

“Swisher is hitting about .400, he’s hit lots of rockets and he’s really come with a lot of energy.”

Pluto says Mark Reynolds is really wowing the camp, including hitting about a 500-foot home run. “I think the thing really did get picked up on the radar screen at the Phoenix Airport. And he’s hit a couple of those.”

Pitching still shaky
Pluto says pitcher Brett Myers, who has secured a starting rotation spot, has not been as impressive. “He’s just gotten clobbered. And you sit there and you think, ‘Oh boy.’" On the other hand, Pluto has a more positive outlook about a shaky starter from last season, Ubaldo Jiminez, who he watched this week. “I went and sat behind the plate, about six rows up from the field, and I’m cautiously optimistic about him.”

Pluto says Francona said this week that pitching will be the team's biggest unknown. But Francona is optimistic the Indians will score a lot of runs and have a solid bullpen. 

Update: Indians re-sign Dice-K and Matt Capps to minor league deals

Related Links & Resources
The Plain Dealer's coverage on the Indians

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Young, old and used-to-be stars look for Spring Training miracle
Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Terry Pluto: The Indians' $100 million splurge is a welcome surprise
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Terry Pluto says Earl Weaver helped him see "baseball through his eyes"
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Indians new manager has a long history with Cleveland
Monday, October 8, 2012

No billionaire wants a baseball team
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

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