Spilborghs Has Chance To Make Tribe With Sizemore Injury
Mike B. | On 25, Feb 2012
Each week through Spring Training the DTTWLN staff will profile and break down the players in camp for the Indians at Goodyear, Arizona and examine their potential roles for the season to come. This week, we kick off our Goodyear coverage by breaking down some of the 22 spring invitees invited to big league camp by the Tribe.
By Mike Brandyberry
The announcement of Grady Sizemore’s strained lower back and that he will not be ready for Opening Day, may be just the bad news Ryan Spilborghs was looking for. This misfortune for Sizemore may leave the team needing a player just like Spilborghs on April 5 in Cleveland.
Spilborghs is a non-roster invitee in the Indians camp this spring. The right-handed hitting outfielder can play all three outfield positions and has been a solid fourth outfielder for the Colorado Rockies for much of the last six seasons. With Sizemore heading to the disabled list at the end of Spring Training, and Michael Brantley now headed to be the starting center field, the opportunity to play left field or earn a back up role just became more obtainable for Spilborghs and several others.
Spilborghs has been a member of the Rockies organization since he was drafted in the seventh round of the 2002 draft. He debuted with the club in 2005, and has assumed a part time role with the Rockies since 2006. Spilborghs has been a solid bat off the bench, hitting above .275 every year—except 2009—until last year. A year ago, his numbers dropped to hitting .210 and when the season ended the Rockies granted him free agency. On January 20, the Tribe signed him to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
While he is looking to regain his numbers at the plate, Spilborghs has the potential to be a right-handed bat of the Tribe’s bench. That bench is expected to be very right-handed heavy since the starting lineup is expected to be so lefty heavy. Spilborghs is certainly not guaranteed a position on the roster due to Sizemore’s injury, however, the Tribe could break camp with only four outfielders. If they do head north with five, he will have to battle Aaron Cunningham, Felix Pie, Ezequiel Carrera and Trevor Crowe as a bench player who could also play centerfield in a reserve role.
A day ago, Spilborghs probably needed an injury from an outfielder and a good spring by himself to make the Indians. He’s half way there, now he needs to produce and earn his role.