SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The games don't count, but they still count for something, in manager Manny Acta's mind. Acta takes a certain pride in the 16-7-2 record the Indians took into Tuesday night's game at Surprise Stadium against the Royals. And he thinks it's something fans should pay attention to. "They should be excited," Acta said. "Isn't it better to be 16-7 than 7-16? There's got to be a reason why we're 16-7. These guys are playing well and working on what we want them to work on."
A year ago, under Eric Wedge, the Indians entered Spring Training with loftier expectations for the season ahead than they have now, but they faltered in Cactus League play. The Tribe limped out of Arizona with an 11-19 record, and that proved to be an ominous sign of things to come. What encourages Acta is the fact that the Indians won games early in camp with lineups that relied heavily on young prospects, and they're winning games late, with the regulars playing more frequently. "If our record was horrible, everybody would be saying horrible things about us," Acta said. "When you win and play good, it's good for the soul and it's good for the confidence of the young kids."