MLB Spring Training 2012: Cleveland Indians, Don't Panic Yet

Bill FordCorrespondent IIIMarch 23, 2012

GOODYEAR, AZ - MARCH 13:  Starting pitcher Josh Tomlin #43 of the Cleveland Indians throws during the first inning against Texas Rangers during a spring training baseball game against the Cleveland Indians on March 13, 2012 in Goodyear, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians have struggled a bit so far during the 2012 spring training session, but don't panic just yet.

Fans and analysts tend to focus a little too much on spring training performances, and seem to believe that those performances are an indication of what will come during the regular season.

That is not necessarily true.

Indians pitcher Josh Tomlin has hit a rough spot with a 10.50 ERA, and Ubaldo Jimenez has a 9.31 ERA in spring training.

Ubaldo's velocity has dropped a bit as spring training has progressed. He began spring training throwing in the 94-96 MPH range, and his drop in velocity has many people feeling concerned.

Also, hitting has lacked and appears to be weak.

All of these issues certainly have the tribe and its fanbase worried. Even though the Indians do not appear to be doing that well, I would caution everyone to stop jumping to the worst-case scenario so quickly.

First of all, spring training is an opportunity for players to warm up and condition themselves to prepare for the regular season. It is also an opportunity for young prospects to attempt to make a name for themselves before being sent back down to the minor leagues.

Also important to realize, is that pitchers use spring training as an opportunity to practice throwing certain types of pitches. Many are working on changeups during this spring training.

Even though they may not seem to be doing well, it is important to understand that this is really just practice.

The Indians just picked up Rick VandenHurk off waivers from the Blue Jays. This addition adds depth to the Cleveland bullpen as a reliever.

The Indians have a few relievers in the bullpen who have suffered injuries but appear to be doing well. The addition of VanderHurk compliments the bullpen with strength.

Don't be overly concerned about spring training performances; the Indians are just warming up for the show.