"Three of the four, two definitely, could have gone either way. He was making quality pitches, but 10-12 calls didn't go his way," Adair said.Entering with 7 2/3 shutout innings on his spring card, Hernandez finally allowed a run in the first, not without much help. Second baseman Chone Figgins roamed up the middle to snare Shin-Soo Choo's hard grounder with two outs in the first, but lost his grip on the ball as he reared back to throw to first, resulting in an infield single. Travis Hafner drilled a hard single to center, then Jhonny Peralta bounced to third baseman Chris Woodward -- who sailed his throw to second into right field for a throwing error that escorted Choo home. This was stop-the-presses stuff -- Hernandez allowed no more than one run in more than half of his 2009 starts (18 of 34). It was also stop-the-Indians-offense stuff: They would get only one other hit off him, albeit it was a one-out double down the third-base line by Michael Brantley in the fifth that converted Hernandez's control lapse into the losing run. The hold-back approach with Hernandez, following his frantic 2009 which included a World Baseball Classic stint with Venezuela then 238 2/3 innings with the Mariners, appears to be working perfectly. "He came in in good shape," Adair said. "The 240 innings for last season were a concern, but he has responded well." "If he pitches like this all year, he will have a great year. When you sit this close," said Van Burkleo, motioning toward the third-base bench, "you really see the life on his pitches." That close, Van Burkleo could also see the life in Milton Bradley's legs. Bradley, free of the sore legs that habitually harass him through Spring Training, drew a fifth-inning walk to launch him on a little basepath adventure. Bradley stole second. Then Bradley stole third. Finally, when Ryan Garko beat a ball into the ground charged from third by Peralta, Bradley tried to score. The ball beating him by about 15 feet did not stop Bradley from trying to run through catcher Lou Marson who, to his credit, held onto the ball for the out. Afterwards, Bradley simply smiled about that sequence. "Just playing the game hard," he said. Both steals had been on his own.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.