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August 30, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Friday, August 30
Let Dem Play! Let Dem Play!
There is peace in our pastime according to mlb.com (at least through 2006). If you have tickets to the game tonight, you can plan on heading down to the Jake. Before entering the park though, I recommend that you make a stop at The Boneyard on Prospect. $2 drafts and free peanuts and 'corn in a cool atmosphere. P.S. Enjoy the Browns traffic!
Milton Bradley has been activated from the disabled list and should be in the lineup tonight against the Red Sox. Bradley was 3-for-11 (.273) with a double, walk, and an RBI in his short three-game rehab stint with the Aeros. Coco Crisp has been sent down to Buffalo to make room for Bradley on the roster. Crisp showed some skills in his 14-game audition although his overall numbers were pretty weak at .246/.290/.368. After starting off fast with back-to-back three-hit games in his second and third games as a pro, Coco tailed off at the plate, although he did have hits in five of his last six games. He showed decent range in the outfield, including a nice diving catch Wednesday, but a below-average arm. The Indians wanted a quick look and, overall, I don't think he disappointed in his performance.
Jim Ingraham takes a look at some of the issues facing the Indians when they put together the 40 man roster in the offseason. It's a pleasant problem for the Indians to have and something that I will delve into more in-depth in the offseason. Some quick comments on the article: Jaret Wright will not have his option picked up, Jason Stanford belongs on the prospects list, Scott Pratt, Zach Sorenson, Kyle Denney, and Shane Wallace merit consideration on the fringe prospects list, and Fernando Cabrera, Hector Luna, and Ryan Church are definite keepers.
Under the Knife reports that Ricky Gutierrez' may be facing surgery not only on a disc protruding into his spinal cord but that some sources are indicating that he also has a bone spur protruding into his spinal cord that will have to be removed. UTK compares the injury to that suffered by Stone Cold Steve Austin (never thought he would make the CIR) and notes that Ricky may be facing a six to eight month recovery period. Additionally, the Canton Repository noted yesterday that the Indians were preparing to give Gutierrez a trial at thirdbase for most of August and September and the day that Joel Skinner sat down to discuss the plan with him, that's the day that Gutierrez informed the Indians of his continuing neck problems.
The ATM Reports note that Jim Thome became the first player in Indians history to hit 40 homeruns three times and the 4th player with back-to-back 40 HR seasons. Here's the list...
1958-59 Rocky Colavito
1995-96 Albert Belle
1998-99 Manny Ramirez
2001-02 Jim Thome
Jaret Wright was recalled from Buffalo and will start tonight against the Red Sox. Jason Phillips was placed on the disabled list with a sore elbow which may explain his rough outing on Tuesday. Wright will be taking the place of Danys Baez in the rotation but the Indians have not announced who will be replacing Phillips with that slot next slated to take the mound on Monday. Ryan Drese tossed another solid start for the Bisons on Tuesday (see recaps below) which would conveniently place him in line for a Monday start. You do the math. Expect Drese to be promoted when rosters expand this weekend and on the mound Monday afternoon in Comerica.
In Akron, Marshall McDougall is listed as day-to-day with a strained hamstring while Maicer Izturis is also day-to-day with a sore back. This may explain why Scott Pratt was returned to Akron with the Aeros preparing for the playoffs next week. Victor Martinez and Billy Traber were named to the Eastern League postseason all-star team.
Corey Smith checks in as the #8 thirdbase prospect in the game according to the Scouting Department (subscribers only) from Baseball America. The article notes that Smith may have to move off the hot corner due to his defensive struggles at third and suggests he could start taking balls in the outfield this fall in the instructional league. On the plus side, they note that Smith has excellent bat speed and plus power potential and simply needs to learn to make in-season adjustments (.182 June BA) for those tools to flourish. Amen to that.
In a blow to the K-Tribe's playoff hopes, Luke Scott has been placed on the disabled list with a torn right quad muscle and Nick Dempsey has been activated to take his place on the roster. Scott is expected to be out 7-10 days.
Several Burlington players have had their seasons extended a week or two as Shea Douglas was promoted to Columbus and Kenton Myers, Fausto Carmona, and Ricardo Rojas were promoted to Mahoning Valley. In addition, the Burlington Times noted that 15 B-Tribers (10 players, 5 pitchers) were scheduled to report to the Tribe's Instructional League in Florida this fall.
John Sickels comments on the Indians farm system in his mailbag column on espn.com. Note the astute warning on young pitchers.
Jay's Rookie Watch has been added to the links on the CIR website. It's a daily review of prospect happenings around the minor leagues. Pretty good stuff.
Mark Bellhorn joined Carlos Baerga as the only players to homer from both sides of the plate in the same inning, when he did it in the 4th yesterday for the Cubs. If you remember, Baerga made history with the Indians when he blasted his two slams in the 7th inning back on April 8, 1993 against the Yankees in the Bronx. Mike Bielecki, Ted Power, Kevin Wickander, Eric Plunk, and Mike Christopher all pitched for the Tribe that day. Ouch.
Article on the unsigned Jeremy Guthrie whom I expect the Indians to quickly ink once the labor stuff is resolved. Boy Bands? Are you kidding me?
And finally, congrats to Mark and Lissa Shapiro on the birth of their first child, a baby boy, Caden Reid. Looks like Mark will now have something besides the Indians performance keeping him up all night :-)
TUESDAY FARM HIGHLIGHTS: Ryan Drese allowed only two runs in seven innings on six hits and a walk while striking out four in his second consecutive solid start in Buffalo. Chad Allen homered (#9) and drove in three runs. Corey Erickson homered (#20), doubled, and singled twice to drive in four runs. Jamie Brown was pounded for nine runs in four innings. Shane Wallace tossed six innings of two-run ball for Kinston. Tyler Minges homered (#14) and tripled. Corey Smith had three hits and stole a base. Jorge Moreno went yard (#3). Jake Dittler tossed eight shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out three, for the Redstixx. Matt Knox won the game for the Stixx with a sac fly in the 9th. The B-Tribe made five errors in the final game of the season, a 13-1 lost to Martinsville. Fernando Pacheco (.188) had two hits to end his season on a high note. Mark Shindiggitydogg went 9-for-9 with a homerun and two triples as the mighty Sly Fox Masuga stayed alive in the NOSA Tuesday night playoff tournament. After a heartbreaking 21-18 late-inning loss to the Cowboy in the opener, the 7th seed Fox showed their heart as they dominated The Swoosh early and then put the game away for good in the top of the 7th for a 17-15 victory that keeps the Foxers playing into September.
WEDNESDAY FARM HIGHLIGHTS: Brian Tallet turned in a quality start, fanning seven and allowing three runs in 6-2/3 innings, but he was outdueled by former Indian Tim Drew who tossed eight scoreless innings, striking out five, walking one, and allowing only three hits. Chad Allen homered (#10) for the third consecutive game. Kyle Denney tossed five scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out five, for the Aeros. Kyle Evans tossed seven scoreless innings for the K-Tribe, allowing two hits and striking out five. Corey Smith had three hits, including two doubles. Tyler Minges doubled and homered (#15) to drive in three runs for Kinston. Dan Denham was victimized by four errors in the 2nd inning as he gave up five runs in 1-1/3 innings. Shane Arthurs (remember the name) tossed 4-2/3 scoreless innings of relief. Blake Allen allowed only one run over seven innings to pitch the Scrappers into a 1st place tie with Auburn. Bill Peavey hit the gamewinner (#6) for the Valley.
BUFFALO: The Bisons clinched the wild card spot with a 7-4 victory over Rochester. Lance Caraccioli (4-0, 3.19) went seven innings for the win as he allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five. Sean DePaula picked up his 9th save despite allowing a run in two innings. Earl Snyder (.270) belted his 18th homerun and doubled to plate four runs and he also walked. Brandon Phillips doubled and walked. Tim Laker doubled and singled and drove in two runs. Ben Broussard knocked in the other Bisons run as he doubled and walked twice. Chris Magruder doubled and singled, Chad Allen singled and walked, and Chris Coste and Zach Sorenson added basehits.
AKRON: Jason Stanford and Fernando Cabrera combined on a three-hit shutout as the Aeros blanked Harrisburg 3-0. Stanford (7-6, 3.43) permitted only two hits and a pair of walks over six innings while striking out five. Cabrera also fanned five Senators and walked none while surrendering only one base knock in picking up his first career save. Milton Bradley singled twice, walked, and knocked in a run. Corey Erickson also had two hits and an RBI. Jason Fitzgerald and Jhonny Peralta (.276) had two hits apiece with Peralta also receiving a free pass. Ryan Church tripled and knocked in a run and Brian Luderer added a basehit.
KINSTON: The K-Tribe's magic number remained at one as they fell to Winston-Salem 5-4. Derek Thompson started for the Indians and struck out seven in 5-1/3 innings while allowing three runs on three hits (one dinger) and two walks. Doug Lantz was charged with the loss after allowing two runs in 1-2/3 innings and Brandon Matheny tossed a scoreless frame of relief. Corey Smith (.253) doubled, walked, scored twice, and stole a base. Tyler Minges had two hits and two swipes. Jorge Moreno drove in two runs and singled. Henry Pichardo doubled to plate a run. Alex Requena doubled, Joe Inglett singled and walked, and Jeff DePippo doubled.
COLUMBUS: Off. 1/2 game out of First Place with 4 games left.
THE VALLEY: The Scrappers moved into sole possession of first place with a 3-0 victory over then 1st place Auburn. Brian Slocum (5-2, 2.22) tossed seven shutout innings in a dominating performance in which he struck out six, walked one, and allowed only two hits. Dan Rich and Kevin Martin combined for two scoreless innings of relief with Martin recording his 5th save. Eider Torres (.333) doubled twice and drove in a run. Brian Wright (.288) singled, walked, and plated a run with a sac fly. Dave Wallace singled twice and drove in the Scrappers other run. Shaun Larkin was on base three times with a pair of singles and a walk and Ricardo Rojas singled twice in his Valley debut and Andy Baxter added a basehit.
August 29, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Thursday, August 29
Just a quick report today.
If yesterday was the last game of the season, at least the Tribe went out on a winning note.
The Tigers lineup is simply awful. They have four legitimate hitters in Higginson, Simon, Fick, and Pena but it doesn't help when they're all left-handed and they all bat in a row (#3-6). Once you work through the order, you then have five automatic outs in Halter, Truby, Inge, Bocachica, and Easley who were a combined 2-for-14 with a pair of walks. You would expect CC to dominate a lineup like that and that's exactly what he did.
Of course, one could say the same thing regarding the Indians lineup, which makes me think that Brian Powell must not have received yesterday's pre-game memo that advised Tigers pitchers to pitch carefully to Jim Thome.
Even though it worked out for the best, were you surprised that Joel Skinner did not remove Mark Wohlers in favor of Carl Sadler with two outs in the 8th inning and Bobby Higgenson coming to the plate? It would seem to me that if Sadler is in the mix for the lefty specialist role next season, you would throw him into every situational role you could find over the next four-to-five weeks. Sadler was warming in the pen and with Higgenson followed by three lefti (Simon, Fick, and Pena), it doesn't get much more specialized than that. I would love to hear Joel Skinner's thoughts as to why he stuck with Wohlers.
As for Wohlers, when he had Easley down 0-2 in the 8th, it was generally agreed amongst the glitterati I was sitting with in the club seats that a 96mph fastball belt-high was coming in on the next pitch. It did and Easley smacked a line drive single to right (sigh).
Travis Fryman announced his retirement at the end of the season and Danys Baez picked up his first save. More on both these stories tomorrow.
A few days ago the K-Tribe pitchers were under the spotlight, now get up close and personal with the Kinston offense courtesy of Chris Kline and the Free Press.
The IOC has recommended dropping
baseball from the Olympics starting in 2008 according to Baseball America. And yet, synchronized swimming remains.
MLB notes that 30,000 people watched the first live webcast of a major league game on Monday. I bet the total would have been a lot higher if they didn't require you to submit a credit card number in order to watch the FREE webcast. Idiots. Supposedly they will be streaming one game a week for the rest of the season so check out mlb.com for details.
See you on Friday.
August 27, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Tuesday, August 27
Ok, ok, it's the Tigers, but you still have to be impressed by what Ricardo Rodriguez did in his second major league start last night. Moving the ball from side-to-side, up-and-down in the zone, and still pumping 93mph heat in the 9th inning, he held the Tigers to five hits and a walk while striking out five. He made only one really bad mistake all night which Randall Simon deposited in the left-field bleachers. It's a shame that John Hirschbeck chose to make a statement about his personal feelings regarding MLBs "zero tolerance" policy and cost Rodriguez a chance at the complete game but I think he's going to have a lot more opportunities to go the distance in the future if he pitches like he did last night.
Coco Crisp has now hit in four straight games (two hits last night) which, admittably, isn't much, but it's still nice to see considering he was hitless in his last 10 at-bats in the Oakland series.
Karim Garcia continues to mash. I hope Mark Shapiro is starting to look at his contract situation for next year.
I haven't talked much about Jim Thome this year aside from his contract status as the Indians (and my) focus has been on the rebuilding process, but I have to mention that he went deep again last night (#39) and is in the midst of a career season in which he now finds himself second only to Barry Bonds (1.347) in OPS at 1.076. Alex Rodriguez (1.054), Jason Giambi (1.019), and Mike Sweeney (1.008) are the only other American League hitters above the 1.000 mark. Best of luck to Mark Shapiro in getting Thome to "settle" for Sweeney money instead of looking for a move to A-Rod and Giambi's neighborhood this offseason.
The local papers are all reporting that Milton Bradley will begin a rehab assignment with the Aeros tonight and that he is expected to play five innings in the field today, seven tomorrow, and nine as the designated hitter on Thursday. This is quite a change from the "no timetable has been established" line from yesterday. If all goes well, Bradley is expected to be activated when rosters expand on September 1.
The August 23 Minor League Insider on espn.com notes that the Indians farm system has the second-best overall winning percentage (.568), trailing only the Pirates (.571). Wins and losses are certainly not an indication of the quality of a organization's system but it never hurts that the kids learn how to win as part of their development process.
After weeks of moving up-and-down the list, Victor Martinez finally earns the #1 spot on the Prospect Hot Sheet.
Scott Pratt has been returned to Akron after hitting .250 with three ribbies in four games with the Bisons. Jim Goelz (.122 in limited duty) was promoted to Buffalo. The timing of this move seems odd. With Milton Bradley scheduled to join the Aeros this week on a rehab assignment the Akron outfield is going to be pretty crowded the next few days with Pratt, Bradley, Ryan Church, Luis Garcia, Jason Fitzgerald, and Nate Grindell all looking for at-bats. I wonder if this hints at a waiver deal looming in the next few days?
The Indians released a pair of low-level outfielders and 2000 draft picks yesterday. Nate Janowicz (15th round) was released from Kinston after spending the past two months on the organizational disabled list which simply meant the Indians had no room for him on the roster because they wanted to take a look at other players. He hit .265/.339/344 with seven doubles and a homerun in 151 at-bats for the K-Tribe this season. The 24-year old will return to school and continue working on his rap career (Whitebread) according to the Kinston Free Press. Mark Folsom (2nd) was released by Columbus after hitting just .196/.270/.318 with 10 doubles and eight homeruns in 311 at-bats this season. Viewed as a reach (#47 prospect in Florida by BA) when the Tribe selected him with the 66th overall pick, Folsom never turned his raw power into production and has been a disappointment at every level he played in the system.
Folsom's release, along with the struggles of 3rd round pick Sean Swedlow, highlights the signs that the Indians may have mishandled the early rounds of the 2000 draft. Corey Smith was the 1st selection and while he has not disappointed, he certainly has not delighted either and his star is starting to lose its luster a little bit. Derek Thompson (1st) and Brian Tallet (2nd) are moving along nicely but Adam Cox (4th) has been plagued by injuries and Rashad Eldridge (5th) was traded for Chris Magruder and he has done very little with the Rangers this season. The overall draft still holds promise, however, as Kyle Evans (6th), Ryan Church (14th), Jonathan Van Every (29th), and Eric Crozier (41st) are all viable prospects. As an FYI, in the same draft, Grady Sizemore was selected 9 picks after Folsom, #75 overall, and Cliff Lee was selected 9 picks after Sean Swedlow, #105 overall. Hindsight is always 20-20 but how would the organizational thinking have changed if Sizemore and Lee were already in the system last November?
Columbus placed shortstop Jason Colmenter on the disabled list to make room for Matt Whitney on the roster.
George W. Bush (are you kidding me?) headlines the list of 60
non-players up for consideration by a screening committee for the Veterans Committee ballot. The screeners will reduce the list to 15 and send it to the VC for voting later this year. Obviously, Dubya is on the list because he's the President but his chances of election should be very, very slim. After all, his main claim to fame as the owner of the Rangers is that it was under his watch that they traded Sammy Sosa. Former Indian execs Charles Somers (built League Park), Steve O'Neill (player and manager), Gabe Paul (GM/President) are also on the list.
I added a couple of blogs (Aaron's Baseball Blog and Mike's Baseball Rants) to the links on the CIR website. Check them out, they're a good read.
BUFFALO: Chad Allen blasted a 2-run homer (#8) in the bottom of the 9th to give the Bisons a 6-4 victory over Ottawa. Brandon Phillips also went deep (#9), walked, and added a sac fly to drive in three runs for the game. Tim Laker and Zach Sorenson each singled twice. Jody Gerut doubled, singled, walked, and drove in a run. Chris Coste doubled and walked and Ben Broussard singled and walked. Cliff Lee allowed three runs in 5-2/3 innings on five hits, three walks, and four strikeouts. Sean DePaula was touched for a run in 2-1/3 innings and Dave Elder picked up his 3rd win after throwing a scoreless 9th inning.
KINSTON: The K-Tribe rallied with five runs in the last two innings to defeat Winston-Salem 8-4. Henry Pichardo (.212) doubled twice, walked, and knocked in four runs. Alex Requena had four hits, including a double, to stay hot at the plate. Joe Inglett had two hits and an RBI. Corey Smith singled and knocked in a run and Tyler Minges singled and drove in two. Hector Luna singled and stole a base and Rickie Morton added a basehit. Francisco Cruceta struck out seven over 5-2/3 innings but allowed seven hits, three walks, and four runs (three earned). Scott Strukie (3-1, 3.52) was credited with the win after working 2-1/3 scoreless innings. Fern-Diddy tossed a scoreless final frame.
COLUMBUS: The Redstixx were shutout by Macon 5-0. JD Martin (13-5, 4.11) took the loss as he allowed nine hits and five runs in 4-2/3 innings, striking out five, and serving up two longballs. Chris De La Cruz (2.78) mopped up with 4-1/3 scoreless innings of relief. Dennis Malave, Matt Whitney, and Armando Camacaro managed the Redstixx only hits. Jason Cooper, Ivan Ochoa, and Rodney Choy Foo walked and Jonathan Van Every was hit by a pitch. Choy Foo also stole a base.
THE VALLEY: The Scrappers won 5-4 in Batavia. Ben Francisco (.365) had three hits, including a double, to key the offense. He also stole a base. Eider Torres (.351) had two more hits, stole a base, and knocked in a run. Shaun Larkin (.218) doubled twice and singled to drive in a run. Bill Peavey knocked in two runs with a pair of singles. Jeff Haase singled and stole a base and Mike Conroy added a basehit. Victor Kliene earned win #9 after allowing four runs in five innings. He walked two, struck out three, and allowed seven hits. Simon Young tossed three scoreless innings and Kevin Martin worked a scoreless 9th for his 4th save.
August 26, 2002
Apparently, even though it's a FREE webcast, you have to give MLB your credit card number for "verification" purposes. Are you kidding me? F-MLB and Jackie's stupid cat while I'm at it!
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Monday, August 26
Make sure you stop and pick up some batteries tonight on the way home as it should be a heavy night of channel-flipping with Ricardo Rodriguez on the hill for the Indians and the Browns on Monday Night Football against the Packers.
Karim Garcia's last two longballs have come against lefties Mark Mulder and Doug Creek. Nice.
Milton Bradley has been given approval to begin running and take batting practice as he starts his recovery from appendectomy surgery. No timetable has been set for his return to the Indians, although the local papers speculate he could go out on a rehab assignment during the minor league playoffs.
Ricky Gutierrez received his third opinion on his ailing neck and the diagnosis was the same, surgery is required, according to the Plain Dealer. Gutierrez is at home in Miami and is expected to decide shortly when and where his surgery will take place. Bob Wickman is quoted in the PD as saying that he will not undergo surgery for at least a month and a half as he builds up his arm strength for the surgery.
The Chicago Cubs traded left-handed reliever Jeff Fassero to the St.Louis Cardinals yesterday for two players to be named later. Given the frequency of trades this season between the Indians and Cardinals, I wonder if they talked about Terry Mulholland over the weekend? From the BA website...."The 39-year-old southpaw has been strafed for much of 2002, going 5-6, 6.18 in 57 appearances, and left-handers are batting .346 against him" Ouch. Certainly, Mulholland would have been just as attractive especially since he has pitched pretty well in his last few outings. This is the second Cubs "get something for nothing" trade in the last week as they earlier moved Tom Gordon to the Astros for a package of minor leaguers. Good job by Jim Hendry and crew over in the Windy City.
Jolbert Cabrera (.343/.417/.500, 2 HR in AAA) was called up by the Dodgers. Nerio Rodriguez (3-1, 2.79, 8 GS in AAA) was called up by the Cardinals.
Get "Up Close and Personal" with the Kinston Indians pitching staff courtesy of Chris Kline and the Kinston Free Press.
Corey Smith tied a Carolina League record with 5 errors yesterday. He joins six others, including former Indian Tim Rigsby, who was the last to achieve the dubious honor back on May 9, 1991.
Fernando Cabrera threw two scoreless innings of relief for the Aeros yesterday in his first non-starting appearance of the season. There has been much speculation over the course of this season that Cabrera's future lies in the back of the bullpen due to his mid-90s heat but it seems strange to me that the Indians would attempt such a move this late in the season. Perhaps it's more likely that they're juggling the rotation to set it up for the upcoming playoffs, simply giving Cabrera a bit of a rest, or setting up a "piggyback" system with Davis and Cabrera similar to what they did with Brian Tallet and Lance Caraccioli in Buffalo.
Grady Sizemore has a jammed wrist, according to the Plain Dealer, but the injury is not believed to be serious. This explains his absence from the K-Tribe lineup over the weekend.
Matt Whitney was promoted from Burlington to Columbus over the weekend and made his debut with the Redstixx yesterday (see recaps below). The 1st round sandwich pick hit .286/.359/.537 with 12 doubles and 10 homeruns in the Appalachian League and displayed the kind of power potential the Indians lack in the system. Like most young power hitters, he strikes out a lot (49 in 175 at-bats) but his walk rate was decent (18 walks) which offers some hope for the future in terms of plate discipline. Burlington only has three games left in its season so this promotion will provide Whitney with an additional two-three weeks of playing time this year.
Chris De La Cruz was named as the shortstop on the Appalachian League All-Star team in recognition of a season in which he put together a 21-game hitting streak and is hitting .367/.422/.489 with seven doubles, six triples, and one homerun. He has also swiped 13 of 17 bases and has a decent BB:K ratio of 17:27. He was the only Indian to earn such honors this season in the Appy League.
The Burlington Times notes that catcher Carlos Parra has officially retired after being placed on the suspended list for violation of team rules. Rouglas Odor was quoted as saying he just didn't want to follow the rules and chose to go home.
MLB.com is offering a free video webcast of the Yankees and Rangers today. Check it out if you've got the bandwidth.
BUFFALO: The Bisons lost 9-5 to Scranton. Jaret Wright (5-3, 3.88), who tossed 12K, two-hitter in his last outing, struggled through three innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on four hits, one homerun, and one walk while striking out five. Travis Miller did not allowed an earned run in 2-1/3 innings but four unearned runs crossed the plate while he was on the mound thanks to some sloppy defense. Matt White mopped up with 3-2/3 scoreless innings, striking out three. Chad Allen (.307) doubled and knocked in a run. Scott Pratt and Todd Dunwoody also doubled and drove in runs and they also both walked. Chris Coste (.317) singled, was hit by a pitch, and plated two runs. Chris Magruder had a pair of singles and a walk. Tim Laker and Zach Sorenson added basehits. Former Bison and Indian Bruce Aven belted his 8th homerun, singled, walked, and drove in four runs for Scranton.
AKRON: The Aeros won 7-1 over Reading. Jason Davis (5-2, 3.74) struck out nine in five scoreless innings as he walked two and permitted only three hits. Fernando Cabrera worked two scoreless innings of relief, striking out two. Jose Colon tossed a scoreless frame and Marcos Mendoza allowed a run in one inning of work. Victor Martinez (.343) belted his 21st homerun, walked twice, scored twice, and drove in three runs. Ryan Church (.281) also went yard (#12), walked, and knocked in a pair of runs. Corey Erickson rounds out the Aeros trio of dingers as he blasted his 19th, a solo shot. Brian Luderer had two hits, Marshall McDougall singled twice and walked, Nate Grindell tripled, and Jhonny Peralta doubled and walked.
KINSTON: The K-Tribe lost their final regular season home game of the season 10-5 to Wilmington but they still hold a 1-1/2 game lead over Myrtle Beach in the Southern Division. Tyler Minges belted his 13th homerun, doubled, walked, and drove in two runs. Hector Luna singled, doubled, drove in a run, and stole a base (#28). Rickie Morton (.245) singled twice and plated a run. Jorge Moreno had two hits, including his 2nd homerun of the season. Alex Requena singled and stole base #70. Henry Pichardo singled and Corey Smith walked twice, in addition to tying a Carolina League record with five errors. Hank Thoms was the victimized pitcher of those errors but he didn't help matters by serving up two longballs in his 5-2/3 innings of work. Thoms (4-2, 2.17) was charged with seven unearned runs on eight hits. Doug Lantz allowed two runs (one earned) in 2-1/2 innings and Aquiles Pinales was touched for a run in his one inning on the mound.
COLUMBUS: The Redstixx lost a pair to Capitol City. In the opener, Mariano Gomez allowed three earned runs in four innings on eight hits, Todd Pennington allowed a run in three innings, and Lee Gronkiewicz (4-2, 2.430 was charged with the loss despite striking out eight in 3-2/3 innings as he allowed the gamewinner to score in the bottom of the 11th inning. Jesus Colmenter had three hits, including a double. Angel Bastardo singled twice. JJ Sherrill had two hits, a walk, and he drove in a run. Dennis Malave singled, walked, and stole another base (#29) and Jason Cooper doubled and walked. In the nightcap, the Redstixx fell 5-2. Oscar Alvarez allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks. Ignacio Montano (0.68) worked a scoreless inning of relief. JJ Sherrill singled, walked, and drove in a run. Matt Knox doubled, and Dennis Malave, Chad Peshke, Matt Whitney (Sally debut), and Armando Camacaro each singled.
THE VALLEY: The Scrappers gained a tie for 1st place in their division and a tie in the wildcard race as they blew out Batavia 13-3. Mike Conroy had a perfect day at the plate as he walked, knocked out two singles, a two-run double, and a two-run triple to drive in four runs for the day. Eider Torres (.340) singled three times, was hit by a pitch, and stole a base. Bill Peavey (.290) doubled twice and singled to drive in two runs. Dave Wallace (.269) had three hits, a walk, and was plunked by a pitch. Andy Baxter singled twice, Shaun Larkin drove in two with a single and walk, Pat Osborn singled and walked, Brian Wright drove in a run and singled, and Ben Francisco (.350) knocked in a run with a sac fly.
BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe lost 3-2 in Martinsville. Dan Cevette turned in a solid outing as he struck out six in five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks. Jimmy Schultz gave up a hit in 1/3 of an inning and Richard Spaulding was touched for a run in 2-2/3 innings. Domingo Vasquez doubled twice and walk. Josh Noviskey and Teodoro Encarnacion singled twice. Fernando Pacheco added a basehit and Angel Abreu drove in both B-Tribe runs with a pair of sacrifice flies.
SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS: Billy Traber allowed two runs in five innings for the Bisons. Mike Spiegel (6-3, 3.08) allowed one run in six innings for the Aeros. Alberto Garza tossed two scoreless innings of relief. Marshall McDougall belted his first Aeros homerun and doubled. Corey Erickson added homerun #18 and Victor Martinez doubled twice. Derek Thompson tossed five innings of one run ball for Kinston. Travis Foley (12-4, 2.88) picked up his 12th win with seven innings of two run ball. The Scrappers split a doubledip with New Jersey. Brian Slocum (4-2, 2.59) tossed eight innings of shutout ball in the nightcap, striking out eight, walking one, and permitting only one hit. Bill Peavey (#5) and Shaun Larkin (#9) went deep for the Valley. Matt Whitney doubled, homered (#10), walked, and was hit by a pitch in his last game for Burlington. The dinger was the eventual gamewinner in the 7th inning. Quite a way to move on, huh?
August 24, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Saturday, August 24
Quite a debut for the 24-year old switchhitting catcher who had caught 13 innings in Rochester the night before. The gamewinning heroics aside, he also rapped out a single and knocked in a run with an RBI groundout. Bard's been red hot for the last two months and he was hitting .297/.332/.436/.768 with 26 doubles and six homeruns for the Bisons when promoted. Additionally, he was hitting .400 in the month of August and .310 as a lefty according to the Beacon Journal. Digging through the CIR archives, I noted that Bard was hitting .302 on April 27 and then slumped below .250 in May and June before checking in at .268 on July 15, .277 on August 1, and .297 when he was recalled. His perceived strength has always been his defense so it's encouraging to see the hitting starting to come around as well, although the low OBP (.332) and walk rate (20 in 344 at-bats) are a cause for concern. Bard should see a majority of the playing time behind the dish the remainder of the season and if all goes well, he will most likely have played his last game in triple-A for quite awhile as he should be platooning with or backing up Einar Diaz or Victor Martinez next season.
Of course, none of the above would have been possible if David Justice had not stepped on/ran into Einar Diaz at the plate on Thursday night which resulted in Diaz being placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with a strained right elbow and right triceps contusion. This is the first time that Einar has been disabled in his career and, given the way his season has gone this year, it might be time for him to rest for a few weeks anyway.
Lost in the hoopla of the 9th inning and a two hour rain delay was a pretty good outing from CC Sabathia who held the Mariners scoreless through six innings. It was his first scoreless outing since he blanked the Blue Jays through seven innings back on May 25. His pitch count was up (110 through six) and he walked five but he minimized the damage by allowing four hits and striking out six. All in all, an impressive performance against a good lineup.
Ricky Gutierrez was moved from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list to clear room on the 40 for Bard although I could have sworn that Josh was already on the 40-man roster. Hmmm...
Good news for Victor Martinez, Ben Broussard, and company as minor leaguers on the 40-man roster are expected to be allowed to continue playing in the event of a strike according to Ask BA.
Baseball Prospectus offers their insight on the Ricky Gutierrez and Ryan Drese moves from this past week. The Gutierrez injury the writer refers to is from late September of last season when Ricky (playing for the Cubs) and Vinny Castilla were involved in a collision at thirdbase. I hope the Indians are taking another look at his spring physical to make sure they are covering all areas for future examinations. I would also argue that the Indians have plenty of pitching options above class-A (Traber, Lee, Tallet, Stanford, etc) but I understand what Chris Krahl is trying to say since all of them are in the Ricardo Rodriguez vein (i.e., not much experience beyond double-A).
The Kinston Free Press notes that Hector Luna sat out his third straight game last night with a strained left hamstring and is listed as day-to-day. Grady Sizemore also sat out both games of the K-Tribe's doubleheader last night.
Wily Tavares was named to the Sally League postseason all-star team as a utility outfielder. Tavares is out with a ruptured tendon in his left wrist but hit .265/.385/.355 with 14 doubles and 4 homeruns for the Redstixx this season. He stole 54 bases (3rd in league when injured) in 66 attempts and made a big improvement in his BB/K ratio (45BB, 68K) this season.
BUFFALO: After playing 13 innings on Thursday, the Bisons and Red Wings hooked up for 12 more innings last night with Rochester coming out on the good side of a 5-4 game. Lance Caraccioli struck out five in six innings of work, allowing five hits, three walks, and three runs. Matt White was touched for a run in 2/3 of an inning. Roy Smith pitched 3-1/3 scoreless innings and Dave Elder was charged with the loss as he allowed a run in 1-2/3 innings. Scott Pratt and Brandon Phillips had two hits apiece and knocked in runs. Zach Sorenson singled and drove in a run. Jody Gerut (.320) doubled, walked twice, and drove in a run. Chris Coste had two hits and a walk. Earl Snyder singled and Ben Broussard walked twice and scored two runs.
AKRON: Kyle Denney struck out nine over five innings to pitch the Aeros to a 5-4 win in Reading. Denney (2-1, 2.19) allowed only one run on three hits and a walk in another good outing. Jose Vargas gave up three runs (Two earned) in 2-2/3 innings. Marcos Mendoza tossed a perfect inning of relief and Jose Colon retired the final batter for his 5th save. Ryan Church belted his 11th homerun. Jason Fitzgerald doubled, walked, drove in two runs, and stole a base. Luis Garcia plated a run with a single. Jim Goelz doubled and Marshall McDougall walked three times and scored twice.
KINSTON: The K-Tribe swept a double-header from Wilmington to move them 1-1/2 games in front of Myrtle Beach in the Southern Division. Joe Inglett was the hero in the opener as he delivered a clutch 2-out, 2-run single in the bottom of the 7th inning for a 4-3 victory. Inglett (.280) drove in three runs in the game and had two hits. Alex Requena doubled and singled and stole two bases (#68-69) and also walked and scored three times. Luke Scott singled, walked, and drove in a run and Jorge Moreno added a basehit. Kyle Evans gave up three runs in 5-1/3 innings, striking out four and Fern-Diddy picked up his 3rd win with 1-2/3 innings of scoreless relief. In the nightcap, Matt Wade (3-0, 5.46) was sensational in a spot start as he threw five scoreless innings, allowing only two baserunners, in picking up his third win of the season in the 6-1 victory. Scott Sturkie mopped up the final two innings, allowing a run to cross the plate. Joe Inglett had two more hits and stole a base. Corey Smith (.246) doubled, singled, and walked. Heath Wilson singled, walked, and drove in a run. Tyler Minges singled and swiped a base. Alex Requena and Rickie Morton added basehits. Henry Pichardo stole a base and knocked in a run.
COLUMBUS: The Redstixx split a doubleheader with Capitol City. In the opener, Dan Denham (9-7, 4.52) picked up his 9th victory with 5-2/3 innings of two-run ball. He struck out three, walked three, and allowed six hits. Lee Gronkiewicz allowed a few baserunners but closed the door for his 25th save. Miguel Quintana drove in all three Columbus runs with his 4th homerun and a single. Dennis Malave scored twice, walked twice, and stole two bases. Ivan Ochoa (.220) singled and walked and Rodney Choy Foo added a basehit. In the nightcap, the Redstixx managed only two baserunners (Malave single, JJ Sherrill walk) in a 3-0 shutout loss. Oscar Alvarez (2-6, 3.19) made the spot start and allowed a run in four innings, striking out four and Honeudis Pereyra gave up two runs in two innings of relief.
THE VALLEY: Lightning (and lots of it).
BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe lost to Bristol 8-0. Although they didn't score a run, three players who have struggled this season all managed two hits in the loss. Josh Noviskey (.207) singled twice and walked, Teodoro Encarnacion (.237) singled twice, and Fernando Pacheco (.176) also banged out two singles. Fausto Carmona (2-4, 3.30) allowed three earned runs in six innings, striking out three, walking one, and giving up eight hits. Shea Douglas recorded seven of his eight outs by strikeouts but was beaten for four runs (three earned) in 2-2/3 innings, raising his ERA to a still fantastic 1.16 for the season. Blake Taylor gave up two hits before recording the final out.
August 23, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Friday, August 23
Late report today but a trip to Chuck E. Cheese always takes precedent over these more trivial matters :-)
Ugly, ugly 4-games series against the A's. It doesn't get any easier with the Mariners in town for the weekend either. At least, Joel Piniero (on my rotisserie team) is pitching tonight so the Tribe should have a fighting chance.
As for last night, Jason Phillips continues to pitch well enough to suggest he'll be an effective starter at the backend of the rotation next year. I was especially impressed by the way he worked his way out of the 7th inning after giving up a one-out double to Ray Durham. Karim Garcia had a big homerun against a tough lefty. Einar Diaz made a heck of an effort on the bare-handed wraparound tag on David Justice. X-Rays will be taken today. Carl Sadler struggled with his control but he threw harder than I thought and looks promising.
But that's hardly the biggest sports news today in Cleveland. I have no idea why the Plain Dealer chose to bury this on the third page instead of making it the headline of the sports section but....THE FORCE IS BACK. That's right, Kai Haaskivi fans. One of the worst names in sports history, the Crunch, has been retired and Cleveland's indoor soccer team will once again be known as the Force. Say what you want about soccer and it's wild indoor cousin but the Force ruled Cleveland sports in the early-to-mid 80s. There was nothing cooler than watching Darth Vader come barreling out of a smoky tunnel and start banging on the Plexiglas with the Star Wars music blaring in the background as our heroes were introduced. Nothing. Don't even try to argue with me because you would be wrong. I doubt Darth will be making a return this time, though, as I seem to recall there were some previous issues with George Lucas over his use and I can't see Lucasfilm relinquishing the rights again. They've updated the logo but the team will return to the yellow and blue of Keith Furphy, Bernie James, and Benny Dargle. This is long overdue and just may prompt me to go to my first indoor soccer game in over 10 years. May the Force be with you!
Roger Brown must have either found a new source or there's a new Lemon Chill guy hawking his wares down at the Jake because Roger's column today has a lot of intersting tidbits on the Tribe. Among the notes is an interesting thought that the Ryan Drese demotion was also intended to teach him a lesson after he recently agreed to serve as the Indians player rep. He also correctly wonders what this says about the Indians veterans that they would let a youngster like Drese serve as the rep instead of one of them stepping up and assuming the responsibility themselves. Roger also notes that Charlie Manuel is a potential candidate for the Yankees bench coach position should Don Zimmer retired in the offseason.
Baseball Weekly notes in their "Chatter" box that Joel Skinner has impressed the Indians brass so much that they're planning removing his interim tag and making him permanent. The rag also notes that Charlie Manuel is a candidate for the Rangers managerial post should Jerry Narron be fired in the offseason by John Hart.
Speaking of Drese, he threw seven strong innings last night in the Bisons 4-3 loss in Rochester. Drese struck out five and allowed only two runs on six hits and two walks in his seven innings of work.
In a walking wounded update, the Plain Dealer reports that Milton Bradley took batting practice off a day yesterday and did not report any pain, although he himself admitted that he wasn't swinging all that hard. Chad Paronto is starting a throwing program and hopes to return in September according to the Canton Repository.
Did you notice that Paul Shuey picked up a win on Wednesday and a save last night for the Dodgers?
The Scouting Department at Baseball America continues to breakdown the top prospects by positions and this week they focus on the middle of the diamond (subscribers only, Jukes Jenkins). Brandon Phillips is listed as the #1 overall shortstop prospect and is also listed
as the #1 overall hitting prospect and the prospect with the #1 arm strength. Very nice. Jhonny Peralta checks in at #12 and Chris De La Cruz checks in at #16 (#5 speed) with Hector Luna making the "other notables" list. The Indians were the only organization to have three players in the top 20 and they led all organization with four player ranked when you include the other notables. To say this position is an organizational strength is an understatement. Only Redstixx shortstop Ivan Ochoa did not make the list and some feel the Indians regard him the highest of the non-Brandon Phillips lot. In the second base rankings, Maicer Izturis and Eider Torres both are listed as "other notables", further showcasing the system's strength up the middle.
According to the minor league transactions on BaseballAmerica.com, Columbus has released pitcher Dan Shouse and Akron has released pitcher Wilson Sido. Shouse was acquired from the Cardinals for Tommy Davis earlier this season in a minor league deal. Davis, incidentally, was recently released by St.Louis but has since resurfaced with the Dodgers triple-A club in Las Vegas. The site also lists the Indians as having signed Jose Paniagua but the triple-A team doing the signing is actually Toledo so I think there is a bit of a mix-up there. I haven't seen anything regarding the Tribe inking Paniagua to a minor league deal.
Did Shawn Kemp really forfeit $25 million by agreeing to a buyout of his contract by the Trailblazers? Say what you want about Jim Paxson, but getting Kemp and his contract out of town was a masterful move. The Ricky Davis signing was expensive but a necessary move for the team to move forward and maybe sell some tickets this year. I like it.
Can you believe high school football is starting this evening?
BUFFALO: The Bisons lost 4-3 in 13 innings in Rochester. Ryan Drese went seven strong innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five. Dave Elder allowed a run, the game-tier in the 9th, in two innings. Dave Maurer struck out three in two scoreless innings and Travis Miller was charged with the loss as he walked three and gave up two hits and a run in 1-2/3 innings. Brandon Phillips and Tim Laker each doubled and drove in a run. Scott Pratt played centerfield and led off in his first game at triple-A this year and he singled, knocked in a run, and scored. Chris Coste, Earl Snyder (.273), Ben Broussard (playing RF), Josh Bard (.297), and Zach Sorenson all singled. Sorenson and Snyder also walked and Chris Magruder walked and scored a run.
AKRON: Canceled by Triple Doppler.
KINSTON: The K-Tribe rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Potomac 4-3. Corey Smith (.245) had two hits, including his 212th homerun, and he also walked. Luke Scott and Joe Inglett doubled. Tyler Minges doubled, walked twice, and knocked in a run. Heath Wilson singled, walked, and drove in two and Henry Pichardo knocked in a run and singled. Shane Wallace allowed three runs (two earned in the 2nd inning) but held the Cannons scoreless in his other five innings to turn in a solid performance. He permitted five hits and walked three while striking out two. Doug Lantz was credited with the win for his two scoreless innings of relief and Aquiles Pinales picked up his 12th save with a perfect 9th inning.
COLUMBUS: The Redstixx won 7-2 in Columbia. Matt Knox (.303) drove in two runs with his 5th homerun and a single and he also scored three times and was hit by a pitch. Ivan Ochoa (.219) had two more hits and stole a base (#46). Should we start the .250 watch now? Rodney Choy Foo doubled and singled. Mark Folsom drove in a run with a sac fly and he also singled and walked. Dennis Malave and Chad Peshke each singled and knocked in a run. Jake Dittler (4-11, 4.80) allowed only one earned run over 5-2/3 innings to pick up his 4th win. He struck out five, walked two, and was touched for three baseknocks. Ignacio Montano earned his first save by retiring the last 10 batters in order, striking out four.
THE VALLEY: The Scrappers won 7-3 over New Jersey. Keith Ramsey (2.03) struck out 10 in five innings and allowed only two runs on six hits and a pair of walks but did not earn a decision. Michael Hernandez (4-1, 2.75) picked up the win as he struck out three and allowed a run in two innings. Kevin Martin whiffed four in two scoreless innings. Bill Peavey (.276) drove in a career-high six runs with a double and his 4th homerun. Eider Torres (.305) singled three times and stole a base. Ben Francisco (.372) doubled, walked, and was hit by a pitch. Pat Osborn singled twice, walked twice, and scored three times. Brian Wright (.294) singled twice, walked, and drove in a run. Andy Baxter doubled and stole a base.
BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe lost to Bluefield 8-3. Luis Hodge (.290) had three hits for the Indians, including a triple, as he scored twice and also walked. Josh Noviskey was hitless but knocked in two runs. Angel Abreu, Ricardo Rojas, and Domingo Vasquez (playing 2B) each singled. Teodoro Encarnacion walked and plated a run. Michael Haynes (3-2, 4.37) allowed three runs (one earned) in four innings, striking out one, walking four, and allowing three hits. Jahseam George was touched for three runs (two earned) in two innings. Hector Santana gave up two runs (one earned) in two innings and Paul Martinez worked a scoreless final inning.
August 22, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Thursday, August 22
5-2/3 IP -- 5H -- 6R -- 3W -- 3K
Not all that impressive of a debut, you might say, if you were just looking at the boxscore. But the boxscore does not tell the whole story as Ricardo Rodriguez turned in a pretty impressive outing in his first start in the big leagues last night.
Working with a 91-94mph fastball with some nice sinking action and a curve/slider/slurve in the 80-85mph range, Rodriguez faced the minimum through four innings thanks to some nice hurling on his part and a couple of double-plays turned by his friends in the infield. The 5th inning is where he started to find himself in trouble and when he left a 2-out, 1-1 count, offspeed pitch over the middle of the plate to Terrence Long, he suddenly found himself trailing 3-0 as Long deposited it deep into the Indians bullpen. Of course, Rodriguez may have been out of the inning the at-bat prior if Travis Fryman had been able to come up with a hot grounder off the bat of Mark Ellis but that's part of the game a pitcher has to learn to overcome. In the 6th, he once again had the A's down two outs before the Tribe intentionally walked Eric Chavez (.332/.381/.587/.968 versus RHP), Rodriguez plunked Jermaine Dye, and David Justice drilled a 3-2 fastball that just eluded a nice effort from Coco Crisp deep in the left-center gap to bring home three more runs (Ray Durham had reached base previously on an infield single). Rodriguez showed some resiliency in retiring Mark Ellis to end the inning but the damage had been done. He threw 101 pitches, 56 for strikes, with 52 of those pitches thrown in the first four innings and 49 thrown in the 5th and 6th. Certainly, you would like the numbers to look a little better, but overall, this was a positive start for Rodriguez and a solid foundation for him to build on.
Coincidentally, Oakland starter Cory Lidle also threw 101 pitches, 71 for strikes, in his nine inning clinic. By my count, he threw first pitch strikes to 21 of 29 hitters and I can't remember seeing a pitch much above the knees after the first inning. The Indians should make tapes of that outing and send it out this winter to Dan Denham, Travis Foley, etc., to let them see that keeping the ball down and changing speeds can make you dominant at the major league level. On a side note, can someone please tell me why I traded Cory Lidle in my rotisserie league a month ago? And yes, that was just before he started his 31 inning scoreless streak (sigh).
One more note on Rodriguez....A PBS film crew was on hand to record his debut last night as he is one of the subjects in an upcoming special on immigrants scheduled to air next year. PBS has apparantly been following Rodriguez since he signed with the Dodgers four years ago in the Dominican. Sounds pretty cool.
Ricky Gutierrez is now seeking a third opinion on his neck, according to the Plain Dealer, and the talk now is that this injury may be career-threatening. More on this as it develops but certainly we wish Ricky the best of luck in his recovery. Looking for the silver lining? The Indians have insurance on both Gutierrez and Wickman which will cover 75% of their salaries next season if either one spends more than 90 days on the disabled list. Sounds like more money potentially freed up for Jim Thome in the offseason.
Heath Murray will have season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder according to the Canton Repository.
Just in case you had forgotten about him, Alex Escobar may play winter ball as a DH or in the outfield according to a Mark Shapiro quote in the Morning Journal.
Moving on to the Arizona Fall League and why Brian Tallet will work out of the bullpen, the ABJ quotes Shapiro as saying that Tallet's stuff plays better in the bullpen as his slider is very effective on lefties and that this might be a good way for him to transition to the major leagues. He also notes that this does not mean that Tallet is not viewed as a potential starter down the road. You can probably read into these comments that Rodriguez, Traber, and Lee will get the first crack at filling any openings in the rotation next season.
Once again an Indian hurler was featured in Baseball America's Daily Dish. See the recaps below to see hare Francisco Cructea fared. Trust me, he did not disappoint.
Scott Pratt has officially been promoted to Buffalo and will join the Bisons today.
According to a note on the Team One message boards, Stats Inc has decided not to publish the John Sickels Minor League Scouting Notebook next season. If you follow the thread, you'll find that John Sickels himself commented that the book will be published in some manner in 2003 so there is still hope. Why Stats Inc and The Sporting News (I thought Fox had bought them?) would cancel the book is beyond me. If anyone saw the actual announcement, which I assume came in Sickels e-mail newsletter, it would be greatly appreciated if you could forward me a copy. Thanks! Note: TSN and Stats Inc have a licensing agreement to co-brand their books in the future.
Wow. Checkout the all-time career OPS top 10 (5000 min PA) from the ATM Reports.
1 Babe Ruth 1.164
2 Ted Williams 1.115
3 Lou Gehrig 1.080
4 Jimmie Foxx 1.038
5 Barry Bonds 1.017
6 Hank Greenberg 1.017
7 Rogers Hornsby 1.010
8 Manny Ramirez 1.001
9 Frank Thomas .998
10 Mark McGwire .982
That's some impressive company Manny is keeping.
BUFFALO: The Bisons defeated Ottawa 8-3 in 10 innings. Jason Stanford allowed three runs in five innings on eight hits and two walks while striking out four. He was victimized by two bombs. Matt White tossed two innings of shutout ball and Sean DePaula was credited with the win as he worked three scoreless innings, striking out three. Brandon Phillips (.282) singled twice and stole a base (#7). Chris Coste drove in three runs with a double and single. Earl Snyder had two hits and plated a run. Josh Bard (.298) doubled and drove in a run. Chad Allen homered (#7) and walked. Zach Sorenson and Chris Magruder singled and Jody Gerut singled, walked, and scored two runs.
AKRON: Jamie Brown tossed six scoreless innings to lead the Aeros to a 4-1 victory over Bowie as they also clinched the Southern Division championship. With the win, Brown ties Frankie Sanders and Jeff Mutis for the all-time Aeros victory leaders at 22. Kind of a dubious honor, but still cool nonetheless. Brown (8-4, 2.19) has had a phenomenal season as he rehabs from TJ surgery and last night was no exception as he struck out five, walked one, and allowed only five hits in his six innings. Alberto Garza was touched for a run in two innings and Ryan Larson (back from Buffalo) preserved the win, and earned his 7th save, with a scoreless final inning. Luis Garcia belted his 6th Akron homerun, 20th overall, and also singled to lead the offense. Maicer Izturis doubled and singled and drove in two runs. Ryan Church tripled and knocked in a run. Jhonny Peralta (.284), Victor Martinez, and Eric Crozier all singled with Martinez and Crozier also reaching base via a free pass.
KINSTON: Francisco Cruceta outdueled Dan Haren as the K-Tribe silenced the Cannons 5-0 yesterday and moved into 1st place in the Carolina League Southern Division. Cruceta (1-0, 1.55) picked up his first Kinston victory as he struck out four over six innings and allowed only two hits and a walk to lower his Kinston ERA to 1.55 in five starts. After walking 16 batters in his first four outings, it's encouraging to note the control that Cruceta was dealing last night. Chris Cooper and Aquiles Pinales combined for three scoreless innings of relief. Grady Sizemore (.347) doubled, singled, and walked twice from the three-hole. Hector Luna homered (#11), singled, and stole a base (#26). Rickie Morton doubled and singled twice and also stole a base. Tyler Minges doubled, walked, and drove in a run. Joe Inglett singled and drove in two. Jeff DePippo plated a run and singled and Corey Smith was hitless but walked twice.
COLUMBUS: JD Martin allowed only a solo homerun in seven innings to lead the Redstixx to a 3-1 victory over Delmarva. Martin (13-4, 3.91) walked the leadoff batter to start the game, gave up the dinger in the 3rd, and then he scattered two other hits while striking out eight to pickup his team-leading 13th win. Todd Pennington closed out the final two innings for his second save. Matt Knox plated two runs with a pair of groundouts. Armando Camacaro had tow hits. Chad Peshke singled, walked, and knocked in a run. Dennis Malave, Miguel Quintana, and Ivan Ochoa (.215) each singled. JJ Sherrill walked, was hit by a pitch, and scored a run. Only 76 people were in attendance for the afternoon affair. Ouch.
THE VALLEY: Off
BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe lost to Bluefield 6-5 as they left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th inning. Micah Schilling (.217) doubled, singled, stole a base, knocked a sac fly, and drove in two runs. Ricardo Rojas (.279) had three hits, stole a base (#13), and plated a run. Angel Abreu doubled in a run. Luis Hodge singled and drove in run, walked twice, and scored two times. Nathan Panther singled and walked and Kenton Myers singled, walked twice, was hit by a pitch, and stole a base. Juan Lara (2-5, 4.31) allowed four runs in five innings on seven hits and two walks while striking out three and was charged with the loss. Reid Casey struck out four and did not allow an earned run (two unearned) in three innings. Blake Taylor worked a scoreless final frame.
August 21, 2002
Once again an Indian hurler is featured in Baseball America's Daily Dish. Tonight, it's Kinston righthander Francisco Cruceta who will square off against Dan Haren in a Carolina League matchup. Haren, incidentally, was rumored (hoped) to be included on the short list of players to be named later in the Chuck Finley trade that eventually turned into Coco Crisp.
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Wednesday, August 21
Ricardo Rodriguez makes his major league debut tonight. Check out the early innings (and hopefully some middle, as well) if you can.
Coco Crisp had a decent game yesterday, walking twice, scoring a run, and knocking in a run with a sac fly. I hope Eddie Murray sat down with him, though, and explained why he should not have swung at the first pitch he saw in the third inning after Aaron Harang had just given up hits to John McDonald and Eddie Perez to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. A potential rally turned into disaster after Coco flew out to center, Omar popped out, and Ellis Burks grounded out to the pitcher. Ugh. In the CIR house that's when James made the executive decision to switch over to Spongebob. Can't say I really blame him either.
As speculated yesterday, Ricky Gutierrez is done for the season after doctors disclosed that he has a herniated disk in his back that is pinching his spinal cord. Surgery has been recommended but Ricky is going to seek a second opinion before making a final decision. Rehab and recovery is expected to last anywhere from three-to-six months so the earlier the surgery happens, the better the odds that Gutierrez will be ready for spring training in February. Ricky finishes the season hitting .275/.325/.346/.671 with four homeruns, 13 doubles, and 38 runs batted in. Disappointing number to say the least, although he was hitting .333/.395/.444/.839 since the all-star game and he also had a .286 month of June, alebit with disappointing supporting numbers that month. The neck has been bothering him since early in the season when he says injured it in a game in Detroit so it's safe to assume that this could have adversely affected his numbers this year. Ricky said that it especially bothered him out on the field where it probably affected his ability to move laterally and locate balls in the air quickly. Still though, this hardly softens the blow of switching from a future Hall of Famer to a miscast shortstop playing secondbase this season.
You can take solace that the silver lining in this injury is that John McDonald, and perhaps Brandon Phillips, will recieve plenty of playing time for the rest of the season.
Does the promotion of Ricardo Rodriguez and Coco Crisp in the last week indicate that Mark Shapiro believes a labor settlement is imminent? Neither player was on the 40-man roster prior to their promotions which means their option clocks were not ticking but now that they are, a return to the minor leagues on August 29 to keep them playing would unnecessarily waste one of their options which I can't believe Shapiro would do in order to give them 10-15 days in the big leagues. Surely, he would not have promoted them if he believed there was a good chance of a work stoppage actually happening at the end of the month? We'll find out in the next 9 days, won't we?
The Morning Journal notes that Jason Stanford will work as a starting pitcher in the Arizona Fall League while Brian Tallet will throw out of the bullpen.
Jaret Wright threw a two-hitter last night in Ottawa, striking out twelve, and going the distance in the 2-1 Bisons victory. He threw 116 pitches and after giving up a solo homerun to Lou Collier and a double to Joe Vitiello in the 1st inning, he held the Lynx hitless for the remainder of the game, retiring 25 of the last 26 batters he faced, with the exception being a walk in the 3rd inning. The Lynx lineup (Endy Chavez, JCarroll, Lou Collier, Joe Vitiello, Ron Callawoy, Randy Knorr, Henry Mateo, Peter Bergeron, and Tony Medrano) last night reads like a weak fantasy league free-agent pool but it's an encouraging start for Wright to say the least.
Victor Martinez, Ivan Ochoa, and Matt Whitney returned to the lineups for Akron, Columbus, and Burlington last night.
Jason Stanford will make a spot start in Buffalo tonight and Matt White was also promoted from Akron to lend a hand in the Bisons bullpen.
Scott Pratt, who two local papers had noted was being promoted to Buffalo yesterday, played for Akron last night.
Ask BA fielded a question yesterday on Aeros shortstop Jhonny Peralta who is starting to open some eyes with a breakthrough season as a 20-year in double-A. The response in the column mentioned Corey Smith so I thought it would be interesting to compare the two players.
PLAYER: Jhonny Peralta Corey Smith
My stats (by month) are incomplete but I know that Peralta started off the season on fire, recording basehits in 11 of his first 12 games and hitting .350 through April 18 and .313 through April 22. He cooled in late April and May and was hitting .255 through May 25 before going on a hot streak and settling in at the .280 range where he currently sits. A streaky season, perhaps, but Corey Smith also started off hot, hitting .357 as of April 26 which earned him an honorable mention on BA's prospect hot sheet. That's pretty much the highpoint of his season as he was down to .281 by May 31 and has further tailed off to the .250 range where he currently sits. Both players started off hot and then slumped but it's the younger Peralta, at the higher level that has made the necessary adjustments to reverse the course of his season. That's saying a lot.
Peralta now has a higher BA, OBP, SLG, OPS and more homeruns than Smith while playing at a higher level. The only stat where Smith has a slight edge is in walks (10) but that is tempered by the fact he has struck out 42 more times. Both could use some help with their plate discipline, neither is much of a threat to steal, and both have some defensive issues to overcome. Smith is known as a good character guy with a strong work ethic and I haven't heard much about Peralta in that regard as he's been under the radar for most of his career. The one potential curveball for Peralta is his age, although hopefully he has emerged from "agegate" without any candles being added to his birthday cake.
One more comparison....
PLAYER: Jhonny Peralta Corey Smith
The above compares Peralta as a 19-year old last year at Kinston versus Smith's 2002 season as a 20-year old. Which is the more impressive season? I would say that neither stands out as anything impressive. In fact, both only gain mediocre status when you factor in their respective ages. Corey will obviously post the better power numbers (HR) but right now they're looking fairly similar in OPS and plate discipline (K/BB).
I don't want the above to appear as if I'm knocking Corey Smith because he still has a lot of untapped potential but I'm really starting to think that Peralta has passed Corey Smith as a prospect in the Indians system. Obviously, Smith has been more hyped due to his being a first round pick but I wonder what the public perception of Smith would currently be if he were posting the above numbers as a 10th round pick instead of a 1st round pick. Hopefully, for the Indians, Corey Smith will blossom next season in double-A like Jhonny Peralta is doing this year and this discussion will switch to where are the Indians going to find room in the infield for all these top prospects. But based on their performances this season, I would argue with BA that Jhonny Peralta has bypassed Corey Smith as a prospect this season.
The Ledger-Enquirer looks at the future of Columbus baseball after the Redstixx move to Eastlake following this season.
BUFFALO: The Bisons won 2-1 in Ottawa. Jaret Wright (5-2, 3.42) struck out twelve and went the distance, allowing only two hits, a solo homerun, and one walk for his 5th win of the season. Brandon Phillips doubled and singled. Chris Coste (.317) singled twice and knocked in a run. Earl Snyder doubled and walked and Chris Magruder doubled, walked, and drove in a run.
AKRON: The Aeros won 7-1 over Bowie. Fernando Cabrera (1-2, 7.20) picked up his first double-A victory as he took a no-hitter into the 5th inning and ended up allowing only two hits and no runs in five innings, striking out six and walking one. Jose Vargas struck out three in three innings of scoreless relief and Marcos Mendoza worked a scoreless final frame. Luis Garcia (.305) singled twice, walked, and knocked in two runs. Ryan Church (.283) singled and drove in two runs. Victor Martinez (.343) singled and walked twice. Maicer Izturis singled with an RBI. Eric Crozier singled, walked, and drove in a run. Nate Grindell and Scott Pratt singled and Marshall McDougall walked twice.
KINSTON: The K-Tribe lost to Potomac 5-3. Hank Thoms (4-1, 2.41) struck out eight over six innings but allowed three earned runs on seven hits and three walks and was charged with the loss. Scott Sturkie allowed a run in three innings. Grady Sizemore (.341) needed only a homerun for the cycle as he singled, doubled, tripled, walked and drove in two runs. Alex Requena tripled and Heath Wilson singled. Hector Luna and Joe Inglett added basehits. Rickie Morton singled and was hit by a pitch. Corey Smith was dropped to the 6th spot in the order and was hitless in four at-bats with a walk. Former Indian Billy Munoz doubled and homered for Potomac.
COLUMBUS: The Redstixx won 2-1 over Delmarva. Mariano Gomez (remember the name) tossed 5-2/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits, two walks, and striking out one, but did not earn a decision. Carlos De La Cruz allowed a run in 2-1/3 innings and Shane Arthurs picked up his first victory with a scoreless inning of relief as the Redstixx rallied for the win with their second straight bottom of the 9th inning rally. Jonathan Van Every belted his 3rd homerun and singled. Ivan Ochoa (.214) singled twice and drove in the other Columbus run. Dennis Malave had two hits and JJ Sherrill, Rodney Choy Foo, and Angel Bastardo added singles.
THE VALLEY: The Scrappers won 4-2 in Lowell to remain one game behind Williamsport in the wildcard chase. Victor Kliene (8-2, 3.55) picked up his 8th win in a superb outing as he tossed six innings of one hit ball, walking and striking out four. Simon Young added two scoreless innings of relief. Dan Rich had his scoreless streak snapped at 11 innings as he was touched for two runs in the 9th inning before Kevin Martin came on to record the final two outs and earn his second save of the season. Shaun Larkin drove in two runs with his 8th homerun and Andy Baxter and Dave Wallace added basehits as the Scrappers only had three hits for the game.
BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe lost 8-7 to Martinsville. Dan Cevette continued his roller-coaster season as he gave up five runs (two earned) in 5-1/3 innings on seven hits and three walks. In his previous start, he had tossed five innings of one-hit ball. Jimmy Schultz gave up three runs (two earned) in 1-2/3 innings and Luis Alvarado struck out two in two innings of work. Nathan Panther (.286) doubled and singled to drive in four runs. Angel Abreu had two hits. Domingo Vasquez singled, walked twice, and scored three runs. Matt Whitney (.282) doubled and drove in a run. Jose Cruz played first and second base and singled. Ricardo Rojas walked and plated a run with a sac fly. Kenton Myers singled in his Burlington debut and Josh Noviskey and Teodoro Encarnacion added basehits.
August 20, 2002
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Tuesday, August 20
The Indians made several interesting roster moves yesterday. I'll talk about Ricky Gutierrez today and we'll touch on Ryan Drese/Ricardo Rodriguez and the PD's discussion of moving Danys Baez to the bullpen tomorrow.
So let me get this straight. Ricky Gutierrez sits out four games with a sprained thumb and then goes on the disabled list with a sprained neck? Wha, wha, wha, What? Apparently, Gutierrez injured his neck back in Detroit in April and did not disclose the injury until he was finally coaxed into it by his agent this week. Props to Ricky for attempting to play through the pain but I always have to wonder what these guys are thinking to hide an injury that long. Something was found on his neck MRI over the weekend which warranted putting him on the disabled list and anytime you start referring to the neck and/or back you have to be concerned. It would not surprise me at all if this injury results in Ricky being done for the season and the Indians just let him recuperate over the final six weeks and call this season a wash. Incidentally, the MRI on his thumb and hand were negative.
Greg LaRocca (yeah) was promoted from Buffalo to replace Gutierrez on the active roster. As I mentioned yesterday, LaRocca is a career minor leaguer who is having a solid season with the Bisons and it's nice to see him rewarded with some time in the big leagues. The Indians have a lot of options at the utility spot next season and LaRocca could play himself into a better position with a hot two-three weeks here.
John McDonald suddenly finds himself as the everyday second basemen and it will be interesting to see how he fares in full-time duty.
To make room for LaRocca on the 40-man roster, the Indians moved Bob Wickman to the 60-day disabled list.
I have to award myself an OOPS award for yesterday's speculation that LaRocca would probably be bypassed for a promotion in lieu of Bill Selby. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for LaRocca), I forgot that Selby was already with the big club which I'm sure registered a few "What chu talkin' bout, Willis?" looks from a few of you. Actually, with all the moves the Tribe has made recently, I'm a little surprised this didn't happen sooner :-)
Coincidentally, or maybe not, Brandon Phillips has officially been moved from shortstop to second base at Buffalo and he played an error-free game there last night. This move has been in the making for a longtime and it's already common knowledge that Phillips is targeted to play second base in the Arizona Fall League so we knew this was coming eventually but the timing of the switch is certainly raising a few eyebrows this morning.
Ryan Larson was promoted from Akron to Buffalo and made his triple-A debut last night, allowing two runs in 1-2/3 innings. The former 20th round pick (2000) becomes the first Indian to pitch at three levels this season although his promotion to Buffalo is expected to be temporary. Larson's a prospect who doesn't receive a lot of press and that has more to do with the fact that he's a small (5'10, 195), curveball specialist (best in system entering 2002 per BA), who was drafted in the 20th round than it does with his performance on the field. After posting a best in the system ERA of 0.88 combined last year at Columbus and Kinston, Larson started this season at Kinston where he fashioned together a 1-3 record and 8 saves with a 3.05 ERA in 38-1/3 innings (35H, 15BB, 33K). Promoted to Akron, Larson was 2-3 with 6 saves and a 1.78 ERA in 30-1/3 innings (36H, 6BB, 24K). His combined numbers on the season are 3-6, 2.49, with 14 saves in 68-2/3 innings (71H, 21W, 57K) and it's interesting to note how he has become more hittable and less dominant as he's been promoted through the system although his control has improved with the move to double-A. His overall numbers this year are solid but not dominant but, nevertheless, he's had a pretty impressive rise through the system considering he started in the Sally League last season.
Note: Kyle Evans has also pitched at three levels this year (short-season, single-A, and a spot start for the Aeros).
The Canton Repository is reporting this morning that Scott Pratt has been promoted from Akron to Buffalo. For all intents and purposes, this will be Pratt's first real exposure to triple-A although he did have 12 at-bats (.083) with the Bisons in 2000. Pratt has been moved into a supersub role this season, seeing time at second, short, third, and the outfield, and all the movement around the diamond has not prevented him from putting together a career year at the plate. For the season, Pratt is hitting .273/.375/.451 with 16 doubles and 16 homeruns. He's stolen 19 of 23 bases and has a solid BB/K ratio of 60 to 78. Of course, a 25 year old is expected to post solid numbers like these at double-A and Pratt looks to be on a career path similar to the player he is replacing in Buffalo, Greg LaRocca. That is, a useful player who can do a lot of different things on the field but doesn't have that dominant skill that enhances his opportunities for a major league audition. With all the prospects brought into the system in the last 14 months, Pratt has obviously been surpassed in the prospect ranks but, to his credit, he has not let it affect his performance on the field. The Indians control his rights for another season and it would not surprise me if he puts together a solid season next year in Buffalo, perhaps with a cup of coffee in the bigs as an injury replacement, and then leaves the organization as a 6-year free agent in the 2003-04 offseason.
Aeros left-hander Mike Spiegel was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending August 18. In his one start, Spiegel tossed six scoreless innings, striking out five, walking none, and scattering only three hits. The Aeros daily notes reports that over his last seven appearances, Spiegel is 2-1 with a 1.24 ERA (29.0 IP, 19 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 13 BB, 26 SO).
In case I forgot to mention it, Victor Martinez was named the Eastern League Player of the Month for July. All he did last month was hit .404/.490/.736 with five homeruns and 19 runs batted in.
The accolades continue for Martinez as he checks in at number three on the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet this week. Martinez is listed as day-to-day right now after he suffered a bruised right shoulder on Saturday night thanks to a foul tip. X-Rays were negative but the Aeros have held him out of the last two games.
Travis Foley was part of yesterday's featured pitching matchup in the Daily Dish from Baseball America and he did not disappoint (see recaps below).
Ben Francisco was named the NY-Penn League Player of the Month for July.
The Burlington Indians website is reporting that catcher Kenton Myers has been transferred from Mahoning Valley to Burlington. Myers hit .240 (6-for-25) in limited duty with the Scrappers this season. The B-Tribe website also lists catcher Carlos Parra as retired as of June 17 but I believe this should be August 17 as Parra last played on August 14. His wife gave birth to their first child (baby boy -- see July 16 CIR) in July so I wonder if this has something to do with his sudden retirement. Hopefully not, though, for the Parra families sake. Parra finished the season hitting .253/.304/.463 with four homeruns and six doubles
Baseball America is showing that 16th round pick Omar Casillas has signed with the Indians. Casillas is a catcher drafted out of a Puerto Rico high school who had committed to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. More than likely, his first tour duty with the Tribe will be in the instructional league this fall. His draft notes made him sound like an intriguing sleeper behind the plate.
Chris Magruder and the Bisons make an appearance on Jim Caple's road trip across America. If you haven't been reading this series on ESPN's page two, take a few minutes to check it out. It's well worth it.
BUFFALO: The Bisons lost to Syracuse 9-8 in 13 innings. Chris Coste, who last pitched in college in the early 90s, took the loss when he served up a home run to Blue Jays prospect Felipe Lopez. On the bright side, that was the only hit that Coste allowed in his one inning of work. Roy Smith made the emergency start in replace of Jason Beverlin (claimed by the Tigers) and was pounded for four earned runs and seven hits in 3-2/3 innings. Travis Miller, fresh off the DL, allowed a run in 2-1/3 innings. Ryan Larson gave up two runs in 1-2/3 innings in his triple-A debut. Dave Elder struck out five in 3-1/3 scoreless innings and Dave Maurer worked a scoreless frame before turning things over to Coste and his 85mph fastball in the 13th. Zach Sorenson homered (#7) and singled with a sac fly to drive in four runs. Josh Bard singled twice to raise his average to .299. Chris Magruder doubled with two singles and plated a run. Jody Gerut (.325) singled twice, walked, and drove in a run. Ben Broussard singled and was hit by a pitch and Todd Dunwoody tripled to score a run.
AKRON: Jason Davis allowed a run in the 1st inning and then held the Baysox scoreless for the next six innings to lead the Aeros to a 5-1 victory over Bowie. Davis (4-2, 4.15) struck out six, walked one, and allowed only six hits in his seven innings of work. Alberto Garza had a wild night on the mound as he recorded two outs, walked four batters, but did not allow a run to score. Jose Colon recorded the final four outs for his 4th save. Luis Garcia belted a two-run jack (#5). Ryan Church doubled and walked twice (good sign). Jason Fitzgerald singled and drove in two runs. Marshall McDougall singled in a run. Eric Crozier and Maicer Izturis added basehits and Scott Pratt walked, stole a base (#19), and scored two runs in what may have been his final game as an Aero.
KINSTON: The K-Tribe dropped a pair to Potomac. Derek Thompson allowed three earned runs over five innings and was charged with the loss in the 4-1 opener. Matt Wade worked two scoreless innings. Heath Wilson doubled in the Indians only run. Joe Inglett and Tyler Minges doubled and Corey Smith walked. Brandon Matheny took the loss in the 5-3 nightcap as he allowed five runs in 5-1/3 innings on nine hits and two walks. Fern-Diddy worked a scoreless final 1-2/3 innings. Corey Smith blasted his 11th homerun and Jeff DePippo added a solo shot (#4). Alex Requena singled twice and stole a base (#67) and Rickie Morton doubled and Hector Luna singled.
COLUMBUS: The Redstixx split a pair with Delmarva. In the opener, which was the completion of Sunday's rain suspended contest, the Redstixx lost 4-2. Dan Denham (8-7, 4.59) allowed two earned runs in two innings on Sunday before the rains came. Oscar Alvarez "started' yesterday and pitched well, allowing one run in four innings on six hits with three strikeouts. Ignacio Montano also pitched well, tossing three scoreless innings. Rodney Choy Foo doubled and knocked in a run. Dennis Malave singled, walked, and stole a base (#26). JJ Sherrill, Chad Peshke, and Matt Knox added basehits. In the nightcap, Travis Foley lived up to the Daily Dish billing as he tossed six strong innings in the Redstixx 2-1 victory over Delmarva. Foley (11-4, 2.90) struck out 11, walked one, and scattered four hits with the only run coming on a solo homerun. Lee Gronkiewicz turned in one of his longer performances of the season as he worked a scoreless final three innings to pick up his 4th win of the season. Rodney Choy Foo tripled and singled to drive in a run. Dennis Malave doubled and JJ Sherrill singled and stole a base (#19). Matt Knox and Armando Camacaro each singled and walked and Jonathan Van Every walked twice.
THE VALLEY: Michael Rogers allowed one run in six innings to lead the Scrappers to a 7-2 win in Lowell. Rogers (6-3, 3.32) struck out five, walked three, and allowed only fix hits in his best outing of the season. Kevin Martin permitted a run in two innings and Dan Rich worked a scoreless final frame. Shaun Larkin belted a two run homerun (#7). Ben Francisco singled, walked, stole two bases (#18), and knocked in a run. Dave Wallace doubled and singled to drive in a run. Brian Wright had two hits. Bill Peavey doubled in a run. Mike Conroy tripled and walked. Andy Baxter singled and Eider Torres walked, stole a base, and scored a run.
BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe won 7-5 over Martinsville. Nathan Panther tripled and singled. Luis Hodge had two hits and stole a base. Josh Noviskey singled twice, walked, and stole a base. Teodoro Encarnacion tripled and singled to drive in three runs. Domingo Vasquez singled in a run and added a sac fly. Micah Schilling returned from the disabled list to single and knock in a run. TJ Burton started for the Indians and gave up four runs in three innings. Paul Martinez was credited with the win for his three innings of one-run relief. Shea Douglas lowered his ERA to a microscopic 0.32 with three scoreless innings in which he struck out five.
August 19, 2002
Travis Foley makes up part of the featured pitching matchup in the Daily Dish from Baseball America.
CHECK IT OUT
Chris Magruder and the Bisons make an appearance on Jim Caple's road trip across America. If you haven't been reading this series on ESPN's page two, take a few minutes to check it out. It's well worth it.
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT
Monday, August 19
Lost of news from over the weekend so let's get to it...
Bob Wickman will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow once the inflammation in his elbow subsides in the next month. Both Dr. Louis Keppler (Indians) and Dr. Lewis Yocum (Angels) concurred that the surgery is necessary. Wickman is expected to be out for most, if not all, of 2003 as the surgery usually requires a 10-12 month recovery and rehab period. The best case scenario is that Wick could contribute in September of next season but it's more likely the next time he takes the mound will be on a minor league rehab assignment late next summer or in the instructional league next fall. Even though the Indians are not planning on being in contention next season, this is a big blow as a healthy Wickman would have been a nice luxury at the backend to preserve games for a young starting rotation. He would also have been nice trade bait this offseason or at the break next year and bring the Indians more prospects, or more importantly, free up payroll for other areas. Wickman finishes 2002 with a 1-3 record, 4.46 ERA, and 20 saves in 22 chances. He has two years remaining on the three year contract he signed last offseason with the Indians holding an option for 2005.
The above probably means that Mark Wohlers will remain with the team for next season as he now becomes a moderately priced closer which is what a team like the 2003 Tribe should have at the back of the bullpen anyway. What's the need for a high-priced closer when you're looking at winning 70-75 games, right? Joel Skinner also noted that David Riske may see some chances if Wohlers falters or needs a rest.
Carl Sadler is now unscored upon in 6-2/3 innings since his promotion from triple-A on July 30. Saturday night he struck out Darin Erstad on three pitches with the bases loaded and the score tied 3-3. If you remember, he made short work of left-handers David Justice and Eric Chavez with men on base in his major league debut. Not a bad start to his career, huh?
Jason Phillips looked pretty darn impressive to me on Saturday night. Of course, I only saw the 2nd-5th innings where he was unscored upon and missed the 1st and 6th where the Angels did their damage. I love that curveball.
Coco Crisp has looked pretty good so far in his short time with the Tribe which includes a pair of three-hit games over the weekend in Anaheim. Damn you Spiez!
Ricky Gutierrez is expected to undergo a bone scan today according to the Plain Dealer after missing the last four games with a bruised left thumb. If Gutierrez goes on the DL, would the Indians consider recalling Brandon Phillips? Probably not, since he's still playing shortstop at Buffalo and the Indians appear intent on the letting the kids stay with Bisons through the end of the IL playoffs. Most likely, it will be Bill Selby making another trip on the shuttle since he's already on the 40, but my personal choice would be to reward Greg LaRocca with some time in the big leagues. After impressing in the spring, LaRocca has hit .293/.402/.432 with 28 doubles and 7 homeruns, showed a nice eye at the plate with a solid 48-48 walk/strikeout ratio, been effective on the basepaths in stealing 17 of 21 bases, and has been solid in the field, making only 10 errors while playing second, short, third, and the outfield for the Bisons this year. An organizational soldier, LaRocca has also been plunked 23 times, and it would be nice to see him get some time in the bigs, even if it's only for 10-15 days. Roster ramifications (moving someone off the 40 to make room for him) will obviously work against him but I hope the Indians can make something happen. He deserves it. So does Chris Coste, who is an even better story, but that's another topic for another day.
Jason Beverlin was claimed off of waivers by the Detroit Tigers after being designated for assignment by the Indians to make room for Coco Crisp on the 40-man roster last week. Beverlin will report to triple-A Toledo, a team that he had a considerable amount of success against this season, as the Buffalo News notes that he was 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 12 innings against the Mud Hens this season. I would think those two starts had some influence on the Tigers interest. Beverlin finishes his Indians career with a 7.36 ERA in 7-2/3 innings and nine punchouts. For the Bisons, he was 10-8 with a 3.87 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 118-2/3 innings. The Indians would have probably lost Beverlin in the offseason on the minor league free-agent market with most of next years triple-A starts targeted for the youngsters so this loss is not a really big deal.
Brandon Phillips and Brian Tallet both made Jim Callis' preseason Arizona Fall League all-star team.
Neal Huntington compared Cliff Lee to Barry Zito in the ABJ over the weekend saying "Lee has a Barry Zito-like curve and a lot of life on his fastball. He was pitching in the rain on a day where he struggled with his mechanics but still managed to get people out" Zito, eh? Very nice.
The Bisons rotation problems have been solved (temporarily at least) as the Buffalo News notes that Billy Traber, Brian Tallet, and Cliff Lee will each skip a turn in the rotation before the start of the IL playoffs in early September. The Indians are simply being cautious as all three have had a heavy workload this season with Traber and Lee already throwing a career-high number of innings.
Ryan Church gets some love from the Plain Dealer. Teammate Jhonny Peralta gets some love from the Beacon Journal.
Alex Herrera has been placed on the temporary inactive list to tend to a family emergency according to the Plain Dealer.
Marshall McDougall drove in two runs with a double and single in his official Indians system debut with the Aeros over the weekend.
The Kinston Free Press notes that Dan Neil and Ryan Prahm threw simulated games and are on target for a return to the mound in the instructional league this fall.
Looking at Friday's Redstixx boxscore, it looks like Ivan Ochoa was removed from the game after a pair of at-bats (single and sac fly) for Jesus Colmenter. He did not play on Saturday and yesterday's games was suspended due to rain so I'm not sure if there's an injury we should be concerned about or not. Anybody hear anything on Ochoa?
Matt Whitney (groin) and Micah Schilling (hyperextended elbow) should both be back in the lineup on Wednesday according to the Burlington Times. The Times also notes that Chris De La Cruz (.367/.422/.489) injured his wrist in yesterdays game and is expected to sit out the next few games.
With the minor league seasons drawing to a close in the next several weeks, here's a quick look at where each of the Indians affiliates stand as they enter the stretch run.
Buffalo: 77-52, 2nd Place, 5 games behind Scranton, 6-1/2 game wildcard lead
Akron: 82-46, 1st place, 10-1/2 game lead
Kinston: 29-24, Tied for 1st place with Myrtle Beach
Columbus: 30-22, Tied for 1st place with Macon
Mahoning Valley: 34-26, 2nd place, 4 games behind Auburn
Burlington: 27-32, 4th place, 10 games out.
FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS: Ricardo Rodriguez (3-1, 3.60) earned his third Bisons win with 6-2/3 innings of two run ball, striking out three and allowing seven hits. Brandon Phillips doubled, homered (#7), singled and scored three times. Todd Dunwoody homered (#7) and doubled to drive in two. Ben Broussard had three hits, including a double to plate three runs. Hector Luna homered (#10) and singled and knocked in three runs. Rickie Morton (#12) homered and singled. Henry Pichardo homered (#3), tripled, and singled. Alex Requena stole bases #61-62. JD Martin (12-4, 4.06) tossed six innings of shutout ball for win #12. Brian Kirby belted his 14th homer. Rodney Choy Foo doubled twice and singled. Keith Ramsey (4-2, 1.85) struck out nine over seven scoreless innings in another dominating performance. Ben Francisco doubled, singled, walked, and stole a base. Eider Torres doubled and singled. Juan Lara (2-4, 4.07) struck out six over seven scoreless innings. Ricardo Rojas had three hits, including a double. Teodoro Encarnacion doubled, singled twice, and stole a base.
SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS: Ben Broussard homered (#4) and singled. Josh Bard homered (#6) with three singles as part of a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate. Chris Magruder homered (#4) and stole a base. Tim Laker had three hits and Jody Gerut had two hits. Lance Caraccioli (3-0, 2.76) picked up his third Bisons win as he allowed three runs in six innings, striking out six. Kyle Denney took a shutout into the 7th inning and finished allowing two runs in 6-1/3 innings, striking out five. Jhonny Peralta had two homeruns (#14-15) and singled. Scott Pratt homered (#16) and singled. Alex Requena singled, walked twice, and stole four bases (#63-66). Luke Scott homered (#7), singled and walked twice to drive in three runs. Jake Dittler (3-11, 4.97) struck out six and allowed only four hits and two walks in six innings. Blake Allen gave up 10 runs on 11 hits in 3-1/3 innings. Andy Baxter doubled, singled, stole a base, and was hit by a pitch. Josh Noviskey homered (#2). Teodoro Encarnacion singled twice and stole a base.
SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS: Brian Tallet took a no-hitter into the 6th inning and tossed seven shutout innings, walking two and allowing two hits, in the Bisons 6-1 victory. Jody Gerut (.321) had three hits, including a double. Todd Dunwoody doubled twice. Tim Laker belted a 3-run jack (#4). Brandon Phillips singled twice, walked, and stole a base. Mike Spiegel struck out five in six scoreless innings. Matt White picked up the save despite having his scoreless inning streak snapped. Luis Garcia homered (#40 and singled. Corey Erickson had three hits, including a double. Scott Pratt doubled twice. Ryan Church doubled and singled twice. Luke Scott blasted a grand slam (#8), singled, stole a base, walked, was hit by a pitch, and scored three times in Kinston's 9-7 victory. Rickie Morton belted his 13th homerun. Grady Sizemore tripled, singled, and walked. Brian Slocum (3-2, 3.21) was touched for five earned runs in four innings. Ben Francisco (.385) singled. Fausto Carmona (2-3, 3.20) tossed seven innings of two run ball, striking out five. Luis Hodge and Teodoro Encarnacion each had two hits.