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Patient Tribe fans rewarded

4/10/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Craig Marks

Also, Ducks pitcher hopes patience pays off in victories

Indians catcher Yan Gomes locks in on a pitch from Twins starter Mike Pelfrey in the sixth inning. Gomes knocked the ball into the center-field bullpen, beginning a Tribe offensive outburst that led to a 7-2 opening day victory.
Bennett Love, 5, of Solon, gets his arm painted before the Indians home opener April 4.
Ken Schutz, a member of the Cleveland Blues Baseball Club, was part of the scene before the Cleveland Indians home opener April 4 at Progressive Field. The Blues, like the Akron Black Stockings, play baseball as it was played in the 1860s.
Photos: Craig Marks
CLEVELAND — In baseball, patience is not just a virtue. It’s a necessity.

Fans attending the Cleveland Indians home opener against the Minnesota Twins April 4 at Progressive Field had to sit through a rain delay that, for much of the time, was short on rain. The forecasters said a storm was coming, but all the fans saw was an overcast sky. There were even moments when the sun peaked through the clouds, but the cheers from the sold-out crowd couldn’t budge the tarp from the infield.

But it turned out, the forecasters were as right as rain — a short but nasty storm did come through the ballpark. The first pitch was thrown around 5:20 p.m., 2 hours and 15 minutes late.

The Indians offense, as it had been for much of the first week of the season, also took its time getting started. Against Twins starter Mike Pelfrey, the Tribe had only one base runner through the first five innings and trailed 2-0. But Tribe catcher Yan Gomes led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a home run, and the rest of the batters took note. The Indians scored three runs in the sixth inning and four in the seventh on the way to a 7-2 home opener victory, their first since 2008.

“We’ve been slow to get on track the first three or four games, but if we keep staying in the game, we have a chance,” said Tribe skipper Terry Francona. “So you play all nine and see what happens.”

Akron RubberDucks right-hander Kyle Davies is hoping to get on track after a long stint rehabbing. The pitcher, a former major-leaguer with the Royals and Braves, underwent shoulder surgery two years ago.

Davies, 30, knows a thing or two about being patient.

“[The surgeon] told me, ‘You’re not going to pitch for another 12 months, at least,’” said Davies. “I had a whole year where I rehabbed and watched TV. That wasn’t easy, but I knew I didn’t want to push it.”

In 2013, Davies, whose major league record is 43-65, pitched in the Twins organization.

“Last year was to build up arm strength and stay healthy the whole year,” he said. “I had a couple of obstacles to overcome with my shoulder, but this year is more like a regular year.”

Davies hopes to follow the success of other veteran pitchers whose careers got a boost upon joining the Indians organization.

“That was one of the reasons I signed with Cleveland,” said Davies. “You saw Scott Kasmir. He was almost out of the game, pitching in independent ball. He came back and pitched great, and they were very patient with him and helped him along. Ubaldo [Jimenez] wasn’t out of the game, but he had a down year. You look at those guys, and you see that this organization is doing something right. And now that I’m here, I can see it.”

The wait to see Davies and his teammates is over, as the RubberDucks start off the home part of their schedule with a weeklong homestand. The home opener is tonight, April 10, at 6:35 p.m. against the Bowie Baysox. The Indians are on the road, traveling to Chicago to face the White Sox and then taking on the Detroit Tigers.

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