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Spring Training Roundup

While 24-year Andy Marte has garnered quite a bit of attention from both management and the fans, another youngster is quietly preparing for his first full season in the majors:

Gutierrez is only 25, but it seems as if he should be older. This will be his fifth season in the Indians' organization since being acquired from the Dodgers for Milton Bradley on April 4, 2004.

He has never had this kind of chance before. Trot Nixon is gone and the Indians didn't bring in another veteran outfielder to cloud the picture. Right field is waiting for him.

At this time last year, we were saying many of the same things last year about Gutierrez that we are about Marte this spring. Gutierrez was once a highly-rated prospect dealt to the Indians. He initially struggled to make the transition from the high minors to the majors. Well, his defense was never an issue, but you can see the parallels.

That doesn't mean that Franklin is a finished product, though. He hit just .232/.292/.429 against right-handed pitching last season, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio (77 to 21) is too high for my tastes. But even with those drawbacks, his defensive ability makes him already a decent right fielder.


If you're an Indians' beat writer looking for a story, just walk on over to Travis Hafner, or in this case, his wife Amy:

"Did you know he was a Mathlete?" Amy asks. "He's really good at math. I bought some pens the other day, and I was trying to figure out how much they were per pen. I told him the total price, and he was like, 'It's $2.36 a piece. Aren't you impressed?'

"I don't own a calculator, because I just ask Travis to do it for me."

It gets better.

"He's definitely afraid of needles," Amy says. "He once had to get an ingrown toenail removed, and my dad is a podiatrist. My dad had to give him a shot of Novocain. Travis was pouring with sweat.

"Honest to God, he almost fainted. He got out of the chair and ... you know how they put paper on the chair? The paper was like wet toilet paper."