BOSTON -- Bob Feller took more pride in serving his country than for anything he accomplished on a baseball diamond. On this Memorial Day weekend, the legend's service will be remembered with the first Bob Feller Act of Valor Award.
In a joint announcement, the Indians and the United States Navy officially unveiled the award on Friday. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the USS Alabama Battleship Commission have also expressed support for the honor.
"As we celebrate with our friends and family this Memorial Day," Peter Fertig, president of the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation, said in a release, "we need to take a moment and honor those who have served our country. It is through their hard work and dedication to this great country that we have our freedom. We must not forget those who have protected that right."
Each year, the Act of Valor Award will be given to one Major League Baseball player, one Navy chief petty officer and one Baseball Hall of Famer. Finalists for the award will be announced during a ceremony during the Independence Day holiday at Progressive Field in Cleveland, and the winners will be presented with their award in a Veterans Day ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Feller enlisted in the Navy at 23 years old after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He served aboard the USS Alabama and saw combat in the Pacific Theater, in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Feller rose to the rank of chief petty officer before being discharged in August 1945. He missed nearly four baseball seasons by enlisting.
In 1962, Feller was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, becoming the only U.S. Navy chief petty officer in the Hall.
"Bob Feller remains an American icon, for his contributions on the field as well as his commitment to his country," said Brad Horn, senior director of communications and education for the Hall of Fame. "He remains an inspirational lesson in museum education for fans of all generations to learn how his commitment to country benefitted so many, while sacrificing years of his prime baseball career."
Francona impressed with Santana's power, patience
BOSTON -- Carlos Santana possesses a mix of power and poise that has had manager Terry Francona in awe at times.
One of those times was Thursday, when Santana drew four walks in Cleveland's 12-3 rout over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Tribe's regular catcher, who played first Thursday, mixed in a bunt single and ended the evening with three runs scored.
"That was unbelievable," Francona said on Friday. "We were talking about that in the dugout -- the guys were, too. I can't imagine doing that, having the patience. Because he swings almost violent, and he doesn't miss that much when he gets to two strikes. And he takes his walks and he swings at good pitches. It's amazing."
Santana became the first Indians batter to draw four walks in one game since July 19, 2008, when Grady Sizemore did so against the Mariners. Santana was the first Tribe hitter with at least one hit, three runs and four walks since Ellis Burks accomplished the feat against the Twins on Sept. 29, 2001.
Heading into Friday's game, Santana was hitting .299 with eight home runs, 13 doubles and 18 RBIs through 41 games. He led the team with 29 walks and a .420 on-base percentage.
"Dude's got those [eyes] working," first baseman Nick Swisher said. "It's great. Everyone is slotting into their spot. Everybody understands what their jobs are."
Asked about Santana, designated hitter Mark Reynolds laughed.
"His head is moving all over the place," Reynolds said. "He spits on everything. He's had more 3-0, 3-1, 2-0 counts than anyone I've ever seen in my life."
And what about that bunt single?
"He's been working on that bunt for a week," said Reynolds, who rolled his eyes. "Every time in [batting practice], he's been bunting like 10 pitches."
Quote to note
"I had numerous guys ask me, 'What's Tito like as a manager?' I'd say, 'I promise you, you'll never want to play for anybody else.' And it's no disrespect to anybody else. That's just the type of person Tito is. Once you play for a guy like Tito, you kind of get spoiled."
-- Infielder Mike Aviles, on Francona
• After the first inning of the Indians' 12-3 win on Thursday at Fenway Park, the Red Sox showed a tribute video for Francona, who was Boston's manager from 2004-11. Also shown in the video from Cleveland were third-base coach Brad Mills, bullpen coach Kevin Cash, starter Justin Masterson, infielder Mike Aviles and relievers Matt Albers and Rich Hill. They each spent time with the Red Sox.
"I was honored," Francona said, "and I was also thrilled that they showed Cashy, Mike Aviles, Matt, Rich Hill and then Millsy standing next to me. He's maybe my best friend in life. So, to share that was pretty awesome."
• Starter Zach McAllister has logged at least five innings with three earned runs or fewer allowed in 11 consecutive starts, dating back to last season. That is tied with Josh Tomlin (11, Sept. 24, 2010-May 23, 2011) and CC Sabathia (11, July 19-Sept. 8, 2007, and Aug. 23, 2002-April 12, 2003) for the longest such streak by a Cleveland pitcher going back to 1990. Buddy Black had 16 such outings in a row from Aug. 23, 1989-May 18, 1990.
• Left-hander Scott Barnes logged three shutout innings to finish Thursday's 12-3 win over the Red Sox, earning a save in the process. It marked the first three-inning save for a Tribe pitcher since Luis Vizcaino did it May 27, 2009. Barnes and Vizcaino are the only Cleveland relievers in the past 22 years to have a save consisting of three innings, four strikeouts and no walks.
• Starter Brett Myers, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 20 due to a right elbow injury, is scheduled to make his third Minor League rehab start at a yet unknown affiliate on Monday. Myers has posted a 3.68 ERA with two strikeouts and five walks in 7 1/3 innings through two Double-A rehab outings.