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April 30, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Tuesday, April 30
Just a quick update today...
Wil Cordero cleared waivers and was officially released by the Indians.
The Rangers are shopping Gabe Kapler in anticipation of Juan Gonzalez returning from the disabled list. Although Mark Shapiro has denied the talks, speculation continues to run rampant that the Indians are interested. More on this tomorrow.
I forgot to mention this yesterday, but the Plain Dealer kicked off their Sunday paper minor league coverage with an article about 10 prospects worth watching.
The PD also has a "Where are they Now"" article on Jerry Dybzinski today.
Travis Foley checks in at #11 and Corey Smith merits an honorable mention in this weeks Prospect Hot Sheet from Baseball America.
Recaps from down on the farm yesterday:
BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons ten-game winning streak came to an end as the they lost 3-2 to the Indianapolis Indians last night. Nerio Rodriguez (1.25 ERA) started and pitched extremely well as he shut out the Indians for seven innings, allowing four hits and no walks while striking out two. Martin Vargas took the loss although he did not allow an earned run to score. Greg LaRocca's two-out throwing error allowed the tying runs to score and Vargas went on to allow the game-winner to cross the plate as he gave up three hits and a walk in the inning. Mike Lansing drove in both of the Bisons runs as he singled twice. Chris Coste (.443) singled and doubled (#12). Chris Magruder doubled and singled twice. Zach Sorenson tripled (#4) and singled. Greg LaRocca, Tony Medrano, and Josh Bard all singled and the Bisons left 10 runners stranded during the game.
AKRON (AA): The Aeros won 11-3 last night. Brian Tallet (2-0, 1.96) gave up three runs in the first inning but shut Altoona down for the next four to pick up his second win of the season. He ended up allowing five hits and three runs in five innings, striking out three and walking two. Dan Guillory and Jose Colon combined for four innings of shutout relief. Billy Munoz homered (#2) and doubled and drove in two runs. Jhonny Peralta also homered (#2) and drove in two runs. Jon Hamilton tripled twice and knocked in two runs. Nate Grindell doubled and singled twice with an RBI. Victor Martinez doubled and singled with an RBI. Jody Gerut singled twice with a ribbie. Luis Gonzalez singled, stole a base, and had an RBI. Jason Fitzgerald singled, walked twice, and knocked in two runs.
KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe could not hold a 4-0 lead and lost 6-5 to Salem yesterday. Carlos De La Cruz pitched five innings and allowed six hits and two earned runs with a walk and three strikeouts. Ryan Larson tossed three scoreless innings in relief. Aquiles Pinales (0-1, 2.89) took the loss as he allowed two runs to score in the bottom of the 9th as he allowed three hits and a walk in the inning. Offensively, the Indians went wild on the bases as they stole 7-of-9 for the game. Alex Requena stole three bases to give him 15 for the season and a tie for the league lead. He also singled twice, scored two runs, and struck out three times. Maicer Izturis also stole three bases (#7), walked twice, scored two runs, singled, and drove in two runs. Tyler Minges had an RBI sac fly. Eric Crozier, Henry Pichardo, Heath Wilson, and Hector Luna all singled. Ryan Church was 0-for-1 but walked three times and stole his third base of the season. Corey Smith was 0-for-5 with an RBI grounder and two strikeouts.
COLUMBUS (A): The Redstixx won 5-4 yesterday. Travis Foley (4-0, 1.59) worked the first five innings and was actually hittable for the first time this season as he allowed four hits and four walks but only allowed two runs to cross the plate. Oscar Alvarez pitched two scoreless innings of middle relief. Mariano Gomez allowed a run on four hits in 1-2/3 before Lee Gronkiewicz was called upon to get the final out for his fourth save. Luke Scott doubled, singled, and stole a base. Wily Tavares singled twice and had 2 RBIs. Brian Kirby doubled and singled. Joe Inglett singled twice and drove in two runs. Dennis Malave singled twice and stole a base. Chad Peshke singled and Ivan Ochoa added an RBI.
April 29, 2002
CHECK THIS OUT
Travis Foley checks in at #11 and Corey Smith merits an honorable mention in this weeks Prospect Hot Sheet from Baseball America.
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Monday, April 29
Yes, the 10 game winning streak has been wasted, but they're still only two games out.
Yes, the "little ball" promised in the offseason has yet to materialize (and probably won't), but they're still only two games out.
Yes, the tight budget makes a trade for offense very unlikely, but they're still only two games out
Yes, our worst fears in the offseason regarding the offense are slowly becoming reality, but they're still only two games out
Yes, the young guns are going to struggle all season, but they're still only two games out.
Yes, I have no clue how to end this, but they're still only two games out.
I'm glad I dozed off right before Charlie Manuel gave the ok to Matt Lawton for the botched double-steal attempt last night. From all accounts, it sounds like it was very painful to watch.
Charlie juggled the lineup again last night. Matt Lawton returned to the leadoff spot and Omar Vizquel returned to the two hole. Omar had gone 3-for-11 with three walks and a .429 OBP in his short stint as the leadoff hitter. Travis Fryman and Ricky Gutierrez were given the night off in place of Russ Branyan and John McDonald which made my wife wonder why, considering they had both taken the week off already.
Earl Snyder pinch-hit in the 9th inning and singled for his first major league hit. Now, can we please see him get a start? Left-handed Jarrod Washburn goes for the Angels on Wednesday (hint, hint).
When asked about the prospects of immediate help from the farm system, Charlie Manual is quoted in the ABJ this morning as saying "we don't have a AAA guy who can hit .290-.300 in the major leagues". Ouch. Too bad he's probably right. How soon before Mike Lansing asks for his release?
According to the Buffalo News, the Indians released Jose Mercedes from his contract so he could look for a major league job with another organization. Mercedes went 2-0 with a 3.49 ERA at Buffalo and had allowed 32 hits and 6 walks in 28 innings while striking out only 13 batters. He had also allowed four home runs. The hot start of Jason Phillips may have led the Indians to granting Mercedes his release earlier than expected (or forced Mercedes to ask for it earlier than expected). Ted Rose (1-0, 2.40, 15 IP, 3 GS) was promoted from Akron to take Mercedes spot in the rotation. Brian Edmondson was activated from the disabled list to fill out the Aeros roster. Mike Spiegel made the start in place of Rose on Saturday and we'll see if he keeps that spot in the rotation.
Derek Thompson, Bruce Aven, and Eric Crozier all pop up in the Indian-flavored daily minor league highlights on minorleaguebaseball.com
Six-year minor league veteran Dennis Malave is back with Columbus this season as he continues to pursue the dream in this article from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.
Scott Radinsky has apparently signed a minor league deal with the Florida Marlins and is pitching for their triple-A team in Calgary.
Here are the weekend recaps from down on the farm....
BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons defeated Louisville 5-1 on Saturday. Jason Phillips (4-1, 2.27) had another great outing as he pitched eight innings and allowed only one run on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Dave Maurer closed with a scoreless inning of relief. Jolbert Cabrera played his first game in leftfield and singled and doubled with an RBI, two runs scored and was caught stealing. Mike Lansing tripled and singled twice and scored two runs. Tommy Davis singled twice and knocked in two runs, one on a sac fly. Bill Selby doubled and singled twice and drove in a run.
On Sunday, the Bisons extended their winning streak to ten as the top seven in the batting order each banged out a minimum of two hits to lead the Bisons to a 12-2 blowout victory over the Riverbats. Going down the order, Zach Sorenson homered (#1) and singled and drove in two runs. Jolbert Cabrera, playing centerfield, went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Tommy Davis singled twice and drove in two runs. Chris Coste (.439) belted his first homerun and also singled. Bill Selby homered (#3) and doubled. Bruce Aven homered twice (#2), singled and drove in three runs. Greg LaRocca doubled twice and singled and knocked home a run. Chris Magruder doubled with an RBI and Todd Dunwoody singled. Totalling the numbers, the Bisons blasted five homers and five doubles in the game. Jason Beverlin (3-1, 2.75) followed his one-hitter from last week with another solid outing as he pitched six innings and allowed two runs on eight hits while walking none and striking out four. Sean DePaula finished with three scoreless innings of relief, allowing three hits and striking out three in picking up his first save of the season.
AKRON (AA): The Aeros defeated Harrisburg 8-4 on Saturday. The balanced attack was led by Victor Martinez and Jon Hamilton who both singled twice and knocked in a run. Jody Gerut singled and drove in a run. Brian Luderer doubled, scored a run, and knocked in a run. Scott Pratt tripled and scored. Jason Fitzgerald and Jhonny Peralta added sac fly RBIs. Mike Spiegel started in place of Ted Rose (promoted to Buffalo) and gave up four runs and four hits in five innings and was awarded with his first victory of the season. Dave Elder struck out three in two scoreless innings and Alberto Garza struck out two in two scoreless innings.
On Sunday, the Aeros extended their winning streak to four in a row with another come from behind victory, defeating Harrisburg 4-3 on a Victor Martinez single in the bottom of the 9th inning. Martinez added another single earlier in the game as he went 2-for-5 with an RBI. Jody Gerut knocked in the tying run in the 9th with a double and ended up scoring the game-winner to go along with his 5th and 6th steals of the season. Jason Fitzgerald singled twice and walked in the leadoff spot. Jon Hamilton blasted his third homerun and knocked in two. Jhonny Peralta singled, walked, and scored a run. Jason Stanford started and pitched five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks. Carl Sadler followed with two innings of scoreless middle relief and Brian Edmondson, fresh off the DL, pitched the final two innings and picked up his first victory of the season.
KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe lost 5-0 to Lynchburg on Saturday as they stranded nine baserunners and could not manage an extra-base hit. Eric Crozier singled twice and Corey Smith, Tyler Minges, and Nate Janowicz added the other basehits. Juan Moreno and Heath Wilson struck out three times. Nick Moran (1-2, 4.29) pitched five innings and allowed three runs on three hits and two walks. He also hit three batters with a bench clearing brawl starting after he plunked the batter following a Nate McLouth homerun. Marcos Mendoza and Aquiles Pinales each allowed a run in relief.
The bats awoke on Sunday as the K-Tribe blasted the Salem Avalanche 12-3 to break their 7-game road losing streak. Making the outburst extra sweet was the fact that the opposing pitcher was none other than Scott Dohmann who had blanked the Indians for eight innings last week. Leading the offense was Eric Crozier who belted his third homerun and doubled as he drove in four runs, adding a sac fly, two runs scored, and two walks. Angel Bastardo went deep in style as he blasted a grand salami for his first homer of the season. Maicer Izturis doubled and knocked in a run. Corey Smith singled twice and drove in a run. Ryan Church doubled, singled, scored twice, and walked twice. Hector Luna singled in a run and Tyler Minges singled and scored twice. Francisco Cabrera pitched six solid innings to pick up his first win of the season as he allowed three runs on six hits in six innings with eight strikeouts and only one walk. Steve Fitch and Luke Field combined for three innings of scoreless relief.
COLUMBUS (A): The Redstixx defeated Hickory 6-3 on Saturday. JD Martin started and pitched 1-1/3 inning in the shortest outing of his young career. He was ejected in the second after arguing a close play at first. Of course, this was after he had already given up four hits and two walks so it's understandable how he might been a little upset. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back in his next start. Scott Strukie (3-0, 0.92) took over for Martin and pitched a scoreless 4-1/3 innings, striking out four, to run his scoreless streak to 17-2/2 innings over his last six appearances. Matt Blethen and Lee Gronkiewicz followed with three more innings of scoreless relief with Gronkiewicz picking up his third save of the season. The offense was led by Chad Peshke (#2) and Armando Camacaro (#2) who each belted three-run homeruns. Camacaro also singled, as did Wily Tavares and Rodney Choy Foo.
The Redstixx pitchers ran their scoreless streak to 18 innings as Derek Thompson, Doug Lantz, and Chris Cooper combined for a three-hit shutout in the Redstixx 2-0 extra-inning win over Hickory. Thompson (0-0, 0.62) was nearly perfect for the first seven as he allowed only one hit and no walks while striking out five. To go along with the unbelievable ERA, Thompson has allowed only 14 hits and 7 walks in 29 innings. Not a bad start for someone who pitched only 12 innings last year and had knee surgery last July. Doug Lantz is another Redstixx hurler off to a fantastic start as his three scoreless innings *maintained* his ERA at 0.00 and ran his personal scoreless innings streak to 18-2/3 innings. Chris Cooper picked up his first win with a scoreless 11th. Luke Scott was the hitting hero as he "blasted" a wind-aided HR to win the game in the bottom of the 11th inning. He also singled. Sean Swedlow doubled and Chad Peshke, Miguel Quintana, and Armando Camacaro added singles. Wily Tavares walked twice and stole two bases (13) and Ivan Ochoa walked once and stole four bases (7) as the Redstixx were six of seven on the basepaths for the game.
April 27, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Saturday, April 27
As predicted, Doug Davis was the cure to the Indians hitters blues last night. Unfortunately, neither Rob Bell or Ismael Valdes are on my rotisserie team so the offense is on its own the next two days :-).
It wasn't a great start for Chuck Finley but he battled enough to get the lead to the bullpen. He certainly didn't help himself when he mishandled a tailor-made doubleplay ball in the 5th but Omar bailed him out with a nice play in the hole and strong throw to second for the force. Apparently, Finley left the team on Tuesday for California and did not rejoin the Indians until yesterday. I suspect the Indians players will be more forgiving of his situation then when Jack Morris commuted to his Montana ranch between starts in 1994 but if this goes on all season it could be a distraction for the entire team, not just Finley.
Russ Branyan took left-handed Doug Davis yard twice last night and now has three homeruns and is slugging 1.182 in 11 at-bats against lefties this season.
Team Speed grounded into four more double-plays last night and now lead the American League with 29.
The Morning Journal notes that Charlie Manuel is planning on returning Matt Lawton to leadoff and Omar Vizquel to the two hole after the Texas series.
Earl Snyder has been with the team since Monday but has yet to see any action. With a lefty on the mound last night, it seemed like the perfect time to give Snyder an opportunity but Charlie did not want to remove Jim Thome from the lineup. Snyder has been taking fly balls in left and grounders at third, but Manuel is apparently not convinced that he's ready to be thrown into a game at either of those positions. So that leaves Snyder as a pinchhitter and possible sub for Thome at first and Ellis Burks at designated hitter. Neither of those two deserve to come out of the lineup so you have to wonder why Snyder was called up if his playing time is going to be so limited? Is the need for a right-handed pinchhitter so great as to take away two-to-three weeks of playing time in triple-A? The release of Wil Cordero is not something that happened overnight so why wasn't Snyder getting game action in left field down in Buffalo the first three weeks? Perhaps a player like Chris Magruder who can play all three outfield positions, switch-hits, and can run a little would have been a better candidate to fill this role. Magruder is also on the 40-man roster so the Indians would not have had to remove anyone to promote him which I'm sure is one reason why Snyder got the call and Mike Lansing, Bruce Aven, and Chris Coste did not.
I'm not one that's prone to gossip, but on the Indians clubhouse page on ESPN.com there is a brief mention of impending nuptials between CC Sabathia and Serena Williams. How soon before we see Richard Williams prancing around on top of the Indians dugout?
Former Indian news....Paul Rigdon is starting a rehab assignment with the Brewers triple-A club in Indianapolis. Jamie Brewington was activated from the disabled list at triple-A Pawtucket (Boston) and David Miller, the Indians 1st round pick in 1995, was placed on the disabled list at double-A Chattanooga (Reds).
Here's the organizational report from yesterday...
CLEVELAND (MLB): The Indians defeated Texas 7-4 to snap their 3-game losing streak. Russ Branyan went deep twice and drove in three runs. Babe Vizquel doubled twice and belted his third homerun of the season. Jim Thome singled twice. Travis Fryman tripled in a run and grounded into two double-plays. Chuck Finley (2-2, 6.75) started and pitched five innings, allowing two runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out three. Chad Paronto allowed a run in his two innings. David Riske pitched a scoreless 8th and Ricardo Rincon surrendered a run on two hits as he closed out the 9th.
BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons won their 8th in a row as they rallied with three runs in the 7th and one run in the 8th to defeat the RiverBats in Louisville 5-4. Josh Bard (.302) belted his second homerun and added a double as he knocked in three of the Bisons five runs. Bruce Aven knocked in another with a double and single. Zach Sorenson drove in the other with his second triple of the season. Greg LaRocca also tripled (#4) and singled and scored a run. Jolbert Cabrera singled and struck out twice in five at-bats as he played first base again. Tim Drew (0-2, 7.71) had his longest start of the season as he lasted six innings for the "quality" start. He gave up three runs on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts, two hit batters, and a wild pitch. Jerrod Riggan struggled through two innings in his Bisons debut, giving up a run on three hits and two walks, but it was enough to pick up the win thanks to Bruce Aven RBI single in the 8th. Martin Vargas pitched a scoreless 9th for his fifth save of the season and extend his scoreless streak to 9-1/3 innings.
AKRON (AA): The Aeros also staged a late-inning rally as Billy Munoz knocked in Jody Gerut with a line drive single to right in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Aeros a 4-3 victory over the Harrisburg Senators. That was Munoz's Eastern League leading 15th RBI and he added two more singles to raise his average to .344 for the season. Gerut did not have a hit but walked three times, scored twice, and stole a base. His OPS now stands at an impressive .907 for the season. Jon Hamilton, Jason Fitzgerald, and Johnny Peralta all knocked in a run with a sac fly and Victor Martinez singled with a walk. Matt White started for the Aeros and went five innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and five walks. Dan Guillory pitched two scoreless innings of relief in which he walked and struck out two. Jose Vargas allowed the tying run to score in the top of the 9th, but picked up the win when the Aeros rallied in the bottom half of the inning. He allowed three hits and a walk in his two innings of work.
KINSTON (A): The bullpen blew a 3-run lead in the 9th inning and the K-Tribe fell to Lynchburg 6-5. Brian Jackson, who entered the game with a 0.93 ERA covering 9-2/3 innings, suffered the loss as he allowed four hits and two walks in the 9th inning with the game-winner coming on a bases-loaded single. Jason Davis started and pitched well as he allowed only one unearned run (three total) on four hits and no walks in six innings. Ryan Larson added two scoreless innings of relief. Ryan Church was the hitting star as he belted his fourth homerun and added a double to raise his average to .338. He also stole a base and walked three times. Church now has an impressive OPS of 1.027 for the season but he's also struck out 23 times in 65 at-bats. Heath Wilson was 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Tyler Minges drove in a run with a sac fly. Alex Requena scored two runs as he walked twice and stole his 12th base of the season. Maicer Izturis also stole a base (#4) and walked, singled, and drove in a run. Corey Smith was 0-for-5 with an error.
COLUMBUS (A): Dan Denham (0-3, 5.40) cruised through four scoreless innings before three Redstixx errors opened the floodgates and the Hickory Crawdads erupted for nine runs in the 5th inning. The Redstixx made five errors (Tavares, Inglett, Peshke, Folsom, and Ochoa) in the game total. Denham recorded only one out in the 5th and ended up pitching 4-1/3 innings, giving up five runs (two earned) on two hits and four walks with two hit batters and four strikeouts. Mariano Gomez also was blasted in the 5th when he cane into the game and ended up allowing 4 runs (3 earned) in his 1-2/3 innings of work. Chris Cooper did not fare much better as he surrendered five hits and two runs in two innings. Lee Gronkiewicz closed with a scoreless 9th. Chad Peshke drove in the Redstixx two runs with a double and sac fly. Joe Inglett singled and walked twice. Rodney Choy Foo singled twice and scored a run as he has now had a hit in every game since being activated from extended spring training this week.
April 26, 2002
I've noticed that there has been some searching of the archives recently and let me just reassure you that you ARE NOT crazy and that the archives DO sometimes disappear. Apparantly, it's a Blogger thing and they're "working" on it. I try to manually fix it when I notice they have vanished but I don't always catch it right away. So if you're checking out the archives and there's nothing there, please let me know at IndiansReport@aol.com. Thanks, Joe.
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Friday, April 26
After watching this team lose 9 of 10 games and get outscored 22-10 by the White Sox over the last four days, I can pretty much guarantee an Indians victory tonight in Texas. Why? Because they will be facing Doug Davis and the Indians always pound the snot out of any pitcher who happens to be on my rotisserie team. So fret not Tribe fans, the offense will awaken from their slumber tonight. I gar-n-tee it!
Here's some various numbers compiled from the local papers. Warning, the following is not pretty.
The Indians have had nine back-to-back hits in the last six games. The opposition has had twenty, including six instances of three consecutive hits. Is it any wonder the Indians have difficulty starting or sustaining a rally?
The three runs the Indians scored in the 6th inning was the first time they have scored more than two runs in an inning since April 16, a span of 80 innings. Ouch.
The last time the Indians had double-figures in hits was April 10, 14 games ago.
The Indians hit into four double-plays in the first six innings yesterday and are second in the American League on the season with 25, trailing only the go-go Tigers who have 27.
Travis Fryman is hitting 4-for-51 (.078) against right-handers.
Righties are hitting .400 against Chuck Finley. Thankfully, the Rangers lineup leans to the left with Juan Gone and I-Rod on the DL.
All is not doom and gloom, however. The next month is a golden opportunity for the Indians to right the ship and "get hot" as the next 32 games are against teams either in last place (Baltimore, Detroit, Texas) or second-to-last place (Anaheim, Kansas City, Toronto) in their respective divisions. The Indians need to play at least .600 ball over this stretch to position themselves for a tough month of June (Minn, Chi, Mets, Boston, D-Backs).
Charlie Manuel says that Ryan Drese will stay with the Indians and is not in danger of losing his job as the 5th starter. Drese continued yesterday to have problems with his command as he walked four in six innings while also surrendering six hits and five runs. For the season Drese has walked 18 in 26-2/3 innings and allowed 37 hits for a .339 batting average against and if you've been reading the CIR all year, you know that the warning signs for this kind of start were there all spring. Charlie thinks Drese needs to do a better job of finishing hitters when he gets ahead in the count and nothing illustrates that point better than Kenny Lofton's 3-run double in the 5th after Drese had him down 1-2 in the count. Suddenly, the score jumped from 2-0 to 5-0 and the game was essentially over. No word has been given yet on whether Drese will be skipped in the rotation due to the off-day on Monday.
I didn't make mention of this last week because it didn't really seem to be all that realistic of a rumor but Jayson Stark reported in his Rumblings and Grumblings column on espn.com that the Indians and Marlins were discussing a possible Cliff Floyd for Russell Branyan trade. Mark Shapiro denies these talks ever happened in the Morning Journal today with the very simple statement that adding Floyd's $6.5mil salary would require the Indians to drop $6.5mil in salary in the same deal and that is not something the Marlins would be agreeable to. However, if Charlie Nagy can be convinced to go on the DL, would the approx $4mil of Nagy's salary that would be picked up by the insurance carrier be made available for use in a trade?
I like the fact Mark Shapiro is not pushing the panic button despite the recent slide. He and Charlie are scheduled to evaluate the team sometime around the 40-game mark and we'll see what happens then. Coincidentally, that should be around the time when Jolbert Cabrera returns and Brady Anderson is sent packing, ERRRR, I mean up for evaluation. Admittedly, with a firm budget and a lack of talent at triple-A, Shapiro's hands are pretty much tied in terms of making moves to improve the ballclub but a good GM can always find creative ways to bring in talent and this will be a good challenge for Shapiro.
I have no plans on purchasing or reading the Omar Vizquel book but how sad is it when it's your autobiography and the only thing that is newsworthy is a note about another player. Speaking of Belle, I only heard snippets of the Jim Rome interview but his short responses sure seemed to be throwing Romey for a loop.
Rotoworld.com reports that the Angels may have an interest in Wil Cordero once his ten days pass and he is officially released.
The Buffalo News had an article about Josh
Bard yesterday. It's encouraging to read how the pitchers appreciate his
work ethic and how he calls a game.
Jake Dittler was pulled from his start last night at Columbus. The team's official website lists a sore back as the cause. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer notes a strained hamstring muscle is the reason.
Travis Driskill, the Tribe's 4th round pick in 1993 out of the University of Tejas, will make his major league debut with the Orioles after being recalled yesterday. He'll work out of the bullpen for the O's.
For fans of the movie Field of Dreams, page 2 on ESPN.com has a "closer look" article on the film today. With baseball season upon us, I can't believe it hasn't popped up on USA or TNT yet.
Here is yesterday's action from down on the farm...
BUFFALO (AAA): The Mighty Mighty Bistones rocked on last night as they defeated Louisville 6-5 to win their seventh game in a row. Chris Coste continued to mash as he went 3-for-5 with his 10th double of the season, two runs scored, and two RBIs. A four-year veteran of the independent Northern League prior to signing with the Indians in the 1999 offseason, Coste is now hitting an amazing .456 and leads the International League in average and is tied with Chad Mottola in doubles with ten. The only negative about Coste's hot start is the fact that he has not walked in 57 at-bats and plate discipline has historically not been one of his strengths. He's not on the 40-man roster so the Indians would have to juggle some things to promote him, but if he keeps hitting like this, that will be a minor detail. Bill Selby also had a big night as he returned to Louisville for whome he played last season. Selby went 3-for-4 with a homerun (#2) and three runs batted in to raise his average to .328. Bruce Aven singled twice and drove in a run. Mike Lansing doubled, scored a run, and made an error in left-field. Jolbert Cabrera singled, scored a run, and stole a base while playing first base in his rehab debut. Zach Sorenson singled, walked twice, and scored a run from the leadoff spot. Josh Bard singled twice as he continues to raise his batting average (.280) after a slow start. Jose Mercedes delivered the prototypical "quality start" as he went six innings to pick up his second win of the season. Mercedes allowed three runs on six hits and three walks and also served up two homeruns while striking out three. Sean DePaula, Heath Murray, and Roy Smith worked out of bases-loaded jams in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings to keep the game in control for the Bisons. Smith then imploded in the 9th after the Bisons had scored two in the top half of the inning to take a 6-3 lead by giving up two runs to make the score 6-5. Martin Vargas came on to record his 4th save by getting the final out.
AKRON (AA): The Aeros reversed a short two-game skid by knocking off Altoona 11-6 yesterday. The offense banged out nine extra bases on the day and jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first inning that they never relinquished. Jody Gerut belted his 4th homerun and added a double and single and three runs scored. Nate Grindell tripled and singled twice to knock in four runners. Billy Munoz doubled, singled twice, scored two runs, knocked in two, and walked twice. Victor Martinez singled and doubled and knocked in a run. Brian Luderer hit his first homerun of the season and also singled. Luis Gonzalez went deep for the 4th time this year and also singled and scored three runs. Billy Traber (4-1, 4.85) went five innings and picked up the win but he continued to struggle away from Canal Park as he was touched for six runs on five hits and three walks while only striking out one. He now has an ERA of 12.38 on the road in two starts and a 1.50 ERA covering three starts at home. More importantly, Traber has only struck out 14 batters in 26 innings while allowing a hit per inning. Both of which are signs that Traber is nowhere near ready for the triple-A, let alone the major leagues. Card Sadler and Jose Colon finished with a combined four innings of three-hit, scoreless relief.
KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe fell to Lynchburg last night 5-2. Brandon Matheny replaced the injured Ryan Prahm in the rotation and pitched a solid four innings, giving up two runs on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Dan Neil relieved and gave up two runs in his three innings and was tagged with the loss. Brian Jackson followed with an inning of work in which he gave up his first run of the season covering 9-2/3 innings. Corey Smith (.357) singled twice and knocked in a run. Ryan Church (.317) singled, walked, and drove in a run. Maicer Izturis scored twice as he singled, walked, and stole a base. Alex Requena went hitless but stole his 11th base of the season.
COLUMBUS (A): The Redstixx pounded Kannapolis 13-5 to win their second game in a row. Going down the lineup, Wily Tavares singled twice, walked, scored three runs, and stole base number 11 on the season. Rodney Choy Foo belted his first homerun, scored three times, and knocked in two. Joe Inglett doubled and singled twice, knocking in three, and added a stolen base. Brian Kirby doubled and singled with an RBI. Chad Peshke walked, was hit by a pitch, scored twice, and stole a base. Miguel Quintana doubled, singled, walked, and drove in three runs. Ivan Ochoa singled, walked and stole two bases. On the mound, Oscar Alvarez made the emergency start in place of Jake Dittler and allowed two runs on five hits in 3-2/3 innings. Matt Blethen picked up the win as he allowed no earned runs in 2 innings of work. Doug Lantz continued to impress as he pitched 3-1/3 scoreless innings to run his streak to 15-2/3 innings to start the season. Lantz was the Indians 14th round pick last season out of the University of Kansas and also pitched for Grayson JC in Texas where, coincidentally, potential draft-and-follow signee Garrett Mock is currently pitching.
April 25, 2002
CHECK IT OUT
Baseball Prospectus weighs in with their thoughts on the Wil Cordero release.
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Thursday, April 25
Another day, another loss. The patience the Indians exhibited at the plate during their 10-game winning streak has long since disappeared. So has the ability to deliver timely hits. The Tribe loaded the bases in the 6th but Russ Branyan struck out to end the inning. They had runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs in the 7th but could only manage a run on Ellis Burks' sac fly. They loaded the bases again in the 8th but Matt Lawton hit a weak grounder to second to end the inning. This offense needs to take advantage of every opportunity that presents it and that has not been happening the last two weeks.
CC Sabathia struggled again but perhaps we can chalk this one up to the fact that Serena Williams was in the stands. Ok, I'm grasping here, but work with me people.
Is it time to move Milton Bradley up in the lineup yet? Yes.
Big start for Ryan Drese today. Regardless of how he pitches, don't be surprised if the Indians send him to Buffalo after the game. Next Monday is an off day for the Tribe and Drese could (should) be skipped in the rotation to keep the other four starters on schedule. If he struggles during these two outings, the Indians could always keep him at triple-A and bring up either Jose Mercedes or Jason Phillips when the 5th starter is needed again on May 4 at home against Texas. Of course, they could also decide to simply let Drese work out of the bullpen for the next week too.
The Indians optioned Jerrod Riggan to Buffalo and recalled Chad Paronto yesterday. Riggan has struggled this season adjusting to the middle relief role which typically required him to pitch earlier in the game than he has in the past. Charlie Manuel adds that he thinks Riggan was pressing and trying too hard to impress his new organization. For the season, Riggan had pitched in seven games and allowed 18 hits in 11 innings with six walks and eight strikeouts. With an ERA of 5.56, a ratio of 2.120 and a batting average against of .375, Riggan was clearly not the pitcher that his minor league numbers and half-season with the Mets last year would seem to indicate. A stint in triple-A should help to get him back on track.
Chad Paronto was off to a stellar start with the Bisons as he was unscored upon in 9-1/3 innings covering five games. He had allowed nine hits, struck out 4, and, most importantly, walked none. Signed off of waivers in the offseason, the Indians partly owe Albert Belle thanks for making him available as his continued presence on the Orioles 40-man roster for insurance purposes forced a move back in November. Paronto is a big guy (6'5", 255) who bears a physical resemblance to Bob Wickman on the mound. He throws two pitches, a 90-94 mph fastball and a sinker that serves as his out-pitch. A starter for most of his minor league career with the Orioles, he was converted to the bullpen full-time last season and made his major league debut with two scoreless innings against the Indians last April in Camden Yards. He'll work the middle innings for the Tribe and started well last night with 2-2/3 scoreless innings.
Einar Diaz caught the 9th inning last night after Charlie pinch-hit for Eddie Perez in the 8th. He's still sore, but could be back in the starting lineup this afternoon.
The ABJ notes that CC Sabathia has been icing his right knee after twisting it while fielding a groundball. The injury is not believed to be serious.
The Kinston News is reporting that Ryan Prahm was placed on the disabled list with tendinitis in his elbow after he felt discomfort during his start last Saturday. Brandon Matheny will take his spot in the rotation.
Tribe starting pitchers posted 1.00 ERA as they allowed seven hits and two runs in 18 innings down on the farm yesterday...
BUFFALO (AAA): Scheduled day off.
AKRON (AA): Brian Tallet was outstanding for six innings but the bullpen could not hold the lead as the Aeros lost their second in a row to Altoona 4-3. Tallet (1-0, 1.00) allowed only one hit and two walks while striking out three in his third start of the season. He's now allowed only 15 baserunners in 18 innings this year. Alberto Garza gave up a game-tying two-run homerun in the 7th and Dave Elder allowed the winning runs to cross the plate in the 8th as he gave up three hits and two walks in his worst outing of the season. Luis Gonzalez belted his third homer of the season and also singled to lead the offense. Nate Grindell had a double and two singles and scored a run. Billy Munoz doubled, singled, scored and drove in a run. Victor Martinez walked twice, singled, and drove in a run in the 9th with a double. Jason Fitzgerald stole two bases (4) and Jon Hamilton stole one (3).
KINSTON (A): Carlos De La Cruz went one inning better than Brian Tallet as he pitched seven innings of one-hit ball as the Indians avoided a sweep by defeating Salem 5-0. De La Cruz (2-1, 6.00) allowed only a 1st inning single and scattered two walks the rest of the way as he struck out six Avalanche hitters. This was easily his best start of the season and a nice reversal from his outing last Friday against Myrtle Beach where he allowed eight runs in four innings. Luke Field made his first appearance of the season and pitched the final two innings, walking one and striking out two. Alex Requena singled, walked twice, stole two bases (10), and scored three runs. Corey Smith singled and doubled and drove in two runs. Maicer Izturis tripled, scored, and knocked in a run. Eric Crozier singled and drove in a run. Tyler Minges singled with an RBI and stolen base. Nate Janowicz doubled and Heath Wilson went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.
COLUMBUS (A): The Redstixx also received a great performance from their starting pitcher as Travis Foley worked a solid five innings in their 6-2 victory over Kannapolis. Foley didn't get the win but he kept the Redstixx in the game as he allowed only five hits and two walks in his five innings while striking out five. His ERA *rose* to 1.16 which places him 10th in the pitching-heavy Sally League and he's also tied for third in the league with 27 strikeouts. JD Martin is the league-leader with 33. Scott Sturkie (2-0, 1.17) got the win as he continues to shine in relief, this time pitching three scoreless innings and allowing only two hits while striking out five. Sturkie was the Indians 12th round pick last year out of Coastal Carolina and has now struck out 19 batters in 15 innings this season while only walking three. Chris Cooper closed with a scoreless 9th where he struck out two. The offense was led by Mark Folsom, whose leadoff double in the 7th led to a 5-run inning. Folsom also singled and stole a base. Wily Tavares also stole a base (10), knocked in a run, and singled. Joe Inglett doubled and drove in two runs. Chad Peshke singled twice with an RBI. Luke Scott singled, walked twice, and scored a run. Ivan Ochoa scored two runs, singled, and was hit by a pitch and Rodney Foy Choo went 1-for-5 with a single in his 2002 debut.
April 24, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Wednesday, April 24
Todd Ritchie, 2002 AL Cy Young Award (sigh).
Not much went right yesterday. Bartolo battled but still allowed 11 baserunners in 6 innings which is a far cry from the performance you would expect from the staff ace in a start against your division rival. Mark Wohlers continued to sputter, allowing two more runs in his two innings. Jerrod Riggan allowed a run in a very shaky 26-pitch 9th inning. Jim Thome went deep and walked twice but continues to receive very little support outside of Ellis Burks and Milton Bradley. Travis Fryman may be the greatest clubhouse presence in the world but that doesn't mean a thing when you're hitting .212.
The Indians waived Wil Cordero and now have 10 days to trade or release him. It is possible that Cordero could accept an assignment to triple-A but that would require the Indians offering such a move which seems highly unlikely. Since no-glove outfielders with a BA, OBP, and SLG percentage of .222 tend to not have a very high level of interest on the trade market, you can expect the Indians to outright release him when the 10 days expires. The only hope now is for another team to suffer an injury that would force them to look outside their organization for a right-handed stick and you can expect any such deal to require the Indians to pick up a hefty portion of the remaining $3.8mil owed to Cordero this season.
Obviously, the move is all positive. It opens up a full-time spot in the lineup for Russ Branyan, it removes a negative presence from the clubhouse, and it opens up a bench spot for someone who can contribute more than the occasional single through the infield. The only negative to the move is that it wasn't done in the spring which would have allowed the Indians to keep Karim Garcia on the roster instead of losing him to the Yankees when they tried to sneak him through waivers.
Earl Snyder was called up from Buffalo to replace Cordero and will serve as the right-handed bat off the bench for the next few weeks. He was hitting .250 for the Bisons with four homeruns. Snyder becomes the third player from the Robbie Alomar deal to make the big leagues, joining Matt Lawton and Jerrod Riggan. A first basemen in the pro ranks, Snyder played third in college and high school and has played two games there this season at triple-A after also seeing time there in the spring. He'll also take some balls in the outfield while with the Indians. With Travis Fryman continuing to struggle and no other viable third-base prospect in the system ready to contribute, it's not inconceivable that Snyder could work himself into the mix at third next season if the Indians decline to pickup Fryman's option. For now, his stay is expected to last only until Jolbert Cabrera completes his rehab assignment in Buffalo.
For those hoping, myself included, that Brady Anderson would be the odd man out when Jolbert returns, Mark Shapiro was quoted as saying that he thinks Brady is the perfect player for that role since he can play all three outfield spots. Psst, Mark...so can Chris Magruder. Of course, that could also simply be GM-speak so we'll see what happens in the next twenty days. If Brady is still hitting below the Cordero line, it's going to be very difficult for anyone to justify the continued presence of Brady Anderson on any major league roster, let alone the Indians.
Speaking of Jolbert, he is expected to start his rehab assignment at triple-A Buffalo today.
Jeremy Ware was activated from the disabled list to replace Earl Snyder on the Buffalo roster.
Ted Kubiak is expected back in Kinston today after spending the weekend in California where his daughter gave birth to his first grandchild, a baby boy. Congratulations to the Kubiak family!
Ryan Prahm was placed on the disabled list at Kinston the day after pitching a 6-inning shutout against Myrtle Beach. No word yet on the injury or how long he will be out. RHP Luke Field (4-5, 3.89 at MV in 2001) was promoted from extended spring training to take his place on the roster.
Jesus Colmenter (.053-0-1) was placed on the seven day disabled list at Columbus after breaking a finger during batting practice on Monday according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Rodney Choy Foo was promoted from extended spring training to take his place on the roster. Choy Foo was the Indians 26th round pick in the 2000 draft and saw limited duty last season, splitting 64 at-bats between Columbus and Burlington.
The Derek Thompson-Kris Honel matchup last night gets a mention in the Daily Dish from Baseball America. More below in the recaps.
In former Indian news....John Rocker was "recalled" from the minor leagues by the Rangers. When Rocker was sent down he had 72 hours to report to Oklahoma City but the Rangers waived that requirement when it passed and he's been in-limbo ever since. Calvin Murray (unsigned Tribe #1 pick in 1989) was traded by the Giants to the Rangers for cash ($75k according to the Newberg Report). Murray could see significant time in centerfield as a defensive caddy to Carl Everett. Mark Budzinski was promoted from double-A to triple-A by the Cubs and Willie Martinez was activated from the disabled list and assigned to double-A Chattanooga by the Reds.
A very good day for the pitchers and one to forget for the hitters down on the farm yesterday...
BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons increased their winning streak to six games with a doubleheader sweep of the Rochester Red Wings yesterday at Dunn Tire Park. In the opener, Jason Beverlin (2-1, 2.05) was superb as he tossed a complete game shutout with only a 5th inning single by Jose Leon separating Beverlin from a no-hitter. He also struck out five Red Wings in his seven innings of work and has now struck out 19 in 22 innings for the season. Beverlin was signed as a minor league free-agent in the offseason after spending the 2001 season with the Angels and the previous seven years with the Yankees organization. Chris Coste and Mike Lansing doubled in runs to lead the offense. Zach Sorenson triple, singled, scored two runs, and stole a base. Bill Selby singled and knocked in a run. Greg LaRocca singled, stole a base, and was hit by a pitch. Tony Medrano singled with an RBI and Josh Bard singled twice in three at-bats.
In the nightcap, Nerio Rodriguez tossed a gem of his own to lead the Bisons to the 2-1 victory. Rodriguez pitched five strong innings, allowing one run on four hits while walking none and striking out two. Chad Paronto and Martin Vargas combined for two innings of scoreless relief with Vargas picking up his third save. Paronto has now pitched 9-1/3 scoreless innings for the season and Vargas has pitched 8 scoreless innings. Chris Coste drove in both runs with a pair of doubles which raised his average to a sizzling .442. Chris Magruder and Bill Selby also doubled. Mike Lansing, Tommy Davis, and the newly activated Jeremy Ware singled. Greg LaRocca was hit by another pitch and also walked.
AKRON (AA): Adrian Burnside, Neal McDade, and Chris Spurling combined for the first no-hitter in Altoona history last night as they blanked the Aeros 2-0. Burnside (Pirates #8 prospect by BBA) went the first five innings before being removed once he reached his pitch count. He struck out three and walked six which helps to explain the early yank while tossing a no-no. McDade followed and worked three innings, striking out one. Spurling closed with a hitless 9th, getting Troy Cameron to ground out to short to complete the no-hitter. Billy Munoz was the hitting "star" as he walked twice. Even without a hit, the Aeros had their chances as they left seven runners stranded in the game. Jason Stanford started and was solid in his five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Dan Guillory and Jose Vargas combined for three scoreless innings of relief.
KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe managed only 5 hits against Salem starter Scott Dohmann and were shutout 1-0 to extend their losing streak to two games. Dohmann worked eight innings and allowed only three hits and no walks while striking out three as he did not allow a runner past first base. The Indians had their chance in the 9th as Corey Smith and Eric Crozier hit 2-out back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners but Tyler Minges lined out to 3rd to end the game. Nate Janowicz and Hector Luna also singled for the Indians. Francisco Cabrera (0-2, 2.95) started and gave up only one run on two hits and two walks in four innings. He also struck out three. Marcos Mendoza worked three scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 1.29 on the season. Brian Jackson closed with two scoreless innings to run his scoreless streak to 8-2/3 innings.
COLUMBUS (A): Kannapolis defeated the Redstixx 4-2 in the final great pitching matchup of the day as the Redstixx were held hitless until the 8th inning. Kris Honel started for the Intimidators and held Columbus hitless through six innings, striking out seven, and allowing a run on four walks. Honel was the White Sox first round pick last season out of an Illinois high school and was selected one pick ahead of Dan Denham. Derek Thompson nearly matched Honel as he went the first six innings for the Redstixx and allowed only one run on three hits and four walks while striking out four. His ERA now stands at 0.82 on the season and he has a .163 batting average against. Mariano Gomez took the loss as he allowed three runs on five hits in his two innings of work. Gomez has a 10.80 ERA but has also struck out 18 in 10 innings, including five last night. Lee Gronkiewicz closed with a scoreless 9th inning. Armando Camacaro had the Redstixx only hit as he blasted his first homerun of the season in the 8th. Wily Tavares scored the other run and also walked twice and stole two bases.
April 23, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Tuesday, April 23
Nice game all-around by the Indians last night as they broke their 6-game losing streak in defeating the White Sox 4-2.
Danys Baez looked strong on a night that definitely favored the power pitcher.
How huge was Charlie Manuel bringing in Ricardo Rincon to switch Ray Durham over to the right side and place him a few extra steps away from first base?
How huge was Rincon then getting Ray Durham to ground into the inning-ending double-play.
How out of the strike zone was the called third strike (i.e. makeup call) on Jose Valentin in the top of the 9th?
How about Russ Branyan going deep against Mark Buehrle?
The Indians designated Wil Cordero for assignment and called up Earl Snyder from Buffalo. I'll have more on this in tomorrow's CIR.
Einar Diaz will sit out the next 2-3 days due to a cracked rib suffered in the home plate collision with Bobby Kielty on Saturday night. The injury is not expected to place him on the DL, but if such a move is warranted either Josh Bard (.233-1-9 in AAA) or Victor Martinez (.304-0-6) would get the call. Most likely it would be Bard since he is closer to the big leagues and the Indians would probably prefer not to waste an option on Victor Martinez if they don't have to. Chris Coste, who is murdering the ball like Engelberg down at Buffalo (.435-0-8), is also an option but since he is not on the 40-man roster it is unlikely that the Indians would want to juggle the 40 for what would appear to be a very short stay in the big leagues for whomever is called up.
Travis Foley and Corey Smith get some love from Baseball America in this weeks edition of the Prospect Hot Sheet.
First basemen Sean Swedlow, who is off to a good start with the Redstixx, is the subject of this article in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.
Former Indians shortstop Sam Dente has passed away. Dente was a backup infielder with the 1954 American League championship team and similarity scores at baseballreference.com compare him to Rey Ordonez and Rafael Santana among recent players. He would have turned 80 on April 26.
BUFFALO (AAA): Mother Nature caused the Bisons game yesterday to be postponed. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader this afternoon.
AKRON (AA): The Aeros jumped out to a 3-0 early lead and hung on late to defeat Altoona for their second win in a row. Luis Gonzalez was the hitting star as he went 3-for-5 with his second homerun of the season. Victor Martinez climbed over .300 for the first time this year with two singles, a run scored, and an RBI. Jon Hamilton singled twice and stole two bases. Troy Cameron and Billy Munoz each doubled and knocked in a run and Jhonny Peralta singled twice and scored a run. Ted Rose started and pitched five solid innings, allowing only three hits, one walk, and two runs, while striking out two. Mike Spiegel had a rough night as he did not record an out, gave up a two-run homer, and left the bases loaded in the 8th inning. Dave Elder wiggled out of the jam and went on to pitch a scoreless 9th to pickup his first save of the season.
KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe lost a tough one last night as they fell to the Salem Avalanche 8-7 in 16 innings. The Indians led 7-6 going into the top of the 9th but an error by leftfielder Tyler Minges allowed the tying run to score. The bullpens were superb from there as they each pitched six scoreless innings before the Avalanche won it on a homerun in the top of the 16th. The K-Tribe banged out 18 hits and left an amazing 18 runners on base with 10 left stranded in the final 8 innings. Maicer Izturis had four hits to lead the Indians, including a double that emptied the bases. He also stole his second base of the season. Ryan Church blasted homerun number three and also doubled, walked, and was hit by a pitch. Tyler Minges had a triple, single, and knocked in a run. Corey Smith singled, walked, and was hit by a pitch. Nate Janowicz and Heath Wilson singled twice and Hector Luna banged out three singles. Nick Moran returned to the rotation after being skipped last week and struggled through five innings, giving up six hits and five runs, although he did manage to punch out six Salem hitters. Brandon Matheny worked a scoreless inning. Ryan Larson gave up a run in 2 innings. Aquiles Pinales allowed his first run of the year (unearned due to the Minges error) and struck out four in his 2-2/3 innings of work. Steve Fitch was brilliant in long-relief as he permitted only four hits and no walks in his 5-1/3 innings of relief. The only run he allowed was the game-winning HR in the 16th.
COLUMBUS (A): JD Martin (3-1, 2.19) continued to mow down Sally League hitters as he struck out eleven for the second time this season and pitched the Redstixx to a 3-1 victory over Kannapolis. The effort earned him headlining status on the daily Minor League highlights on Baseball America this morning. He permitted only four baserunners all night (three hits and one walk) and allowed only the one run to cross the plate in the top of the 7th inning before shutting the door. For the season, JD has allowed only 23 baserunners in 24-2/3 innings while striking out 33. Doug Lantz closed with two scoreless innings to pickup his second save of the season. Lantz is another Redstixx pitcher off to an outstanding start as he makes the switch to the bullpen this season after being the Indians 14th round selection in last years draft out of the University of Kansas and starting eleven games for Mahoning Valley. He also made one late-season start for Akron and it was a gem as he pitched six innings and allowed only one hit with no walks and three strikeouts. For the season, Lantz has now pitched in six games covering 12-1/3 innings and has allowed only eleven baserunners while striking out thirteen. Mark Folsom blasted his first homerun of the season to lead the offense. He also singled. Miguel Quintana, Chad Peshke, and Armando Camacaro doubled with Quintana's knocking in a run. Wily Tavares singled twice and scored two runs.
Feel free to ignore the post after this as I messed up a hyperlink and confused Blogger to the point where it won't let me back in to edit/delete that post. Oh well, it'll disappear in a few days.
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Tuesday, April 23
Einar Diaz will sit out the next 2-3 days due to a cracked rib he suffered from the home plate collision with Bobby Kielty over the weekend.
Travis Foley and Corey Smith get some love from Baseball America in this weeks edition of the Prospect Hot Sheet
First basemen Sean Swedlow, who is off to a good start with the RedStixx, is the subject of this article in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.
Former Indians shortstop Sam Dente has passed away. Dente was a backup infielder with the 1954 American League championship team and similarity scores at baseballreference.com compare him to Rey Ordonez and Rafael Santana among recent players. He would have turned 80 on April 26.
BUFFALO (AAA): Mother Nature caused the Bisons game yesterday to be postponed. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader this afternoon.
AKRON (AA): The Aeros jumped out to a 3-0 early lead and hung on late to defeat Altoona for their second win in a row. Luis Gonzalez was the hitting star as he went 3-for-5 with his second homerun of the season. Victor Martinez climbed over .300 for the first this year with two singles, a run scored, and an RBI. Jon Hamilton singled twice and stole two bases. Troy Cameron and Billy Munoz each doubled and knocked in a run and Jhonny Peralta singled twice and scored a run. Ted Rose started and pitched five solid innings, allowing only three hits, one walk, and two runs, while striking out two. Mike Spiegel had a rough night as he did not record an out, gave up a two-run homer, and left the bases loaded in the 8th inning. Dave Elder wiggled out of the jam and went on to pitch a scoreless 9th to pickup his first save of the season.
KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe lost a tough one last night as they fell to the Salem Avalanche 8-7 in 16 innings. The Indians led 7-6 going into the top of the 9th but an error by leftfielder Tyler Minges allowed the tying run to score. The bullpens were superb from there as they each pitched six scoreless innings before the Avalanche won it on a home-run in the top of the 16th. The K-tribe banged out 18 hits and left an amazing 18 runners on base with 10 left stranded in the final 8 innings. Maicer Izturis had four hits to lead the Indians, including a double that emptied the bases. He also stole his second base of the season. Ryan Church blasted homerun number three also doubled, walked, and was hit by a pitch. Tyler Minges had a triple, single, and knocked in a run. Corey Smith singled, walked, and was hit by a pitch. Nate Janowicz and Heath Wilson singled twice and Hector Luna banged out three singles. Nick Moran returned to the rotation after being skipped last week and struggled through five innings, giving up six hits and five runs, although he manage to punch out six Salem hitters. Brandon Matheny worked a scoreless inning. Ryan Larson gave up a run in 2 innings. Aquiles Pinales allowed his first run of the year (unearned due to the Minges error)_and struck out four in his 2-2/3 innings. Steve Fitch was brilliant in long-relief as he permitted only four hits and no walks in his 5-1/3 innings of relief. The only run he allowed was the game-winning HR in the 16th.
COLUMBUS (A): JD Martin (3-1, 2.19) continued to mow down Sally League hitters as he struck out eleven for the second time this season and pitched the Redstixx to a 3-1 victory over Kannapolis. The effort earned him headlining status on the
April 22, 2002
CHECK IT OUT
Rob Neyer chimes in with a thought on the Indians new clubhouse chemistry. The important quote is this..."Baseball players often confuse a happy clubhouse with a winning clubhouse". Amen to that, Rob.
CHECK IT OUT
Travis Foley and Corey Smith get some love from Baseball America in this weeks Prospect Hot Sheet
The Indians have designated Wil Cordero for assignment and recalled Earl Snyder from triple-A Buffalo. They now have 10 days to trade, release, or send Cordero to the minor leagues. It's nice to see Larry Dolan bite the bullet on the contract. More on this tomorrow in the CIR.
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Monday, April 22
What a difference a week makes, huh?
This was one of the worst road-trips I can remember and that includes some pretty lousy teams in the 1980s. I'm not going to rehash the gory details as I'm in a pretty good mood and don't want to depress myself but here's a good list from the Canton Repository for those interested in the damage report.
One thing I will briefly touch on is that contrary to what the papers are spewing this morning, Chuck Finley did not pitch good yesterday. One bad mistake, perhaps. Better than his previous outing, certainly. But allowing 10 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings is not a quality start at any level.
The line drive that Ricky Gutierrez hit in the top of the 9th yesterday that was called foul was just too close to call in my opinion so I'll have to give the umpire the benefit of the doubt. But what a difference that would have made if it had been a couple of inches to the right. There's no guarantee the Indians would have done anything to get those runs across the plate, especially the way they have been hitting lately, but you have to like their chances with runners on 2nd and 3rd and no outs.
Is it just me, or did the Indians hit a ton of balls that were caught on the warning track this weekend?
Jake Westbrook is back in Cleveland strengthening his arm and he is ahead of schedule in his rehab with a late July/early August return targeted.
Kinston manager Ted Kubiak returned to California over the weekend for the birth of his first grandchild and is expected back early this week. Willie Upshaw is the acting manager until Kubiak returns.
BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons winning streak now stands at 4 after they beat Syracuse twice over the weekend. On Sunday, Tommy Davis led off the bottom of the 9th inning with his 2nd HR of the season to give the Bisons a 4-3 victory. Chris Coste continued his blazing start (.435) with a double (#6), single and an RBI. Earl Snyder added his 4th HR of season. Chris Magruder was on base 4 times with 2 hits and 2 walks and a run scored. Zach Sorenson, Bill Selby, Bruce Aven, and Tony Medrano added singles. Tim Drew struggled but had his best start of the season as he lasted 5-1/3 innings and allowed 2 earned runs on 7 hits and a walk which lowered his ERA to 9.24. Sean DePaula bailed Drew out in the top of the 6th with an inning-ending 5-2-3 double-play in his best outing of the season as he pitched 2-2/3 scoreless innings, allowing only 1 hit while striking out 3. Roy Smith picked up the win thanks to a scoreless 9th.
In yesterday's game, Jason Phillips (3-1, 2.60) carried a shutout into the 9th inning before surrendering a pair of 2-out doubles and ending up with a masterful 98-pitch, 3-1 victory over Syracuse. The Sky Chiefs managed only 4 hits and 1 walk against the right-hander and Phillips racked up 6 strikeouts. I believe that Jose Mercedes has some sort of a verbal agreement with the Indians where he will receive the first look if the Tribe needs to dip into the minor league ranks, but if Phillips continues to pitch as well as he has the past 10 months, he will definitely force his way into the major league picture this season. Bruce Aven doubled and singled and scored a run to lead the offensive attack. Chris Magruder, singled, stole a base, and struck out twice. Mike Lansing, playing LF, singled and stole a base. Todd Dunwoody also singled and stole a base as the Bisons were 3-for-3 on the bases against Blue Jays top prospect Josh Phelps. Tony Medrano contributed 2 singles and an RBI and Josh Bard blasted an RBI double.
AKRON (AA): Billy Traber (3-1, 3.43) continued to shine at Canal Park as he led the Aeros to a 7-3 victory over Reading on Saturday. Traber, who is now 3-0 at home on the season with a 1.50 ERA, pitched 6 strong innings in which he allowed 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3. Alberto Garza pitched the final 3 innings and surrendered only a hit and a walk while striking out 3. He has now struck out 14 in 9-2/3 innings with a 0.93 ERA. The Aeros strung together two big innings (3 in the 1st and 3 in the 5th) and the balanced attack was led by Jody Gerut who singled and walked twice and scored a run. Billy Munoz doubled and knocked in a run with a sac fly. Jason Fitzgerald doubled and singled with an RBI, a run scored, and a walk. Troy Cameron singled and had 2 RBIs. Corey Erickson doubled in 2 runs. Brian Luderer doubled and singled and had 2 RBIs. Jhonny Peralta added another single and is now hitting .313 for the season.
The Aeros were rained out on Sunday.
KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe snapped their 5-game losing streak with a 4-0 shutout of Myrtle Beach on Saturday. Ryan Prahm (2-1, 3.71) was outstanding in his 6 scoreless innings, allowing only 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4. Marcos Mendoza, moved to the bullpen this season after being the Indians 5th round pick last year out of San Diego State, finished with 3 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 1.64 in 11 innings this season. The Indians jumped out to a quick lead, scoring 3 in the first with 2 coming on a Tyler Minges homerun (#2). Minges was 2-for-3 on the day. Alex Requena singled, scored a run, knocked in a run, and stole a base in the leadoff spot. Rickie Morton doubled and tripled. Henry Pichardo and Ryan Church each singled and Corey Smith was 0-for-4 with an RBI groundout and 3 strikeouts.
The Indians then went out on Sunday and ran their winning streak to 2 in a row as they defeated Myrtle Beach again, this time by a score of 13-7. Tyler Minges went deep for the second day in a row as he blasted a 3-run homer (#3) to key a 6-run 6th inning. Alex Requena was on base all 5 times with 2 singles, 3 walks, and 2 more stolen bases (#7-8). Maicer Izturis was 2-for-5 with 3 RBIs and a stolen base. Henry Pichardo doubled and singled twice, scored 3 runs, and drove in 3 runs. Angel Bastardo doubled, singled, added an RBI and scored twice. Ryan Church was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base (#1) and Corey Smith was 1-for-5 with his 7th double of the season and 2 RBIs. Jason Davis (1-1, 3.00) pitched 5 innings and allowed 5 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks in his worst performance of the season. Dan Neil worked 3 innings and picked up the win while allowing 2 runs on 4 hits. He did strike out 4. Brian Jackson closed with a scoreless 9th.
COLUMBUS (A): The bullpen struggled for the second game in a row as the Redstixx fell to South Georgia 7-6 on Saturday. Columbus jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the 3rd but let the Waves come back to tie it 4-4 in the 4th. After building a 6-4 lead with an insurance run in the top of the 9th, the Waves rallied for 3 in the bottom of the inning for the victory. Dan Denham continued to struggle as he lasted only 3-2/3 innings while allowing 4 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks. In 15-2/3 innings this year, he's now walked 12 batters and has an ERA of 6.32. Troubling signs, but Denham has loads of talent and it's still very early in the season. Oscar Alvarez and Scott Sturkie combined for 4-1/3 scoreless innings of middle relief before giving way to Chris Cooper in the 9th who allowed the final 3 runs on 2 hits and 4 walks to pickup his 3rd loss of the season. Sean Swedlow, the Indians 3rd round pick in 2000 out of San Dimas High (I heard their football program rules) belted his 3rd HR and 4th double of the season and added 2 RBIs to lead the attack. Swedlow struggled his first two years in the organization but is off to a fine start this season with a .932 OPS through 55 ABs. Joe Inglett also doubled and knocked in a run as part of a 3-for-5 game. Brian Kirby doubled and singled and knocked in a run. Chad Peshke raised his average to .370 with 3 singles.
The Redstixx had a scheduled day off yesterday and, like the big leaguers, open a 4-game series at home tonight against the White Sox affiliated Kannapolis Intimidators.
April 20, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Saturday, April 20
But they're still 11-5.
The first two innings looked like it was the first time that Matt Lawton had ever set foot in the Metrodome.
#4: Jim Thome (.192)
#5: Travis Fryman (.179)
#6: Russ Branyan (.171)
I was disappointed in the top of the 4th when Lawton led off with a single and Charlie did not try to force the action with either a stolen base attempt, the hit-and-run, or even a sac bunt. I know it's early in the game but with the team struggling to score runs all week, getting Lawton into scoring position with your #3 and #4 hitters at the plate would seem to be pretty important. With the supposed emphasis on manufacturing runs, it would have been nice to see Charlie do something in a situation like that. At the time, the score was 1-0 and CC was pitching well. As it turns out, Gutierrez struck out and Burks grounded into an inning ending double play.
Omar Vizquel sat out last night with a bruised kneecap after fouling off a pitch in the 8th inning against the White Sox on Thursday. He is listed as day-to-day.
The Plain Dealer reports today that Milton Bradley was sent to Lakewood Hospital early last Monday morning after police found him severely intoxicated and throwing up at Dianna's Deli on West 117th. He was not arrested and was released from the hospital when CC Sabathia picked him up. While not condoning Bradley's actions, most of us have had a little too much to drink at one time in our lives although probably not on a Sunday night. Let's hope this is a stupid mistake, an isolated incident, and not anything to get worked up out.
Travis Foley's hot start continues to draw attention, this time in the Ask BA section on Baseball America.com.
I fully expect the Browns to either move up or down today in the draft, but if they stand pat at #16, they will fortify the OL by selecting Levi Jones in the first and Marc Columbo in the 2nd.
A good outing from an insurance policy and some uncharacteristic bullpen troubles down on the farm yesterday...
BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons picked up their second win in a row by defeating Rochester last night 4-2. Jose Mercedes (1-0, 3.22) pitched 7 innings and allowed 2 runs and 10 hits, but no walks, in earning his first win of the season. Martin Vargas ran his scoreless streak to 7 innings with 2 innings of relief to pick up his second save. Mike Lansing and Josh Bard went deep for the first time this year to lead the offense. Lansing also walked twice. Chris Coste added an RBI and Zach Sorenson went 2-for-4 in the leadoff spot.
AKRON (AA): The Aeros dropped a 3-2 decision to Reading as the bullpen could not hold the lead in the top of the 9th. Brian Tallet was scheduled to start but was involved in a car accident on his way to the park and didn't make it to the mound until the 3rd inning. Mike Spiegel made the emergency start and pitched 2 scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout. Tallet (1-0, 1.80) relieved and retired the first 13 batters he faced and ended up allowing only an unearned run on 2 hits and a walk while striking out 4 in his 5-1/3 innings of work. Dan Guillory (1-1, 3.00), who had been unscored upon in his previous 4 outings, could not hold the lead as he gave up a 2-run single in the top of the 9th for the loss. Offensively, the Aeros banged out 5 doubles (7 hits total) but could only push the 2 runs across the plate. Jody Gerut doubled twice and scored a run. Nate Grindell doubled, scored a run, and stole 2 bases. Victor Martinez (.293) doubled, singled, and stole a base. Troy Cameron also doubled.
KINSTON (A): The losing streak continued for the Indians yesterday, and not only at the major league level. The K-Tribe dropped their 5th in a row as they gave up 6 in the top of the first and ended up losing 8-7 to Myrtle Beach. Carlos De La Cruz was the starter and lasted 4 innings, giving up all 8 runs on 8 hits with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts. Ryan Larson and Aquiles Pinales kept the Indians in the game with 5 scoreless innings of relief. Larson now has a 2.25 in 12 innings this season while Pinales is unscored upon in his 5 innings. Alex Requena was 2-for-5 with a run and 2 steals. Corey Smith (.409) went 2-for-4 with a double, 2 runs scored, and a sac fly RBI. Tyler Minges added a double and 2 RBIs. Juan Moreno belted his 1st HR and had 2 RBIs. Nate Janowicz singled twice and scored a run.
COLUMBUS (A): The featured pitching matchup in yesterday's Daily Dish on Baseball America somewhat materialized as Jake Dittler and Kole Strayhorn pitched well but it was the bullpens that made things interesting as the Redstixx fell to South Georgia 7-6. Dittler (0-0, 4.11) had his second straight strong performance as he allowed only 2 runs on 4 hits in 5 innings while walking 2 and striking out 3. The bullpen, which has been a strength all season, took a 6-3 lead into the top of the 8 but could not hold it. Mariano Gomez relieved Dittler and gave up a run in his 2 innings of work. Matt Blethen followed and was charged with 3 runs in 1/3 of an inning and Lee Gronkiewicz finished by allowing the game-winner in the bottom of the 9th, which is the first run he has allowed this season. Luke Scott led the offense with a 3-for-5 night and added 2 RBIs and a double. Joe Inglett tripled and singled with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Brian Kirby singled, scored a run, added an RBI, walked, and also stole a base. Wily Tavares was 0-for-3 but walked twice, stole 2 bases (7 on the season) and also scored a run.
April 19, 2002
CHECK IT OUT
Columbus Redstixx right-hander Jake Dittler is featured in the pitching matchup of the day in the Daily Dish on Baseball America. There's also a note on the hot start by Travis Foley and the increased velocity (90-92 mph) he is showing this season.
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Friday, April 19
What a frustrating game. Timely hits are a key for any offense, but when you lack big boppers throughout the lineup it is crucial that spots 1 through 9 can come through with a base-hit in the clutch when the situation calls for it. The Indians let several such opportunities slip away last night and were swept out of Chicago, losing the third game of the series 7-1. Now it's off to Minnesota this weekend for a rematch with the Twins. Two young starters, Kyle Lohse and Matt Kinney, will take the mound for the Twins so the offense should have an opportunity to get healthy and prepare for the White Sox rematch next week at the Jake.
Do you think it's time we finally accept and appreciate Bartolo Colon for what he is? A good pitcher who can be brilliant at times and maddeningly frustrating at others. Check out this little bit from Jim Ingraham in the Morning Journal.
1st pitch, 1st inning: Single, Kenny Lofton
1st pitch, 2nd inning: Home Run, Paul Konerko
1st pitch, 3rd inning: Home Run, Kenny Lofton
1st pitch, 4th inning: Single, Carlos Lee
Four straight hits on the 1st pitch of the inning. Would Curt Schilling have allowed this? Roger Clemens? Ace stuff, he has. Ace material, he is not. Of course, one bad start does not a season make, but this was a HUGE start for Colon and he did not rise to the challenge. Besides, do we really want our ace to be separated at birth from Gutter in the movie PCU?
Pitchers are going to struggle throughout the season. Young pitchers especially as they adapt to the major league level. But I like the no excuses attitude that Mike Brown is taking with the young guns in this article from the ABJ.
The Beacon Journal is also reporting this morning that Omar was limping around the locker room last night after he fouled a pitch off his right kneecap in the 8th inning. He could be day-to-day.
What Matt Lawton did to the Twins, Kenny Lofton did to the Tribe. Now that he's got his first jack of the season in the books, it will be interesting to see if Kenny has a cure for the home-run fever that tended to crop up after he went yard the past few seasons.
Jolbert Cabrera is expected to begin his rehab assignment with triple-A Buffalo this weekend.
The Indians announced that the April 14 rainout against the Royals will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on May 18 with the makeup game starting at 1:05 PM
Alex Herrera is now expected to miss a minimum of 10 days at triple-A Buffalo as he recovers from chicken pox. Once it is determined that he is no longer contagious he will begin a throwing program to rebuild his arm strength.
Another strong performance from a 2001 draftee highlights the action yesterday down on the farm...
BUFFALO (AAA): After not scoring a run through 20-2/3 innings dating back to Tuesday, the Bisons erupted for 5 runs in the 4th inning and went on to defeat Rochester 7-5. Josh Bard had the big blow in the inning with a 2-run triple, his first of the season. Zach Sorenson lead off and was 2-for-5 with an RBI and 2 stolen bases. Greg LaRocca also stole a base, scored a run, and knocked in a run. Mike Lansing added an RBI double. Bill Selby had 2 hits, including his 5th double of the season. Todd Dunwoody also had a good game as he was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, a double, and 2 runs scored. Nerio Rodriguez (1-0, 1.86) went 5 innings in his first start of the season and surrendered 4 hits and 3 runs (2 earned) while walking 2 and striking out 1. Dave Maurer allowed 1 run in his 3 innings of middle relief while striking out 5. Roy Smith allowed an unearned run in the 9th and Heath Murray struck out the final batter of the game for his first save.
AKRON (AA): Scheduled day off.
KINSTON (A): The brooms were out in full force in Wilmington last night as the Blue Rocks defeated the K-Tribe 5-1 to sweep the 4-game series. Plate discipline was lacking again for the Indians as they walked once and struck out 12 times. Ryan Church led the K brigade with 3 and he's now struck out a Branyanesque 17 times in 48 ABs this season. Nate Janowicz (who also doubled), Eric Crozier, and Hector Luna struck out 2 times apiece. Henry Pichardo went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Corey Smith scored the Indians only run and also stole a base. Fernando Cabrera (0-1, 3.14) struggled with his control (4 walks) in his worst start of the season as he gave up 3 runs in 4-1/3 innings and took the loss. Dan Neil gave up 2 runs (1 earned) in his 2-2/3 innings and Brian Jackson finished with a scoreless inning of relief. Jackson is now unscored upon in 5-2/3 innings of relief this season.
COLUMBUS (A): Travis Foley (3-0, 0.49) was the story once again as he pitched the Redstixx to a 3-1 victory over South Georgia last night. The Indians #4 pick in last year draft went 6-2/3 innings and allowed only 2 hits, 1 run, and a walk, while striking out 8. For the season, Foley is holding opponents to a .143 batting average against and has struck out 22 batters in 18-1/3 innings. The righthander is picking up where he left off last season after pitching 45 innings for Burlington (2-3, 2.80) where he allowed only 26 hits and 15 walks while striking out 59. Doug Lantz relieved Foley and pitched a scoreless final 2-1/3 to pick up his first save of the season. Brian Kirby (3) and Miguel Quintana (1) homered for the RedStixx and Joe Inglett and Mark Folsom added two singles each.
April 18, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Thursday, April 18
Maybe the Indians should let the White Sox jump out to an early lead tonight? It certainly couldn't hurt after the Tribe has watched the White Sox storm from behind the last two nights in winning the first two games of the series. Bartolo Colon takes the mound tonight in an extremely important start that will tell whether or not he is ready to embrace the role as the ace of the staff. As an FYI, he's also been fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally hitting AJ Pierzynski last Thursday so maybe this will make him extra ornery on the hill.
Milton Bradley continues to impress in centerfield with a diving catch of a long fly and a bullet throw to home to end the 4th inning.
Danys Baez has the goods. What he needs is a changeup and a little more experience/maturity.
The White Sox stole 5 bases against Eddie Perez last night which makes him 3 for 8 on the season in throwing out runners. Keep in mind that the reason the Braves decided to release him was because of concerns his arm was not fully healthy.
Tim Laker has reported to extended spring training in Winter Haven and has reportedly regained 20 of the 30 pounds he lost in the offseason while batting a pancreatic infection.
Alex Herrera has been quarantined in Buffalo and is expected to be out for the next 7-10 days as he recovers from the chicken pox.
Some late-inning heroics yesterday down on the farm:
BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons dropped their third straight last night to the Ottawa Lynx 3-0 as they only managed 6 hits and were victimized by 5 double-plays, including inning-enders in the 7th, 8th, and 9th. Bill Selby, Greg LaRocca, and Josh Bard all doubled for the Bisons. LaRocca now has 5 on the season and has 4 doubles in his last 4 games. Jason Beverlin (1-1, 3.00) pitched 4-2/3 innings and gave up 3 runs on 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 6. Chad Paronto was hittable in his 2-1/3 innings, giving up 4, but ran his scoreless streak to 8-1/3 innings for the season. Martin Vargas pitched a scoreless final inning and he is also unscored upon in his 5 innings of work this season.
AKRON (AA): The Aeros ran their winning streak to 3 games with another 9th inning rally in defeating Bowie 5-4. The excitement this time was supplied by Nate Grindell who delivered a pinch-hit single to score the winning run. Billy Munoz doubled twice to give him 5 on the season and increase his average to .378. Jhonny Peralta had another good day as he went 2-for-3 with a run and a stolen base. He's now hitting .350 and has hit safely in 12 of the first 13 games. Troy Cameron added 2 singles and scored 2 runs. Luis Gonzalez doubled, and Jody Gerut was 1-for-3 with 2 RBIs and leads the team with 12. Matt White (1-0, 4.60) started and pitched 5-2/3 innings, allowing 6 hits and 2 runs. He walked one and struck out 4. Carl Sadler relieved with 1-2/3 scoreless innings and Jose Vargas, despite allowing the tying run to score in the top of the 9th, picked up his 1st win of the season. He pitched 1-2/3 innings and gave up the one run on 1 hits. He also hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.
KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe dropped their third in a row, losing to Wilmington 7-4. Sloppy fielding was again the culprit as two errors in the 4th inning resulted in 5 unearned runs crossing the plate for the Blue Rocks. Eric Crozier was the hitting star for the Indians as he blasted his 2nd HR of the season, a 3-run shot, and added an RBI groundout as well. He leads the team with 12 RBI. Corey Smith walked and scored a run. Tyler Minges doubled and Ryan Church and Maicer Izturis singled. On the mound, Brandon Matheny looks to have made an emergency start in place of Nick Moran and pitched 3 solid innings of 1-run ball. I haven't been able to find word on why Moran missed his scheduled start but I will pass it along as soon as I find out. Steve Fitch relieved Matheny and was the victim of the infield's sloppy defense (errors by Hector Luna and Corey Smith) and gave up 6 runs (1 earned) in his 3 innings of work. He didn't help the cause much, though, by giving up 9 hits. Marcos Mendoza closed with 2 scoreless innings.
COLUMBUS (A): Keeping pace with the Aeros, the Redstixx staged their own late-inning rally as they scored the tying run in the 8th and the winning run in the 9th on a bloop single by JJ Sherrill and defeated Charleston 3-2. Sherrill struck out his first 3 times at the plate, but walked, stole a base, and scored the tying run in the 8th and then delivered his clutch hit in the 9th for the win. Dennis Malave contributed a double, two walks, and a stolen base. Brian Kirby belted his 2nd HR of the season. Mark Folsom went 3-for-3 with a stolen base and a walk. Derek Thompson (0-0, 0.56) started for the Redstixx and pitched 6 strong innings, allowing only 3 hits and 2 runs (0 earned) while walking none and striking out 3. The Indians 1st round "sandwich" pick in the 2000 draft has allowed only 13 baserunners (10 hits and 3 walks) while striking out 9 in his 3 starts this season (16 innings). Scott Sturkie earned his first win by pitching 3 scoreless innings which lowered his ERA to 1.74 through 10-1/3 innings this season.
April 17, 2002
CHECK IT OUT
Here's a Twins fans perspective on the Tribe's Hot Start.
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Wednesday, April 17
11-2 isn't so bad, is it?
There's not much to say about last night, so I won't. Of course, it's understandable that Chuck Finley may have had other things on his mind as he took the mound and it's going to be crucial that Mike Brown and the rest of the staff keep Fins as focused as possible in upcoming weeks as he continues to struggle with his personal life.
You do have to be encouraged by the way the Indians stayed in the game and kept pecking away though.
And hey, how about that Charlie Nagy, huh?
With his single last night, Brady Anderson is now 1 for his last 22 and is hitting .179 for the season. Milton Bradley is ready to play after sitting out the weekend and last nights game with a strained quad and twisted ankle. Expect him to be in the lineup tonight.
ESPN continues to list journeyman reliever Joe Strong has having signed a minor league contract with the Indians. Well, he did, but it was with the Indianapolis Indians of the International League who are affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers.
If there's one person who will be glad to see the month of April come to an end, it's Alex Herrera. One day after making his first triple-A appearance of the season, Herrera was diagnosed with chicken pox and will be out for an undetermined amount of time. This comes after he had already missed a week in order to be with his mother who is recovering from a heart attack in his native Venezuela. There's no word yet on whom will take Herrera's roster spot.
Thanks to their hot start, the Indians are atop the latest ESPN Power Rankings.
John Rocker blew another save last night for the Rangers and was demoted to the minor leagues following the game. For the season, Rocker was 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA and had blown 2 out of 3 save opportunities. For what it's worth, David Elder, whom the Tribe acquired for Rocker in the offseason, pitched 3 scoreless innings last night in Akron.
Former Indian stars Rocky Colavito and Sudden Sam McDowell are among the 200 players
eligible for election to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 2003. This is the first year of the new format for the veterans committee and a number of players who were no longer eligible, like The Rock, are once again up for consideration.
Here's yesterday's action down on the farm...
BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons jumped out to an early lead but could not hold on and fell to Ottawa 8-4. Mike Lansing had an RBI double as he continues his return to regular duty. Greg LaRocca stayed hot as he doubled and scored a run in 2 ABs. Todd Dunwoody and Josh Bard added RBI singles. Jason Phillips started and did not fare as well as he had in his previous two starts, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits and 5 walks in his 5-1/3 innings of work. He also struck out 6. Heath Murray surrendered a run on 2 hits in his inning of relief. Sean DePaula continued to struggle as he allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in 1-2/3 innings. DePaula's ERA is now 10.50 and he has yet to have a scoreless outing this season.
AKRON (AA): We haven't talked much about Scott Pratt, but if he continues to have games like he did yesterday, I think we can find some room for him. All Pratt did was go 3-for-4 with 3 runs scored, 4 RBIs, a double and 2 HRs, one of which was a 3-run jack in the bottom of the 9th that gave the Aeros a 8-6 victory over Bowie. Not a bad day's work for the former 3rd round pick (98) out of Auburn. Billy Munoz chipped in a single and an RBI. Jody Gerut also singled and added 2 RBIs. Troy Cameron doubled, scored two runs, and was hit by a pitch. Brian Luderer singled with an RBI sac fly and Jhonny Peralta singled to give him hits in 11 of the Aeros first 12 games. On the mound, Jason Stanford struggled through 5 innings, allowing 8 hits and 6 runs (4 earned) while walking 2 and striking out 3. Dave Elder kept the Aeros in the game with 3 big scoreless innings of relief and Dan Guillory pitched a scoreless 9th which earned him his 1st victory of the season.
KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe lost their 2nd in a row to Wilmington 5-2 as the bats fell silent for the second straight night. Alex Requena returned to the lineup after sitting out two games with a bruised calf and went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Eric Crozier added two singles and Maicer Izturis and Corey Smith each singled with an RBI. Smith also struck out 2 times as did Juan Moreno. Ryan Church and Heath Wilson each fanned three times as the Indians struck out a total of 11 times without any walks. Former #1 pick Kyle Snyder started for Wilmington and was superb in his 4 innings, only giving up 2 hits and 0 walks while striking out 6. Snyder had a very good spring and appears to be back on track after battling arm problems the last few seasons. For the Indians, Jason Davis started and gave up 6 hits and 3 runs (2 earned) over 5 innings. Ryan Larson relieved and gave up 3 hits and 2 runs in his 2 innings of work. Aquiles Pinales pitched a scoreless 9th.
COLUMBUS (A): JD Martin had another strong outing as the Redstixx defeated Charleston 3-2 last night. Martin pitched 6-2/3 innings and allowed 6 hits, 2 runs, and 1 walk while striking out 7 in picking up his second victory. He was relieved in the 7th after reaching his 85-pitch limit. For the season, JD has now pitched 17-2/3 innings and allowed only 11 hits with 5 walks while striking out 22. Chris Cooper finished with a solid 2-1/3 innings of relief in picking up his 1st save of the season. Offensively, Dennis Malave had 2 singles and 2 RBIs, JJ Sherrill and Wily Tavares doubled, and Mark Folsom and Ivan Ochoa added singles. I went through the stats and I think I have figured out the pitching lines from Monday's games. Dan Denham started and worked 4 innings, allowing 4 hits and 2 runs while walking 3 and striking out 5. Mariano Gomez allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in his 2 innings. Matt Blethen pitched 2 scoreless innings and Lee Gronkiewicz finished with another scoreless inning. He's unscored upon in 4 innings this season.
April 16, 2002
Minnesota Twins reliever Jack Cressend was suspended for 3 games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing at Ricky Guiterrez last Thursday. Cressend can appeal the decision, but if he does not, the suspension will take effect starting Wednesday which means he would miss Friday's game against the Indians.
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Tuesday, April 16
The Tribe is in Chicago tonight for the start of an important early season 3-game series with the White Sox. Chuck Finley will start tonight for the Tribe and we should get an early feel for what kind of night it's going to be as the White Sox two leadoff hitters Kenny Lofton (.452 OBP) and Ray Durham (.469 OBP) both have had tremendous success against Finley in the past. For the White Sox, Jon Rauch will be making his first major league start as he continues his recovery from shoulder problems that caused him to miss a majority of last season. Rauch was regarded as one of the top 5 pitching prospects entering the 2001 season and, at 6'11", he can be an intimating factor on the mound. I suspect the butterflies will be in full effect so it will be extremely important that the Indians continue their patient approach at the plate and don't do Rauch any early favors by swinging at pitches outside the strike zone.
Jim Thome was named the American League Player of the Week in recognition of a week in which he hit .350 (7-for-20) and slugged 1.050 with homeruns in 4 consecutive games and 11 RBIs.
Much talk has been made of the attendance figures during the opening homestand but the Indians beat report on mlb.com reports that the Indians sold 60,000 single-game tickets between April 1-14 which is triple the daily average during the spring. Expect the attendance to warm up as the weather does.
Bruce Aven is day-to-day at triple-A Buffalo after leaving the game last night with tendinitis in his knee.
Jose Colon, Bartolo's brother, was activated from the Kinston DL to take the roster spot of the promoted Alex Herrera. After aging 3-1/2 years in the offseason, Colon will be making his double-A debut at age 27 which typically classifies you as a non-prospect. If not for his brother, it's doubtful he would still be with the organization after his rapid aging this winter. The Aeros also placed Brian Edmondson on the disabled list when they activated Brian Tallet on Saturday.
A pair of Kinston Indians were named the Player and Pitcher of the Week for the Carolina League. Corey Smith earned Player of the Week honors after hitting .550 (11-for-20) and slugging .900 with 2 HRs, a double, 4 RBIs, and 5 runs scored. Nick Moran's 6 inning scoreless gem where he scattered only 2 hits while striking out 9 earned him Pitcher of the Week honors.
JJ Sherrill is an unheralded prospect who has opened some eyes this season with his quick start and .900+ OPS at Columbus. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer has an article about his conversion from the outfield to second base this season.
Here's the action yesterday from down on the farm...
BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons split two with Scranton Wilkes-Barre, winning the completion of Sunday's weather postponed game 6-3 and losing the nightcap 5-4. In game 1, Jose Mercedes started on Sunday and pitched 4 innings of 1 run ball. Roy Smith "started" yesterday and picked up the win even though he was hit for the first time this season giving up 2 runs and 3 hits in 2 innings. Chad Paronto closed things out with a scoreless inning for his first save of the season and extending his scoreless streak to 6 innings. Most of the damage offensively was done on Sunday as the Bisons raced out to a 5-1 lead before rain halted play. Chris Coste was 2-for-3, Chris Magruder belted his first HR, Josh Bard doubled, Bruce Aven was 2-for-2, and Greg LaRocca was 2-for-2 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs.
In the nightcap, LaRocca and Coste were the hitting stars again with the "Roc" going 2-for-3 with an RBI and Coste going 3-for-3 with his 5th double, raising his average to an unbelievable .567 for the season. Is it any wonder he was also plunked in the game? Bill Selby contributed 2 singles and Tony Medrano, Zach Sorenson, and Chris Magruder added RBIs. Tim Drew started and, while his second time out wasn't as bad as his first, he was still hit hard, giving up 5 runs (4 earned) and 8 hits in 5 innings while striking out only 1. His ERA fell to 13.50. Alex Herrera, in his Bisons 2002 debut, and Martin Vargas combined for 2 innings of scoreless relief in what should become a familiar bullpen combination for Indians fans.
AKRON (AA): Billy Traber returned to the friendly confines of Canal Park after being roughed up on the road last week and pitched another gem in leading the Aeros to a 7-1 victory over the Bowie Baysox. Traber pitched 6 innings and allowed 4 hits and 1 run while walking 1 and striking out 2. In 2 starts at home, Traber has an ERA of 0.75 and has allowed only 10 baserunners in 12 innings. Alberto Garza and Jose Colon, in his 2002 and AA debut, combined for 3 scoreless innings of relief allowing only 1 hit while striking out 2. Jody Gerut led the Aeros attack at the plate by belting his 3rd HR of the season and adding a single. Billy Munoz also had a big night, going 3-for-5 with 2 RBI. Victor Martinez added 2 hits and an RBI and has quietly raised his average to .265 after a slow start. Nate Grindell added 2 hits and an RBI sac fly. Luis Gonzalez singled and triple. Troy Cameron singled twice with an RBI and Jhonny Peralta belted his first HR of the season.
KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe took one on the chin last night, losing to Wilmington 7-1. Ryan Prahm started and did not have his good stuff as he gave up 5 runs in 5 innings with 7 hits and 4 walks. Dan Neil also struggled in relief, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks in his 3 innings of work. Offensively, things were not much better as the Indians managed only 6 hits with Juan Moreno tripling (he later scored on a wild pitch) and Maicer Izturis, Corey Smith, Ryan Church, Eric Crozier, and Ricky Morton adding singles. Alex Requena sat out with a bruised calf and is still day-to-day.
COLUMBUS (A) I haven't been able to find a boxscore yet for the Redstixx game last night but I have a feeling it's really not going to tell me all that much after they were shut out 4-0 and managed only 2 hits against Charleston starter Jarod Matthews, who no-hit the Redstixx through 4 innings until Sean Swedlow finally broke through with a single to lead off the 5th. Matthews, in his second professional start, finished with 6 shutout innings, allowing only 1 hit while walking none and striking out 6. Dan Denham started for Columbus and allowed 4 hits and 2 runs in his 4 innings of work. Only 302 people were in attendance last night which is a real shame given the impressive collection of talent the Indians have stocked in Columbus, especially on the pitching staff.