Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 2/28/12

Nobody ever said it was easy being a Cleveland sports fan, but just in case folks are starting to feel that way, the baseball gods have acted swiftly to make sure that Indian fans don't go and start getting any ideas about being happy.

Position players only just started working out for the Indians yesterday, but there is already weeks worth bad news emerging from the Indians spring training complex in Arizona.  First, Grady Sizemore suffered a back injury and is now likely to force him to miss at least the first few weeks of the regular season.  Naturally, since this is Sizemore we are talking about, he hurt his back while doing rehab work on his balky knee.  For the Indians, Sizemore's injury is a setback to their lineup and outfield stability, but it also served as a harbinger of things to come.

Shortly after arriving in camp, closer Chris Perez strained his oblique and will be out of commission for four to six weeks as a result.  Hardly the most devastating of injuries since it shouldn't cost Perez too much time, but with youngster Vinnie Pestano in line to take over closer duties while Perez is out, the Indians are in the unenviable position of having their bullpen depth tested early on and potentially blowing winnable early season games, something they cannot afford to do if they hope to challenge the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.

Of course, these injury woes are nothing when compared to the off-field drama Cleveland is already facing.  The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona is still under arrest in the Domincan Republic and pinning his hopes to getting pardoned so that he might return to the United States and rejoin the Indian rotation.  If that doesn't happen, and it is a big "if" given the legal ramifications in both the States and the Dominican that stem from using a false identity, Cleveland will have to stretch their rotation depth to account for the 188.2 innings of work that "Carmona" gave them last year.  Granted, "Fausto" performed poorly last season, but 188 innings is still 188 innings.

But the latest news to come from the Tribe is that they've approached their surprising All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera about a long-term contract extension and the negotiations are not going well.  According to Cabrera himself, the two sides are "not on the same page."  Cabrera is still under team control through 2013, but this is bad news no matter how you slice it.  As you may have noticed, free agents don't exactly flock to Cleveland, which is a major reason they made that blockbuster deal for Ubaldo Jimenez last season.  With Asdrubal Cabrera looking like he could be potential franchise cornerstone, they can ill afford to get stuck in contract acrimony with him.  Clearly they are not off to a good start in that regard.

None of this news is particularly damning by itself, but add it altogether and Cleveland's 2012 season already seems to have black clouds hanging over it with no sign of a break in the bad weather coming anytime soon.  I'd express my condolences at this point, but Cleveland fans are probably so used to this sort of thing that they probably would notice.


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