Cabrera Tales, and other outtakes from the red- (downgraded from white-) hot Indians. ...
-- The last time Orlando Cabrera played second base for more than one game in a season, it was 1998, he was 23 and the name on the front of his jersey said "Montreal."
So other than the fact that he needed a job and spring training was about to begin, what possessed him to agree to move full-time from shortstop over to second base and sign with Cleveland this season?
"It was a matter of playing every day," says Cabrera, now 36. "I know I can do the job [at shortstop], no doubt. But I don't want to move over to second base for a guy I don't respect at shortstop."
Asdrubal Cabrera is not that guy. Orlando respects him a bunch.
"This kid is going to be one of the elite players at this position for many years to come," Orlando says.
The switch to second seems to have rejuvenated Orlando as well, and not just because he's batting .295 with a .333 on-base percentage over his first 12 games.
"It feels like when I just came up to the big leagues," he says.
-- Without using the word, designated hitter Travis Hafner likens Orlando Cabrera and his veteran skills to a quarterback.
"He's brought a lot of leadership," Hafner says. "He's really helped solidified the middle infield. Both he and Asdrubal have played great up the middle. Both are swinging the bat well. That's been a big part of our success."
-- Justin Masterson (2-0, 1.35 ERA), 26, who was one of the key pieces acquired from Boston in the Victor Martinez trade two summers ago, starts against Baltimore on Friday night as the Indians open a brief, three-game homestand before heading back out for a seven-game trip to Kansas City and Minnesota.
He's got a pretty good handle on the process these Indians will go through if they can keep winning.
"It goes from people saying, 'Who cares about these guys' to 'Oh, it's not going to last too long' to 'Oh, they've put it all together'," Masterson says. "We're not trying to prove people wrong. We're just trying to do what we know we can do.
"We know we're talented. We just have to ride the highs and not stay too long in the lows."
Likes: Figuring out which early surprises are for real in the game and which are mirages is always one of the fun parts of April and May. ... Cleveland manager Manny Acta, looking to build on some promise the Indians showed during the second half of last season, sounds a lot like Bud Black and the Padres last summer as they were winning 90 games following an August-September surge in 2009. That's not to say these Indians will win 90, but one thing in their favor is, the White Sox, Twins and Tigers all are kicking it around a little bit early in the season. No dominant teams right now in the AL Central. ... This video showing Tim Lincecum pitching in super-slow motion. ... The latest from the Drive-By Truckers, Go-Go Boots. Country blues, and it sounds so good. Used To Be a Cop is tremendous, and have alwayed loved the Eddie Hinton number, Everybody Needs Love.
Dislikes: The Bonds Trial. Manny. It never ends.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Riding in your top-down Mustang
"Taking me out to the beach
"Your eyes matched the skies
"I believe I saw your shadow looking like 1967
"Percy Sledge on the radio
"Or maybe Spanish songs
"All my troubles swept away
"The ocean on my scraped-up knees
"You could never stand to be away from me too long"
-- Drive-By Truckers, I Do Believe