Signed in the offseason to provide pop against left-handed
pitchers, Hernandez hit three home runs off lefties Thursday in
Cleveland's 7-6 victory over the Detroit Tigers.Hernandez hit a solo shot and a two-run homer off starter Mike
Maroth, then led off the sixth by connecting against reliever Doug
Creek.The power display was an encouraging sign for the Indians, who
will start the season without two-time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez.
Earlier in the day, the team placed Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled
list with a strained right hamstring and recalled Grady Sizemore
from Triple-A Buffalo.The 22-year-old Sizemore played the final five innings in center
field. He had been optioned to the minor leagues Sunday to make
room for Gonzalez."I wasn't ready to leave today," Sizemore said. "I was really
racing around."He entered in the fifth inning, after returning to his apartment
to pack his belongings. He grounded out and walked in two plate
appearances.Indians manager Eric Wedge said Sizemore will start in center
field against right-handed pitchers.Casey Blake, who is being switched from left field to right, was
hit by a pitch and scored a run. The Indians moved Blake to the
outfield from third base this spring."I probably felt more comfortable in left, but hopefully I'll
feel more comfortable in right the more I'm out there," Blake
said. "It's something I kind of had in the back of my mind. I just
hope Juan gets healthy so he can help this team."The Indians won on Jeff Liefer's sacrifice fly in the bottom of
the ninth.The Tigers scored five runs in the first inning off starter
Steve Watkins. Four came on a grand slam by Marcus Thames, who has
four homers and 14 RBI this spring. Creek allowed consecutive home
runs to Hernandez and Ben Broussard in the sixth.
Cleveland OF Coco Crisp left camp to attend to a family
matter in California. Crisp is expected to rejoin the team Sunday
in Chicago. ... Detroit OF Magglio Ordonez has an inflamed colon
and will not play in the team's two remaining exhibition games.
Ordonez said he expects to return for the season opener. ... The
Tigers reassigned Creek and OF Alexis Gomez to their minor league
camp and optioned outfielder Thames to Triple-A Toledo, cutting
their big league roster to 28.