Most players that put on a Scrappers uniform are impacted by that experience.
“Days as a Scrapper were great,” said Indians relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano. “We had a great group of guys down there. Fans did a great job of filling out that stadium for us.”
Second baseman Jason Kipnis added, “It kind of paved the way and started the foundation for what routines you want to do on the road and how to get used to, I don’t know, I guess the whole baseball life.”
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A foundation that has helped springboard guys like Kipnis and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall to the big leagues, but now it’s time to prove they belong in the everyday lineup.
“You can’t learn to hit in the big leagues in triple-A,” said Chisenhall. “You can’t learn to hit a left hander sitting on the bench. You can’t learn to hit closers not playing against them.”
To be exact, four former Scrappers represent the Indians at Progressive Field. The next step in their big league growth, leaning on the newly acquired veterans.
“Just be yourself,” said the newest Indian Nick Swisher. “If you’re a singles guy, be a singles guy. If you’re a home run guy, be a home run guy.”
“Speed up their learning curve a little bit,” added designated hitter Jason Giambi. “You’re always going to struggle in this game but maybe you can shorten the amount of time they struggle and help them mentally.”
Michael Bourn, the Indians new center fielder echoed that sentiment. “You just have to stay together and let them know you’re there for them. You want them to be there for you when you’re not doing as good.”
Kipnis concluded, “We’re here for a reason. Everyone believes that. That’s the confidence you have to take into the field.”