Indians enjoy Minor League experience

Indians enjoy Minor League experience

Indians enjoy Minor League experience
ZEBULON, N.C. -- Left fielder Shelley Duncan, who led the Indians with 19 RBIs in Spring Training, was one of several Tribe players who felt they had gone back in time Tuesday, when they faced their Class A affiliate, the Carolina Mudcats. The team's clubhouse was in a small shed behind the outfield wall.

"It takes us all back a bunch of years," Duncan said. "We've got some jokes going around, some laughs."

Travis Hafner said: "It reminds you of coming up through the Minor Leagues. It's a nice ballpark, and the people here have been great. It's been a fun experience."

The game was a homecoming of sorts for manager Manny Acta and first-base coach Tom Wiedenbauer. Acta was on the first Mudcats team in 1989, and Wiedenbauer was his manager.

"I was on the first-ever Mudcat team, so I thought it was funny when we got an agreement with the club here in Zebulon," Acta said. "We loved the logo back then in 1989, and we continue to love it. We've got some souvenirs with us to take home."

Wiedenbauer has enjoyed his long-term relationship with Acta.

"Manny came here to Zebulon when he was young," Wiedenbauer said. "He played for me for a couple years and we stayed in touch. It's good to be back together again."

While in Zebulon, the Indians had another chance to look at some of their prospects, including shortstop Ronny Rodriguez, third baseman Giovanny Urshela, second baseman Tony Wolters, first baseman Jesus Aguilar, right fielder Carlos Moncrief and catcher Jake Lowery.

"They are not only talented, but they know how to play the game," Mudcats manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "The Cleveland Indians have a lot of talent in the lower levels."

Acta has been happy with the talent coming through the Indians' farm system and is enthusiastic about the talent in Zebulon, as well.

"Some guys who have come through our system have done well, and some more who are coming through are good, too," Acta said. "We already know some of the talent we have here [in Zebulon]. Some of those kids, we are familiar with them. None of them are going to surprise us, especially some of the starters."