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Tribe Signs Dr. Perry Cox

W. Ross Clites
Your City Sports-Cleveland

Cleveland--As of January 1, 2010 the Indians roster combined for a mere 41 games played from its catching position. With Kelly Shoppach moving on to Tampa Bay, so too did the team's most tenured catcher for the second time in four months.

The heir apparent to the everyday backstopping duties has been prospect Carlos Santana since Victor Martinez was dealt to the Red Sox in August. Scouts, and fans alike, note that Santana's skill set is not ready and rushing him to the Big Leagues could jeopardize what little assets the Tribe has remaining. The obvious decision is to keep Santana in AAA and patiently wait.

The Indians look to bridge the gap with an inexperienced duo of 2009 rookies. Wyatt Toregas and Lou Marson were late-season call ups in '09 to replace Martinez and relieve a struggling Shoppach. The two combined for just 26 hits; but to be fair, their average age is only 25 and neither has played more than two months with the Indians. They are serviceable back-ups, but like Santana, need time to mature. It would be unfair for the Indians to expect anything more than a 8 or 9 hitter in the lineup and a middle-of-the-road manager of a youthful rotation. At the end of the day, neither would be an Opening Day starter for any other team in Major League Baseball. Fans who demand that the catcher production void be filled by one person are unrealistic. It will be years before a perennial All-Star is a constant behind the plate in Cleveland.

Enter Mike Redmond and a three-man platoon. What little money the Tribe was willing to spend this off-season brought the 38 year-old veteran from the AL Central rival Twins. While he may have a physical likeness to actor John C. McGinley, Cleveland fans hope his leadership more closely mirrors an on-screen character played by Tom Berenger. Jake Taylor, the
Major League personality with the big heart and the bad knees behind the plate, moves into a mentor role in the 1994 sequel. Taylor feels he still has much to contribute on the field, but it is the work done with young catcher Rube Baker (Eric Bruskotter) that proves to be the most beneficial to the team. Baker has all the skills and no brains, while Taylor's skills are diminished with age and his intelligence around a MLB clubhouse emerges as his greatest quality. In cinematic terms they are a classical duo, surprisingly helping each other learn more about themselves. Do not be surprised to see life imitate art on the field in 2010; Marson and Redmond could take the script to the real world. Redmond has convincingly passed the audition for the part--ask AL MVP Joe Mauer who he credits with helping him become a better all-around catcher.

Add Sandy Alomar, Jr. as a new coach, and Lou Marson will be mentored by two highly credible teachers of the craft. The hitting will undoubtedly come with repetition and time, but Redmond and Alomar can affect Marson's ability to manage a young pitching staff immediately. When Redmond signed with Cleveland he talked
about working with A.J. Burnett, Dontrelle Willis, and Brad Penny when they first came up with the Marlins organization. That arsenal of young arms looked like veterans in the hands of Redmond. He hopes to experience similar joys with the likes of Justin Masterson, Aaron Laffey and David Huff. Redmond told Indians blogger, Anthony Castrovince, "It's nice to have the opportunity, as a veteran player, to really influence their career." All of this spells astonishingly early maturation by the pitchers as well as Marson. The weak link of the Tribe lineup might have to look elsewhere.

As for whether or not he is actually the brother of actor John C. McGinley, Redmond made no mention.


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