Expert packer Allen carrying baggage of travel well

Rookie growing despite shuttling on I-71

Alex Hooper
August 09, 2018 - 5:57 pm
Aug 9, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians center fielder Greg Allen (1) steals second base beside Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco (11) in the ninth inning at Progressive Field.

© David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – If Cleveland Indians outfielder Greg Allen has a locker at Progressive Field, he is happy. If he can help the team win a game, even better.

The young speedster was summoned to Cleveland on Tuesday just after 7 p.m., as he was sitting in a rain delay in Durham, NC, waiting to play another Triple-A contest with the Columbus Clippers. With Indians center fielder Leonys Martin set to hit the disabled list with an illness, Allen was set to make his fifth stint with the Major League club in 2018.

Less than 24 hours later, the rookie helped that club win a ballgame.

The 25-year-old led off the bottom of the 9th inning with a single to right field. He stole second base before Francisco Lindor moved him to 3rd with a roller to the right side. Michael Brantley soon singled Allen home for the win.

The Indians set up the perfect situation for needing one run, with one of the fastest players in the game on third, and the game’s premier contact hitter at the dish.

“That’s a team run right there all the way around and thanks to those two guys, I got put in that opportunity,” Brantley said, lauding Allen. “Obviously led off the inning with a single, and that’s a big base to steal right there in that time. (Twins reliever) Addison Reed slide-steps to the plate. So he did a great job of getting to second and then Frankie did a good job of getting him over and putting me in that situation.”

The least experienced player on the roster has begun to grow in front of all of Cleveland’s eyes, and while he has not been the organization’s first choice, they have not been hesitant to rely on him. Allen had the green light to steal off of Reed, and again reinforced his manager’s confidence in him.

He has earned this standing while bouncing up and down I-71 and going on a ‘scavenger hunt’ for his locker each time up, learning to become an expert at packing his things on the way. Allen said he had to gather his things in the locker room and back at the hotel to catch a flight that left 90 minutes later.

“The more times you do something or experience something the more accustomed you become to it,” Allen said. “It really, I think, helps to allow me to things I need to focus on, which is baseball. So you kind of grow to understand the nature and the business of things. At the end of the day whether it's here or somewhere else, really, it's about finding ways to help your team win.”

Since being sent back to Columbus in late July, Allen had been helping the Clippers win by way of a .327/.383/.439 slash with five doubles and two home runs in 26 games. His four Major League games bookending his latest Triple-A stint have seen the switch-hitter post a 7-for-14 stretch with four runs scored.

Those things are not lost on his teammates.

“I think he does a phenomenal job,” Brantley said. “He’s a great kid with a great head on his shoulders. He understands that when he comes up here, we expect him to do his best, and he is doing it day in and day out. He comes out there and gives it all his effort. He’s still learning, he’s still asking the right questions and that’s what is most important.”