The Cleveland Indians Report is an independent fan website. Make sure to visit the OFFICIAL Indians site at

Contact CIR | Guestmap
FAQ | 
Free Newsletter

This Space for Rent

MLB Press Pass
Plain Dealer
Akron-Beacon Journal
Lorain Journal
Lake County News-Herald
Canton Repository
Buffalo News
ABJ Aeros Blog
LC-Eisenberg Blog Youngstown Vindicator
Warren Tribune
Pro Sports Daily

MLB | AAA | Hi-A | Low-A

BA Scores | MLB | ESPN
BA Stats | ESPN Stats
Baseball Reference
Baseball Cube
Baseball Almanac

Cleveland Indians
Buffalo Bisons
Akron Aeros
MiLB Akron Aeros
Kinston Indians
MiLB Kinston Indians
Lake County Captains
Mahoning Valley
MiLB Mahoning Valley
GCL Indians


Major League Baseball
Minor League Baseball
International League
Eastern League
Carolina League
South Atlantic League
NY-Penn League
Appalachian League
Venz Summer League
Domn Summer League
Arizona Fall League
Dominican Winter League
Mexican Winter League
Venz Winter League
Panama Winter League

Fanhome Forum
Bernies Insiders
MLB Forums
ESPN Board
Yahoo Board
Sports Central
CSML Mailing List
Team One Baseball

Baseball America
Baseball Prospectus
JDMs Rookies
Baseball Encyclopedia
ATM Reports
Baseball Immortals
Baseball Almanac
Top Prospect Alert
MLB Contracts
Baseball News Blog
Baseball Primer
Statistics Glossary
Minors First
Skilton Baseball
Futility Infielder
Boy of Summer
At Home Plate
Tribe Miracle Comeback

Curse of the Bambino
Orioles Hangout
Birds in the Belfry
Batter's Box (Tor)

White Sox Interactive

Newberg Report
Elephants in Oakland
Future Angels
Purgatory Online (ANA)

Braves Journal
Broad and Pattison (PHIL)

Astros Daily
Cub Reporter
Addison Chronicle (CHI)
Red Bird Nation

Ducksnorts (SD)
Only Baseball (SF)

May 31, 2002  

Sunday, June 2

Indian Fever. Be a Believer.

Bartolo Colon was simply dominant on Friday night and it was great to see the emotion he displayed after the final out and the big smile as his teammates congratulated him.

Jim Thome is red-hot and has strapped the offense on his back with five homeruns in the last seven games.

I thought Tom Hamilton was going to have a heart attack yesterday during the Indians big 8-run 5th inning. He gets so excited, it's only a matter of time before something bursts :-). I called Thome's homerun too, "a swing and a drive...".

It sure sounded like Danys Baez gave up a lot of warning track outs yesterday.

Chris Magruder continues to hit and his ability to play all three outfield positions may result in Jolbert Cabrera being sent down to Buffalo when Milton Bradley is activated off the DL in the next few days. When Bradley does return, it would not surprise me to see Magruder enter into some sort of quasi-platoon with Branyan in leftfield.

Say what you want about Charlie Manuel, but I love it when he references obscure ballplayers, like when he recently compared Chris Magruder to Paul Zuvella. That's a name I haven't heard in a while.

Manuel also noted that the Indians were looking at Prince Fielder and John Mayberry with their first pick in Tuesday's draft. Of course, Charlie probably commented on those two because he was most familiar with them as sons of former big leaguers. Mayberry, incidentally, was compared to Jermaine Dye by Peter Gammons in his draft preview on He's a guy I wouldn't mind seeing the Indians take at #22 but he's expected to be gone by then.

More draft stuff...The Plain Dealer has a couple of articles on the draft you can check out by clicking here and here. Team One Baseball conducted a mock draft on Friday.

The Bisons placed Jason Phillips on the disabled list with a sore right elbow. Phillips had struggled in his last two starts after being dominant the first six weeks of the season.

Bruce Aven cleared waivers and was back with the Bisons yesterday.

RHP Jamie Brown will make his 2002 debut with the Aeros today according to the Beacon Journal. Brown sat out all of last season and had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last August. In 2000, he started 17 games for the Aeros, going 7-6, 4.38 (96.2IP, 95H, 26W, 57K).

Tim Laker's 10 day rehab assignment at Columbus is coming to an end and he is expected to be promoted to either Akron or Columbus.

Todd Pennington was called up to Columbus from extended spring training and made his 2002 debut on Saturday. Pennington was the Indians 46th round draft pick last year out of SE Missouri State and pitched in 13 games for Mahoning Valley with a 3.52 ERA, striking out 32 in 30-2/3 innings.

Action from down on the farm...

BUFFALO (AAA): Jason Stanford pitched 5-1/3 innings and took the loss in his triple-A debut as the Bisons lost 4-3 in Columbus. Stanford, who had given up only two earned runs in the month of May at Akron, gave up three earned runs (four total) on seven hits and a walk while striking out four. Heath Murray and Jerrod Riggan combined for 2-2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Mega Yankee prospect (aren't they all?) Brandon Claussen (2-6, 3.05) struck out nine over eight innings and held the Bisons to two runs. Milton Bradley, playing CF, had two hits. Zach Sorenson tripled and singled, driving in one. Bruce Aven, back in Buffalo, singled and drove in a run. Chad Allen, Earl Snyder, Tommy Davis, and Tony Medrano each singled.

On Saturday, Tim Drew tossed another gem as the Bisons won 8-2 over Rochester. Drew (5-3, 3.36) allowed only six hits and one walk in seven innings while striking out three. Sean DePaula picked up his 4th save but gave up a run in two innings, striking out three. Greg LaRocca had a HUGE game, going 4-for-4 with a homerun (#3), double (#14), two RBIs, and three runs scored. Chad Allen doubled and singled and drove in three. Milton Bradley and Chris Coste each singled.

AKRON (AA): The Aeros defeated New Haven 6-3 on Sean Casey Bobblehead Day. Victor Martinez (.316) doubled twice (#15-16) and Scott Pratt homered (#5) and singled to lead the offense. Billy Munoz added his 16th double, driving in two. Jon Hamilton doubled and singled, stole a base, and drove in a run with a sac fly. Corey Erickson tripled and singled. Jody Gerut (.271) tripled and Johnny Peralta singled with an RBI. Matt White (1-2, 6.04) allowed two runs on five hits and three walks to pick up his 1st win of the season. Carl Sadler permitted a run in two innings and Jose Colon threw a scoreless inning. Dave Elder struck out the side in the 9th for his 7th save and extended his personal scoreless streak to 18-2/3 innings.

On Saturday, Billy Traber was superb for seven innings but the bullpen collapsed in the late innings as the Aeros lost to New Haven 8-6. Traber (3.30) allowed only two runs, one a solo homerun, the other unearned, on seven hits and a walk while striking out three. Alex Herrera took the loss as his season of woe continued as he gave up five runs on three hits in one inning with the big blast coming on a three-run jack with two outs. Tim Byrdak gave up an unearned run in one inning. Jody Gerut was a one-man wrecking crew at the plate as he drove in five runs with two doubles. Billy Munoz also doubled as did Scott Pratt. Pratt also singled. Jon Hamilton had two hits and an RBI.

KINSTON (A): Fernando Cabrera turned in another brilliant outing as he one-hit Potomac for five innings to lead the K-Tribe to a 8-3 victory. Cabrera (2-5, 3.21) only walked one and struck out five as he picked up his second win of the season. Scott Sturkie pitched two scoreless innings. Steve Fitch gave up three runs in his one inning of work and Ryan Larson worked a scoreless 9th. The Indians jumped out to a 8-0 lead as they scored three in the 2nd, three in the 5th, and two in the 6th. Eric Crozier (.323) tripled and singled twice, driving in one, and scored three runs. Corey Smith (.281) knocked his 15th double, driving in one. Hector Luna, Alex Requena, and Whitebread also doubled.

On Saturday, Big Jim Warden picked up his second win in two starts as the K-Tribe blew out Potomac 11-1. Warden (2-0, 3.27) struck out six in six innings and allowed only one run on four hits and four walks. Jose Vargas and Aquiles Pinales combined for three scoreless innings of relief. Tyler Minges belted his 8th homerun and doubled to drive in two. Jeff DePippo blasted his 1st homerun and also singled. Maicer Izturis, leading off, doubled and singled. Corey Smith had two hits and an RBI sac fly. Eric Crozier singled three times and Jorge Moreno had two hits and an RBI. Alex Requena, hitting 9th, singled and drove in a run.

COLUMBUS (A): The Redstixx lost to Asheville 11-4. They banged out only four hits but were helped by wild Tourist pitchers who walked two and hit four Columbus batters. Sean Swedlow (.270) had two hits and an RBI. Chad Peshke singled, drove in a run, and stole a base. Luke Scott was 0-for-1 but scored a run and stole a base (#8). All-Star Joe Inglett (.307) had the other Redstixx hit. Jake Dittler (2-3, 4.70) had a rough outing as he gave up four earned runs (seven total) on six hits and three walks. Carlos De La Cruz pitched well in relief, giving up only a hit and two walks in 3-2/3 innings. Chris Cooper was bombed for four runs in one inning and outfielder Miguel Quintana made his mound debut and walked one before getting the final out.

On Saturday, the Redstixx pulled out an extra-inning victory as they defeated Asheville 6-5 in 12 innings. The Redstixx scored twice in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game at 4, scored once in the bottom of the 10th to tie the game at 5, and then finally got the gamewinner across in the bottom of the 12th for the win. Luke Scott homered (#7) and stole a base (#7). Joe Inglett tripled, knocked in a run, stole a base (#9), walked twice, and was hit by a pitch. Wily Tavares had two hits, scored two runs, and stole three bases (#28). Ivan Ochoa had a hit, stole a base (#22) and was caught stealing for the first time this season in 23 attempts. Tim Laker had two hits as did Brian Kirby, who also knocked in a run. Travis Foley (2.72) struck out six but only lasted 3-2/3 innings as he walked three, gave up four hits, including a homerun, and two runs. Mariano Gomez gave up two runs in 3-1/3 innings. Chris Cooper worked two scoreless innings. Todd Pennington, in his 2002 debut, gave up a run on three hits in one inning and Lee Gronkiewicz picked up his second win with two scoreless innings.

Tim Kurkjian comments on five teams holding out hope they can stay alive. Hey, the Indians are one of them!

Jim Callis is doing a draft chat right now over on Here's one of the questions regarding the Indians and the answer may surprise you draftniks out there.

Q: Kenny from Cleveland asks:
With the Indians already securing a 1st round type talent in Sean Smith already this week, which position players are they most looking at to maybe fall to them at #22?

A: Jim: Florida HS 1B Prince Fielder is the name we're hearing the most. Georgia OF Jeff Francouer is getting mentioned. California HS INF Sergio Santos got some play earlier, not as much now.

Prince Fielder?!?!?!?!

Yet another Indian is featured in today's Daily Dish as today we find Billy Traber in the spotlight. He'll face off against Jimmy Journall who the Tribe should be interested in if they start talking trade with the Cardinals. It's too bad this matchup is tonight as I stand a good chance of being at Canal Park tomorrow.

Friday, May 31

Nice to see the offensive explosion. Not so nice seeing CC struggle. Nice to see the bullpen bounce back with a strong final four innings. Not so nice seeing the "easy part" of the schedule come to an end.

Chris Magruder belted his first Tribe homerun and had two other hits yesterday to raise his average to .273. For those wondering "who is this guy", our spies in Seattle sent the following...

Magruder played for the University of Washington, where he was an All-American in 1998. He and 6 other Huskies were drafted that year after winning their 2nd straight Pac-10 baseball championship. In college he was a three-time All-Pac-10 North first-teamer and a first-team All-American as a junior in 1998, his last season as a Husky. He batted over .400 twice and is still UW career leader in at bats, runs, doubles, triples, stolen bases and walks, despite playing only three seasons. Among three-year players, his 225 career runs scored are most in Pac-10 history. Magruder also helped the Huskies to three Pac-10 North titles and two overall conference championships in 1997 and 1998. In career postseason play, the leadoff man batted .515 (35-for-68) with 27 runs and 17 RBI in 16 games. He hit safely in all but the first of his 16 career postseason games. Magruder is also the first cousin of Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna (but we won't hold that against him)

Did anyone else get a good laugh reading Roger Brown's column this morning and the rumored Indians-Brewers trade talks ? The Brewers farm system is one of the few that is more woeful than the Indians so on that notion alone it's highly unlikely that Mark Shapiro would be casting his waters into that tepid pool. So in short, I think Roger needs to stop using the Lemon Chill guy as his inside source. For what it's worth, here's some info on the names that were thrown out.

Billy Hall, 22 year old shortstop, burst onto the scene last year at class-A High Desert which is well-known as a hitters haven so his number carry a big caution sign. He hit .303-15-51 last season at High Desert but struggled after a promotion to double-A, hitting .256-3-14 in 160 at-bats. He also made 45 errors between the two levels. Even though he didn't show much at double-A last year, the Brewers rushed him up to triple-A this year and, go figure, he's struggling to the tune of .228/.280/.321 with 3 homeruns and 45 strikeouts in 193 at-bats. He's also made 19 errors. Baseball America has a scout quoted as comparing him to Miguel Tejada at similar stages in their development but he's got a long way to go before he gets to that level.

Cristian Guerrero, 21, cousin of Vlad, is another the Brewers have rushed up a level and he's struggling at double-A, hitting .207/.256/.300 with two homeruns and 40 strikeouts in 150 ABs. He's battled injuries the last few seasons and has a lot of physical tools but hasn't been able to put his health and tools together for a full season. I'm not sure why the Brewers didn't just let him mash at High Desert this season to build up his confidence and learn to make adjustments as pitchers adjust to him, but that's the Brewers for you.

David Krynzel, 20, OF, was the Brue Crue's 1st round pick in 2000 and was generally considered a reach at the time by a majority of baseball people. He's got excellent speed and some pop in his bat and has really improved his knowledge of the strike zone, walking 40 times in 192 at-bats this year after walking only 36 times in 500+ at-bats all last season. Of course he still needs to make better contact as he's struck out 50 times already. For the season, he's at .271/.409/.458-5-19 and 15 of 27 on the bases.

Mike Jones, 18, RHP, was the Brewers 1st round pick last season which means he can't be traded until the one year anniversary of the date he signed which I'm guessing would be sometime in July? He throws hard but his secondary pitches need some work. He's off to a decent start in the Midwest League with a 4.12 ERA and 29 hits, 27 walks, 33 K's in 43 innings.

J.M.Gold, 21, RHP, was the Brewers 1st round pick in 1998 but is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2000. He's only pitched 18 innings this year and has been rocked.

J.J. Hardy, 19, SS, is a shortstop playing at High Desert whose calling card is his defense. He's hitting .282/.317/.379.

That's probably more than you ever wanted to know about the Brewers farm system, but there you have it. I think the Lemon Chill guy heard the Brewers called Shapiro to inquired about Colon which then sent Roger scurrying to his Baseball America top 10 list to find out what prospects they had to offer which, obviously, isn't much. Corey Hart, 1B at High Desert, is having the best season of any position player in their system (.321/.394/.653-14-53) but he didn't make the BBA top 10 last year. I think Roger needs to chat up the Cotton Candy guy the next time he's at the park as I heard he's got an "in" with the Phillies.

Milton Bradley did not play for the Bisons on Thursday due to a sore calf which puts his return this weekend in jeopardy.

The local papers are reporting that Charlie Manuel may switch the roles of David Riske and Chad Paronto which would move Paronto into a late-inning setup role.

Chris Coste had three more hits yesterday for the Bisons and the Buffalo News has some interesting stats posted today on the former independent league player. Coste is hitting .424 at home, .432 versus left-handers, .468 with runners in scoring position, and .625 (15-24) with runners in scoring position and two outs. He's hit in 38 of 46 games and yesterday was his 5th three-hit game this year. For the season, he's hitting .373/.395/.480 with 1 homerun and 16 doubles but has walked only 5 times in 177 at-bats. Obviously, you'd like to see a little more patience at the plate but he's not striking out a whole lot (21 times) and when he makes contact, he's hitting it on the screws. Coste played some outfield last season but this year he's been limited to the infield corners and behind the plate. If the Indians were comfortable with him playing the outfield, you have to think he would have gotten the call by now.

Eric Wedge was named as a coach for the triple-A All-Star game which will be played on July 10 in Oklahoma City.

Chris Kline from the Kinston Free Press notes that the injury to Ryan Church is not serious and that he is expected to rejoin the lineup this weekend. Church was removed from last Saturday's game when he felt a twinge in his back while stepping over second base and has been out of the lineup since. The official diagnosis is a slightly pinched sciatic nerve for which he has been seeing a chiropractor the last two days. He's feeling much better and it will be nice to see Ryan back in the lineup again.

Derek Thompson, Travis Foley, and Joe Inglett have been selected to play in the South Atlantic All-Star game on June 18 in Lakewood, New Jersey. Foley ranks 9th in the league in ERA (2.56), has a 6-2 record in 10 starts, and has struck out 56 batters in 52 innings while walking 21. Not too shabby considering he was probably recovering from prom this time last year. Thompson has a 2-2 record and 2.67 ERA in 11 starts and has allowed only one homerun in 57-1/3 innings and has struck out 40 while walking 18. He also hasn't received much help from the defense as 11 unearned runs have scored while he's been on the mound. Inglett is 7th in the league in batting average at .315 and is tied for 2nd in triples with 5. He's hitting .315/.391/.448 with no homeruns and 30 RBIs with 14 doubles. A pure contact hitter, he's also walked more (21) than he has struck out (17). Manager Torey Lovullo will chaperone the kids as he was named as a coach.

From the where are they now file, Jeff Manto is now a coach for Lakewood (Phillies) and he will coach in the game which means it's unlikely we will see him make his annual summer tour stop at Jacobs Field this year. Go figure that he hangs it up the one year the Tribe could probably give him some serious at-bats :-)

Big day for Corey Erickson, down on the farm...

BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons lost to Rochester 6-5 as a Chris Coste throwing error allowed the winning run to score in the top of the 10th inning.. Nerio Rodriguez (2.00) pitched well for five innings but gave up three in the third as he finished with six innings pitched and three runs on five hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. Dave Maurer was touched for two runs in 1-1/3 innings and Martin Vargas took the loss as he allowed two runs (one unearned) in 2-2/3 innings. Chris Coste (.373) had three hits, including his 16th double and an RBI. Josh Bard went deep (#3) and singled, driving in two, and he also walked twice. Todd Dunwoody singled twice and stole a base. Jason Fitzgerald doubled twice and drove in a run from the leadoff spot. Earl Snyder added a solo jack (#7).

AKRON (AA): The Aeros outslugged Trenton 15-11 thanks to a career day by Corey Erickson. Erickson blasted three homeruns (#3-4-5), including a three run jack in the 3rd to key a five run inning and another three run shot in the 6th to key a 6-run inning, and drove in seven for the day. He also singled and walked to cap off a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate. Nate Grindell also went deep (#5) and singled, driving in two. Jody Gerut had two hits and Jim Goelz doubled and walked. Billy Munoz doubled, driving in two, and walked three times. Victor Martinez singled in a run. Brian Tallet suffered through his worst start of the season as he gave up nine runs (seven earned) in four innings on ten hits and three walks. Dan Guillory picked up the win in relief but he was touched for two runs in three innings. Jose Colon was the only pitcher able to quiet the Thunder as he worked two scoreless innings.

KINSTON (A): You want a rainout? I can get us a rainout.

COLUMBUS (A): In a near repeat of Wednesday, the Redstixx fell to Columbia 7-1. Derek Thompson (2-2, 2.67) didn't quite live up to his Daily Dish billing as he allowed three runs in four innings on three hits and three walks. Doug Lantz was also roughed up as he allowed four runs in three innings on four hits and a walk. Lee Gronkiewicz rebounded from a tough outing and worked two scoreless innings, striking out one. Offensively, it looks like the Redstixx are going to have send Amanda into the gameroom to work her magic on Kelly Leak as they could manage only three singles (JJ Sherrill, Sean Swedlow, and Miguel Quintana), which gives them a total of five hits over the last 18 innings. Sean Swedlow drove in the only run with a sac fly.


May 30, 2002  

Redstixx lefthander Derek Thompson is featured in today's Daily Dish pitching matchup on

Thursday, May 30

What happened last night?

The Tribe's comfortably up 5-1 so I figure it's safe to flip channels for 15 minutes of Spongebob and then put James to bed only to find upon my return that the score is now 5-5 and the Tigers have the bases loaded.

Arrrghhh!! What a disgusting game.

Nice outing for Ryan Drese though (through six innings, at least).

The Indians called up Bill Selby from Buffalo and designated Bruce Aven for assignment which means the Indians have ten days to trade, release, or outright him to the minors. Aven hit .118 (2 for 17) with the Indians and it's highly unlikely that he will be claimed by another club so you can expect him back in Buffalo sometime next week. Selby was having his usual fine triple-A season, hitting .299/.359/.473 with 13 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homeruns and 17 RBIs. He'll serve as a left-handed bat for the bench and a backup for the infield and corners in the outfield.

The only thing curious about this move is what will happen when Milton Bradley returns from the disabled list, which Charlie Manuel thinks could be as soon as this weekend. Incidentally, Bradley had two hits yesterday for Buffalo (see the recaps below). With Bradley's return imminent, and Selby unlikely to have been called up for 2-3 games, that would mean that either Jolbert Cabrera or Chris Magruder could be sent to triple-A to make room for Milton. The loss of either would certainly not be earth shattering but I don't think it was necessarily expected either. At any rate, as Manuel was noted as saying, the Indians are simply trying to find someone who can get hot for a couple of weeks and ride the streak. Aven didn't work out, Magruder hasn't set the world on fire with his bat, so now it's Selby turn. If he doesn't do anything interesting, don't be surprised if they sent him back down in a few weeks and bring up a Greg LaRocca, Chad Allen, or Todd Dunwoody. They really have no other options at this point, so why not run through these guys and see if you can catch lightning in a bottle.

The Indians other move yesterday was the signing of 2001 draft pick Sean Smith to a contract. Terms were not disclosed but it's rumored that he received a signing bonus just south of $1 million. It's a substantial commitment by the Indians and it's encouraging to see them not let a projected first round talent slip away. Most importantly, John Mirabelli was quoted as saying that the signing bonus paid to Smith will not effect the budget for the draft on Tuesday. The following is paraphrased from the official release and various newspaper reports...Smith was drafted in the 16th round last season out of a California high school where he predominantly played shortstop. The Indians scouted him as a pitcher of which Mirabelli said that "we were more convinced of his ability to pitch than he was". He enrolled at Sacramento City College and wanted to play shortstop but the more he pitched, the better he got. He finished the season making 11 starts in 14 appearances, pitching 82 innings, and allowing 58 hits, 33 walks, and striking out 91 batters for a 7-2 record and 1.98 ERA and showed an above average fastball (90-93mph), an above average curve, and a developing changeup. Smith will start with short-season Burlington and report to camp on June 6. It's nice to have him in the organization.

The Indians apparantly did not come to terms with two other DFEs they had been rumored to be negotiation with, RHP Garrett Mock and RHP Brandon Harmsen, both of those two will be eligible to be drafted on Tuesday.

With Smith in the fold, you have to expect the Indians will be more apt to lean towards the position players in the draft. I would still prefer they take the best player available at any given slot, but with the lack of position players in the system, the signing of Smith makes the early selection of pitchers seemingly less likely.

The May 16 rainout against the Orioles has been rescheduled for Thursday, June 13 at 1:05. This was originally an off-day for both the Indians and Orioles.

Farm Report...

BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons defeated Rochester 9-4 as they racked up 18 hits with everyone in the lineup picking up at least one baseknock. Todd Dunwoody belted a solo homerun (#2), singled twice, and stole a base. Earl Snyder went yard (#6) and singled, driving in two. Chris Coste had three hits to raise his average to .366. Milton Bradley, DHing, singled twice and drove in a run with a sac fly. Jason Fitzgerald had two hits and a stolen base. Tony Medrano and Chad Allen had two hits with Allen knocking in a run. Jason Beverlin picked up his 5th win by going six innings and allowing only three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out four. Jerrod Riggan gave up one run in two innings and Roy Smith worked a scoreless inning, striking out two.

AKRON (AA): The Aeros staged another come from behind victory as they rallied for a 3-2 victory over Trenton. Billy Munoz doubled to lead off the 9th and Victor Martinez blasted his 8th homerun to tie the game. That was Victor's 3rd homerun in the last four games. Scott Pratt then drove home the gamewinner with a single a few batters later. Luis Gonzalez doubled and Johnny Peralta had two hits. Mike Spiegel struck out a season-high eight and worked five scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and a walk. Tim Byrdak pitched one inning and gave up a run. Carl Sadler picked up the win despite allowing a run in two innings. Dave Elder worked another scoreless inning to pick up his 6th save. His scoreless streak now stands at 17-2/3 innings.

KINSTON (A): Jorge Moreno tripled and three K-Tribe hurlers combined for a six hit shutout as the Indians defeated the Frederick Keys 2-0. Brandon Matheny worked the first five innings and scattered five hits and a walk while striking out three. Marcos Mendoza (4-0, 1.32) picked up the win as he pitched three innings of one-hit ball and Ryan Larson struck out the side in the 9th for his 5th save. Hector Luna (.263) doubled, singled, and stole a base. Moreno had the gamewinning triple and also stole a base. Corey Smith, Rickie Morton, Whitebread, and Tyler Minges each singled.

COLUMBUS (A): The Redstixx lost to Columbia 7-0. JD Martin (6-3, 4.42) was hit hard for the second consecutive start as he gave up eight runs on six hits and five walks in four innings and only struck out three. In his last two starts, Martin has allowed 14 runs (10 earned) in eight hits. Torey Lovullo was quoted in the Ledger-Enquirer that he's working on some stuff and it's known that the Indians want JD to throw the fastball more as it's his least developed pitch so I wouldn't worry too much right now. The loss of control is very uncharacteristic of JD though. Oscar Alvarez gave up a run in 3-2/3 innings and Chris Cooper gave up an unearned run in an inning and a third. The Redstixx managed only two hits offensively, singles by Tim Laker and Mark Folsom, but they walked five times led by JJ Sherrill who walked twice. Why do I suddenly have a visualization of a clipboard toting Oglivie encouragingly rattling off the number of foul balls the Bad News Bears hit after an early-season beating at the hands of the hated Yankees?


May 29, 2002  

The Indians promoted Bill Selby from Buffalo today and designated Bruce Aven for assignment. More on this in tomorrow's report.

DRAFT UPDATE is reporting that the Indians signed Sean Smith to a contract on their MLB Transactions page. A kind soul also posted the official release on the Team One Baseball message boards as well. Nice to see the Indians did not let a first round talent slip away.

Wednesday, May 29

Heck of an outing from Chuck Finley last night. I like how he joked that Mark Shapiro told him to keep pitching well to increase his trade value. Fins tied a club record with six consecutive strikeouts in the 6th and 7th innings. He now shares the record with Bob Feller who struck out six in a row way back in 1938. He also passed Jack Morris and is tied with Don Drysdale for 24th place on the all-time strikeout list with 2486. Pretty impressive company.

The Bartolo to the Reds rumor mill continues to be stoked by Reds beat reporter Hal McCoy. At least this time, he admits the Tribe has little interest in Juan Encarnacion and that Mark Shapiro would be looking for either Adam Dunn or Austin Kearns (at least) in return. I'm still not sure why the Indians would want Danny Graves given the presence of Bob Wickman and a stockpile of relievers at the major league level and in the minors, although the Reds would certainly like to move his contract.

McCoy also notes that the Braves are sniffing around Sean Casey to fill their firstbase void. If that's the case come July, I think Jim Thome would be of interest to them. The Braves have a nice collection of infielders (Giles, Betemit, KJohnson) that the Tribe would do well to tap into, although Marcus Giles looks to be out for a while with an ankle injury.

Milton Bradley started a 20-day rehab assignment in Buffalo yesterday but Charlie Manuel expects him back in a week. So much for the flu slowing him down, huh? You can follow Bradley's progress in the daily recaps below.

Jaret Wright threw two innings in an extended spring game and Jake Westbrook tossed 40 pitches in batting practice.

Jason Stanford was promoted from Akron to Buffalo and will start this weekend for the Bisons. Billy Traber and Brian Tallet have gotten more attention, but Stanford quietly put together an unbelievable month of May, going 5-0 with a 0.61 ERA. He allowed 29 hits in 29-2/3 innings but walked only four, served up only one homerun, and struck out 31. Stanford, 25, made one start for the Bisons last season, a complete game 3-hitter where he fanned 10.

While were on the subject of Aeros pitchers having good months, the scoreless inning tossed last night by Dave Elder increased his personal scoreless streak to 13 appearances covering 16-2/3 innings. In that span, Elder has allowed only two hits and seven walks while striking out 18. The last hit he has allowed was back on May 13, six innings ago. Not too bad from a player most thought was just a throw-in to complete the deal that removed John Rocker from the Indians roster.

Chris Reinike was activated from the DL at Kinston and made his 2002 debut yesterday. He had been in extended spring training with a bone bruise in his elbow and also underwent rotator cuff surgery in his right shoulder last September. He's an interesting prospect who had a great debut in 1998 (89-64-33-92) in Watertown (NYP) but troubled with injuries ever since.

Nick Moran was placed on the DL at Kinston. No word yet on the injury or its severity. Angel Bastardo was also placed on the DL at Kinston with no word on the injury or its severity. Jeff DePippo was activated from the DL to take his place on the roster.

Recently released Brian Edmondson (from Akron) was signed to a double-A contract by the Detroit Tigers where he'll face his former Aeros teammates as a member of the Erie SeaWolves.

Still no word from the Indians on the fate of their draft-and-follows from the 2001 draft as the deadline to sign them passed yesterday. There is some Internet speculation that the Indians will receive an extra 48 hours to sign RHP Sean Smith since his JUCO team was just eliminated from their playoffs on Monday night. Teams and Players cannot negotiate/sign until their college season is over. Smith is the prize of the Indians group of DFEs, although pitchers Garrett Mock and Brandon Harmsen were also under consideration to be signed. For what it's worth, none of the three are listed in MLB's draft tracker and Smith is not listed in Baseball America's updated top 100 list which was released this morning.

Yesterday's action down on the farm...

BUFFALO (AAA): Martin Vargas blew his second consecutive save opportunity and the Bisons lost in Rochester 7-6. Vargas allowed two runs to score as he gave up two hits and also hit a batter. Jason Phillips started and cruised through the first five innings, limiting the Wings to only two hits. He tired in the 6th and could only get one out before being relieved by Sean DePaula. Phillips finished with 5-1/3 innings pitched, five hits, three runs, two walks, and two strikeouts. DePaula gave up two runs in his 2-1/3 innings, striking out four. Heath Murray walked the only batter he faced. Todd Dunwoody singled and doubled, driving in two. Earl Snyder singled and had a sac fly. Bill Selby doubled and singled. Chris Coste (.359) singled, walked, and was hit by a pitch. Chad Allen had two hits. Milton Bradley, leading off to maximize his at-bats, was 0-for-3 with two walks and a stolen base. He was also caught stealing.

AKRON (AA): Jon Hamilton belted a salami (#6) as part of a five run 3rd inning to lead the Aeros to a 8-3 victory in Trenton. The grand slam put the Aeros up 7-0 and they cruised from there. Scott Pratt tripled and singled. Luis Gonzalez singled twice and had a sac fly. Nate Grindell doubled and Jim Goelz had two hits, driving in two. Jody Gerut (.269), Billy Munoz, and Victor Martinez (.325) each singled. Ted Rose worked five strong innings to pick up his second win. Rose (2-2, 4.60) allowed only one run on four hits and two walks. Alex Herrera struggled through two innings in his return to Akron, giving up two runs on three hits, a walk, and a wild pitch. Jose Colon and Dave Elder each threw a scoreless inning, striking out one.

KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe blew an early 3-1 lead and lost to Frederick 10-5. Jason Davis (1-4, 4.25) was hit hard as he gave up eight runs (seven earned) on ten hits and four walks in four innings. His cause was not helped by the Indians defense, specifically centerfielder Alex Requena who was removed from the game after the third inning when (according to his lack of hustle allowed a run to score on a single to center. Scott Sturkie gave up a run on two hits in two innings. Chris Reinike made his 2002 debut and worked two hitless innings, striking out two. Steve Fitch allowed an unearned run to score on two hits in the 9th. Maicer Izturis (.253) had a big day at the plate with four hits, including a double. Corey Smith (.278) belted a solo shot (#5) as did Tyler Minges (#7). Minges also singled and drove in two. Hector Luna extended his hitting streak to seven games with a two-run jack (#6). Ryan Church sat out for the third consecutive game.

COLUMBUS (A): Dan Denham pitched five scoreless innings to lead the Redstixx to a 5-3 victory over Columbia. Denham (2-4, 4.96) struggled with his control as he walked five but he struck out four and only allowed three hits in another encouraging start. Carlos De La Cruz gave up the three Columbia runs in his two innings. Nate Fernley worked two scoreless innings for his first save. Rodney Choy Foo tripled and singled twice to lead the offense. Sean Swedlow, Tim Laker, and Joe Inglett each singled and drove in a run, Inglett's on a sac fly. Mark Folsom had two hits, Ivan Ochoa had one, and Wily Tavares was hitless, but walked twice, was hit by a pitch, stole a base (#25) and scored two runs.


May 28, 2002  

Tuesday, May 28

I apologize for not having a report yesterday but, in reality, it's all your fault. Over the weekend, the CIR mailing list apparently crossed the AOL volume threshold between regular e-mail and bulk e-mail and acting by their terms of service, AOL shut down our account temporarily. Believe me, that was a welcome relief after we had feared some nefarious hacker types had swiped our passwords. Everything is fine now and the CIR has been added to the acceptable bulk mail list so we shouldn't have any problems from here on out, although I may move over to Yahoogroups in the future to ease list management, but that's another topic for another day. I would like to thank everyone for spreading the word about the CIR and helping it grow to the point where AOL notices the volume. That's pretty cool, and amazing, when you consider that this has all happened via word-of-mouth with the exception of four or five random message board posts I did back in March. So thanks a million and keep the referrals coming!! Hey, now that I'm an acceptable bulk e-mailer, have I mentioned that I can get Viagra cheap, or know two girls in a dorm room who are dying to meet you, or that I can show you how to make $10000 in 30 days without ever leaving your couch? Hmmm, sounds like future CIR updates to me :-). And don't forget, if you've temporarily lost your mind and want to unsubscribe from the list, just send me an e-mail at

The Tribe enjoyed a nice holiday weekend north of the border (mmmm...Marche's) and it's the perfect example of why I do not envy the position that Mark Shapiro is in, although I would love to be in his shoes. He wakes up Monday morning, fresh off a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays which was sparked by dominant pitching from three of the young guns (Drese, Sabathia, and Colon). Yes, they still didn't hit all that much, but they scored enough to get the job done and bring the Tribe back to within 4-1/2 games of first place. So off he heads to the ballpark, full of optimism, only to watch Mark "Frigging" Redman shut down the Tribe for the second time in a week and he sees Bruce Aven, Chris Magruder, and Jolbert Cabrera as his starting outfield. With the Tribe still close enough in the standings (5-1/2 games), it's too early to break things up and with an uncertain labor situation, there's apparently not much of a market out there right now anyway. With no immediate help from the farm system available, all he can do is probe the trade market, listen to offers, and wait for the end of July and hope that the Indians play on the field makes the decision for him on which way to go at the trade deadline. Of course, if the Indians are two games out on July 30, I'm pretty sure that trading for "this year" to win the division with a 85-77 record is not in the best long-term health of the franchise. But then again, it's easy for us to sit here and say "dump, dump, dump" but that decision is a lot harder to make when you might not be around to enjoy the fruits of the youth movement you started when they blossom 2-3 years down the road. Medriocrity, and the ups and downs that come with it, is never easy to deal with and I don't envy the task he has in front of him the next two months.

So after reading that, you're tired of Mark Shapiro and wishing John Hart was still in charge? Check out today's Newberg Report to read all about the mess that Hart has created in Texas.

Was there any doubt that Jolbert Cabrera was going to tap into a doubleplay in the 9th yesterday? Unbelievable. Speaking of Cabrera, he replaced Matt Lawton in rightfield in the 9th inning of all three Toronto games as the Indians sought to have a better arm out there with the game on the line and Lawton's shoulder still hurting and limiting his throwing range.

Milton Bradley's rehab in Winter Haven has been setback slightly due to the flu.

From the ATM Reports, Jim Thome's homerun on Sunday moved him past Rusty Staub and into a tie with Kent Hrbek for 93rd place on the all-time homerun list with 293.

LH reliever Dan Plesac was traded by the Blue Jays over the weekend to the Phillies for RHP Cliff Politte. This is the second lefty reliever that the Blue Jays have traded in the last two weeks, the other being Pedro Borbon to the Astros for a player to be named later. How does this effect the Indians? Well, should Mark Shapiro decide to accelerate the rebuilding process at the trade deadline in July, the Indians will have a pretty good left-handed reliever in Ricardo Rincon available. You can view the Blue Jays deals as establishing the market for a Rincon but it would not be surprising if the market fluctuates the closer we get to the end of July (and into waiver deals in August) due to injuries and need. Politte is a fading prospect with a good arm who typifies the type of player you find filling out the middle of the pitching staff on mediocre and bad teams and is probably very typical of the type of player the Indians will be seeing in trade offers. Teams don't miss him when he's gone and someone will always give him a home in the hopes that they'll be the team where the arm, head, and mechanics all click at the same time. If you remember a few weeks ago, Peter Gammons noted that the Phillies inquired about Rincon but the Indians were told that Marlon Byrd (their #1 position player prospect) was not available. I guess they found a better deal.

Gammons also has a column on on the rebuilding of the Indians and A's. It's a good read that contains some speculation on a potentially limited trade market for Bartolo Colon.

Alex Herrera was demoted from Buffalo to Akron. Since his return to the Bisons two weeks ago, Herrera had given up eight runs on seven hits and three walks in 3-1/3 innings. It's been a rough two months for Herrera who has been bounced between Akron, Buffalo, and Cleveland, missed three weeks with the chicken pox, and whose mother suffered a heart attack in Venezuela. I think the Indians are doing the smart thing here and letting Herrera spend the next several months in Akron to build up his strength and confidence again.

Ryan Church sat out Sunday and Monday after being removed in the third inning on Saturday. No word yet on the injury or it's severity.

Brooks Kieschnick made his mound debut on Saturday with the White Sox triple-A affiliate in Charlotte and struck out the side in his only inning.

Today is the deadline for the Indians to sign "draft-and-follows" Sean Smith, Garrett Mock, and Brandon Harmsen, otherwise they will be eligible in next Tuesday's MLB draft.

The Gunfighter is ready for a comeback, but are we ready for him? The PD noted that batting glove flapping Mel Hall is making noise about a comeback attempt considering how he is a self-proclaimed "left-handed bat with juice". Hall is currently the designated hitter and batting coach for the Fort Worth Cats in the independent Central League. Former big-league pitcher Jose Guzman (Tex, ChiC) is also on the roster. If Brady Anderson can get some at-bats, why not the Gunfighter? Gunfighter or Gunslinger, I can't remember now. I'm sure you guys will let me know.

Recaps from Sunday and Monday...

BUFFALO (AAA): Tim Drew took a no-hitter into the 7th inning on Sunday and dominated in a complete-game shutout to lead the Bisons to a 2-0 victory over Indianapolis. Drew (4-3, 3.60) won his 4th straight start as he held the Indians to only two hits and a walk while striking out three in nine innings. For the month of May, Drew finished with a 4-1 record and a 1.74 ERA. He outdueled former Indian Andrew Lorraine (3-6, 3.17) who also went the distance, surrendering only one run on five hits and two walks. The Bisons banged out four doubles (Sorenson, Ware, Davis, and Snyder) against Lorraine and Tony Medrano singled in the game-winner. The Bisons were off yesterday.

AKRON (AA): The Aeros lost to Norwich 6-5 on Sunday. Dan Guillory walked in the game-winner in the 7th as part of a 3-run Norwich rally where all the runs were unearned. Billy Traber (3.52) started and worked 5-1/3 innings, giving up seven hits, three runs, one walk, and striking out five. Guillory gave up the three unearned runs in an inning and a third. Mike Spiegel and Jose Colon combined for a scoreless 1-1/3 innings. Victor Martinez (.327) singled and went deep (#6). Jody Gerut doubled twice, walked, and stole a base (#13). Jhonny Peralta singled and tripled, knocking in a run. Luis Gonzalez added an RBI sac fly.

The Aeros lost to Norwich 6-2 yesterday. Matt White (0-2, 6.33) gave up three runs in six innings on five hits, four walks and two homeruns. Tim Byrdak struggled through two innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits. Victor Martinez went deep (#7) for the second consecutive game. Billy Munoz doubled and walked twice. Jody Gerut, Luis Gonzalez, and Nate Grindell each singled.

KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe won a wild-one in Winston-Salem on Sunday as they won 9-7 in 13 innings. Jorge Moreno and Angel Bastardo had 2-run singles in the top of the 13th to give the Indians a 9-5 lead but Winston-Salem rallied for two runs in the bottom half of the inning before Steve Fitch slammed the door shut. The Indians had previously rallied to tie the game in the top of the 9th on Hector Luna's 2-out, 2-run homerun. That was Luna's (.254) second homerun (#4-5) of the game as he also singled and drove in four runs. Corey Smith doubled and walked as did Tyler Minges. Fernando Cabrera (3.53) was once again the victim of a lack of run support as he was superb for the first six innings, surrendering only one run on two hits and a walk while striking out three. Marcos Mendoza gave up a run in one inning. Aquiles Pinales permitted three runs to score in his two innings and Ryan Larson picked up the win as he worked three scoreless innings.

The K-Tribe won their third in a row on Monday as they defeated Frederick 6-3. Kyle Denney struggled early, giving up three runs on six hits in the first three innings, but he rebounded and held the Keys hitless for his final three innings before being removed when he hit his pitch count. Denney (2-2. 4.87) walked two and struck out six and gave up a homerun. Jose Vargas had an interesting two innings as he walked four and struck out four and Aquiles Pinales picked up his third save with a scoreless 9th. Maicer Izturis drove in three runs with two singles and he also stole two bases (#18-19). Eric Crozier (.309) also had two hits and a walk. Whitebread singled and drove in two runs. Hector Luna doubled and walked. Corey Smith (.279) singled and walked. Alex Requena singled and stole a base (#25).

COLUMBUS (A): Travis Foley and two relievers combined for a three-hit shutout as the Redstixx blanked the Asheville Tourists 4-0 on Sunday. Foley (6-2, 2.56) was sensational in his five innings, allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out five. Doug Lantz and Nate Fernley each pitched two scoreless innings of relief to finish out the game. Luke Scott belted a 2-run homer (#6) and also singled and walked to lead the offense. Joe Inglett had two hits, a walk, and a stolen base. Brian Kirby also had two hits and a walk. Sean Swedlow singled, stole a base, and drove in a run with a sac fly. JJ Sherrill doubled, walked, and was hit by a pitch and Chad Peshke singled, walked twice, and was hit by a pitch.

The Redstixx also came out on the good side of a wild one yesterday as they defeated Columbia 10-9 with a 4-run bottom of the 9th inning rally. Tim Laker singled in the first run, Luke Scott doubled in two more, and Wily Tavares drove in Laker with two outs for the victory. Laker added a 2-run jack (#2) in the first inning as did JJ Sherrill (#7), who also walked three times. Sean Swedlow singled twice and Mark Folsom singled, walked twice, and stole a base. Jake Dittler struggled early, giving up five runs in the first three innings but cruised through the next three as he went six innings and gave up five runs on eight hits and a walk, striking out three. Mariano Gomez struck out two in two scoreless. Lee Gronkiewicz picked up the win but made the late-inning heroics a necessity when he allowed four runs to score, three on a three-run jack (obviously, huh), in the top half of the 9th inning.


May 26, 2002  

Sunday, May 26

Two in a row. Bartolo Colon goes for the sweep today.

CC didn't look all that sharp yesterday, but he stayed focused and pitched well. When he got ahead in the count, it was lights out. Dave Campbell on Baseball Tonight noted that CC has beaten some less than stellar teams this year (Det, KC, Tor) and been pounded by some of the better offense he has faced (Ana, CWS, Minn) with the Rangers being the only good offense he has pitched well against. As the Indians head into a tough summer schedule, it will be interesting to see if CC can reverse that trend.

Paul Shuey threw some absolutely filthy pitches in striking out Raul Mondesi and Carlos Delgado back-to-back in the 8th inning. Then he served up a line drive shot to the warning track to Tom Wilson that was hauled in by Matt Lawton. Gotta love (or hate) the Shu-Dawg :-).

Andy Call of the Canton Repository breaks down the candidates to be traded should Mark Shapiro put up the For Sale sign outside Jacobs Field.

Aside from his record-setting four homeruns on Thursday, Shawn Green tied the major league record for most homeruns in two consecutive days when he blasted his 5th in two days off of Curt Schilling on Friday night. Green now shares with record with a host of other players, including Indians Joe Carter (July 18-19, 1989), Albert Belle (Sept. 18-19, 1995), Matt Williams (April 25-26, 1997), and Manny Ramirez (Sept. 15-16, 1998). Thanks to the ATM Reports for this information.

The Arizona Diamondbacks signed Jose Mercedes to a minor league contract. With all the problems in the Arizona rotation, could we see him when the D-Backs visit the Jake on June 28-30.

Jim Ed Warden was activated by Kinston and made his first start of the season yesterday. Warden, a 6'7" lefty was the Indians 6th round pick last season out of Tennessee Tech and went 4-5 with a 4.27 ERA in 12 starts at Burlington last year where he struck out 52 in 52-2/3 innings.

Interesting note in the Plain Dealer this morning on Ryan Church. Church was originally a pitcher at the University of Nevada-Reno before he was switched to the outfield in his senior year after he tore the labrum in his left shoulder. Drafted in the 14th round of the 2000 draft, Church hasn't stopped hitting since and is currently 2nd in the Carolina League in average (.340) and homeruns (9) and has an OPS over 1.000. The enthusiasm over those numbers needs to be tempered a little because he's a 23-year old in class-A but when you realize that this is his third season of being a full-time position player, the enthusiasm can be picked up a notch. On a side note, hopefully minor, Church was removed from yesterday's game for a pinch-runner in the third inning. No word yet on what caused him to be removed from the game.

Also in the PD, John Farrell says that Billy Traber and Brian Tallet will stay at Akron at least through the all-star break barring need at the triple-A level.

Recaps from down on the farm...

BUFFALO (AAA): Nerio Rodriguez continues to shine for the Bisons as he did not allow an earned run in seven innings as the Bisons knocked Indianapolis 4-2 in game one of a doubleheader. Two runs crossed the plate in the first but N-Rod held the Indians scoreless from there, scattering seven hits and a walk over seven innings with four strikeouts for the complete game victory. He lowered his ERA to 1.74 and has not allowed more than three runs in eight starts this season. Tony Medrano had three hits, including a double, and drove in a run. Chad Allen singled twice and knocked in a run. Zach Sorenson tripled and Todd Dunwoody doubled in a run. Chris Coste had two hits. The Bisons fell in "extra innings" in the nightcap 3-2. Dave Maurer (1.09) made the emergency start and continued to pitch well, allowing only a solo homerun and giving up three hits and a walk in four innings, striking out three. Jerrod Riggan was touched for a run in three innings and Roy Smith struggled in his two innings, giving up two hits and three walks and he took the loss when he allowed the gamewinner to score in the 9th. Tony Medrano singled and drove in two and Tommy Davis had two hits.

AKRON (AA): Brian Tallet continued his domination of Eastern League hitters as he threw six shutout innings to lead the Aeros to a 6-0 shutout over Norwich. Tallet (4-0, 1.54) allowed only four hits and a walk, struck out three, and induced three doubleplay grounders as he faced only two over the minimum. His WHIP now stands at a very impressive 1.044 (38 H and 17 BB in 52-2/3 IP). Carl Sadler and Jose Colon combined for three innings of shutout relief. The Aeros jumped on the board early with five in the 1st and were helped by the Norwich defense as four of those were unearned. Brian Luderer blasted a 2-run shot (#2) and walked twice. Victor Martinez (.324) singled, walked, and drove in two. Jody Gerut (.266) doubled and singled. Nate Grindell (.298) singled twice. Jhonny Peralta struck out four times and walked.

KINSTON (A): Jim Ed Warden struggled through his 2002 debut but picked up the win as the K-Tribe won 9-4 at Winston-Salem. Warden did not allow a run in the first four innings but he walked a batter in each of those innings and left seven stranded in the first three innings. He helped his own cause by striking out six in that span. WS finally touched him for three runs in the 5th and he finished the game giving up three runs on four hits and five walks in five innings, striking out six. Steve Fitch gave up a run in two innings and Scott Sturkie worked a scoreless final two innings. Ryan Church (.340) had two hits, including homerun #9 to drive in two. Rickie Morton had three hits, including homerun #4. The Church and Morton shots were back-to-back jacks. Tyler Minges added a 2-run blast (#6) to put the game away. Corey Smith (.283) doubled, singled, walked, and scored three runs. Hector Luna and Henry Pichardo each knocked in a run and had two hits. Alex Requena singled, walked, stole a base (#24) and was caught stealing.

COLUMBUS (A): The Redstixx lost in Asheville 7-1 yesterday as the Tourists jumped out to a three run lead in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back. Derek Thompson (2-1, 2.36) started for the Redstixx and allowed only one earned run (three total) in four innings, giving up three hits and three walks and striking out five. Chris Cooper allowed two runs in two innings and Carlos De La Cruz allowed two runs (one earned) in two innings. Joe Inglett (.318) had two hits and Mark Folsom doubled.


May 25, 2002  

Saturday, May 25

Another team meeting, a revised lineup, a good start, and a win.

Matt Lawton and Omar Vizqual are back at the top of the order which now means the Indians four highest OBP guys are now hitting 1-through-4. Lawton (.351), Vizquel (.409), Burks (.365), and Thome (.385).

Ryan Drese struggled with his control, walking four, but he's now won his last three starts and has a 2.50 ERA in that span.

It's only two games, but Chris Magruder has looked pretty good.

On the injury front...Milton Bradley has played two games in extended spring training and is expected to stay in Winter Haven for another week before reporting for a rehab assignment. Jaret Wright threw two innings in an extended spring game and Jake Westbrook has started to throw batting practice.

Baseball America has their latest mock draft available for subscribers. They forecast the Indians selecting Sergio Santos, a high school shortstop from Southern California. Paraphrasing from his BA draft profile, Santos has been compared to A-Rod because of his size and position but his hitting has not developed as expected. He has a very strong arm, but his glove and speed are average at best. His other tools seem to play better in showcase environments. Back in March, Santos was named to BAs preseason All-American team where he was called a "stud athlete" and his power potential was compared to a young Juan Gonzalez. Interesting player to say the least but he has slipped from #6 to #17 in BAs high school prospect rankings over the past months.

Baseball America ranks RHP Garrett Mock as the #20 prospect in the state of Texas and here's what they have to say about him...The Indians will make a full effort to sign RHP Garrett Mock, who has been outstanding this spring. He has a strong body (6-foot-4 and 215 pounds), an 88-92 mph sinker, a good curveball and a decent changeup. The Indians have until Tuesday, May 28 to get him under contract.

Shortstop Casey Baker was released from extended spring training. He played in four games with Columbus last summer after being signed as a free agent after he had been released by the Yankees.

Kinston outfielder Nate Janowicz, a.k.a Whitebread, just released his first rap album Straight Outta the Suburbs. I'm not kidding.

Recaps from yesterday....

BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons lost to Indianapolis 3-2 in extra innings. Sean DePaula gave up a double in the top of the 10th inning and then allowed the winning run to score on a wild pitch to take the loss after Bill Selby had blasted a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 9th to send the game into extras. Selby also singled and stole a base. The Bisons had plenty of opportunities but couldn't muster any runs in support of Jason Beverlin as they left 14 runners on base. Beverlin threw seven shutout innings, scattering three hits and two walks while striking out eight. Martin Vargas gave up two runs in his two innings of relief. Earl Snyder (.227) and Chris Coste (.364) and Chad Allen each singled twice.

AKRON (AA): Jason Stanford allowed only run in 6-1/3 innings as the Aeros knocked off Norwich 7-2 last night. Stanford (5-3, 3.29) struck out a season high nine and walked only one while giving up seven hits. Tim Byrdak, just promoted from Kinston, gave up a run in his 1-2/3 innings and Dave Elder (1.90) extended his scoreless innings streak to 14-2/3 innings with a scoreless 9th. Nate Grindell (.295), hitting third, need only a home run for the cycle as he tripled, doubled, and singled and drove in a run. Jhonny Peralta (.258) also tripled and doubled, driving in two. Jody Gerut singled twice and stole a base. Troy Cameron had two hits, driving in two. Luis Gonzalez singled and doubled. Jon Hamilton doubled and singled twice and Victor Martinez (.324) singled and drove in a run.

KINSTON (A): Ryan Larson gave up a two-out homerun in the bottom of the 9th inning to give Myrtle Beach a 7-6 victory over the K-Tribe. The Indians had rallied late in the game with two runs in the 8th and a Eric Crozier single with two strikes and two outs in the top of the 9th to tie the game. Crozier (.312) singled twice, scored twice, knocked in two, and walked. Whitebread doubled and drove in a run. Maicer Izturis singled, walked twice, and stole a base (#17). Henry Pichardo knocked in two with a sac fly and RBI groundout and also stole a base. Nick Moran gave up three earned runs in 5-1/3 innings on six hits, a pair of walks, and five strikeouts. Jose Vargas allowed a run in 2-2/3 innings of relief.

COLUMBUS (A): The Redstixx lost to Asheville 9-5. JD Martin (6-2, 3.71) gave up eight runs in four innings but only four of them were earned. The big blow came in the 4th when an error by Sean Swedlow was followed by a 3-run jack. Oscar Alvarez permitted a run in one inning and Mariano Gomez struck out five in three hitless innings. Swedlow stayed hot at the plate, blasting his 6th homerun and adding a single. Tim Laker doubled and drove in two. Luke Scott doubled and knocked in a run. Joe Inglett also doubled and Ivan Ochoa singled and stole two bases (#20-21). He has yet to be thrown out on the bases this season.


May 24, 2002  

Baseball America has their latest mock draft available for subscribers. They forecast the Indians selecting Sergio Santos, a high school shortstop from Southern California. Paraphrasing from his BA profile, Santos has been compared to A-Rod because of his size and position but his hitting has not developed as expected. He has a very strong arm, but his glove and speed are average at best. His other tools seem to play better in showcase environments. This is really not the kind of description I want to hear with the Indians first round pick. I want to hear something like great hitting skills, best pure hitter in the draft, trememdous plate awareness, a la Manny Ramirez in 1991. Give me the pure hitter with questionable skills over the good looking kid who can't hit any day.

Friday, May 24

I feel like the high school football coach who wheels out the projector in class on Fridays and kicks back and relaxes. Today's CIR contains a lot of links and insight from other sources and it's all good stuff. Enjoy!

Some great thoughts from Terry Pluto on CC Sabathia yesterday in the Direct from Pluto newsletter. If you haven't subscribed, I can't recommend it enough and you can signup by clicking here.

Sabathia pitched well in his first two games, then was shelled for 26 runs over his next 32 innings, covering five starts.

Then he became a crime victim, robbed of $44,000 of jewelry and cash at 4 a.m. at a downtown Cleveland hotel last week. See reference to pluto column from saturday may 18 here.

To Sabathia’s credit, he was embarrassed and apologetic after the incident, in which he put himself in real danger. He didn't use the old, “I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time” line, he admitted he blew it.

Just as Browns coach Butch Davis tells his players, “Nothing good happens on the street after midnight,” Sabathia discovered that to be case. But it’s hard to tell that to any 21-year-old, much less one who happens to be a big-league pitcher.

Sabathia is intelligent and well-grounded. His father is now in town, and his mother is keeping close tabs. Hopefully, this incident not only gets his attention when it comes to behavior off the field, but convinces him to get in better shape and become a better pitcher.

Here are a few things he needs to work on:

— Holding runners. Ten of the first 12 have stolen successfully against him.
— His first pitch. When batters hit the first pitch, they are hitting .429 against him.
— Ahead in the count: Hitters are 3-for-8 with three strikeouts when the count is 0-2. Why give any batter a pitch he can hit with two strikes and no balls?
— His conditioning: He is tiring easily. In the first three innings, batters are hitting .168. In innings 4-6, it’s .351. His effectiveness really drops after 60 pitches. There are times when he just seems fatigued on the mound after the fourth inning. For example, batters are hitting .333 (10-for-30) against him when he’s throwing his 61st through 75th pitches of each game.

In the chatter section on page 3 of this weeks Baseball Weekly, it simply says "The Cleveland Indians are taking offers for first basemen Jim Thome and pitcher Bartolo Colon".

Also in Baseball Weekly, Paul White makes a case for stuffing the ballot box with Twins and Expos for the All-Star Game this year, which just happens to be in Bud Selig's backyard in Milwaukee. Normally, I tend to scoff at grassroots efforts like "boycott baseball" but this one sounds semi-plausible. You can vote online up to 25 times so take a minute or two and cast a vote for Torii Hunter and company and let's see if we can make Bud sweat a little.

Paul Hoynes runs down a list of the 10 most tradable players in the organization in today's Plain Dealer. I think the title is somewhat misleading as Hoynes really doesn't define what he means by tradable. Is he referring to tradable in the eyes of other teams? If that's the case, then CC and Danys Baez are at the top of the list because of their talent and cost. Or is he referring to tradable in the minds of the Indians with an eye towards the future? If that's the case then Jim Thome, Chuck Finley, and Ellis Burks would be at the top of the list. You'll find both types of players in the article which leads to my confusion. Strangely enough, Ricardo Rincon is not listed among the ten. Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson, anyone? Tough lefties always have some value around the trade deadline.

Jim Ingraham laments on the state of the Tribe in the Morning Journal and it's tough to argue with anything he says. He also throws out some interesting prospects in regard to a potential Colon trade.

Baseball Prospectus chimes in with their thoughts on the mysterious Jeremy Giambi trade.

Our spies in San Francisco send the following...
Besides, Giambi's on-field performance was not sufficient to forgive what the A's thought were disturbing off-field trends, the last of which was a "drunken, obnoxious" performance on the team flight back from Toronto Sunday. One insider said as a reason for trading him, it rated "about a one, but was probably the last straw." You can read the entire column of news and notes here.

They go on to note that....
Oakland fans will never, ever forget his failure to slide on the Derek Jeter miracle play in the AL playoffs. I didn't hear a heck of a lot about that this year except in spring training, but still, it's like Monica with Clinton -- you can't separate them, and Little G will always be a symbol of the inability to get beyond the Yankees.

Still, the best the A's could get for him is John Mabry? If that's the best anyone would offer, I would love to hear the proposals they turned down. Hmmm, what's that Beane cat up to?

More from Hoynsie...he notes today that if Sean Smith wants first-round money, then it's unlikely the Indians will sign him. This contradicts a note on Baseball America a few days ago that stated Smith was expected to sign with the Indians shortly. This upcoming Tuesday (May 28) is the deadline for signing "draft-and-follows".

The Aeros activated Jim Goelz from the disabled list to replace the promoted Jason Fitzgerald. Tim Laker left extended spring training and had a big day yesterday in his 2002 debut in Columbus (see the recaps). Tim Byrdak was promoted to Akron from Kinston according to

Recently released RHP Brian Jackson (from Kinston) signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Indians and Aeros extended their player development contract through 2004.

Lots of offense yesterday, down on the farm...

BUFFALO (AAA): Greg LaRocca knocked in the winning runs in the bottom of the 9th inning with a pinch-hit double to give the Bisons a 6-5 victory over Norfolk. The double was LaRocca's 13th of the season and he's now hitting .315. Chris Coste (.360) singled twice. Chad Allen doubled. Tony Medrano doubled and drove in a run. The Bisons were helped by a McKay Christensen error in the 6th inning which led to three unearned runs. Jason Fitzgerald was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and an error in his triple-A debut. Jason Phillips (2.62) struggled through seven innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four. He served up two longballs, one to former Indian Marcus Scutaro (.351, #5). Jerrod Riggan picked up the win in relief with a scoreless two innings of work.

AKRON (AA): The Aeros lost in Portland yesterday 5-4. Ted Rose allowed only four hits and walked none in six innings but served up two homeruns which allowed five Portland runners to score (only four runs were earned). Dan Guillory (0.77) was splendid in relief with two scoreless innings. Nate Grindell (.284, #4), Luis Gonzalez (#5), and Jhonny Peralta (.252, #4) all blasted solo homeruns. Jon Hamilton and Billy Munoz doubled. Jody Gerut and Corey Erickson added singles.

KINSTON (A): The K-Tribe rallied with six runs in the late innings to defeat Myrtle Beach 8-5. Corey Smith keyed a 4-run 7th with a two run triple and the K-Tribe added two more in the top of the 9th to secure the victory. Smith also singled and walked and is now hitting .283 on the season. Ryan Church (.333) had a big game as he doubled twice and singled twice, knocking in a run. Rickie Morton drove in two runs as he belted his third homerun and singled. Jorge Moreno doubled and drove in a run with a sac fly. Tyler Minges also had a sac fly RBI. Eric Crozier (.307), Maicer Izturis, and Hector Luna each added singles. Jason Davis (3.42) struggled with his control as he walked five Pelicans in 5-1/3 innings to go along with five hits. He struck out five and allowed four runs to cross the plate (three earned). Marcos Mendoza (3-0, 1.25) picked up the win in relief, although he also struggled, allowing three walks, three hits, and a run in 2-1/3 innings of work. Aquiles Pinales picked up his second save with a scoreless final inning and a third.

COLUMBUS (A): The Redstixx mimicked their high-A brethren as they plated four in the 7th and two in the 9th for a 11-6 victory over Asheville. Tim Laker showed the youngsters the old guys can still play as he knocked in six runs on a home run (#1), single, and sac fly in his first game of the year. The red-hot Sean Swedlow (.265) doubled and singled with a sac fly to drive in three. Joe Inglett (.315) singled twice, walked, was hit by a pitch, and scored three times. Brian Kirby doubled and added a sac fly RBI. Ivan Ochoa singled, walked twice, and stole a base (#19). Wily Tavares was 0-3 but was hit by a pitch twice and scored three runs. Fresh off his first professional win, Dan Denham (5.52) struggled through 3-2/3 innings as he served up two longballs as part of a four hit, three walk, three run outing. Nate Fernley gave up three runs in 1-1/3 innings of relief and Doug Lantz (3-0, 2.04) picked up the win with four scoreless innings of relief.


May 23, 2002  

Finally, someone chimes in on the mysterious Jeremy Giambi trade. Of course, it's from Baseball Prospectus.

Thursday, May 23

Tired of all the strike talk and billionaires and millionaires arguing over more money than most of us can only dream about? Check out this article on the Miracle League. It definitely helps to put things in perspective.

Heck of an outing by Jeff Weaver. Not too bad of a performance by Chuck Finley either.

Chris Magruder had a nice debut for the Indians yesterday. He sent a 415 foot shot to centerfield in his first at-bat that would have been a homerun in a majority of big league parks and he broke up Jeff Weaver's no-hit bid with a smash to the right field wall in the 8th inning. I especially liked the way he hustled out of the box on the double. Charlie Manuel says he is going to let him play for the next few days and build up some at-bats. Magruder, incidentally, was Jeff Weaver's roommate on Team USA in 1997.

It was a good night for everyone involved in the Magruder trade as Rashad Eldridge, playing for Savannah in the South Atlantic League, homered for the first time as a Ranger and also singled and walked, driving in two runs.

More on Magruder...Paul Hoynes did a chat on yesterday where he noted that Mark Shapiro spoke to the media on Monday and said that Magruder was "not ready". Of course, we all know that Magruder was deemed ready enough when the Indians promoted him the very next day. So the question begs, who forced the issue? Was it Charlie Manuel pleading for a bat, any bat? Was it Mark Shapiro finally persuading Larry Dolen to eat Brady's contract? Or was it Dolen himself, after watching Monday's game, ordering Shapiro to do something, anything to get the offense going? I think it's the latter, and if so, it sounds like there may be some management issues brewing in the Indians front office.

Hoynes also noted that the Indians are surprised at Ricky Gutierrez' lack of speed and wonders what the Indians scouts were thinking when they evaluated this guy. Major scouting failure, not unlike the Brady Anderson signing who apparently was recommended by Eddie Murray who thought Brady's problems were all mechanical. Ouch. That wasn't in the Hoynes chat but I forget to mention it yesterday. When you compound the above with the Mark Wohlers signing, the disappointing performance of the supposed immediate help in the Alomar trade (Lawton and Riggan), and the total misevaluation of the Juan Gonzalez market, the Indians front office has really left themselves open to question. Thanks to Andy in Seattle for the Hoynes tip.

Is anyone else amazed by the Jeremy Giambi trade yesterday? Why would you trade a 27-year old who is hitting .274-.390-.471-8-17 and on pace to hit 29 homeruns for a 31-year old journeyman who will be playing for his 6th team in the four years? John Mabry is the type of player who comes to camp on a minor league contract hoping to catch a break and stick on a major league roster, not the kind of player that is traded for a talented, inexpensive hitter entering his prime offensive years. There's obviously something beyond Giambi's on-field performance behind this deal but is he that much of a cancer in the clubhouse that the most he can bring in return is John Mabry? Every team in baseball has at least one John Mabry on their roster or in triple-A. The A's themselves have FP Santangelo in triple-A who is just about as John Mabry as you can get.

So now I have to ask was Mark Shapiro aware of Giambi's availability? With Paul DePodesta in the A's front office, you would think the Indians have a solid connection and pipeline into their activities. I find it hard to fathom that the Indians could not have offered more than John Mabry. Jolbert Cabrera, John McDonald, Greg LaRocca, Tony Medrano, Earl Snyder. Take your pick Billy. Take two of them. Take three of them. With the Indians desperate for offense, a young hitter like Giambi would have fit perfectly at LF or 1B or DH next year depending on what happens with Thome and Burks this summer. I really hope that Shapiro was not asleep at the wheel on this one. The only solace I can find is that 28 other clubs were apparently asleep as well. And why is the national media silent on this deal? I haven't seen one expert come out and question this trade from the A's standpoint. Something is up and I can't wait for the explanation to come out.

Jason Fitzgerald (.262/.348/.385-3-14-8) was promoted from Akron to Buffalo to take Chris Magruder's spot on the roster. This will be Fitzgerald's first taste of triple-A.

The Buffalo News notes today that the Bisons are using a 4-man rotation (Phillips, Drew, Rodriguez, and Beverlin) with Heath Murray making spot starts as necessary until the Indians decide whom to promote from Akron to take the 5th spot. Will the mounting pressure to show something from the Alomar trade force the Indians to promote Billy Traber? His last start aside, he's pitched well for the Aeros but has not dominated double-A hitters. Brian Tallet and Jason Stanford are also candidates for promotion. It would not surprise me if Stanford gets the call simply to allow Traber and Tallet more innings at the double-A level. But then again, the pressure is on.

Yesterday's action down on the farm...

BUFFALO (AAA): The Bisons lost to Norfolk 6-2. Zach Sorenson (.250) singled twice, scored twice, and stole a base. Tommy Davis (.224) singled and doubled. Greg LaRocca (.310, .434 OBP) singled, walked, and knocked in a run. Bill Selby (.301) doubled and drove in a run. Chris Coste (.356) also singled. On the mound, Heath Murray struggled through 3-2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits and two walks. Alex Herrera had another rough outing as he allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in an inning and a third. Roy Smith tossed three hitless innings and Dave Maurer (0.87) closed with a hitless final inning.

AKRON (AA): Victor Martinez had a HUGE night as the Aeros knocked off Portland 12-8. Martinez (.338) belted a 2-run homer (#5) in the top of the 10th to put the Aeros up 10-8 and also doubled, singled, walked and scored two runs. Corey Erickson also went deep (#2) and walked twice. Seven Aeros doubled in the game with Jody Gerut (.260), Nate Grindell (.285), Jim Goelz (.154), and Troy Cameron (.181) adding at least one single apiece. Goelz and Cameron also drove in two runs. Matt White was pounded for seven runs in five innings on nine hits. Carl Sadler (2-1, 2.20) gave up a run in four innings of relief and picked up his second win. Dave Elder closed the door in the 10th with another scoreless inning. He's now unscored upon in his last 10 appearances covering 13-2/3 innings.

KINSTON (A): Kyle Denney took another step in his comeback from Tommy John surgery as he worked five innings in the K-Tribe's 4-1 lost to Myrtle Beach. He gave up three runs on five hits and walked two and struck out two but, for now, what's most important is that he is healthy and continues to build arm strength. Scott Sturkie allowed an unearned run in two innings and Steve Fitch worked a scoreless final frame. Nick Janowicz knocked in the Indians only run with a sac fly and he also singled. Corey Smith (.279) added his 12th double and had a chance to do a lot more damage but struck out with the bases loaded to end the game. Alex Requena (.250) doubled and singled. Maicer Izturis walked twice and stole a base (#16).

COLUMBUS (A): Jake Dittler (2-3, 3.86) worked five strong innings but the Redstixx fell to Augusta 5-4. Dittler allowed only one run on four hits but he did struggle with his control as he walked four and only struck out one. According to Baseball America, Dittler is credited with the loss but I'm not sure why since he was only charged with one run and the score was tied 1-1 when he left. Carlos De La Cruz gave up four runs (two earned) in two innings of relief and Chris Cooper struck out two in his one inning of work. Joe Inglett (.308) tripled and drove in two runs. Brian Kirby added a sac fly RBI. Wily Tavares (.240) singled and walked twice but was also caught stealing twice


May 22, 2002  

Thanks to his one-hit outing last night, Kinston RHP Fernando Cabrera gets some love from Baseball America in the Daily Dish.

Wednesday, May 22

If you're looking for something to brighten your day, check out the minor league recaps below. The farm teams went 4-0 yesterday as Billy Traber took a no-hitter in the 7th inning, Traber and Fernando Cabrera threw one-hitters, Travis Foley tossed a two-hit gem, and Tim Drew came through with another quality start in Buffalo. It was a very impressive evening for the Indians young guns.

In a move that was long overdue, the Indians released Brady Anderson after he hit .163 with one homerun and five RBIs in 80 at-bats this season. The release will cost the Indians $1.2 million, which breaks down as $200,000 for the major league minimum and $1.0 million for a guaranteed buyout of his option years. The Orioles are also paying Anderson $5-7 million this season depending on what source you reference. Brady's skills had been in decline for the last three seasons but between 1992 and 1999 he was one of the better leadoff men in the game and put together a good career in which he made the All-Star team three times, led the league in hit by pitches three times, and, of course, belted those 50 homeruns in 1996 in what is one of the greatest single-season aberrations in baseball history. He also played extremely well in two postseasons against the Indians, hitting four homeruns and seemingly coming up to the plate with men on base in every game. I hated him so much that I grew to really like him as a player, much like Paul O'Neill. Interestingly enough, the player who is most similar to him according to is Steve Finley, who the Orioles dealt to Houston to find playing time for Anderson. It's sad to see a career end with a player so completely overmatched, but overall, Brady had a career that he should be very proud of. Hopefully, he will retire gracefully and move on to the next part of his life.

To replace Anderson on the roster, the Indians recalled Chris Magruder from Buffalo where he had been hitting .271/.363/.441 with three homeruns, nine RBI, and a stolen base in 118 at-bats. He's a switch-hitter who can play all three outfield positions and has a little pop in his bat and decent speed. Hopefully, the Indians will let him play everyday in centerfield until Milton Bradley returns so we can get a solid evaluation of his skills. We know what Jolbert Cabrera can do and, more importantly, what he can't do. Let's find out what Magruder can do now.

John Mirabelli was on the Bruce Drennan show on WKNR this morning. I was hoping for some draft insight but Bruce barely acknowledged the draft in a rather short interview. Here's some notes on what John had to say...

-- Jody Gerut is having a breakthrough year at Akron.
-- When asked about hitting prospects, he mentioned Gerut, Victor Martinez, Corey Smith, and Ryan Church with no further details.
-- Alex Requena (Kinston) and Wily Tavares (Columbus) can both develop into quality major leaguers but are still a long ways away. Requena could provide more immediate help with his defense but he would be overmatched at the plate right now.
-- Earl Snyder can develop into a serviceable major leaguer and be an asset to a team in a certain role. At this point, he went on to say that he's not going to lie and say that either of these guys (Snyder or Bruce Aven) can be impact major leaguers. I have no idea why Drennan was asking about Bruce Aven.
-- Victor Martinez has made great strides this season and has held his own with the bat, which is something the Indians were worried about. Bruce asked if he is still two years away and Mirabelli said the timetable may be moved up a little.
-- Josh Bard will be a solid major league catcher
-- The Indians offshore scouting is focused on the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Mexico right now but they are working on establishing contacts and a base in the Pacific Rim.
-- The surplus of pitching we have in the farm system could be used to bring in position player prospects.

Speaking of WKNR, did anyone else hear yesterday when Kenny Roda asked who Hank Blalock was and then asked what position Adam Dunn played? Are you kidding me?

One of the unique aspects of the baseball draft is the "draft and follow" process involving junior college players. When a major league team drafts a player that enrolls in a junior college, that team controls the right to that player for the next 51 weeks, meaning they have the right to sign that player anytime until one week before the draft. This years date is May 28 and the Indians hold the rights to several players with the most interesting being RHP Sean Smith from Sacramento City College who was 4-1 with a 1.63 ERA as of April 23 according to the SCC website. He had pitched 55 innings and allowed 33 hits and 22 walks while striking out 64. Here's what Baseball America has to say about him...."Smith has emerged as a potential first-rounder after being selected as a draft-and-follow in 2001. The Indians selected Smith in the 16th round last year. His easy delivery produces explosive 90-94 mph heat, and while he tired late in the spring, he never dipped below 89 mph. Smith's slider and changeup are potential plus pitches. Some scouts speculate it will take more than $1.5 million to prevent Smith from going back into the draft, where he would be a borderline first-rounder. He's still 18, making him younger than many high school players in this year's draft". BBA ranks Smith as the #4 JUCO prospect in the country and the #4 prospect in Northern California. The Plain Dealer notes today that the Tribe is waiting for the SCC playoffs to finish before they negotiate with him.

Other notable players the Indians control the rights to include RHP Garrett Mock (44th round) of Grayson College in Texas and RHP Brandon Harmsen (28th round) of Grand Rapids CC. Mock is ranked as the #14 JUCO prospect and Harmsen as the #40 JUCO prospect by BBA. The NJCAA website lists partial stats for Mock through 27-1.3 innings with a 1.32 ERA and 13 hits, 10 walks, and 35 strikeouts. Even in the age of the Internet, I could not locate stats for Harmsen, although there appears to be a picture of him "bringing the heat" on the GRCC website that would not load in my browser for some reason. The Plain Dealer says that the Indians are currently negotiating with both players.

The Buffalo News reports that recently signed outfielder Bisons outfielder Chad Allen underwent surgery on a torn ACL in his right knee last August while with the Twins organization.

John Sickels ranked a series of Dynamic Duos on and the left-handed combo of Brian Tallet and Billy Traber made the list. Sickels ranks them both as solid number three starter candidates. Interestingly enough, while Tallet has often been referred to as a soft-tosser, he notes that Tallet has a little more juice on the heater than Traber.

John Rocker was demoted again by the Rangers. I hope Mark Shapiro is chatting up Ricardo Rincon to his former boss this morning.

4 games, 4 wins, 4 pitching gems, down on the farm...

BUFFALO (AAA): Another encouraging start from Tim Drew as the Bisons defeated Norfolk 4-2. Drew (3-3, 4.24) allowed only two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four in six innings. He's not dominating but he's tossing consistent quality innings which is a promising sign. Sean DePaula also pitched well as he worked a scoreless final three innings in which he allowed only one hit and struck out two to pick up his third save. Bill Selby tripled and singled, stole a base, and knocked in a run. Chris Coste (.359) singled twice. Earl Snyder doubled and singled. Chad Allen knocked in two with a basehit and Zach Sorenson tripled, singled, and walk.

AKRON (AA): Billy Traber took a no-hitter into the 7th inning and shutout the Portland Sea Dogs to lead the Aeros to a 4-0 victory in game 1 of their doubleheader. Traber (7-2, 3.38) walked only two and struck out ten and the only hit he surrendered was to Marlins mega-prospect Adrian Gonzalez who was the 1st overall pick in the 2000 draft. Victor Martinez blasted a two-run shot (#4) and Jon Hamilton had two hits and a stolen base. In the nightcap, Hamilton again banged out two hits, including a solo HR (#5) as the Aeros swept the doubleheader with a 6-2 victory. Troy Cameron doubled and drove in a run and Jhonny Peralta knocked in a run with a sac fly. The Aeros scored their six runs with only five hits and four walks and received some help from two Sea Dogs errors. Mike Spiegel gave up a run in three innings. Alberto Garza struck out three in an 1-1/3 innings but walked two and was charged with a run. Jose Colon and Dave Elder combined for 2-2/3 innings of scoreless relief with Elder getting credit for the win.

KINSTON (A): Fernando Cabrera dominated for six innings as Kinston defeated Myrtle Beach 4-1. Cabrera (1-5, 3.80) allowed only one run on a hit and a walk while striking out six. Tim Byrdak and Ryan Larson combined for three scoreless innings of relief with Larson picking up his 4th save. Jorge Moreno tripled in two and knocked in another run on a doubleplay ball to lead the offense. Maicer Izturis doubled and singled and stole a base (#15). Alex Requena singled twice, stole a base (#23) and was also caught stealing. Ryan Church had two hits, including a double, and also walked. Corey Smith singled, struck out twice, and made an error.

COLUMBUS (A): Travis Foley continued the string of dominating pitching performances by tossing six innings of shutout ball as the Redstixx defeated Augusta 2-0. Foley (5-2, 2.83) allowed only two hits and three walks while striking out seven. Oscar Alvarez worked two scoreless innings of relief and Lee Gronkiewicz gave up three hits in the 9th but struck out two and slammed the door for his 9th save. Sean Swedlow had two hits and a RBI. JJ Sherrill doubled, singled, and stole a base. Wily Tavares singled twice and stole a base (#24) to stay one swipe ahead of Alex Requena for the organizational lead. Brian Kirby doubled with an RBI and Mark Folsom also banged out a double.


May 21, 2002  

The Indians released Brady Anderson today and promoted Chris Magruder from Buffalo. This might be the end to a very solid career in Brady and, hopefully, the start of a pretty good career with Magruder. More on this tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 21

Jim Ingraham sums up the ineptitude of the Indians offense when he notes this morning in the Morning Journal that the Indians pinch-hit a .163 hitter (Brady Anderson) for a .125 hitter (Jolbert Cabrera) and then when the Tigers made a pitching change, they pinch-hit a .111 hitter (Bruce Aven) for the .163 hitter. They also grounded into four more double-plays which helps to explain why they managed to score only three runs on ten hits and six walks.

Bartolo Colon threw a lot of pitches last night but I liked how he started the 6th inning after the Tribe had scored two runs to take the lead in the top-half of the inning. I have to say "started" because he set that 2-2 fastball on a tee for Ramon Santiago who ended up being thrown out by 15 feet at home when he tried to stretch his triple into an inside-the-park homerun. Colon has not allowed more than three runs in his last six starts for an ERA of 1.85 but is only 2-2 in that span.

By the way, is there a more exciting play in baseball than the inside-the-park homerun attempt? I was laying down when Santiago turned Lawton around three times with his shot to the gap, but I was sitting upright by the time he rounded third.

Why was Russ Branyan trying to bunt for a hit in the 7th or 8th inning? I'm all for guys trying to get on base anyway they can, but dude, you already had two hits in the game. I don't know, perhaps he was trying to duplicate his "swinging bunt" from the previous at-bat?

Milton Bradley has been given the ok to report to Winter Haven for 5-to-7 days of rehab as he begins to work himself back into shape. It's expected that he will then go on a rehab assignment at Buffalo or Akron before being activated by the Indians. Mark Shapiro is quoted in the Plain Dealer as saying that he is probably about two weeks away.

No one is saying exactly what is wrong with Bob Wickman's elbow, but Wick himself is saying that the doctors have told him he is not going to injure himself more by pitching with it. How often do we hear statements like that and then find the player on the DL in the next 3-4 weeks?

Danys Baez will not make the trip to Toronto this weekend due to concerns he may not be allowed back into the country by U.S. Immigration. Baez has applied for U.S. residency but is currently in the country under a Cuban work visa and the Immigration Department has been very cautious about allowing Cubans back into the country on work visas. He will miss his scheduled start on Friday or Saturday and will make his next start on Monday or Tuesday in Cleveland against the Tigers. With an off day this Thursday, the Indians are not expected to callup anyone from Buffalo to start in his place.

Terry Pluto advocates trading Bartolo Colon in the Beacon Journal and I agree that it's time to see what other teams are willing to offer.

The Columbus Ledger notes that John Farrell gave the ok to Torey Lovullo to allow Dan Denham to exceed his 85-pitch limit on Saturday in order for Denham to pickup his first win as a professional. Denham ended up throwing 94 pitches in five innings and was credited with the win in the Redstixx 10-7 victory over Savannah. Nice touch by Farrell and I'm sure it's a relief for Denham to have that monkey off his back.

Brian Tallet remains in the honorable mention section of the Prospect Hot Sheet on

Former Indian minor leaguer Marcus Scutaro (2B) was named the International League Player of the Week in recognition of a week in which he hit .667, slugged 1.286, scored seven runs, and hit four doubles, three triples, and one homerun. Scutaro was traded to the Brewers in the Bob Wickman trade and was traded by the Brewers to the Mets this past offseason where he once again finds himself behind Robbie Alomar. He was 0-for-4 last night against the Bisons and is hitting .355 for the season.

You may recall that the Indians flirted briefly with the notion of converting Brooks Kieschnick to a pitcher this spring before releasing him towards the end of camp. Well, the White Sox have signed Brooks and will give him a chance on the mound at triple-A Charlotte. The White Sox may have acquired another former Indian as OF Scott Morgan is listed on as having moved from the Padres triple-A affiliate to the White Sox.

Only two games yesterday down on the farm...

BUFFALO (AAA): Bill Selby knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th with a pinch-hit single to give the Bisons a 3-2 victory over Norfolk. Norfolk had tied the game in the top of the 9th when they scored a run off of Martin Vargas who ended up being credited with the win. Nerio Rodriguez started for the Bisons and held the Tides scoreless for the first seven innings before he surrendered a run in the 8th. He scattered five hits and a walk over 7-2/3 innings and struck out seven to lower his ERA to 1.98 for the season. More impressively, he's only walked six batters and given up 34 hits in 50 innings for an unbelievable 0.800 WHIP ratio. Greg LaRocca and Chris Coste (playing 3B) each doubled and singled. Coste drove in a run and LaRocca stole a base. Jeremy Ware doubled and stole a base. Zach Sorenson tripled and Chris Magruder and Earl Snyder both singled. One week after shutting out the Bisons for six innings, former Indian Mike Bacsik (1-4, 5.79) pitched well again last night as he held the Bisons to two runs in five innings on seven hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts.

AKRON (AA): Scheduled day off.

KINSTON (A): Scheduled day off.

COLUMBUS (A): The Redstixx won their 4th in a row as they defeated Augusta 9-4 yesterday. Derek Thompson (2-0, 2.37) picked up a win despite having his worst start of the season as he allowed ten hits and four runs in 5-1/3 innings. Mariano Gomez shut the door with 3-1/3 innings of 1-hit relief, striking out three in the process. Sean Swedlow is showing signs of life and has raised his average back to .250 as he singled and belted a solo HR (#5). JJ Sherrill also went yard, his 6th of the season. Armando Camacaro doubled and drove in three runs. Joe Inglett singled twice and scored a run. Wily Tavares doubled and Rodney Choy Foo and Ivan Ochoa knocked in runs with sac flys.


The CIR is an independent fan website and is not affliated with the Cleveland Indians organization. Please visit the Indians official website at