Barfield Wins Indians' Last Bench Spot; Gimenez and Crowe Optioned to Columbus

Chris KreitzerSenior Analyst IMarch 29, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 5:  Josh Barfield #29 of the Cleveland Indians bats against the Chicago White Sox on April 5, 2007 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Indians 4-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

In a not so surprising development, Josh Barfield has made the Cleveland Indians as a super utility guy.

Although he has not been exactly knocking the cover off of the ball, batting a .184, 9-49, .216 on-base percentage in 19 spring games entering Saturday. J-Barf has shown the ability to adjust to various positions around the diamond.

He seems to be playing pretty well in the outfield, and is getting more comfortable at third base. The Indians will use Barfield as a pinch runner, late inning defensive replacement with an occasional start here and there.

Manager Eric Wedge has liked what he has seen out of the former Padre.

"Josh's versatility was part of the decision,'' Wedge said Saturday. ''Also his speed, his ability to steal a base. We still feel like his hitting is coming. It has yet to translate into a game, but I feel like it will. He's probably a little better in right than in left. Of course, second base is his best position, and he needs some work at third.''
With the announcement, the Indians optioned the Chris Gimenez and Trevor Crowe to Triple-A Columbus. Both played great in the spring, so do not be surprised if you see them up with the big league club sometime in 2009.
Gimenez showed outstanding position flexibility, playing both corner outfielders, first base, and his everyday position as a catcher. He also posted outstanding stats batting .357, 10-28 with 2 HR, 7 RBI, .486 OBP, and .670 SLG in 20 spring games.
The guy is major league ready, and will force the Indians to make some pretty hard decisions on the roster very soon.
Crowe, .289, 13-45, 6 SB, also played great and played all out in every game he appeared in. Trevor is a player to watch and will be the first call up position player wise in 2009, when an injury occurs. Crowe looks to be poised to make an impact in 2009 as well.
The final bullpen slot seems down to Vinnie Chulk and Zach Jackson.
Jackson seems to still have the inside edge as a left handed long man, but Chulk has pitched great as well. Look for a decision on Monday or Tuesday.
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