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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Edwin Encarnacion Sees Cleveland The Route To World Series.

There is an old saying, "If you can't beat them, join them."

Edwin Encarnacion lost to the Indians in his last game with the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2016 playoffs, he decided the grass was very green in Cleveland.

"Four or five teams had interest in me but interest in me but I made the decision to come here because here I have the opportunity to win the World Series," Encarnacion said.

Encarnacion reported to his first day in Clevelnad Indians camp to begin that process.

The 34-year old became one of the most feared sluggers in the American League after being traded for Scott Rolen from the Cincinnati Reds to Toronto at the trading deadline in 2009.

Encarnacion broke in as a thirdbaseman with the Reds in 2005.  He showed signs of power with 26 home runs in 2008 but struggled at the plate in in early 2009, hitting .209 with five home runs in 43 games with the Reds in 2009.  He looked lost at thirdbase.

The native of the Dominican Republic began to find his stroke as a designated hitter and firstbaseman with the Blue Jays. Encarnacion averaged 33 home runs per season in his last seven years in Toronto. He hit a career-high 42 home runs twice, 2012 and 2016 and led the American League with 127 RBI last season.

The Indians and manager Terry Francona are statting a defense of its American League championship in Goodyear.  The Indians used a tandem of Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli to provide run production.  Santana hit 34 home runs and drove in 87 runs.  Napoli hit 34 home runs with 101 RBi, after signing with Cleveland for last season.

"I was excited when I heard we might sign him but I was conflicted becaues I thought Napoli was still going to be here," Francona said. "I was surprised that it was potentially happening.  There is no questioning Edwin's credentials but that takes nothing away from Napoli."

The soft-spoken Encarnacion likes the make up of his new team and Santana called him after the signing became official.

"There are a lot of young talented players here. There is a lot of opportunity to get back to the World Series again and win," Santana said.  "Me and Santana will try to be together all the time. I want to feel like part of the family.  We knew each other before. We have a good relationship."

Encarnacion has turned down the opportunity to play in the World Baseball Classic to bond with his new teammates  He is ready for any role.

"If he needs me at first, I'll be there.  If he needs me at DH, I will be there," Encarnacion said.

Francona is also eager to find out how Encarnacion will fit in.

"You want to keep your best bats in the lineup as much as you can," Francona said.  "If you're going to split a spot like DH spot, you need to get to know guys.  You need to know when it helps them the most.

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