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Indians kick off tributes to Feller

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — There's a noticeable absence, an emptiness this year at training camp that the Indians will never fill.

Bob Feller isn't around.

The late Hall of Fame pitcher, who played his entire career with Cleveland and whose ties with the organization spanned more than 70 years, was honored Sunday before the Indians opened their exhibition season with a 7-6 loss to the Reds.

Feller, who died in December at age 92, epitomized the Indians. Whether throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on a humid afternoon in Florida, signing countless autographs or simply being the sometimes irascible Bob, Feller — beloved No. 19 — was a rite of spring for Cleveland fans, who idolized the legendary right-hander and American original.

He's gone now. The Indians miss him.

"You can't help but notice that he's not around," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "He was a presence. I remember back in the days when we would go to Winter Haven, he'd be around playing catch. There never has been a Hall of Fame-caliber guy who you identify so much with one franchise.

"Bob meant a lot to us."

The Indians are planning a season-long tribute to Feller, who won 266 career games and is regarded as one of the game's greatest pitchers.

In other Indians news, rightfielder Shin-Soo Choo sat out the game to rest his sore left elbow.

ROBINSON HONOR: A quaint Montreal home that served as a sanctuary to Jackie Robinson and his wife while he advanced toward breaking baseball's color barrier is being recognized by the U.S. government.

That chapter in American civil-rights history will be celebrated today when U.S. diplomats unveil a commemorative plaque at the apartment Robinson and his wife Rachel called home in the summer of 1946.

GERUT RETIRES: Outfielder Jody Gerut retired after six seasons in the majors. Gerut, 33, played for five teams.

A'S: Right-hander Rich Harden, who had hoped to start throwing again by today, will get another week off to recover from lat stiffness under his right arm, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

CARDINALS: Rightfielder Lance Berkman said his left elbow is sore, but he'll still play in today's spring opener against the Marlins.

MARLINS: Rightfielder Mike Stanton left the spring opener after straining his right quadriceps while trying to beat out a groundball. The team declined to predict how long he'll be out.

RANGERS: Right-hander Brandon Webb threw 26-28 pitches off a mound, his first mound work in 10 days. The former Cy Young Award winner, who hasn't pitched in a major-league game in two years, said he felt good and had "zero issues."

ROCKIES: Third baseman Ian Stewart sustained a slight left knee sprain in a collision with leftfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

International Baseball

Who: Seoul, South Korea; Netherlands and Canadian national teams; Rays, Phillies, Blue Jays, St. Petersburg College and St. Pete Storm (amateur team)

Where: Al Lang Field, St. Petersburg

Tickets: $6; (727) 551-3000, stpeteinternational

baseball.com, Al Lang box office

Today: Canada vs. Seoul, 1

Tuesday: Seoul vs. Netherlands, 1; Canada vs. SPC, 7

Thursday: Netherlands vs. Seoul, 7

Friday: Jays vs. Canada, 1

March 5: Netherlands

vs. Canada, 7

March 9: Rays vs. Netherlands, 1

March 11: Netherlands vs. SPC, 7

March 13: Phillies vs. Netherlands, 1

Indians kick off tributes to Feller 02/27/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 28, 2011 9:23pm]

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