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June 29, 2002  

Saturday, June 29

Some interesting notes from the various press conferences that took place yesterday...

The Expos were apparently also negotiating with the Tigers for Jeff Weaver at the same time the Colon talks were taking place. The trade had been in the works for three weeks and Colon's start against the Expos on Saturday convinced Omar Minaya to concede and include Brandon Phillips in the deal. Nice to see the Indians stick it to a division rival.

Indians scout, and former Expos farm director, Tony LaCava was instrumental in the evaluation of the Expos system. We covered the hiring of LaCava back in February or March (I'm offline right now so I can't check the archives).

The Indians are not going to ask Jim Thome to waive his no-trade clause and, apparently, Jim Thome has no intention of doing so even if he were asked. Honorable moves on both sides, but if Thome really wanted to show the Cleveland fans he cared, he would march into Shapiro's office, verbally agree to a deal, tell Shapiro to trade him for some prospects, and then resign with the Tribe in the offseason to the agreed upon deal. Is there such a thing as collusion between players and teams?

"Four spots in our lineup are completely unproductive. Not partially unproductive, not in decline from last season -- but completely unproductive . That's a direct quote from Shapiro. You have to admire the brutal honesty.

Tim Drew was officially confirmed as the PTBNL. When asked why he was included, Mark Shapiro responded rather bluntly (paraphrasing), he throws 88-89mph and it's going to be tough for him to have immediate success at the major league level with his stuff. The Indians also felt (correctly) we had better or similar pitchers in the system and with Drew out of options in 2003, they would have had to keep him in the majors next season or lose him on waivers.

Under the Knife reports that Bartolo Colon has been told that his option will not be picked up in the offseason, making him a free-agent. It's expected that Bartolo will command and receive Chan Ho Park money ($15 mil/year). UTK also speculates that this trade could be further evidence of MLB fattening the calf for slaughter, or dispersal draft. Pure speculation at this point, but could the Indians find themselves in a position to reacquire Colon in such a draft? Right now, they have the 12th worst record in baseball so they would obviously need to plummet even further in the standings, which just might happen if the team is turned over even further towards youth. If a dispersal draft does that place, you can expect Vlad Guerrero, Javier Vasquez, Bartolo Colon, Tony Armas Jr, Jose Vidro, Orlando Cabrera, Brad Wilkerson, and Fernando Tatis to be among the top picks. Any of those guys would look pretty good in a Tribe uniform, huh?

Brandon Phillips played shortstop and singled twice in his Indians system debut yesterday in Buffalo. Cliff Lee is expected to make his first start on Monday at Canal Park. Grady Sizemore did not play last night for Kinston.

Initial thoughts as to who would replace Bartolo Colon in the rotation centered on Buffalo right-hander Jason Phillips but the LMJ notes this morning that those plans may have been shelved. I can only surmise that this is due to Phillips low pitch count as he returns from injury and also his poor performance over his last six starts (see the recaps). Candidates now include Jaret Wright, Charles Nagy, Jake Westbrook, and even Billy Traber and Brian Tallet. I'll throw out another name...Cliff Lee just happens to be starting on Monday which would put him in line to make his next start on Saturday, coincidentally, the next time the Indians will need a 5th starter.

Charlie Manuel was named as a coach to the American League all-star team. Paul Spicuzza will also be in Milwaukee as a trainer for the AL all-star team.

Luis Gonzalez was returned to Akron to make room for Brandon Phillips on the Bisons roster. With Cliff Lee joining the Aeros, Tim Byrdak was released.

Victor Martinez and Billy Traber were named to the double-A American League all-star team. Cliff Lee had previously been named to the National League squad. The game, which is composed of teams from all three double-A leagues, will be played on July 10 in Norwich, Connecticut.

The Indians bought the rights to 6'9" left-hander Rich Powalski from the Fort Worth Cats of the independent Central League for $3000. Powalski was originally drafted by the Cubs in 1996 and was the independent All-American League Pitcher of the Year in 2001. This season, he was 3-1 with a 3.28 ERA and had struck out 59 in 46-2/3 innings while holding opponents to a .227 batting average. Powalski will report to Kinston.

Micah Schilling made his professional debut last night in Burlington and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and an error. It was a rough night overall for the Tribe's bonus babies as Matt Whitney also went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

The Redstixx game on Thursday was rained out in a scene that could have been taken right out of Bull Durham. According to the Ledger-Enquirer, the Redstixx groundskeeper and his assistant quit right before the start of the game and the replacement crew (i.e., management) messed up the tarp and could not get the field covered in time. The game was called in the 4th inning with the good guys up 5-0 and Travis Foley having retired nine in a row after giving up a leadoff single.

According to the Burlington Times, Fernando Pacheco reported to Burlington and was in uniform for the first time on Thursday. No reports yet on why it took him so long to report after signing.

THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS: Jaret Wright struck out five and allowed only one run in six innings in Buffalo's 6-1 victory. Earl Snyder belted his 13th homerun and drove in two runs. Chris Coste had two hits to raise his average to .357.......Billy Traber raised his record to 12-2 as he spotted seven hits over five innings and allowed only two runs to score. Victor Martinez blasted his 13th homerun and drove in two......Derek Thompson picked up his first Kinston win and gave up two earned runs in six innings. Hank Thoms ran his scoreless streak to 12 innings. Eric Crozier belted another grand slam (homerun #7) and doubled.....Columbus and Mahoning Valley were rained out.....Sean Smith allowed a run and struck out four in 2-2/3 innings for Burlington. Matt Haynes struck out seven in 4-1/3 innings and picked up his second win. Scott Threinen belted a homerun and doubled twice. Jason Nixon added a 3-run jack (#2).

BUFFALO: Brandon Phillips had two hits in his Indians debut but the Bisons lost to Charlotte 6-1. Phillips singled twice and played an error-free game at shortstop for his new team. Greg LaRocca had three hits, including a double, and drove in a run. Tony Medrano doubled and Jody Gerut and Chris Coste added singles. Jason Phillips took the loss as he gave up three runs in five innings on four hits and a pair of walks. Phillips is now 0-3 with a 5.76 ERA in his last six starts. Nerio Rodriguez gave up three runs in two innings and Roy Smith tossed a scoreless inning.

AKRON: Jamie Brown continues to impress as he struck out 10 over seven innings to pick up his 5th win of the season as the Aeros knocked off Harrisburg 7-2. Brown walked only one and scattered three hits as the only run to score while he was on the mound was unearned. Alex Herrera picked up his 5th save with two innings of relief. Jason Fitzgerald led the offense with a solo homerun (#5), a double, and two singles to drive in three runs as part of a 4-for-5 night. He also scored two runs and stole a base (#13). Luis Gonzalez had three hits, including a double, and Billy Munoz singled twice. Nate Grindell tripled and was hit twice by pitches. Victor Martinez added a 2-run single and Ryan Church singled, walked, and stole a base.

KINSTON: The K-Tribe lost to Frederick 7-1. Fernando Cabrera (3-7, 3.87) continued to be hexed by the CIR jinx as he suffered through another rough outing, giving up three runs on six hits and four walks in 3-1/3 innings. Matt Wade gave up four runs in 2-2/3 innings and Jose Vargas tossed two scoreless innings, striking out three. Corey Smith belted his 7th homerun and was also hit by a pitch. Alex Requena singled twice, Eric Crozier walked twice, and Luke Scott and Jorge Moreno singled.

COLUMBUS: Rained out. The Redstixx will play doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.

MAHONING VALLEY: The Scrappers swept a double-header from Hudson Valley, winning the opener 3-1 and taking the nightcap 4-3. Kyle Evans (1-0, 1.59) struck out nine in 6 strong innings in the opener to pickup his first win of the year. He permitted only five hits and walked two in allowing only one run to cross the plate. Todd Pennington worked a scoreless final inning for his second save, although he made it interesting as he gave up two hits and a walk. Brian Wright doubled and singled to drive in a run. Jeff Haase singled twice and drove in a run. Matt Knox also knocked in a run with a single. In the nightcap, Haase (.400) stayed hot as he belted his 3rd homerun, singled, and drove in two runs. Matt Knox had two more hits, including a double, and Andy Baxter singled, drove in a run, and stole a base.

BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe knocked off Johnson City 4-1. Josh Noviskey plated two runs with two singles to lead the offense. Ricardo Rojas knocked in a run with two hits and Luis Hodge added two singles. Chris De La Cruz (.359) singled and Teodoro Encarnacion doubled and drove in a run. Matt Whitney and Micah Schilling were a combined 0-for-8 with five strikeouts. Schilling was making his professional debut. TJ Burton threw three hitless innings, striking out three. Luis Alvarado picked up his second win as he allowed one run in 3-1/3 innings. Honedis Pereyra struck out six and walked three in 2-2/3 innings to earn his first save as a professional.


June 28, 2002  

Friday, June 28

I like the trade.

Y'all excuse me while I duck out of the way of the tomatoes and batteries being heaved in my direction.

I like the trade.

What are four words you will not hear used in a sentence today in Cleveland?

I like the trade.

Perhaps if I keep repeating this to myself, I'll start believing it.

I like the trade.

Or maybe I should say, I don't like losing Colon, but I really like the guys we got in return.

The Indians are in decline. They're 25-40 since their ill-fated 11-1 start and the product they are putting on the field is simply not very good. Yes, things could be much different if we had resigned Juan Gonzalez and not traded Roberto Alomar but no amount of complaining is going to change the fact that those two are gone. You can bitch and moan all you want (and you'd be right) about how Shapiro misread the market for Gonzalez and how the Indians did not get the right mix of players in return for Alomar but that doesn't change the fact that those two are no longer wearing Tribe uniforms. When you look out on the field, the current Indians have an all-star at firstbase, a gaping hole at second, a 35-year old at short, a gaping hole at third, a gaping hole in left, a decent prospect in center, a hobbling mediocre veteran in right, and a mediocre player behind the plate. Not exactly the stuff that contenders are made of. Yes, the starting pitching is good, with the potential to be very good, but the last time I checked you still need to score more than two runs a game to be competitive.

I think we all knew this was coming and the only reason why this did not happen sooner was because of the perceived weakness of the AL Central, but the Twins offense has come together this season and they've built a seven game lead without their two best pitchers, Joe Mays and Brad Radke. That's the point that everyone seems to forget when you hear "the Twins will fade". When they get Radke and Mays back after the all-star break, they're going to be that much tougher to catch and they have a boatload of young talent (Cuddyer, Restovich, Morneau, Kielty, LeCroy, Johnson, Kinney, Lohse) to use as ammunition for bringing in another bat (Ellis Burks or Jim Thome, Mr.Ryan?). Shapiro knows this and he also knows that he has virtually nothing to trade to acquire the hitters needed to get the Tribe back into the race. Do we really want to trade Billy Traber, Victor Martinez, and Ryan Church for a run at an AL Central race that we stand a good chance of losing, and might never happen anyway with a strike looming? Sure, that would be exciting to watch, but when those acquired players (who most likely will be free agents), leave town, what will we have left? There comes a time when you just have to realize that the team is not going to contend and you need to start rebuilding, lest you want to wallow in mediocrity chasing false contention dreams like the Cavaliers have for the past 4-5 seasons.

So why Colon, and why now? Why not wait until you're closer to the deadline when you'll be able to get a lot more? In any other year, I would agree with that, but unless the labor situation is resolved prior to July 31, the trading deadline market is going to be extremely tight. As I mentioned yesterday, why would a GM trade away his top prospects for a player who may only play one week for his new team before the season is stopped? And if the playoffs are canceled, well, you get the picture. As for Colon having an extra year on his contract, as one GM put it (and I'm paraphrasing), "if the season is canceled this year, attendance is going to plummet in 2003 and I'm not sure there's going to be many teams looking to take on salary, even at a bargain price." For those reasons, it's going to be a tough trade market and I think, in this instance, Shapiro saw an opportunity to get three very good prospects and jumped at it. In some respects, the fact that Montreal is a lame duck franchise definitely worked into the Indians favor here as the Expos focus is strictly on this season. I can see Omar Minaya sitting in his office thinking, I'm either going to be contracted or replaced by someone else if the team is sold and moved, so screw it, let's go all out to win this year. And that's what he did.

So dude, what about Colon? Why trade him and not Finley, Thome, or Burks? Well, those trades are coming and Colon was most likely the first because he was the most marketable. Why did the Indians even make him available? It's true that he's been very, very good this season and it looks like he might finally be blossoming into a #1 starter but the simple truth is that the Indians are not going to win with him this year and they're not going to win with him next year. There's also no guarantee that he would resign with the Indians as a free-agent regardless of how much money we offer him. When you have as many holes as the Indians do, no one is irreplaceable. Now, I'm not saying that this makes Colon expendable, far from it, but the Tribe does have three very good young starters (CC, Baez, and Drese) in line to step up in the rotation and they also have three very good prospects (Traber, Tallet, and now Lee) ready to make a bid for the rotation next spring so the Indians do have quality replacements ready to go.

Now having said that, I did not want the Indians to trade Colon. I wanted Bartolo to retire as an Indian. I can understand the logic behind moving him, but I don't necessarily embrace it. But now that the trade had been made, I have to say that I think Shapiro did a good job in bringing in the players he did. And who are those players....

Brandon Phillips was selected in the 2nd round of the 1999 draft by the Expos out of a Georgia high school. He's a 6'1, 180 pound, 20-year old, switch-hitting shortstop who has also played second and third base. Scouts love his overall game and consider him a "5-tool" prospect and project him to be a .290-25-100-20 type of player with good defense. If his plate discipline continues to improve, he could become a John Sickels "7-tool" player. I don't have the stats from his first year in the minors but in 2000 he hit .242/.306/.378 with 11 homeruns and 23 steals in the South Atlantic League. He was promoted to the high-A Florida State League for the start of the 2001 season where he hit .284/.414/.428 with 4 homeruns and 17 steals in 55 games before being promoted to the Eastern League midseason. Double-A did not impede his progress as he hit .298/.337/.449 with seven homeruns, 19 doubles, and 13 steals in 67 games. Combined stats for last season were .291/.361 with 11 homeruns, 31 doubles, and 30 steals which is extremely impressive for a teenager in the FSL and double-A. Phillips wasn't done there, however, as he shined in the Arizona Fall League in the offseason where he hit .344/.396/.516 with two homeruns and 10 doubles in 95 ABs and split time between third (14G), short (6G), and second (4G). He returned to double-A to start this season and was hitting .327/.380/.506 with 9 homeruns and 13 doubles in 245 at-bats/60 games before his recent promotion to triple-A Ottawa. Phillips is generally regarded as one of the best, if not the best, shortstop and overall position player prospects in the game and will be the starting shortstop for the U.S. team in the upcoming Futures Game. He will report to Buffalo and will probably sip a cup of coffee with the Tribe in September. More than likely, he will be starting somewhere in the infield in 2003, with thirdbase being the most likely scenario as the current roster stands (i.e. Omar is still here). Here's some other information on Phillips:

Baseball America: Expos #1 prospect, #20 overall Expos #1 prospect, #23 overall
Protospect Watch: Expos #1 prospect, #38 overall
Top Prospect Alert: Expos #1 prospect, #23 overall
John Sickels gave him a B+ grade this season and ranked him #28 overall and the #1 shortstop prospect in the game.

Cliff Lee was a 4th round pick in 2000 out of the University of Arkansas. A 6'3", 200 pound, 23-year old left-hander, he was regarded as having a first round arm but control problems his junior year caused him to slide in the draft. He works with a 90-94 mph fastball, a sharp curve, and an improving changeup. After signing with the Expos, he reported to Cape Fear in the South Atlantic League where he struck out 63 batters in 44-2/3 innings but also walked 36 and gave up 50 hits with a 5.24 ERA. Last year, he started to turn it around, as he spent the entire season in the high-A Florida State League and struck out 129 in 109-2/3 innings while walking 46 and giving up 78 hits for a 1.131 ratio and 2.79 ERA. Promoted to double-A this season, Lee has blossomed into the #1 prospect in the Eastern League> (according to Peter Gammons) as he has struck out 105 batters in 86-1/3 innings and allowed only 61 hits and 23 walks to go along with a 7-2 record and 3.23 ERA. Billy Traber is pitching extremely well, but Cliff Lee has been more dominating this year and that is saying a lot. Since signing with the Expos, Lee's K/BB/IP has improved dramatically from 63/36/44.2 to 129/46/109.6 to 105/23/86.1 which indicates that his stuff is staying dominant and his control is improving as he advances through the system which is a very good sign. The only knock on Lee is his tendency to serve up the gopher ball as he gave up 13 last year and 12 so far this year. He'll report to Akron where he'll team with Billy Traber and Brian Tallet to form one of the most impressive threesomes in the minor leagues. It would not surprise me if he is given a chance to win a spot in the 2003 rotation. More info on Lee...

Baseball America: Expos #11 prospect Expos #14 prospect
Protospect Watch: Expos #8 prospect
Top Prospect Alert: Expos #7 prospect, #240 overall
John Sickels gave him a B- grade this season but suggested he was a breakout candidate for 2002.

Grady Sizemore is a 6'2", 200 pound, 19-year old outfielder who was considered a first round talent in 2000 but fell to the third round because of a commitment to the University of Washington on a football/baseball scholarship. He has plus speed, incredible plate discipline for a teenager, and untapped power potential. Scouts project him as a potential 20 HR, 30-40 SB guy with leadoff abilities. The Expos signed him to a reported $2 million signing bonus and he played for their Gulf Coast League team where he hit .293/.380/.376 with a homerun and 16 steals in 55 games. He spent last season in the low-A Midwest League where he was one of the youngest players in full-season ball and still managed to post above league average numbers, hitting .268/.381/.335 with two homeruns, 32 steals, and 81 walks in 123 games. Promoted to the high-A Florida State league for 2002, Sizemore has struggled a bit against the stiffer competition and bigger parks and is hitting .258/.351/.348 with no homeruns but 15 doubles in 256 at-bats. He's also walked 36 times so the plate discipline is still evident which is an encouraging sign. He will most likely report to Kinston where he should spend the rest of the season. He's still raw and 2-3 years away but at age 19, all the signs are positive right now. More information on Sizemore...

Baseball America: Expos #3 prospect Expos #2 prospect, #81 overall
Protospect Watch: Expos #2 prospect, #66 overall
Top Prospect Alert: Expos #2 prospect, #60 overall
John Sickels gave him a B- grade this season but suggested he had a bright future (plate discipline, work ethic).

It's not a reach to say the Indians acquired the Expos top three, or three of their top five prospects in Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, and Grady Sizemore. Phillips instantly becomes the #1 prospect in the system, Lee will probably slot in at #2 or #3 (with Victor Martinez) and Sizemore won't be too much farther down the list. An infusion of talent has been the buzzword coming out of the Indians office for the past few months and that's exactly what they got in this deal.

So what about Lee Stevens? Serviceable at one point in his career, he's pretty much a chump now, although he still has some pop in his bat as evidenced by the 10 homeruns this season. His best seasons were with the Rangers from 1997-99 where he hit .300/.336/.514 with 21 homeruns in 1997 and .282/.344/.488 with 24 homeruns in 1999. I believe he signed with the Expos as a free-agent in the '99 offseason and while his power numbers have remained steady (22 and 25 homeruns the last two seasons), his average has dropped from .282 in 1999 to .265, .245, and a miserable .190 this season. The mainstream media is jumping all over the "we got Stevens, Thome is gone" bandwagon, but the simple fact is that Stevens was included in this deal for economic reasons alone. Colon makes $4.5 million this season and Stevens makes $4 million. The "cash considerations" in the deal is the difference between the two salaries since Major League Baseball won't allow the Expos to expand their payroll since they are under league control. He'll serve as a left-handed stick off the bench and see some time at first, leftfield, and DH, but believe me, the fact that we have Lee Stevens on the roster does not suddenly make Jim Thome available. The Tribe has Ben Broussard and Earl Snyder ready and able to take over if/when Thome is dealt. Stevens is a free-agent at the end of the year as well so you kiss him goodbye at the end of the year.

Speaking of the cash considerations, is it any coincidence the Indians just happened to sell Martin Vargas to Japan for a rumored $300-500k yesterday? I think not and the Chunichi Dragons might as well just make that check out to the Montreal Expos and eliminate the middle man. The official spin is that Vargas was out of options next year which means that the Indians would have had to keep him on their major league roster or risk losing him to waivers next spring. He wasn't in their plans, so they dumped him. That's probably true but it would be refreshing if they would just say that they sold him to help finance this deal.

With Tim Drew rumored to be the PTBNL in the deal, Jason Phillips is expected to be recalled and join the Tribe rotation. I've told Phillips' story many times over the last few months and it will be nice to see him get a chance in the big leagues. For Buffalo this season, he's gone 6-3 with 2.99 ERA in 81-1/3 innings (69H, 13W, 61K).

Hey, with Drew and Phillips out of the Bisons rotation, the Jeff D'Amico acquisition suddenly makes a little more sense.

I apologize for the lateness of this report but real life (work) has this nasty little habit of stepping to the forefront in the worst possible times :-). Much more to come tomorrow.

Colon Trade Links (more to come later)
-- Baseball America
-- Beacon Journal -- Pluto
-- Beacon Journal -- Ocker
-- Morning Journal
-- Plain Dealer
-- Plain Dealer - Colon Emotional
-- Canton Repository
-- The Sporting News -- Ken Rosenthal
-- Fox Sports Andrew Sicilano
-- CNNSI Trade Analysis
-- Ron Neyer
-- Expos Blog -- Victory Lap
-- Expos Blog -- Shoot the Messenger


June 27, 2002  

Wow!! This just crossed the wire. The Indians are trading Bartolo Colon to the Expos for a collection of prospects that includes some of the players we talked about in today's report (Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee). Wow (again)!! More on this in tomorrow's report.

Following is the AP report from AOL News...

Indians to Trade Colon to Expos
.c The Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) - The disappointing Cleveland Indians will trade ace Bartolo Colon to the surprising Montreal Expos for first baseman Lee Stevens in a six-player deal, The Associated Press has learned.

Indians assistant general manager Chris Antonetti confirmed Thursday night in Boston that Colon would be traded, and said the deal would be announced at 9 a.m. Friday in Cleveland. He declined to identify the other players in the trade.

However, a team source, speaking on condition he not be identified, said the Indians would send Colon and a player to be named to the Expos for Stevens and three minor league prospects - infielder Cliff Lee, outfielder Grady Sizemore and shortstop Brandon Phillips.

Travis Foley makes the pitching matchup in today's Daily Dish.

Thursday, June 27

Lots of Tribe news below, so I'll be brief on the Cavs. I like DaJuan Wagner. It's about time we brought someone into the organization who can bring some excitement to the floor. At the same time, I was hoping they would do more and it looks like they had the opportunity based on this story from the LA Times via RealGM which would be funny if it wasn't so sad and typical of the Cavs. A deal could still get done, but getting Wagner, Odom, Butler, and another player would have been an amazing haul for one night. Getting rid of Person and his $16 million was a nice move though. Paxson does well when it comes to moving salaries (Kemp, Person) but his record besides that is shoddy at best. Overall though, I think they did all right and it's going to be exciting to watch DaJuan Wagner play this year. Oh yeah, I had 24 of 28 first rounders pegged correctly in my mock with 7 players slotted correctly, including Casey Jacobsen at #22 and Frank Williams at #25. Take that Maric!!

Mark Shapiro has finally admitted it. Jim Thome and Bartolo Colon are on the trading block. Along with Ellis Burks, Chuck Finley, Travis Fryman (good luck there) and any other Indian not signed through 2004 or beyond. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean they will be traded, it simply means the Indians have finally, officially, acknowledged the fact that they are rebuilding for the 2004 and 2005 seasons. As sad as that may sound, knowing the 2002 and 2003 seasons are not going to be pretty, it's going to be exciting watching the rebuilding process and the young players brought in to start another five-six year run atop the AL Central. I have my doubts as to whether Shapiro is the man to pull this off successfully, but for now, we'll just have to wait and see what transpires over the next 30-60 days.

Of course, you need two to tango in a trade and that's going to be Shapiro's biggest problem this summer; finding someone willing to give up quality youngsters with the prospects of an August shutdown looming ominously on the horizon. Using the Braves as an example, do you think John Schuerholz is going to be willing to part with Wilson Betemit on July 30 knowing that the season could come to a halt one week later? Probably not. If I'm a GM, I'm not going to give up my top prospect in hopes of reaching a World Series that may never be held. Perhaps Shapiro can sell the "it may be as important to be in first place on August 1st as it is on October 1st this year" with the notion that the playoffs could be held in October based on the standings at the time of strike. I don't think many people are going to buy that though. At least, they haven't so far in my fantasy leagues :-)

Of course, talks continue and there was this note in the Ottawa Sun this morning which reads...

"SS Brandon Phillips sat out last night's game. Rumours were rampant that Phillips was being packaged by the Expos in a blockbuster deal with Cleveland."

DOH!! No mention of whom the Expos are after but with Phillips involved, it would have to be either Colon or Thome. Buried in the Montreal system, Brandon Phillips was ranked as the #20 prospect in the game by Baseball America and the #1 prospect in the Expos organization entering this season. He's a 6'1, 180 pound, 20-year old, switch-hitting shortstop who also played a little thirdbase in the Arizona Fall League last year since the Expos already have a pretty good shortstop in Orlando Cabrera. He started the season at double-A Harrisburg this year and raked to the tune of .327/.380/.506 with 9 homeruns and 13 doubles in 245 at-bats/60 games. Promoted to triple-A Ottawa, Phillips is currently hitting .257/.297/.457 with a homerun in 10 games for the Lynx. With Omar at short and a gaping hole at third, Shapiro may be looking at Phillips as his third basemen of the future, or at least until Omar is sent packing next year. The Expos also have a left-hander named Cliff Lee who is tearing up the Eastern League, of which Peter Gammons noted that some managers are calling him the #1 prospect in the league. Lee has 105 strikeouts in 86-1/3 innings and only 61 hits and 23 walks with a 7-2 record and 3.23 ERA. The Expos are similar to the Indians in that they are pitching-heavy in the minor leagues but outfielder Brad Wilkerson (.286/.380/.432, 6 HR) and outfielder Peter Bergeron (throw-in candidate) may interest the Tribe as might pitchers Justin Wayne and Josh Karp, although Karp can't be dealt until September because he signed last season. The Expos also have some lower-level prospects that are intriguing but the Tribe has made it known that they are looking for players who can provide help in the next year or so at the big-league level. I'll have more on the Expos tomorrow.

So while all this was going on, Bartolo Colon felt a twinge during batting practice and returned to Cleveland for an MRI that turned out to be negative. At the same time, he just may have been given a physical to make sure everything else is all right (winkety-wink). As a precaution, he might be held out of his scheduled start on Friday against the Diamondbacks. It doesn't sound like anything serious, but you hate to hear any injury talk regarding Colon given the official word from Shapiro above.

As a result of the above, he Buffalo News notes that Tim Drew was held out of his start last night and is on his way to Cleveland in case Bartolo Colon cannot go on Friday. Of course, he could also be involved in the rumored Expos trade as well. The PD notes that Jason Phillips could be in line for the start but that seems unlikely given the limited pitch count he has been working under since his return from the disabled list a few weeks ago. Drew's pending move resulted in some creative juggling of the roster to make sure the Bisons had enough pitchers for yesterday's game and Kinston left-hander Brandon Matheny made the drive across state to Charlotte to join the Bisons and ended up making his triple-A debut last night (see the recaps below).

Martin Vargas has apparently been placed on waivers in order to allow him to sign with a team in Japan. Vargas had pitched in 22 games for the Bisons this season, led the team with 8 saves, and had posted a record of 3-2 with a 2.31 ERA (35.0-36-11-18). Vargas made a solid impression with the Tribe this spring but I think the emergence of David Elder and the Akron bullpen trio of Alberto Garza (1.69 ERA, 40 Ks in 26.2 IP), Dan Guillory (1.11 ERA, 35 Ks in 32 IP), and Alex Herrera (3.54, 32 Ks in 28 IP) made him very replaceable in the Indians eyes. I believe that Martin just had a baby recently so this should provide him more of an opportunity to make some cash for his family. Good luck Martin!

Dan Rich has been assigned to Mahoning Valley. The Scrappers also added infielder Miguel Pegueno to their roster. Pegueno hit .069 with Western Michigan (Det) in the Midwest League this season before being released by the Tigers.

Indians draft pick Blake Taylor is the subject of an article in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

The one that got away? Brandon Harmsen picked up his first win as a professional last night when he struck out five in five shutout innings for Staten Island in the NY-Penn league. Harmsen was an Indians DFE from the 2001 draft who did not sign with the Tribe and was subsequently taken by the Yankees in the 6th round this year.

BUFFALO: Due to the Tim Drew situation (as described above) the Bisons threw a makeshift pitching staff at the Braves and the guys responded with enough to pull off a 6-4 victory in Durham. Dave Maurer started and permitted only one run in three innings while striking out five. Maurer, incidentally, has now struck out 54 batters in 42-1/2 innings while allowing only 25 hits with a 1.70 ERA. Journeyman or not, those are impressive numbers. Brandon Matheny took over for Maurer and gave up four runs on seven hits in four innings in his triple-A debut, but it was workmanlike enough to earn him his first win. Carl Sadler tossed 1-2/3 scoreless innings before giving way to Dave Elder who struck out the final batter for his third save. Earl Snyder (.291) drove in three runs with two doubles and a single as he continues to make a case for a return to Cleveland this summer. Chad Allen drove in two more runs with a single. Chris Coste had two hits and raised his IL leading average to .354. Tony Medrano also had two hits.

AKRON: Lost 3-2 to Bowie. Jake Westbrook had the best start of his rehab stint as he tossed six shutout innings in holding the Bay Sox to three hits and one walk while striking out four. Jose Colon suffered the loss when he allowed three runs in the 8th. The offense managed only two hits off of the Orioles top pitching prospect Erik Bedard (6-3, 1.97) and those were an RBI double by Scott Erickson and a single by Troy Cameron. Ryan Church drove in the other Aeros run with a sac fly.

KINSTON: The K-tribe lost to Lynchburg 9-4 as the bullpen wasted a nice performance by Jason Davis. Davis (3-6, 4.18) allowed only two runs on six hits and a walk in seven innings and left with the score tied 2-2. Scott Sturkie relieved and gave up five runs in one innings. He had given up only two runs in 26 innings before to this game. Aquiles Pinales gave up two runs in the 9th. Rickie Morton (#5) and Henry Pichardo (#2) went deep and Hector Luna had two hits. Corey Smith singled and drove in a run with a sac fly.

COLUMBUS: Ugh. The Redstixx were shutout in both ends of a doubleheader yesterday. They managed one hit in the game one and two hits in game two. These impressions of the big league club have got to stop :-). Ivan "Ben Davis" Ochoa broke up Zach Miner's no-hit bid with a bunt single in the 6th inning in the opener. He also stole a base and was caught stealing. The offense wasted a pretty good performance by Jake Dittler (2-6, 5.63) who allowed only two runs (one earned) in five innings while striking out four. Nate Fernley tossed a scoreless final inning. In the nightcap, Dan Denham (4-5, 4.32) struggled with his control as he walked two, hit a batter, and threw five wild pitches in four innings. All of which contributed to a rough outing in which he allowed six runs on six hits. Chris Cooper and Adam Cox each tossed a scoreless inning. JJ Sherrill doubled and stole a base and Wily Tavares had the other Redstixx hit.

MAHONING VALLEY: The Scrappers lost to Hudson Valley 12-8 although they rallied to make it close after trailing 12-0 through five innings. Shane Wallace (1-1, 2.70) gave up four runs (three earned) in four innings on eight hits, a walk, and two dingers. Todd Culp was pounded for four runs in 2/3 of an inning. Kevin Martin gave up four runs in 2-1/3 innings and Matt Blethen struck out four in two innings. Mike Conroy broke a 0-for-26 slump to start the season with two singles. Matt Knox doubled and tripled and drove in a run. Bryce Uegawachi had two hits and an RBI. Hose Gomez (not Francis Finnerty as listed in the BA boxscore) blasted a three-run homerun (#1) and Jeff Haase belted a solo shot (#2). Brian Wright added a basehit.

BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe lost to Martinsville 6-4. Dan Cevette (1.93) gave up a run in 2-2/3 innings and struck out three. Jimmy Schultz gave up three runs in 2-1/3 innings. Richard Spaulding gave up two runs in two innings and walked four. Paul Martinez tossed a scoreless inning. Nathan Panther (.412) continues to rake as he singled twice and drove in a run. Josh Noviskey singled and knocked in a run with a sac fly. Domingo Vasquez doubled and Chris De La Cruz, Jose Cruz, and Scott Threinen each singled.


June 26, 2002  

Wednesday, June 26

Today is one of my favorite sports days of the year as the NBA Draft takes place this evening in New York. The Cavs pick 6th and are in the center of a majority of the trade rumors floating around which makes it all the more exciting. If you're a fan of the draft, you have to check out the Sports Guy's 50 ways to love the NBA draft over on I was laughing so hard that people were popping their heads into my cube to see if I was all right.

At this point, let me say that the next several paragraphs have absolutely nothing to do with the Indians or baseball, so if that's all you care about, feel free to jump down. Otherwise...

So what do I think the Cavs will do? I honestly don't know. There are so many rumors out there, speculation is worthless at this point.

What do I think the Cavs should do? I think they should hold the Clippers over the fire and get Darius Miles, the 8th, and the 12th for Andre Miller and the 6th. With the 8th, we select DaJuan Wagner (Memphis PG) and the 12th we take Amare Stoudimire (Orlando HS kid). With Ricky Davis, this quartet would be one of the high-flyingest, run and gun teams in the league. Yeah, we would probably be lucky to win 25 games next years with all the youngsters, but the promise of this group is HUGE and a poor season puts us that much closer to LEBRON. And don't forget (start raspy voice) "we would still have our bigs. Z, Mihms, Tyrone Hills. We have to make Mihms play like a big and not like a small" (end raspy voice). I love Andre Miller, but like the Indians, the Cavs need to blow up this team and bring in a fresh collection of young, enthusiastic, exciting players. I hope they do it tonight.

If the Cavs stay put at #6, I hope Caron Butler falls into their lap. He's exactly the kind of scorer they need on the floor. If Butler goes earlier (perhaps to Denver at #5), I suspect the Cavs will choose between either Chris Wilcox or Jared Jeffries but Nene Hilario is the guy I would take a chance on. Big, athletic, untapped potential, high coolness factor. Just what the Cavs need.

It should be a very interesting night. For what it's worth, here's one man's mock draft.

1) Houston: Yao Ming.....Ming Dynasty? More like, Houston, we have a problem.
2) Chicago: Jason Williams....Best player in the draft and just what the Bulls need.
3) Golden State: Mike Dunleavy....Somewhere between Bird and Ferry
4) Memphis: Drew Gooden....Jerry West sees a bigger James Worthy
5) Denver: Nikoloz Tskitishvii...No one in Denver even realizes the Nugs are still in town
6) Cleveland: Caron Butler.....The Cavs first true scorer since Ron Harper
7) New York: Chris Wilcox.....They cheer tonight, they'll be booing in January
8) LA Clippers: Nene Hilario....Could be the pick if the Cavs end up here
9) Phoenix: Jared Jeffries.......Would have been top 3 if the stayed in school another year
10) Miami: DeJaun Wagner....Riley cannot pass up the instant offense
11) Washington: Qytnel Woods....Jordan surrounds himself with another raw athlete
12) LA Clippers: Curtis Borchardt....Aspires to be Will Perdue
13) Milwaukee: Melvin Ely.......He stinks
14) Indiana: Marcus Haislip.....Should have taken...
15) Houston: Kareem Rush.....Another weapon
16) Philadelphia: Bostjan Nachbar....Would be top 10 if he played in the States
17) Washington: Dan Dickau.....Jordan has visions of Mark Price running wild in his head
18) Orlando: Amare Stoudimire....Pat Williams dances in the war room
19) Utah: Aaron McGhee...........They're selling the next Karl Malone, no one buys it
20) Toronto: Jiri Welsch.............Euro-flavoured Craig Ehlo
21) Portland: Jamal Sampson....Blazers always focus on long-term potential
22) Phoenix: Casey Jacobsen.....He's got to go in the 1st since he's in NY, right?
23) Detroit: Carlos Boozer..........Another big for the Pistons
24) New Jersey: Juan Dixon........See Shawn Respert.
25) Denver: Frank Williams.........Will be a better pro than collegian.
26) San Antonio: Nenad Bristc.....See you in a few years, kid
27) LA Lakers: Tayshaun Prince....Will morph into Robert Horry over the next few years
28) Sacramento: Dan Gadzuric.....6 more Hack-a-Shaqs for the Kings
35) Cleveland: Ryan Humphrey....Wasted pick, they should take a Euro to develop.

Back to the Tribe....

Mark Shapiro talked with Jim Ingraham of the Morning Journal and had some interesting thoughts on rebuilding the Tribe. After talking about the disappointing performance of the offense, he hints that the front office is ready to tear down and rebuild when they get the ok from management. Of note, only CC Sabathia, Ryan Drese, and Danys Baez were listed as untouchables. Bartolo Colon appears to be very much in play due to his impending free-agency. As I've said before, I want Bartolo to stay in Cleveland, but at the same time, there's no harm in seeing what the market has to offer and if an overwhelming offer comes in to rebuild the offense in a hurry, the Indians would be foolish not to consider such a proposal.

As expected, Paul Shuey was activated from the disabled list and pitched a heck of an 8th inning yesterday, although some of it was his own doing with that botched bunt defense. Nerio Rodriguez was designated for assignment which means the Tribe has 10 days to trade, release, or outright him to the minors. His five pitches with the Indians aside, he pitched really well for Buffalo this season and it would not surprise me if another team decides to take a chance on him.

Perhaps the Indians are anticipating this and that's why they traded Bruce Aven to the Phillies for Jeff D'Amico. Before you all get excited, this is not the D'Amico who went 12-7 with a 2.66 ERA with the Brewers in 2000. He pitches for the Mets now. The Jeff D'Amico we acquired yesterday is the same Jeff D'Amico that is on page 126 of the Indians 2002 media guide and the same Jeff D'Amico whom the Indians traded to the Phillies for a "player to be named later" back on April 4. How this trade affects the PTBNL or whether D'Amico is that player or whether a case of Philly cheesesteaks is being delivered to the Jake this afternoon in lieu of a PTBNL is to be determined. D'Amico was 4-6 with a 4.13 ERA (72-77-25-45) in 14 starts for Scranton this season and he can also pitch out of the bullpen which he will most likely do with Phillips, Drew, Beverlin, Wright, and Nagy in the Bisons rotation. Could this move also signify an impending retirement announcement from Charles Nagy? Hmmm....

Matt Lawton will sit out the entire Boston series as he returned to Cleveland for a cortisone shot in his right shoulder. This is a move that is well overdue as it's obvious his shoulder has affected his defense and, whether he admits it or not, it's affecting him at the plate as well.

Chris Kline in the Kinston Free Press notes that Corey Smith will be given a day off once a week for the rest of the season which explains why he was not in the lineup yesterday. The K-Tribe has still not replaced the promoted Marcos Mendoza on the roster yet, and Ted Kubiak is quoted as saying that the replacement will most likely come from outside the organization which would mean either a draft pick or indy league player. One candidate could be Dan Rich, who was just signed as an undrafted free-agent. Rich is a five-year senior who held his own in the Pac-10 for Stanford and while it's unusual for players to go straight to a high-A league, I think the combination of his age, experience, and position (bullpen left-hander) might make the adjustment a little easier than if he was a position player or starting pitcher. We'll see.

BUFFALO: The Bisons dropped another in Durham as they fell to the Bulls 9-6. Jason Beverlin (8-6, 4.10) had a rough outing as he gave up seven runs in 1-1/3 innings, including six in the 2nd. Roy Smith struck out three in 3-2/3 scoreless innings. Sean DePaula and Dave Elder each gave up a run in one inning of work. Greg LaRocca tripled and singled, drove in a run, stole a base, and was hit by a pitch. Chad Allen (.370) doubled and singled to drive in two runs. Jeremy Ware had two hits. Tony Medrano singled, drove in a run, and stole a base and Jody Gerut (.240) had a basehit.

AKRON: The Aeros lost to Bowie 6-5 in 10 innings. Jason Stanford returned to Akron and gave up five runs on seven hits in 3-2/3 innings. James Johnson struck out three in 2-1/3. Alex Herrera tossed 2-1/3 scoreless innings and Ryan Larson was charged with the loss when an unearned run crossed the plate in the 10th. Victor Martinez (.324) went deep for the second game in a row and also singled. Ryan Church (.250) doubled and drove in a run. Scott Pratt, playing SS, singled, walked twice, and scored two runs. Maicer Izturis doubled and drove in a run with a sac fly. Nate Grindell also had a sac fly and singled. Billy Munoz doubled and Jason Fitzgerald singled in a run and stole a base.

KINSTON: The K-Tribe lost to Lynchburg 5-1. Kyle Denney (5-4, 4.20) had a rough outing as he gave up five runs (four earned) in five innings on six hits and a pair of walks. Jose Vargas threw three scoreless innings and Matt Wade tossed one scoreless inning. Eric Crozier (.326) singled and drove in the Indians only run. Corey Smith singled and walked. Six other Indians had basehits.

COLUMBUS: Rained out.

MAHONING VALLEY: The Scrappers won their third in a row as they knocked off Auburn 7-2. Blake Allen (1-1, 4.91) picked up his first win as a professional as he did not allow an earned run in five innings and struck out two while walking none and scattering three hits. The only blemish was the two unearned runs that crossed the plate when Mike Conroy mishandled a ball in leftfield. The Scrappers got on top early thanks to a grand slam (#2) in the first inning by Brian Wright, who also singled and came around to score when Dave Wallace went yard (#2) in the 5th inning. Shaun Larkin had three hits, including two doubles, from the leadoff spot. Brad Gugliemelli singled and Jonathan Van Every walked twice and scored a run.

BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe lost in Martinsville 7-2 as they made six errors in the field and stranded 11 runners on base. Fausto Carmona (0-1, 2.89) was charged with the loss as he allowed six runs (three earned) in 5-1/3 innings. Jahseam George allowed an unearned run in the final 2-2/3 innings. Chris De La Cruz returned to the lineup and had two hits as did Scott Threinen. Matt Whitney doubled and Einar Torres singled, walked, and stole a base (#4). Jose Cruz, Luis Hodge, and Domingo Vasquez each singled.


June 25, 2002  

Tuesday, June 25

Amid all the speculation in the Boston papers of the Red Sox growing interest in Jim Thome, the free-agent to be and Grady Little played a round of golf on their off day yesterday. The Indians are saying no big deal and perhaps Mark Shapiro is actually pleased by this little outing as Little could potentially influence Thome to waive his no-trade clause. That aside, it seems to me someone in the major league office would raise an eyebrow on this and start digging through the tampering rules. And even though Little was with the Indians for a good chunk of the spring, I'm not sure how I would feel about this if I'm one of Thome's teammates. Hey, Thome can do whatever he wants in the offseason, but to hang out with the opposing teams manager the day before the start of a series against that team just rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps it's the old school in me.

The Sporting News and Hal Lebowitz both note this week that the Indians have inquired about the availability of Astros third basemen Morgan Ensberg (who we talked about) and Mets outfielder Jay Payton (who we hope to never talk about) in their quest to add an inexpensive bat to the lineup. Ensberg could be an interesting 2-3 year solution at third base but it would help if the Astros can get hot and climb a little closer in the NL Central. Payton is far from a prospect (30 in November), injury-prone, and has a lifetime .719 OPS in 1000+ career at-bats. No thanks.

The Indians signed two more draft picks yesterday as Shea Douglas (#32) and Blake Taylor (#39) were brought into the fold. You can read the Douglas announcement here.

The Tribe also signed two free agents, LHP Dan Rich from Stanford and RHP Reid Casey from East Tennessee State. Rich was a closer for the Cardinal this season after sitting out all but 1-2/3 innings of 2001 with an injury. He posted a 2-2 record with 6 saves and a 2.45 ERA in 36-2/3 innings. He also struck out 42 batters and limited the opposition to a .225 ERA. Most importantly, he hails from Bay Village which is a western suburb of Cleveland. Casey went 9-6 record with a 4.88 ERA and had 94 strikeouts in 110-2/3 innings this season. He was a second-team All-Southern Conference selection and finished as the Buccaneers’ all-time leader in strikeouts (323), innings pitched (410-1/3) and games started (60).

In more draft news, Baseball America notes that Micah Schilling signed for $915k and Dan Cevette signed for $400k.

Marcos Mendoza was promoted from Kinston to Akron and made his debut with the Aeros last night. The left-hander had worked strictly out of the bullpen for the K-Tribe and had a 4-0 record and four saves with a brilliant 0.97 ERA covering 46-1/3 innings. He had allowed 37 hits and 18 walks while striking out 36. Mendoza was the Indians 5th round pick in the 2001 draft.

Two Burlington pitchers are off to fantastic starts. Juan Lara tossed six no-hit innings yesterday and has allowed only two hits in 11 innings this season. He's a 19 year old, 6'2", 155 pound left-hander who spent the previous three seasons pitching in the Dominican summer league where he went 3-5 with a 1.80 ERA in 65 innings last season. Honeudis Pereyra has thrown eight innings in three relief appearances this season and has struck out 17 batters, including five last night. Pereyra is a 21 year old, 5'11, 160 pound right hander who struck out 62 batters in 41-2/3 innings last year in the Dominican summer league.

BUFFALO: The Bisons lost for the 5th time in 6 games as they fell to Durham 6-3. Charles Nagy gave up three runs (two earned) in 6-2/3 on seven hits and a walk. He struck out two and gave up a homerun. Not horrible, but nothing to get excited about either. Carl Sadler was charged with the loss as three unearned runs scored in his 1-1/3 innings. Zach Sorenson (.255) doubled and homered (#4). Chris Coste (.356) had two hits to reclaim the IL batting title lead from Marcus Scutaro. Chad Allen had two hits and was also hit by a pitch. Tony Medrano doubled and drove in two runs.

AKRON: The Aeros swept two games in Bowie, winning 9-2 in game one and taking the nightcap 5-4. Brian Tallet (8-1, 3.09) went the distance in the opener as he scattered four hits over seven innings and struck out six. Victor Martinez went yard (#11) and singled to drive in two runs. Nate Grindell also went deep (#7) and walked as he drove in four runs. Ryan Church and Troy Cameron each singled and drove in a run. Jhonny Peralta had his nine game hitting streak snapped but walked twice and scored two runs. In the nightcap, Matt White (4-2, 5.23) picked up his fourth win as he gave up two runs in five innings while striking out three. Marcos Mendoza gave up two runs in the 6th inning but retired the side in order in the 7th inning in his double-A debut. Corey Erickson blasted a 3-run shot (#13), Nate Grindell tripled with an RBI, and Brian Luderer doubled with an RBI.

KINSTON: The K-Tribe lost to Lynchburg 4-2. Jim Warden (2-3, 5.83) gave up four runs in five innings on seven hits and four walks while striking out three. He also served up two gopher balls. Hank Thoms struck out four in three scoreless innings as he ran his scoreless streak to 10-1/3 innings to start the season. Brandon Matheny worked a scoreless final inning. Tyler Minges doubled and singled and Alex Requena singled twice, walked, and drove in a run. Jorge Moreno had two hits and scored a run. Jeff DePippo singled and knocked in a run. Corey Smith did not play.

COLUMBUS: The Redstixx jumped on top early and hung on for a 9-7 victory in Macon. Mariano Gomez (2-1, 3.78) gave up one run in five innings on five hits and a walk before giving way to Oscar Alvarez who gave up five runs (three earned) in two innings as the Braves rallied their way back into the game. Lee Gronkiewicz closed things out for his 11th save as he struck out four batters in two innings but made it interesting as he gave up five hits and one run. Mark Folsom singled, doubled, and homered (#2) to drive in two runs. We don't see Mark in the recaps too often so hopefully this is the start of something good for the former #2 pick. Brian Kirby also had three hits, including a double, and drove in a run. Jesus Colmenter singled and doubled and knocked in a run. Wily Tavares singled, walked, struck out three times, scored two runs, and swiped three bases (#42).

MAHONING VALLEY: Victor Kliene threw six shutout innings as the Scrappers blanked the Auburn Doubledays 5-0. Kliene (1-0, 1.69) allowed only two hits and three walks and those came early as he settled down and retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced. Ignacio Montano and Chris White combined for three scoreless innings of relief. Shaun Larkin, the baseball rat from Cal-Northridge, homered (#1) and drove in two runs. Brad Gugliemelli singled and doubled to drive in two. Bryce Uegawachi singled in a run and Brian Wright and Dave Wallace each had two hits.

BURLINGTON: Despite allowing four runs in the bottom of the 9th, the B-Tribe hung on and defeated Martinsville 6-5 in 12 innings. The late Astros rally took away the win from Indians starter Juan Lara (0-1, 1.64) who tossed six HITLESS innings and only gave up two walks while striking out five. Jeff Davis, Luis Alvarado, and Reid Casey allowed the five Astros runs in a combined 3-1/3 innings of relief. Casey hit three batters in his one inning of work. Honeudis Pereyra struck out five in 2-2/3 innings and picked up his first win of the season. Matt Whitney belted his first two professional homeruns, both solo shots. Ricardo Rojas had three hits. Nathan Panther doubled, singled, walked three times, and knocked in a run. Carlos Parra homered (#1), singled, and drove in two runs. Einar Torres, playing SS, singled and stole a base (#3).


June 24, 2002  

Monday, June 24

Thoughts and prayers to the Kile family. It sounds like he was a genuinely nice guy and good family man. It's always a tragedy when someone passes away unexpectedly, but even more so when it's someone so young who leaves a family behind. DK was only two years older than me so this one hit home pretty hard.

Ben Broussard made his major league debut over the weekend and also picked up his first hit. I only saw one of his at-bats and he struck out, but it looked like he had a very nice swing. It's time to let him play everyday, whether it's in the outfield, firstbase, or DH.

Did anyone notice that Charlie Manuel plans on getting Ellis Burks some more work in the outfield over the next few weeks, even though the Indians will be back playing American League teams (with the exception of Arizona this weekend)? They can spin it anyway they want, but this move is strictly to showcase Ellis to National League clubs and double his potential trade market. Good move by the Tribe, let's hope that Ellis can handle it.

Paul Shuey gave up a run on Saturday and tossed a scoreless innings yesterday in two rehab appearances for the Aeros this weekend. He is expected to be recalled today or tomorrow for the start of the Boston series on Tuesday. The most likely candidate to be sent down is Nerio Rodriguez, who has thrown 5 pitches since being recalled on June 7. Granted, a long reliever has really not been needed with the starters pitching so well, but you'd think Charlie could have found him an inning or two somewhere. If not Rodriguez, Heath Murray or Jerrod Riggan could be returned to Buffalo.

Former Indian Alan Embree was traded from the Padres to the Red Sox over the weekend. More importantly, it's another deal of a left-hander reliever to a contender which helps to set the market for Ricardo Rincon. The Padres received a decent prospect, RHP Brad Baker, in return which is a good sign for the Tribe, although the Red Sox don't exactly have a good track record in minor deals like this (Ed Sprague for Dennis Tankersley or Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen?). Embree was off to a fantastic start this season for the Padres with a 0.94 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 28-2/3 innings, and more importantly, he was holding left-handed hitters to a .145 batting average.

Speaking of the trade market for relievers, Peter Gammons writes in his Diamond Notes column on ESPN that the Angels and A's are both looking for relievers. Anaheim needs a lefty (Rincon) and a right-hander who can work multiple innings (Wohlers) and the A's are looking for depth (Shuey, Rincon, Wohlers). Gammons also notes that Chuck Finley is expected to be traded as soon as the right deal comes along.

The Indians released Francis Finnerty from Mahoning Valley. Finnerty was the Indians 12th rounder in the 1999 draft out of a Florida high school. With a name like that, can a job in a laboratory somewhere be far off? Jahseam George was transferred from the Valley to Burlington.

Julio Pinto was named Pitcher of the Week in the Venezuelan League after striking out nine in seven scoreless innings in a start this week. For the season, Pinto has a 3-1 record and 2.45 ERA and has struck out 28 in 33 innings. He turns 18 in October.

Sean Smith made his professional debut at Burlington on Saturday and struck out the side in one inning of work.

BUFFALO: The Bisons lost to Durham 4-2 and have now lost four of their last five games. Jason Phillips made his second start after being activated from the disabled list and gave up three runs on six hits in 3-1/3 innings while striking out six. Dave Maurer struck out five in 2-2/3 innings and gave up a run. Sean DePaula and Dave Elder combined for two scoreless innings of relief. Zach Sorenson homered (#3), singled, and walked. Jody Gerut singled and drove in a run. Earl Snyder, playing 3B, singled. Greg LaRocca and Chad Allen also singled.

AKRON: The Aeros defeated New Britain 6-3 as Jamie Brown continues to pitch well in his recovering from Tommy John surgery. Brown (4-1) didn't walk a batter in six innings and gave up only one run on four hits while striking out four. Paul Shuey actually started the game and pitched a scoreless inning, striking out one. Jose Colon gave up two runs in two innings. Ryan Church doubled and singled to drive in two runs. He had two homeruns and three RBIs on Saturday as he is starting to adjust to double-A pitching. Corey Erickson also doubled and knocked in two runs. Nate Grindell doubled in a run and added a sac fly. Jhonny Peralta doubled and singled and Scott Pratt scored two runs and stole a base (#11).

KINSTON: The K-Tribe defeated Salem 10-3 as Eric Crozier had a HUGE day at the plate. Crozier (.327) only needed a triple for the cycle as he homered (#6), doubled, and singled to drive in six runs. Luke Scott knocked in two runs and tripled. Hector Luna singled, scored three runs, and stole two bases (#8-9). Alex Requena was hitless but scored two runs and stole two bases (#38-39). Jorge Moreno and Heath Wilson singled and Corey Smith knocked in a run. Fernando Cabrera gave up three runs in the top of the 1st inning, but settled down and did not permit a run over the next four as he went five innings to pick up his third win of the season. He gave up three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out four. Scott Sturkie lowered his ERA to 0.69 with two more scoreless innings of relief. Brandon Matheny and Matt Wade combined for two innings of scoreless relief.

COLUMBUS: The Redstixx lost 12-0 to South Georgia. I'm having trouble finding a boxscore so we'll just leave at this and hope for better things tonight :-)

MAHONING VALLEY: The Scrappers rallied for a 4-3 victory over Batavia in 10 innings. Jeff Haase blasted a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 9th to send the game into extras and then Andy Baxter singled in Shaun Larkin with the winning run in the bottom of the 10th. Baxter had three hits in the game. Kyle Evans started and pitched well, giving up one run in six innings. Todd Pennington picked up the win, his first of the year.

BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe lost to Johnson City 12-1. TJ Burton gave up five runs in three innings, Richard Spaulding gave up five runs in 2-1/3 innings and Paul Martinez gave up two runs in 2-2/3 innings. Luis Hodge doubled and singled, Ricardo Rojas had two hits and an RBI, and Einar Torres had two hits. Matt Whitney singled and scored a run. The highlight of the day for the Indians was a triple-play that was turned on a line drive to shortstop Chris De La Cruz who touched second and threw to first to complete the trip.


June 22, 2002  

Saturday, June 22

Wil Freaking Cordero.

The Buffalo News is reporting that Ben Broussard was called up late last night and Todd Dunwoody was placed on the disabled list after injuring his ankle while making a nice catch in the outfield. Broussard went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts last night and is hitting .245/.377/.429 with two homeruns and three doubles for the Bisons. Overall this season, he is hitting .267/.392/.513 with 13 homeruns and 17 doubles in 236 at-bats. If the Indians are smart, they'll stick him in left field and let him play every day for the rest of the season. There's no better way to find out if he's a building block for the future.

On a side note, with all the hype that Broussard has received, keep in mind that Earl Snyder is only four months older than Broussard, has solid minor league numbers throughout his career like Broussard, and is putting up comparable numbers this season (.283/.359/.525-12 HR-12 2Bs). Are we overhyping Broussard or underrating Snyder? Hmmm....

The Beacon Journal notes that Paul Shuey is expected to pitch in two games this weekend with the Aeros on a short rehab assignment prior to rejoining the Indians in Boston on Tuesday.

Orel Hershiser has been named the pitching coach for the Texas Rangers. He had followed John Hart to Texas and I believe that he was working in some sort of a special assistant role for Hart until this announcement.

With Charles Nagy and Jaret Wright in Buffalo on rehab assignments, Jason Stanford was returned to Akron so he could start every 5th day, Stanford had pitched well for the Bisons in four starts, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.92 ERA and striking out 15 batters in 24-2/3 innings.

Greg LaRocca was activated from the Bisons disabled list and went 0-for-4 last night.

Alberto Garza was activated from the disabled list by the Aeros and pitched 1/3 of an inning last night before being removed from the game after reaggravating a strain in his back. The Beacon Journal notes that he may go back on the DL today.

ESPN is reporting this morning on their transactions page that Micah Schilling has signed with the Indians. This follows yesterday's official announcement that Brian Slocum, Ben Francisco, and Keith Ramsey had all signed with the Tribe. With Schilling in the fold, the Tribe has now signed 11 of their top 14 picks with only Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Cooper, and Pat Osborn still unsigned and the Indians have only been able to negotiate with Guthrie and Cooper for 24 hours. Pretty good work by Mirabelli and company. In the next few days, I should have the draft page uploaded for easy reference.

Schilling and Matt Whitney, incidentally, were named 1st team All-Americans by Baseball America.

No recaps, just some quick highlights since I'm Mr.Mom today. Ya know, 210, 220, whatever it takes.

Tim Drew had his 8-game winning streak snapped, as he gave up six runs in 5-1/3 innings....Ryan Church went 3-for-4 with a double in his first big-game for the Aeros.....Victor Martinez (.318) had two doubles for the Aeros with an RBI....Jason Davis threw seven shutout innings, giving up three hits and striking out four for the K-Tribe....Corey Smith (.259) doubled and singled and scored a run....Dan Denham threw six shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out six for the Redstixx....Shane Wallace threw six shutout innings for the Scrappers, giving up three hits and striking out four. It was his first start since Tommy John surgery last summer. Bill Peavey was 3-for-3 with an RBI for the Scrappers....Lots of offense for the B-Tribe as they won 10-3.....Chris De La Cruz had two more hits....Matt Whitney doubled and scored two runs....Dan Cevette, 3rd round pick, threw two scoreless innings.


June 21, 2002  

Did the Indians sign two more draft picks? Buried in the transactions from June 20 is the movement of Ben Francisco (5th round) and Keith Ramsey (10th round) from Burlington to Mahoning Valley.

Tribe draft picks Matt Whitney and Micah Schilling were named 1st team All-Americans by Baseball America.

Friday, June 21

I heard Neal Huntington on the radio during the rain delay prior to the start of the game yesterday and he mentioned that the recent play of the team still had not made the decision for the front office on which way to go on the trade front (i.e., add for this year or trade for next year). I think the following numbers should make things a little clearer...

3 games
1 run
2 shutouts
.139 batting average
6 games out
4 games under .500

The Tribe is now thisclose to last place in team batting average in the American League, trailing the Devil Rays by a scant .0003 percentage points (.2396 vs .2393). With Javier Vasquez on the mound tonight, I think last place may be within our grasp. Yeah!

The papers are reporting this morning that Paul Shuey is expected to be activated in time for the start of the Red Sox series in Boston on Tuesday. Heath Murray or Nerio Rodriguez are the most likely candidates to be sent down. Speaking of Nerio, it's nice to see the Indians have given him a good look. He's thrown five pitches since being recalled on June 7.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that the Braves are interested in Jim Thome to fill their firstbase void. No mention of whom they might be offering other than the price will be steep and Thome is a blue-collar icon in Cleveland. The Braves have a stable of young middle infielders (Rafael Furcal, Marcus Giles, Wilson Betemit, Kelly Johnson) and the usual collection of promising arms, although their system is not as strong as it used to be.

The Stanford Cardinal were eliminated from the College World Series last night as they lost to the Texas Longhorns 6-5. This means that both Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Cooper are now eligible to be signed by the Indians, although I'm sure this is the last thing they are thinking about this morning. Guthrie started and gave up all the Longhorns runs, although only four of them were earned. He pitched 6-1/3 innings and gave up seven hits and three walks while striking out six. The loss was Guthrie's first in postseason play in seven decisions. For the season, Guthrie finished with a record of 13-2 and an ERA of 2.51 and struck out 136 batters in 157-1/3 innings. Because of that high number, even if Guthrie does sign in short order, don't expect the Indians to pitch him much this summer, if they do at all. Most likely, he'll make his debut in the Instructional League this fall. Jason Cooper doubled in a run last night which gave him an RBI in all four games the Cardinals played in the CWS. Unfortunately, he grounded into the game-ending double play on a one-hopper to first which should not diminish what was otherwise a very good collegiate career.

I know that there is more to baseball scouting than simply looking at the numbers, but I find it hard to believe that there are 1500 better prospects in the country than the single season and all-time University of Texas homerun leader who went undrafted two weeks ago. Jeff Ontiveros deserves a place somewhere in pro ball.

I forgot to mention yesterday that Indians draft pick Blake Taylor started for South Carolina on Wednesday and gave up three runs in 2-1/3 innings in the Gamecocks 12-4 victory over Clemson. Taylor has now given up seven runs in 4-2/3 innings and two starts in the CWS, although it's important to remember that he had been the closer up until three weeks ago. The Gamecocks face Clemson again today with the winner facing Texas on Saturday in the championship game.

Chris Coste and Jason Phillips were named as reserves to the International League all-star team. Coste is second in the IL in batting with a .355 average (former Indian Marcus Scutaro is at .357) and is hitting .355/.397/.466 with 3 homeruns and 17 doubles. Phillips is eighth in the league with a 2.77 ERA and has a record of 6-2. Tim Drew's eight consecutive wins and 8-3, 2.87 record were not enough to get him selected to the squad.

Adam Cox was activated from the disabled list by the Redstixx. Cox is a big left-hander who was the Indians 4th round pick in 2000 out of a Georgia high school. He sat out all of last season after having surgery on his left shoulder last April. He struck 50 batters in 46-2/3 innings in 12 starts for Burlington in 2000 with a 2-4 record and 4.82 ERA.

The ABJ has a short article on the
Aeros hot start.


BUFFALO: The Bisons beat Toledo 4-2 as they rallied with three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning for the win. Jody Gerut knocked in the game-winners with a two-out, two-run single. Jason Stanford shutout the Mud Hens for six innings before finally allowing two runs to score in the 7th. He pitched seven solid innings, allowing two runs on six hits and three walks while striking out four, but did not factor in the decision. Dave Elder picked up his first win with two scoreless innings, although he made it interesting in the top of the 8th as he loaded the bases with no outs before striking out the side. Chris Coste (.355) had two hits. Jeremy Ware continued his hot June with three hits and an RBI. Tim Laker had two hits and Zach Sorenson, Tony Medrano, Ben Broussard, and Earl Snyder each singled.

AKRON: Scheduled day off.

KINSTON: The K-Tribe lost to Salem 6-5. Kyle Denney (5-3, 3.86) was roughed up for six runs in four innings as he walked five and gave up nine hits. Hank Thoms, Scott Sturkie, and Aquiles Pinales combined for five scoreless innings of relief. The offense made a late charge, scoring twice in the 7th, twice in the 8th, and once in the 9th, but came up a run short. Luke Scott had two hits and an RBI in his Kinston debut. Eric Crozier had two hits, two walks, and an RBI. Hector Luna singled twice as did Tyler Minges. Henry Pichardo singled and drove in two. Joe Inglett pinch-hit, walked, and scored a run in his Kinston debut and Corey Smith (.255) was hitless in five trips to the plate.

COLUMBUS: The Redstixx lost to South Georgia 6-5 as the bullpen gave up the tying run in the 9th and winning run in the 10th inning. Jake Dittler started and gave up two earned runs in five innings, striking out three, walking three, and allowing five hits. Carlos De la Cruz and Dan Shouse combined for three scoreless innings. Lee Gronkiewicz allowed the tying run to score in the 9th and Oscar Alvarez (0-4, 3.24) was charged with the loss when an unearned run crossed the plate in the bottom of the 10th. Wily Tavares singled twice, drove in a run, and stole two bases (#36-37) to key the attack. Chad Peshke doubled and singled and knocked in a run. Mark Folsom had two hits and an RBI. Ivan Ochoa doubled in a run and stole a base (#27). Sean Swedlow singled with an RBI and Armando Camacaro singled, drove in a run, and stole a base.

MAHONING VALLEY: Let's hope some home cooking will cure what ails the Scrappers as they lost their third straight game to start the season, falling to Auburn 7-1. They return to the Valley tonight for their home opener. Blake Allen gave up four runs on six hits in 2-1/3 innings in his professional debut. Simon Young gave up two runs in three innings. Michael Hernandez worked a scoreless 1-2/3 innings in his pro debut and Chris White gave up a run in one inning in his first turn on a pro mound. Big Bill Peavey doubled in a run and walked in a nice start to his pro career. Jonathan Van Every had two hits and Andy Baxter added a single.

BURLINGTON: The Indians shutout Danville 2-0 behind the strong pitching of Matt Haynes and Fausto Carmona. Haynes, signed out of Australia this offseason, struck out six and only walked two and gave up two hits in five innings. Carmona, who pitched in the Dominican Republic last summer, only gave up one hit and a walk over the last four innings. Both were making their stateside debuts. Chris De La Cruz doubled twice, singled, and drove in both Indians runs and is hitting .636 and slugging 1.273 through the first three games. Ricardo Rojas singled as did Domingo Vasquez. Matt Whitney played third base and went 0-for-4 in his pro debut.


June 20, 2002  

Jeremy Guthrie will be on the hill for Stanford tonight as they face off against Texas. The game will be shown on ESPN starting at 7:00 ET. The Cardinal needs to win tonight to force a rematch against Texas tomorrow. Here's a preview from the Stanford website.

Thursday, June 20

Did the Indians really pinch-hit Bill Selby (.143), Chris Magruder (.221), and Jolbert Cabrera (.123) in the 9th inning yesterday?


Another solid outing from a starting pitcher wasted. Jim Ingraham notes in the Morning Journal today that the Indians starting pitchers have allowed three runs or less in 11 of the 12 games and the Indians record is 5-7 over that same span. Ouch. They're now three games under, six games out, and don't look now but their next opponent, the Montreal Expos, have reeled off six straight wins and have closed to within 4-1/2 games of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

Rob Neyer chimes in on the Indians inept offense.

Luis Castillo extended his hitting streak to 33 games last night which ties him with Rogers Hornsby for the longest streak ever by a second basemen. His first hit was questionable but replays showed it was a close enough play that giving him a hit wasn't too bad of a call.

David Riske was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strain of the left glutinous muscle. That sounds worse than it is. Heath Murray and his 6.32 career major league ERA were recalled from Buffalo and provide Charlie Manuel with a second lefty for the bullpen. Murray was 1-2 with a 2.51 ERA in 28-2/3 innings with the Bisons and had given up 22 hits, walked only five, and struck out 31. To make room for Murray on the 40-man roster, the Indians moved Jaret Wright from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.

There's an interesting note in the ATM Reports this morning. Apparently, there is a rumor floating around that Brian Giles is headed back to the Indians. No names or source were given, but the fact that Giles has a no-trade clause that allows him to veto a trade to anyone other than the Padres, Dodgers, Giants, Rockies, Braves and Diamondbacks kind of puts the rumor to rest. Giles was quoted as saying "They're not one of the six teams on my list, so I don't know why anybody would think I was going there. That's the good thing about the clause, I can control where I go. But I'm not looking to go anywhere". Of course, no-trade clauses can certainly be worked around :-).

You can add the Seattle Mariners to the potential list of Chuck Finley suitors now that they have lost Paul Abbott for the season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The problem for the Indians is that the Mariners organizational strength is pitching and their top position prospects are injured. Chris Snelling is arguably the Mariners top prospect but he is out for the season after tearing up his knee a few weeks ago. The 20-year old Australian has been compared to Lenny Dykstra, both in terms of performance and being injury-prone, and had hit .326/.429/.506-1-12 in 89 double-A at-bats before being promoted to the big leagues where he hit .207/.406/.259-1-3 in 27 at-bats before tearing up his knee. It's doubtful the M's would have made Snelling available for Finley anyway. Antonio Perez is a slick-fielding shortstop who has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons and I can't see the Indians aggressively pursuing him with all the shortstops we have in the system. Jamal Strong was rated as the best leadoff hitting prospect in the minor leagues by Baseball America this past offseason after hitting .326 with a .436 OBP and stealing 82 bases in Class-A last season. He's at double-A San Antonio this year and is struggling a bit, hitting .267/.356/.292 although the plate discipline is still somewhat there (27 walks in 267 at-bats). Strong is not young (23) but he has good range in centerfield, albeit it with a weak arm. He also has extremely limited power, as evidenced by the .292 slugging percentage this season. The Mariners also have big Nate Rolison who has seemingly been around forever, but is only 25 and is hitting .268/.327/.489-13-37 for Tacoma in triple-A. They have a number of low-level prospects with big-time potential like Shin Soo Choo but I think the Indians are going to be looking for more immediate help. If the Indians are willing to talk about pitchers, the M's have a bunch of young arms that would interest any team.

The Braves traded outfielder George Lombard to the Tigers yesterday for pitcher Kris Keller who was spun by Braves GM John Schuerholz as a "power arm" for the bullpen. Did the Indians have an interest? I would assume so, but perhaps Shapiro simply liked our guys better and figured between Chris Magruder, Milton Bradley, Ben Broussard, Jody Gerut, and Alex Escobar, he'll have enough young outfielders to evaluate next year without throwing in another fading prospect into the mix. Judging by what the Braves received in return (which wasn't much), the asking price would most likely have been someone like Dave Elder, Martin Vargas, or Jerrod Riggan and with the injury problems in the Indians bullpen Shapiro may not have been willing to part with our triple-A depth for a player like Lombard. Or perhaps, the scouting reports on Lombard just weren't that good. I hope one of the beat reporters will inquire about this but if they didn't ask about the Jeremy Giambi trade, I'm not holding much hope for this one. For what it's worth, I faabed 5 on Lombard in my fantasy league. Yes, that is a sign of desperation, but the free-agent pool has been extremely shallow this year.

John Farrell noted on the pregame show last night that the Indians had come to terms with 2nd round pick Brian Slocum and that Slocum will report to Mahoning Valley shortly. Additional reports note that 24th round pick Dan Donaldson is going to sign with either San Jacinto JC or Angelina JC and will be a draft-and-follow pick. Thanks to Dennis for the info.

Billy Traber checks in at #10 on the latest update of the Prospect Hot Sheet from Baseball America. Tim Drew and Victor Martinez are listed among the honorable mentionables.

Charles Nagy made his first rehab start in Buffalo and pitched decent but didn't do anything that offered much encouragement. On the surface, his numbers were solid enough, three runs on six hits and two walks in six innings with five strikeouts, but his fastball topped out at 87mph and he only threw 59 strikes in 97 pitches. He has four more starts scheduled with the Bisons and then he'll evaluate his status. If you read the article, it sure sounds like a player who is starting to realize the end is very near.

Carl Sadler was promoted from Akron to Buffalo. Sadler had pitched well for the Aeros in relief this season, posting a 4-1 record with a 2.33 ERA in 46-2/3 innings, giving up 39 hits and 12 walks while striking out 37. Sadler has had a quiet rise through the Indians system after signing with the Tribe in 1998 as a minor league free-agent and sitting out all of 1998 and most of 1999 and 2000 with elbow problems. This will be his first taste of triple-A action.

Joe Inglett, Luke Scott, and Derek Thompson were promoted from Columbus to Kinston. Inglett was hitting .311/.389/.455 with 2 homeruns, 18 doubles, and 46 RBIs. He played a majority of the season at third base but will probably shift to second base at Kinston unless the Indians have suddenly decided to move Corey Smith to the outfield. Luke Scott was hitting .257/.345/.515 with 7 homeruns and 15 doubles. He will most likely replace Ryan Church in the outfield mix. Scott was the Indians 9th round pick in the 2001 draft out of Oklahoma State last year but did not play pro ball as he had Tommy John surgery last July. He wasn't playing full-time in Columbus so his numbers aren't that impressive, but the slugging percentage shows what he is capable of. It will be interesting to see how he hits in the more advanced Carolina League. Derek Thompson was 3-4 with a 3.42 ERA with supporting numbers of 73.2-71-27-50 and only 3 homeruns allowed. He had struggled recently so his promotion is a bit of a surprise, but as the oldest of the young guns in the Redstixx rotation, he was the most likely to be bumped up.


BUFFALO: The Bisons had their 9-game winning streak snapped as they fell to Toledo 4-1. Charlie Nagy made his first rehab start and threw six decent innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five. Not bad, but not all that encouraging either. Roy Smith gave up a run in three innings of relief. Earl Snyder doubled and drove in a run. He also made an error playing third base. Tony Medrano had two hits as he slowly starts to rebound from a horrendous start to the season. Chris Coste and Josh Bard singled and Jody Gerut was 0-for-2 with a walk.

AKRON: Brian Tallet struck out seven in 6-2/3 innings to lead the Aeros to a 2-1 victory over New Haven. Tallet (7-1, 3.14) did not allow an earned run to score and scattered six hits and one walk. Jose Colon threw 1-1/3 scoreless innings and Alex Herrera picked up his third save with a scoreless 9th. Troy Cameron homered (#3) and struck out three times. Jhonny Peralta and Ryan Church doubled. Victor Martinez singled, drove in a run, was hit by a pitch, and was caught stealing. Scott Pratt singled, walked, and stole a base. The Aeros made three errors in the game (Peralta, Martinez, and Cameron).

KINSTON: All-Star Break

COLUMBUS: All-Star Break

MAHONING VALLEY: The Scrappers lost their second in a row as they fell to Auburn 4-3 last night. The good guys jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after two innings but the Doubledays chipped away at the lead with single-run innings and eventually won it in the bottom of the 9th. Victor Kliene started for the Scrappers and gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks in 4-2/3 innings. Jasheam George struck out three in 1-1/3 innings and gave up a run. Kevin Martin (JD's brother) took the loss as he gave up a run in 2-1/3 innings. Jeff Haase had two hits to lead the offense. Brian Wright singled and stole a base. Andy Baxter had an RBI double. Dave Wallace knocked in a run with a sac fly and Mike Conroy walked and stole a run. Conroy and Jonathan Van Every each made diving catches in the outfield.

BURLINGTON: Despite two inside the park homeruns, the Indians lost to Danville 6-4. Nathan Panther "blasted" the first, a two run shot, and Chris De La Cruz "belted" the second one in the later innings. De La Cruz also triple and drove in two runs in the game. Luis Hodge had two more hits and drove in a run. He's off to a 6-for-9 start to the season. Jose Cruz doubled, singled, and walked. Eider Torres had two hits, walked, and stole a base. Juan Lara took the loss as he was charged with three runs (two earned) in five innings although he only gave up two hits and two walks and struck out five. Richard Spaulding gave up a run in two innings and Paul Martinez gave up one earned run in two innings.


June 19, 2002  

Rob Neyer chimes in on the Indians inept offense.

Wednesday, June 19

Mark Shapiro was quoted in the Plain Dealer the other day as saying that Chuck Finley is not being shopped, although the truth comes out in the preface to that statement which reads "I am not going to say we won't listen to offers for him, but we are definitely not shopping him." GMspeak aside, Finley certainly did nothing to hurt his trade value last night by turning in another solid start and tossing five innings of one run ball while striking out five. The rest of the game hardly deserves mention.

David Riske is returning to Cleveland to have his back examined and looks to be headed to the disabled list. Over his last twelve appearances, Riske has a 11.20 ERA and has allowed 11 hits in 7-2/3 innings. The way that Riske has been overused this season, it should not be a surprise that his body is breaking down. The Buffalo News notes that Chad Allen, who was sent down in favor of Todd Dunwoody yesterday, has remained with the team in Miami and may be recalled should Riske be placed on the DL.

Did we really turn down Shannon Stewart for Einar Diaz last season?

Jody Gerut was promoted from Akron to Buffalo and started for the Bisons in centerfield yesterday. Gerut was hitting .281/.368/.461/.829 with 9 homeruns, 15 doubles, 39 RBIs, and 17 stolen bases for the Aeros. After sitting out all of last season with a knee injury, Gerut has displayed more power than in previous seasons and is starting to make some noise as a serious prospect. He'll be 25 in September so triple-A is where he belongs and this will be an excellent test of his abilities. With the mess that is the Indians outfield, it's not out of the question he could see time with the big club this summer if he shows he can handle triple-A pitching.

Charles Nagy is scheduled to make a rehab start for Buffalo today. Matt White and Mike Spiegel were returned to Akron after making spot starts for the Bisons over the weekend. Jason Phillips was activated from the disabled list (elbow tenderness) and started yesterday (see the recaps).

In draft news, the Gainesville Sun is reporting that Pat Osborn (2nd round) is close to signing a contract with the Indians. Derek Dunne (27th round) has signed with Jefferson Community College according to the Sullivan Independent News and looks like a draft-and-follow candidate. Jason Cooper had two hits and an RBI as Stanford eliminated Notre Dame from the College World Series with a 4-2 victory yesterday. The Cardinal faces Texas on Thursday and then again on Friday if they defeat Longhorns on Thursday. The championship game is on Saturday.

Baseball America announced their 2002 All-America Teams and the Indians placed Jeremy Guthrie (1st round) on the 1st team, Pat Osborn (2nd round) on the 2nd team, and Brian Wright (7th round) and Blake Taylor (39th round) on the 3rd team.

Farm Report...

BUFFALO: The Bisons won their 9th in a row as Jason Phillips returned from the disabled list with a solid outing. Phillips worked the first four innings under a strict pitch count and allowed one run on three hits and no walks while striking out five. Jason Beverlin (8-5, 3.50) worked the final five innings to pick up his team-leading 8th win (tied with Tim Drew) as he permitted only one run to score while striking out six. Jeremy Ware continued his hot hitting with three hits, including a double. He also stole a base and drove in a run. Ware is hitting .346 in June with 11 RBIs. Ben Broussard (.297) had two hits and two walks and scored three times. Tim Laker went deep (#2) and singled to drive in four runs. Earl Snyder (.290) drove in a run on two hits and two walks. Josh Bard had two hits and an RBI. Jody Gerut, in his triple-A debut, had two hits and was caught stealing. Tony Medrano and Zach Sorenson each doubled.

AKRON: Jamie Brown threw eight shutout innings to lead the Aeros to a 4-0 victory in New Haven. Brown (3-1, 3.65) surrendered only five hits and walked none while striking out six to pickup his third win of the season. Ryan Larson worked a scoreless 9th. A balanced attack was led by Victor Martinez who belted his 10th homerun of the season, a solo shot. Jhonny Peralta, Jason Fitzgerald, and Corey Erickson all doubled and drove in a run. Troy Cameron had two hits, Scott Pratt singled and walked, and Ryan Church picked up his first double-A hit, going 1-for-4.

KINSTON: In the Carolina/California League all-star game, Eric Crozier was named co-MVP as he had a pair of RBI singles in five trips to the plate. Corey Smith also had two hits and a walk and finished second to Padres prospect Tagg Bozied in the homerun contest. Maicer Izturis and Ryan Church were also named to the All-Star team prior to their promotions to Akron. The game ended in a 3-3 tie after 10 innings.

COLUMBUS: In the South Atlantic League all-star game, Joe Inglett was hitless in one at-bat and JD Martin gave up an unearned run in one inning of work as the Southern All-Stars lost to the Northern All-Stars 5-2. Nine Northern pitchers combined on a one-hitter. Travis Foley, Derek Thompson, and Wily Tavares did not play.

MAHONING VALLEY: The Scrappers lost their season opener 3-1 to Auburn. Kyle Evans started and pitched well for five innings, giving up only one run on three hits and three walks while striking out seven. Evans is recovering from Tommy John surgery and is expected to move up after a few starts. Matt Blethen was charged with the loss as two unearned runs scored during his two innings of work. Todd Culp struck out two in his one inning on the mound. Offensively, the Scrappers struck out 12 times and were no-hit through four innings until Jonathan Van Every doubled. Matt Knox then singled in Van Every for the Scrappers only run. Hose Gomez added a double and Angel Abreu singled. Andy Baxter walked three times and stole a base. Brian Wright, Shaun Larkin, and Mike Conroy were each hitless with two strikeouts.

BURLINGTON: The littlest Indians won their opener 9-6 as they banged out 12 hits. Luis Hodge had a big day at the plate as he had four hits and scored a run. Ricardo Rojas belted a solo homerun (#1). Jose Cruz had two hits, scored twice, and drove in two runs. Clayton McCullough had two hits and an RBI. Chris De La Cruz had two hits and a stolen base. TJ Burton gave up five runs on nine hits in 4-1/3 innings. Luis Alvarado picked up the win with 2-2/3 scoreless innings of relief. Honeudis Pereyra struck out five in two innings and gave up a run. Matt Whitney and Fernando Pacheco did not play.


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