OAKLAND -- Indians manager Manny Acta has noticed something about third baseman Jack Hannahan lately.
"He's very confident, right now," Acta said. "Lefty, righty, it doesn't matter who's out there. He's giving us good at-bats."
Through the first couple of weeks of this season, Hannahan has been one of Cleveland's most productive hitters, providing some stability in the lower third of the lineup. It has been a continuation of the strong finish the third baseman enjoyed down the stretch last year, when he hit .368 over the final six weeks of the season.
Heading into Saturday's game, Hannahan was hitting .324 with one home run, two doubles and a team-high 11 RBIs. Within that showing, he is hitting .833 (5-for-6) with two outs and runners in scoring position and .600 (6-for-10) overall with runners in scoring position. He's also hit .417 (5-for-12) with two outs, as well as .409 (9-for-22) against right-handed pitchers and .333 (6-for-18) on the road.
All of this has come from a hitter who carried a .231 career average into this season.
"It's nice to see him do that," Acta said. "We've always felt that he was a better hitter than what he's been in the Minor Leagues the last couple of years. As long as he doesn't try to do too much and just continues to spray the ball all over the field -- hit line drives and once in a while pop a ball out -- he's going to be OK."
Despite wins, Ubaldo knows he can do better
OAKLAND -- Ubaldo Jimenez has collected a win in each of his last two starts, but the Indians right-hander is not sitting back and finding satisfaction with that statistic. Jimenez knows his performance on the mound is nowhere near the level he wants to reach.
"I still have a lot of work to do," Jimenez said. "I have to keep working hard during my bullpen sessions and things like that. I'm trying to find a way to find myself for my next game."
During Friday's 4-3 victory over the A's, Jimenez allowed two runs over six innings en route to a quality start and a win for the Indians. The right-hander's command, however, was poor. He ended the outing with five walks and 107 pitches, and admitted he had little going for him.
Jimenez believes the root of his issues in Oakland was his delivery.
"I think it's a mechanical thing," Jimenez explained. "I think I was trying to throw too much over the top -- too high. I was trying to make the ball go downhill. That's why I kept bouncing the ball in the dirt. It's something where I need to put it around the strike zone. They can swing the bat and the defense can help me out."
On the season, Jimenez is 2-0 with a 4.00 ERA for Cleveland. But the righty has piled up eight walks against eight strikeouts with 15 hits allowed over his last 11 innings, covering two starts. In both of those showings, Jimenez's best inning was his last one before hitting the showers.
"The last two games have been like that," Jimenez said. "The last two innings of the game I feel like I get in a rhythm and I'm able to feel better and better as the game goes on. That's something that I have to find a way to do ... from the beginning of the game."
Indians manager Manny Acta said the team will not be overhauling Jimenez's mechanics any time soon.
"He's had those unorthodox mechanics from Day 1, and he's been very good with [them]," Acta said. "When he struggles, it's easy to point them out. But it comes down to being able to make the adjustment and attack the strike zone. When you have unorthodox mechanics and you're tall, and you have a lot of things going all over the place, it's about being able to repeat the delivery.
"It's easier said than done. But if you're nice and clean, it's obvious that you have a better chance to repeat your delivery."
Tomlin happy about friend Humber's perfecto
OAKLAND -- Josh Tomlin stood in a hallway within the visitors' clubhouse at the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, positioning himself a safe distance away from the crowd of teammates gathered around one of the televisions in the room.
Tomlin watched from a distance as his friend, White Sox right-hander Phil Humber, flirted with a perfect game against the Mariners at Safeco Field.
"If he gets this guy," Tomlin said, "he's going to do it."
The guy in question was Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders, who struck out on a 3-2 cutter for the first out of the ninth inning in Seattle. Then, true to Tomlin's prediction, Humber completed the 21st perfect game in baseball history.
Humber pitches for one of Cleveland's division rivals, but Tomlin could not have been happier to have witnessed history. The pair of Texas natives pitched against one another in high school, and have spent the past several offseasons partnering for winter workouts.
"We're good friends," Tomlin said. "I wasn't nervous watching. I'm happy for him -- don't get me wrong. I'm excited for him. He deserves it. He works hard."
Quote to note
"He has very unorthodox mechanics. It's going to be tough to change any of that stuff. He's done it for too long. He's either going to have command of his stuff and attack the strike zone or he's not. We're not going to sit here and claim that we're smarter than the Rockies or anybody else."
--Indians manager Manny Acta, on pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez
Indians outfielder Johnny Damon, who is training at the team's facility in Arizona right now, took part in extended Spring Training games on Friday (three plate appearances as a designated hitter) and Saturday (two plate appearances as a left fielder). Damon, who signed with the Indians on April 17, launched a home run on Saturday. Cleveland has indicated that the veteran could potentially join the big league team in early May.
With a win on either Saturday or Sunday, the Indians will have won their first three road series of the season. Cleveland has not accomplished that feat since opening the 1988 campaign with road series wins over the Rangers, Orioles and Twins.
Entering Saturday, the Indians had scored 48.5 percent (33 of 68) of their runs this season with two outs. On the current road trip, Cleveland had plated 23 runs with two outs through seven games. As a team, the Tribe is hitting .288 with runners in scoring position and two outs.