On decision day for the Cleveland Indians, Juan Gonzalez and Jhonny Peralta affirmed the club's choices.
Gonzalez doubled twice and drove in a run and Peralta went 3 for 4 with an RBI before both learned they had won starting jobs, and the Indians beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 6-3, yesterday.
Pat Burrell is making a case to bat cleanup. The Phillies' outfielder, coming off two sub-par seasons, hit two home runs yesterday in a 5-0 win over the Reds. Burrell is hitting .390 with a team-high six homers and 19 RBI this spring. "I'm just trying to stay consistent with my approach and not try to do too much," he said.
"He came in and did what we asked him to do," Indians Manager Eric Wedge said of Gonzalez, a two-time AL MVP who has been dogged by injuries the past three years. "He showed up in great shape. He has worked hard in right field to reacquaint himself with the outfield."
By making Cleveland's Opening Day roster, Gonzalez earned a $500,000 bonus and he can make an additional $1.95 million if he reaches incentives based on plate appearances and overall days on the active roster. Gonzalez's surprising addition also means that Grady Sizemore, the organization's rising star, will begin the year at Class AAA Buffalo.
Peralta won a one-sided battle with Brandon Phillips to take over the vacancy at shortstop left by Omar Vizquel's departure. Peralta, the International League's MVP last season, batted .395 (17 for 43) with two homers, 11 RBI and 13 runs this spring. . . .
Pete Walker started and pitched four perfect innings, striking out seven in Toronto's 4-0 win over Detroit. Walker has a minor league contract, but Manager John Gibbons and General Manager J.P. Ricciardi indicated that the team is leaning toward keeping Walker on the roster.
-- From News Services