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April 30, 2003  

Wednesday, April 30

Record:7-19, 4th Place, 11.5 GB
Last:Lost 10-1 to Anaheim on Tuesday
Streak:Lost seven in a row
Next:Tonight vs Anaheim, 7:05 PM
Matchup:Jarrod Washburn (1-3, 4.76) vs Brian Anderson (2-2, 3.51)
On Deck:Three game weekend series against Texas

The losing streak now stands at seven in a row after last night's lambasting at the hands of Angels. For perspective, this is the longest streak for the Indians since they lost seven in a row from June 27 to July 3, 1991. The losing pitchers in that stretch were named Mutis, Boucher, Nagy, Nichols, Swindell, York, and Boucher. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

I warned you yesterday about Ramon Ortiz's dominance of the Indians and he did not disappoint (Angels fans). Nine innings, 98 pitches, one run, seven hits, two walks, no strikeouts. I would love to know the last time a pitcher threw a complete game without fanning anyone. That has to be pretty rare.

I think the above is pretty good evidence in support of Eric Wedge's "We have multiple issues offensively" statement from last night. One issue that I think needs to be brought up is what does Ortiz' line say about the Indians approach at the plate and what is Eddie Murray doing about it? Going back to last year when the team started struggling en masse in mid-April, Eddie's been pretty quiet. What is he saying to these kids? What is he not saying to these kids? Is it in one ear and out the other? I have no idea, but I sure hope Eddie does.

Hey, hey! Matt Lawton doubled and singled last night. We'll leave it at that.

While everyone has zoomed in on Lawton as the poster child for the bad start, let's not forget about Karim Garcia whose average now stands at .197 thanks to an 0-for-4 last night which is part of a larger 1-for-20 slump. Garcia's contract makes him eminently more waivable than Lawton and if he's still hovering around the low .200's at the end of May, this could be spot in the lineup that Jody Gerut or Coco Crisp takes over on a regular basis.

Aaron Myette struggled last night (four runs in 1.2 innings) and his ERA now sits at 23.62 in two appearances for the Indians. To be fair, he hadn't pitched in 10 days and that might not be the best thing for someone who has struggled with his control throughout his major league career. Two games isn't a good sample size but Myette is really going to have to show something in his next few appearances.

On that note, how tempted must Mark Shapiro be to push the panic button and start shuffling pitchers in/out of the bullpen? Fortunately, he realizes that this year was lost before it got started in terms of a won/loss record and constant shuffling back and forth to triple-A can do more harm than good to a young player. Dave Elder (0.00, 8G, 12.2 IP, 5H, 6W, 17K) and Jason Boyd (1.32, 8G, 13.2 IP, 11H, 2W, 12K) are the prime candidates for recall but Shapiro is also constrained somewhat by all the young talent on the 40-man roster as only Chad Paronto, Jose Santiago, and Bill Selby are candidates for being designated for assignment and removal from the 40. And among those three, Santiago and Selby are currently filling roles on the big league roster. Selby (out of options) seems like a likely candidate for removal from the 40 if Jody Gerut sticks with the big league club when Milton Bradley returns and that would free up a spot for a reliever to be added to the 40, not necessarily the active 25-man roster. An additional spot could be opened if Myette is sent down because he is out of options and would have to be waived/designated. The Indians are going to have to be very smart in how they manipulate and use these few open or, rather, "can be opened" spots so they aren't forced into exposing one of their young players to waivers just to fill a need at the big league level.

Victor Martinez just knocked in Zach Sorensen with an RBI single. I'm listening to the Buffalo-Rochester game on Ben Broussard just smacked a two-run bomb deep into the right-field seats. Bisons lead 3-0. Broussard just banged a two-run triple to right in the 3rd inning. Sorensen has a double and triple. 5-0 Bisons.

As for tonight, maybe the Indians have a shot at ending the losing streak. Angels starter Jarrod Washburn is 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA in six starts against the Tribe over the last three years and current Indians hitters are hitting .329/.908 with three homeruns lifetime against Washburn. Ellis Burks hits Washburn especially well, to the tune of a .562 average with three doubles, one homer and three RBIs in 16 career at-bats. Angels hitters are .250/.800 lifetime against BA with Brad Fullmer taking him deep twice in nine at-bats.

Tim DeCinces was activated from the disabled list in Buffalo.

Francisco Cruceta was activated by the Aeros and started yesterday.  He had been on the disabled list with a sprained ankle.  Cruceta only worked four innings and I'm not sure if that was due to a pitch count or an injury. Aquiles Pinales was released to make room for Cruceta on the roster.  Pinales (1-1, 7.00) pitched six games for the Aeros and walked eight and struck out eight in nine innings.  The 28-year old righty had a pretty decent year in Kinston last year, posting a 2.67 ERA with 14 saves and striking out 63 in 60.2 innings but his age made him expendable.  

Peter Gammons is reporting that the Cubs, Red Sox, and Reds are working on a three-way deal that could send Shea Hillenbrand to the Cubs, Juan Cruz to the Reds, and Scott Williamson.   Hmmm, I wonder if the Indians ever were asked about (or offered) Danys Baez as a replacement for Scott Williamson with the Tribe ending up with Juan Cruz?   Crazy, you say?    Like a fox (or Beane), I say.  Cruz is younger, far less expensive, and has as good an arm (or better) than Baez right now.  The tilt in Baez' favor is that he has more of a major league track record, but it wasn't that long ago that Cruz was regarded in the same vein as Cubs uber prospect Mark Prior and the separation between the two is more a reflection of Prior's rapid development than any lessening of skills on Cruz' part (although he did age a little last year).  For an organization that needs to be financially savvy (and be aggressive in doing so), the opportunity to avoid paying Baez approx $5-20 million over the next 3-4 years by substituting a cheaper (and potentially better version) is definitely worth exploring in my mind.  Of course, Gammons rumor would have to be true and the Red Sox would have to have an interest in Baez but it's an interesting thought in my mind.

Bob Wickman is having his uniform (# 20) retired by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He is the only major leaguer in school history.

Remember the player we traded for Chris Magruder last April? Here's an update on Rashad Eldridge from the Newberg Report...
"I read an article in the Stockton paper at the beginning of the season that quoted Ports manager Arnie Beyeler said that one of the club’s main objectives was to develop patience and selectivity at the plate. Eldridge has clearly bought into the philosophy, batting .274, but posting an on base percentage of .411 on the strength of 18 walks in 91 plate appearances, tying him with G.J. Raymundo for the league lead (after those two, the next best in the league is Bourgeois’ 15). He has shown a little power and good speed as well. A lot of talent coming around nicely."

From the Did You Know File (courtesy of Peter Gammons)...
Incidentally, after the Angels had John Burkett checked for some foreign substance, one Red Sox official said, "fortunately they didn't look hard enough." Remember Dale Mohorcic (Cleveland native), who appeared in 14 consecutive games for Bobby Valentine and the Rangers? When the umps came out to get him, he swallowed his sandpaper, which led to internal bleeding that ended his career.    

Happy belated birthday to Jeff DePippo (27 on 4/29) and Rafael Betancourt (28 on 4/29).

Here's to the Wingman.

CLEVELAND (7-19): The Indians and Angels took only 2:25 to play their game last night. That's the good news. The bad news is that the Angels pummeled the Tribe 10-1 to extend the Indians losing streak to seven games. Ricardo Rodriguez (2-2, 3.32) had his worst start of the season as he allowed six runs (four earned) in five innings. He surrendered eight hits, walked one, struck out two, and served up one longball. 60 of his 88 pitches were for strikes. I'm glad the Indians did not send him back out there for a 6th inning. Aaron Myette allowed four runs on five hits in 1.2 innings before Terry Mulholland could mop up with 2.1 scoreless innings. Ellis Burks homered (#4) and walked. Matt Lawton (!) doubled and singled. Jody Gerut doubled. Casey Blake had two hits. Omar Vizquel singled and Travis Hafner walked. The Indians grounded into three double-plays (Hafner, Phillips, Bard). Ramon Ortiz needed only 98 pitches to throw the complete game shutout although, oddly enough, he did not strike out a batter.

BUFFALO (15-6): Jason Stanford tossed six strong innings to lead the Bisons to a 3-1 victory in Rochester. Stanford (2-0, 2.35) allowed only one run on six hits and a walk while striking out six. Jason Boyd worked two scoreless innings and Dave Elder struck out the side in the 9th for his 6th save. Alex Escobar belted a solo homer (#3). Greg LaRocca doubled, walked, and drove in two runs. Coco Crisp singled and walked. Zach Sorensen singled and stole a base (#4). Jhonny Peralta singled and walked, Nate Grindell singled and was hit by a pitch, and Victor Martinez added a basehit. Ben Broussard, a la Rudy Stein, took one for the team.

AKRON (13-12): Eric Crozier, Hector Luna, and Alex Requena had consecutive RBI singles in the 8th inning to give the Aeros a 6-3 victory over New Britain. Luna and Crozier had two hits apiece. Victor Valencia belted a three-run homer (#1). Corey Smith had two doubles (#5-6) and walked. He also made an error (#12?) in the field. Maicer Izturis had two hits in a walk and he's now hit in 11 straight. Ron Wright singled and walked, Tyler Minges singled, and Grady Sizemore received a free pass. Francisco Cruceta (3.86) returned to the mound with four scoreless innings, scattering two hits, walking two, and striking out one. Jason Rakers allowed a run in two innings. Marcos Mendoza was credited with the win even though he allowed two runs in two innings and Jake Robbins earned his first save with a scoreless final frame (two hits, one strikeout).

KINSTON (12-9): The K-Tribe won 12-9 in Salem. Joe Inglett (.362) had four hits, including two doubles (#7-8) to lead the offense. Brian Jenkins doubled and singled. Luke Scott had a pair of hits. Rodney Choy Foo extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a double. He also walked and drove in a run. Eider Torres singled and swiped a base (#10). Pat Osborn doubled and Miguel Quintana had an RBI single. Ben Margalski walked twice. Brian Slocum (2-1, 2.42) was credited with the win after pitching five innings and allowing three runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out six. Jack Cressend bounced back from his rough season debut with three innings of two-hit relief, striking out three. Lee Gronkiewicz worked a scoreless final frame for his 4th save.

LAKE COUNTY (17-9): Dan Denham struck out a career-high nine hitters as three Captains hurlers combined for a 2-0 shutout over Charleston (WV). Denham (1-1, 2.25) worked the first six innings and scattered four hits and walked only one in earning his first win of the season. Blake Allen extended his scoreless streak to 15.1 innings with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. Todd Pennington notched save number six by striking out two batters in the bottom of the 9th inning. Jason Cooper belted a solo homer (#5). Nathan Panther doubled and singled and stole a base. Dave Wallace doubled, Matt Knox had an RBI singled, and Chris De La Cruz added a basehit. The Captains made three errors in the game (De La Cruz, Knox, and Denham).

SLY FOX MASUGA (0-2): Classic Fox. After scoring 20 runs in the season opener last week, the boys in blue managed to only put a 5-spot on the board in a 14-5 loss to arch-rival Sly Fox Huber. Harold Ballgame homered and singled to lead the meager offense. Captain Sweatpants had a pair of singles, as did Jake, Shindog, and Joe. Coach The displayed surprising power with a triple to the fence and a hard-hit single down the line. Komar battled through the gout to double in three trips to the dish and Frankie singled. The punchless Fox wasted a good outing from Coach The, who held the Hubers to eight runs through six innings before (in classic Fox fashion) six unearned runs crossed the plate in the top of the 7th inning as the defense needed nine outs to close out the frame. After the game, in an eating display unseen since the Jake Pizza Sandwich of 2000, Joe wolfed down three Arby's regulars. "It felt like an Arby's night" he was heard muttering this morning from the bathroom.

Sorry, no proof-reading on the recaps today.


April 29, 2003  

Tuesday, April 29

Record:7-18, 4th Place, 11.5 GB
Last:Lost 4-3 in Oakland on Sunday
Streak:Lost six in a row
Next:Tonight vs Anaheim, 7:05 PM
Matchup:Ramon Ortiz (3-2, 5.46) vs Ricardo Rodriguez (2-1, 2.73)
On Deck:Three game weekend series vs Texas

Hey Guys, just a reminder that Mother's Day (May 11) is right around the corner.  I'm sure many of you are also approaching anniversary dates as well, not to mention graduations and weddings, so consider yourself warned.  I mention this as a friendly reminder that you can shop for all of the above by entering through the link on the CIR website.  For every purchase that you make at Amazon, the CIR receives a small referral fee at no cost to yourself and support like this helps pay the bills and keep the CIR free of charge.  You can also shop in the CIR bookstore which has a fine collection of Indians and baseball books and videos to choose from.  Thanks for your support, it's greatly appreciated!

Now that the NFL Draft has passed, it's time to start preparing for the next big draft of the season.  The Cavs and LeBron?  Pphhbt!  I'm talking about the MLB draft on June 3-4.   Just like last year, the CIR will be your home for up to the minute Indians draft day coverage and analysis that you won't find anywhere else on the web.  With the Tribe holding three picks in the top 31, this is another opportunity for Mark Shapiro and John Mirabelli to add to the waves of talent they want rolling through the organization so stay tuned to the CIR. Draft coverage begins Monday, May 19.

Mercifully, the Indians had the day off yesterday. They're back home tonight against the Angels for the start of a three-game series. If you're hoping the home cooking will do the Indians some good, recognize that Angels starter Ramon Ortiz is 2-0 over the past three seasons against the Tribe with a 1.59 ERA and Indians hitters are a combined 5-for 39 (.128) in their career against Ortiz. Tribe starter Ricardo Rodriguez has never faced the Angels.

The Buffalo News reports that Alex Herrera left Sunday's game with a bruised leg after he was struck by a wicked one-hopper off the bat of former Indian Dave Hollins. Preliminary reports indicate that it's just a bruise.

Jeremy Guthrie checks in at number five on the Prospect Hot Sheet after his three-hit, complete game shutout on Sunday.

Shane Arthurs was placed on the disabled list in Kinston. Arthurs (1-0, 4.97) had pitched 7.1 innings for the K-Tribe, allowing seven hits, walking no one, and striking out six.

Rodney Choy Foo extended his hitting streak to 17 games last night with a double. The 21 year old is now hitting .390/.478/.542/1.020 with six doubles and a homerun for Kinston this season. He's 3-for-3 on the bases and has a healthy 8/12 BB/K ratio. Choy Foo was selected by the Indians in the 26th round of the 2000 draft out of a Hawaii high school.

CLEVELAND (7-18): Scheduled day off

BUFFALO (14-6): Scheduled day off

AKRON (12-12): How often do you score nine runs in the final inning and still lose? While you're looking that up, I can tell you that it happened last night in New Britain as the Aeros pushed nine runs across in the top of the 9th inning but fell one short as they lost 12-11. Tyler Minges belted a grand slam (#2) as part of the rally. He also singled. Eric Crozier homered (#5) and drove in three runs. Brian Luderer also went deep (#2) for the Aeros. Grady Sizemore doubled and had two singles with an RBI. Luis Gonzalez plated a run and doubled and singled. Maicer Izturis walked and extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single. Ron Wright singled with two walks and Corey Smith walked twice. Derrick Van Dusen (1-2, 8.00) took the loss as he allowed six runs in three innings on eight hits and a walk, striking out one. Kyle Evans also allowed six runs in three innings, giving up six hits and three walks. Shane Wallace and Jake Robbins each threw a scoreless inning apiece. The loss snapped the Aeros three game winning streak.

KINSTON (11-9): The K-Tribe wasted an early lead and lost to Salem 8-6 in 11 innings. The good guys jumped out in front with a 5-run first inning and led 6-3 heading into the 7th inning before they allowed two runs in the 7th and one in the 8th which was enough to send the game into extras. Chris Cooper then surrendered a two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning for the Avalanche victory. JD Martin (7.23) started for the Indians and allowed three runs on six hits and two walks in five innings of work. He struck out two. Scott Sturkie allowed a pair of runs in two innings and Doug Lantz was charged with an unearned run (tying run in the 8th) in his three innings of one-hit relief. Pat Osborn (.309) had a huge day at the plate, banging out five hits, including two doubles, and driving in three runs. Brian Jenkins tripled, singled twice, walked, and knocked in a run. Luke Scott doubled and singled with an RBI. Dennis Malave had three hits. Eider Torres doubled, walked, and made two errors in the field. Rodney Choy Foo drove in a run and doubled with two walks. Bill Peavey singled and walked and Brian Wright added a basehit.

LAKE COUNTY (16-9): A pair of errors from Jesus Colmenter led to three unearned runs as the Captains lost to Charleston (SC) by a score of 3-2. Fausto Carmona (3-1, 0.98) was charged with the loss despite not allowing an earned run in six innings. He surrendered four hits, walked none, and struck out four. Carlos De La Cruz fanned four in three innings of one-hit relief. Nathan Panther (.261) homered (#4), singled, and stole a base (#3). Micah Schilling singled. Jason Cooper had an RBI single. Chris De La Cruz, Matt Knox, Jonathan Van Every added basehits. JJ Sherrill walked. Dave Wallace had his 20-game on-base streak snapped.


April 28, 2003  

Monday, April 28

Record:7-18, 4th Place, 11.5 GB
Last:Lost 4-3 in Oakland on Sunday
Streak:Lost six in a row
Next:Tuesday vs Anaheim, 7:05 PM
Matchup:Ramon Ortiz (3-2, 5.46) vs Ricardo Rodriguez (2-1, 2.73)
On Deck:Three game series vs Anaheim (Tues-Thurs)

This is the regular CIR for Monday. The recaps were sent out earlier this morning in another message.

That was a rough road-trip. If it weren't for the Tigers, the Indians would have the worst record in baseball. It's not getting anything easier with Anaheim, Texas, Anaheim, Texas, Seattle, and Oakland lined up for the next six series. The 5/19-5/22 four game home series against the Tigers could really be a battle for the right to call yourself the worst team in the league. Ugh.

Lots of news and notes from the weekend so let's get to it.

Milton Bradley was placed on the DL after an MRI on Friday revealed a significant strain, but no tear. Bradley is off to a sensational start, hitting .375/.433/.613/1.046 with 10 doubles and three homeruns through 19 games. Amongst the Indians hitters in the early going, he's a nonesuch.

Jody Gerut was called up from Buffalo to replace Bradley in the outfield. He should receive extensive playing time over the next two weeks. Gerut was hitting .277/.377/.585/.962 with five doubles, five homeruns, and 19 RBIs in 51 at-bats for Buffalo. He had also swiped four bags in four attempts and had a 8:9 BB:K ratio. Gerut was hitless in his debut on Saturday but had three hits on Sunday. This is what this season is all about and I'm anxious to see how Gerut performs in this trial. I'm even more interested to see what they do with him if he's hitting well when Bradley returns from the DL.

Why Gerut and not Coco Crisp? Gerut can play all three outfield positions while Crisp is a centerfielder is the Indians response. Increased versatility is always a plus but if Crisp was the choice, doesn't it make sense that he would slide right into centerfield and the corners would maintain the status quo? Crisp is hitting .377/.476/.551/1.027 with six doubles and three doubles. He has an excellent 12:7 BB:K ratio and has swiped five bags in three attempts.

All things being equal (contracts, etc.), do you think the Indians would prefer an outfield of Crisp, Bradley, Gerut over an outfield of Lawton, Bradley, Garcia?

Danys Baez lost another game in the 9th inning yesterday. It was his first appearance since surrendering a grand slam to Mike Cameron last Tuesday in Seattle. That's a long time between outings if you ask me. He's now been scored upon in his last four appearances and has not recorded a strikeout in that time frame either. He was around the plate yesterday (12 of 16 for strikes) and that's something Eric Wedge is quoted in the papers as saying they can build on. Let's hope.

Baez is signed through this season with the Indians holding a $5 million option for 2004. Even though his contract will have expired, Baez will not have enough service time to become a free-agent until 2007, although arbitration will rear its ugly head in 2005 and 2006. I realize that it's very early in the season and I'm probably premature in this line of thought, but I think we have to start thinking about whether the Indians should pick up his option next year (or the very real possibility he could be non-tendered in 2005 if they pick up next years options). Factors to consider in this decision 1) Baez' performance this year 2) the wealth of young arms in the Indians system 3) the development of those young arms this season 4) the progress of Bob Wickman's rehab 5) what role will Baez and Wickman fill next year; they can't both close, can they? 6) can the Indians afford to carry $10 million-plus in bullpen contracts next year 7) the overall marketplace for cheap relievers next offseason.

Again, I'm not advocating getting rid of Baez anytime soon. I'm simply suggesting that his performance/contract may not make him the roster lock moving forward as we've assumed. I also think it's safe to say that even if Baez is pitching well, the chances of the Indians signing him (or another team) to a $21mil/3-year deal, as suggested by Sheldon Ocker in the ABJ on Sunday, are pretty slim under the games current economics.

I forget which paper carried the following comment from Matt Lawton but it really struck a nerve with me. ``This is one of those teams where if you struggle, you can be in it for the long haul,'' Lawton said. ``Guys don't always communicate.''. What the hell does that mean? I've been reading and re-reading this for the past couple of days hoping to gain some insight and I still have no clue what the heck he's talking about. And check me if I'm wrong, but isn't Lawton supposed to be one of the team's veteran leaders? If there's a communication problem amongst the players, Lawton needs to take a good look in the mirror and ask himself why. Dude is hitting .154/.275/.244/.518 and I'm tiring of his little jabs at the Indians, the cold weather, Eddie Murray ("Eddie is a good hitting instructor, but he has a little different style"). Lawton should be thankful that Mark Shapiro mistakenly signed him to a long-term deal before the market collapsed. If he had been a free-agent this past offseason, he would have been in the same boat as Reggie Sanders and Kenny Lofton and looking at a one-year deal worth $1-1.5 million. Start hitting Matt so we can ship you out of Cleveland at the deadline and make room for Jody Gerut or Coco Crisp or Ryan Church or Grady Sizemore or Alex Escobar.

Speaking of which, anyone getting the notion that the only deal we're going to find for Lawton is a salary exchange? Maybe something where the Indians eat a huge salary in 2004 while the other team takes on Lawton's salary for 2004 and 2005. The thinking behind this type of trade would be that the Indians wouldn't need that extra money in '04 but would need it in '05 when they are ready to make a move in the standings and bring in some free-agents.

Billy Traber made his first major league start on Thursday after Brian Anderson strained his glutious maximus on Wednesday.  This is the only start that BA is expected to miss.

Speaking of BA, I'm sure you've heard the story by now, but I'm adding it for archival purposes. Carl Sadler and Brian Anderson were heroes off the field on Saturday night when they foiled a caper and chased down a purse-snatcher in downtown San Francisco. They then held the teenager for 15-20 minutes until the police arrived. BA has always been tough on opposing stealers, but this is taking it to the extreme. Just be glad that the punk in question was not carrying a knife or gun.

Peter Gammons writes about high school pitchers in the big leagues and comments on CC Sabathia's "distressing" K/9 IP rate which has declined from 8.53 to 6.39 to 4.94 over the past three seasons. CC struck out five in a row in the early innings yesterday but did not fan an Oakland hitter from that point on. Strikeouts are not the be-all, end-all for pitchers, but they are an indicator of dominance and a decline like that is worth monitoring. Also, CC threw 112 pitches yesterday, including 27 in the 6th inning and 13 in the 7th (his final inning).

Jason Bere threw a simulated game on Sunday and reported no problems. He should start a rehab assignment this week.

Mark Wohlers threw from 90 feet on Thursday and his rehab remains on track for a June return. 

The Aeros made a bunch of moves last Wednesday.  The new guys are Ron Wright, who was activated from the Bisons DL and sent down to Akron, and Marcos Mendoza, who was activated from the temporary inactive list. To make room for Wright and Mendoza, Jim Goelz was placed on the disabled list with a left quad strain and Dan Neil was released. Neil was originally signed by the Tribe as an undrafted free agent in 1999, had a pretty good year in 2001, underwent shoulder surgery last May, and had a 7.71 ERA in 7 innings for the Aeros this season.

Jeremy Guthrie is the subject of an Ask BA question and answer.  Jim Callis notes that Guthrie has a number two starter ceiling and opponents are hitting .206 against him so far this season. Check out his start yesterday in the recaps.

Stephanie Storm notes in the ABJ that Ryan Larson has been removed as the Aeros closer in favor of Jake Robbins.  Larson has a decent ERA (3.72) but has allowed 13 hits and four homeruns in 9.2 innings and has a 0-3 record this season.  Robbins has not allowed an earned run in six innings for the Aeros this season.

Luke Scott was named the Carolina League Hitter of the Week for April 17-23 after he hit .400/.444/1.000 with four homeruns, three doubles, and thirteen runs batted in.

Jack Cressend was activated from extended spring training and sent down to Kinston.  He did not pitch well in his first outing (see recaps).

Wily Taveras was placed on the Kinston disabled list (ailment unknown right now) and Dennis Malave was activated to take his place on the roster.  Taveras was hitting .275/.367/.314 in 51 ABs with five steals in nine attempts.

Jason Cooper missed four games but returned to the Captains lineup on Friday with a pair of hits.

The Rangers designated utility player Jermaine Clark for assignment on Saturday and I hope that this is a guy that the Indians seriously consider for a waiver claim.  Clark is a 26-year old second baseman by nature whom the Rangers have experimented with in the outfield.  He hit .266/.370/.375 with 29 steals in triple-A last year and had a nice BB/K ratio of 62/59.  Admittedly, his start to the 2003 season leaves much to be desired, hitless in nine at-bats in the big leagues (with three walks) and a .087 average in 23 at-bats in triple-A, but I think his potential versatility, ability to get on-base, solid plate discipline, the fact he's a switch-hitter, and his backup centerfield potential makes him an attractive option for the Indians.  Hey, I root for underdog Bill Selby as much as everyone else but a younger player like Clark is a better option for the Indians than Selby at this point in the transition phase.  Besides, the odds on Selby being claimed on waivers when/if he's designated for assignment to make room for Clark would be extremely slim so the Indians would always have him as a fallback at triple-A if Clark bombs and/or they really can't stand to be without Selby in the organization. What's the harm in bringing the guy in for a look?

Paul Shuey was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Dodgers with a sprained right knee.  Shuey was off to a strong start for the Dodgers, holding hitters to a .119 average in 13.1 innings (5 hits) and posting a 0.68 ERA in 10 appearances.

Did you see that Richie Sexson had a three-homer game for the Brewers last week?  Sexson is off to a quick start for the Brue Crue, hitting .323/.407/.634/1.042 with eight homeruns.   Bob Wickman remains on the disabled list for the Indians.

Lee Stevens retired on Friday.  He had been hitting .327/.389/.429 with the Brewers triple-A team in Indianapolis but decided it was time to hang 'em up.  Stevens retires with a career average of .254 with 144 homeruns.

Kenny Lofton left Saturday's game with tightness in his left quad and is day-to-day for the Pirates.

Trenidad Hubbard signed a minor league contract with the Cubs and will report to triple-A Iowa.  He was playing in Mexico.

John Rocker is expected to report to double-A next week as he continues his comeback with the Devil Rays.  Rocker threw two scoreless innings in an extended spring game on Saturday.

Sandy Alomar was quoted in the Canton Repository as saying that the Indians offered him a $400 minor league contract this past offseason.  Alomar eventually signed a one-year, $700k major league contract with the White Sox.

Mitch Meluskey was released by the A's.  He was originally drafted by the Indians in the 12th round of the 1992 draft but last played for the organization in 1993 (either traded or released and signed with the Astros, I forget which).  Meluskey had a decent bat but has been bothered by back problems the last two years.  Incidentally, Bill Selby was taken in the 13th round of that same draft.

Lots of talk about baseball and SARS in the news lately.  Fortunately, the Indians don't travel to Toronto until the final series of the year starting on September 26. 

The following is from the Newberg Report....
"This is smart general management: Boston traded a player to be named later (or cash) to Milwaukee for minor league righthander Mike Nicolas.  Why smart?  Red Sox GM Theo Epstein evidently liked Nicolas, a flame-throwing kid who projects in late relief, but when San Diego designated him for assignment last week, Epstein must have figured he probably wouldn't get the chance to claim him since 26 teams would have waiver priority over Boston, and he convinced Doug Melvin, whose Brewers had top waiver priority, to claim Nicolas and then trade him to the Sox.  Milwaukee gets a player to be named for the price of a waiver claim, while Boston gets an interesting potential closer (albeit one with documented off-the-field problems) by getting Milwaukee involved.  That's out-of-the-box thinking that frankly shouldn't be so unusual."

Even though the Tribe has a worse record than Milwaukee (my god, did I really just say that), Milwaukee had priority over the Indians because NL teams get first crack at waived NL players. I wonder if Mark Shapiro and company had interest in Nicolas? At the meager expense of removing Chad Paronto from the 40-man roster, I would hope they would. It should be noted here that the Indians may also be "holding" that roster spot should it be needed for a non-40 guy like Dave Elder or Jason Phillips in Buffalo. Regardless, you have to admire the clever strategy (or "shenanigans" as it's known in the CCARBL) employed by Epstein to bring a talented young pitcher into his organization.

Dave Roberts is out with a strained right hamstring. Jolbert Cabrera has replaced him in centerfield for the Dodgers.

Ricky Ledee (remember him?) has a 1.022 OPS and three homeruns in a reserve role for the Phillies this season.

Anyone else have the feeling that this weekend's NFL Draft was about Butch Davis showing everyone how smart he is? Faine in the 1st, Thompson in the 2nd, injured Suggs in the 4th, long-snapper in the 5th?   I don't have a problem necessarily with Faine (sounds like he could be really good) but what's more valuable, an impact center or impact tackle or guard or linebacker? Guys like Chaun Thompson either turn out to be either all-pros or out of football in two years.   For a guy with great speed and pass rush potential, I would feel a lot better if he had more than one sack for West Texas State last year.  Dudes like him, playing for schools like that, should be dominating those leagues with gaudy numbers.   I'm not surprised we took him because he was getting some mention in the press, I would just feel better if we had a more established player.    I also don't have a problem with the theory of taking Suggs but I do mind it when we have huge holes at linebacker and need help in the secondary.   And does anyone really believe that the longsnapper would not have been there in the 6th round or in free agency?   Davis is either going to be a "genius" for having the guts to take a specialist that early or a laughing stock for wasting a pick that high. Two years from now, it will be interesting to look back and see if our combo of Faine/Thompson is better than a potential Boss Bailey/Wayne Hunter combo turns out to be. Compounding my fears, the Bengals and Ravens had excellent drafts and the Stillers usually draft well too.   I'll give the Browns the benefit of the doubt, but I hope this draft does not figure prominently in the answer if we're wondering why the Browns finished 6-10 in 2004 and have little talent on the roster.

Happy belated birthdays to Kazuhito Tadano (4/25, 23), Brian Anderson (4/26, 31), Chris Magruder (4/26, 26), Tim DeCinces (4/26, 29).

This date in Indians history...
1918 - Center fielder Tris Speaker executed the fourth unassisted double play of his career in the Cleveland Indians' 8-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

1922 - The New York Giants hit four inside-the-park home runs at Braves Field in Boston. George Kelly hit two and Ross Youngs and Dave Bancroft had the others.

1931 - Wes Ferrell of the Cleveland Indians pitched a 7-0 no-hitter over the St. Louis Browns, including his brother, Rick. Wes also knocked in four runs with a homer and a double.

Monday, April 28
Special Recap Edition

Five days of recaps. The regular CIR will follow later today. If you're down after the rough West Coast trip, take a look at what Jeremy Guthrie did for Akron yesterday. That should cheer you up a bit.

CLEVELAND (7-18): The Mariners shut out the Tribe 4-0 on Wednesday night. Ricardo Rodriguez (2-1, 2.73) allowed four runs in seven innings on five hits and three walks while striking out three and serving up one homerun. Rodriguez struggled with his control as only 55 of his 96 pitches were for strikes. David Riske finished with a scoreless inning of relief. Brandon Phillips had two hits. Omar Vizquel singled twice and walked twice. Matt Lawton and Josh Bard added basehits. The game took only 2 hours and 4 minutes to complete.

The Mariners completed the sweep of the Indians with a 4-2 victory on Thursday. The Tribe got off to a good start with a leadoff double from Omar Vizquel and a two-run homer (#2) by Casey Blake but Jamie Moyer shut down the Indians from that point on and the M's rallied for the victory. Billy Traber (0-2, 4.26) was charged with three runs in 4.1 innings, walking four and giving up three hits while striking out four. Jose Santiago relieved Traber and allowed the single that plated the game-winning runs and were charged to Traber. Santiago was later charged with a run himself. Terry Mulholland threw 1.1 scoreless innings and Carl Sadler finished with a scoreless frame. Omar Vizquel (.302) doubled twice, singled, and stole his first base of the season. Casey Blake added a single to go along with his dinger. Ellis Burks doubled, singled, and walked. Josh Bard had two hits. Johnny McDonald singled and Karim Garcia and Matt Lawton walked. The Tribe left 10 runners on base.

Another city, another loss as the Tribe moved to Oakland and lost 5-2 to the A's. Casey Blake homered (#3) for the second consecutive game and also singled. Shane Spencer also went deep (#2) and he walked and stole a base (with a nice slide under and around the tag). Travis Hafner doubled and Matt Lawton and Johnny McDonald singled. Jason Davis (2-3, 6.67) allowed four runs on ten hits and two walks in 6.1 innings, striking out three and serving up one longball. Carl Sadler retired two batters and David Riske surrendered a dinger in one inning. Davis threw 107 pitches with only 67 for strikes. Déjà vu? The game took 2:04 to finish.

John Halama carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning and the A's eventually went on to defeat the Indians 6-3 in Oaktown. The Tribe actually managed to tie the game in the 7th thanks to an error by Oakland pitcher Chad Bradford but the Elephants regained control in the bottom half of the frame and went on for the victory. Johnny McDonald had two hits for the Indians and Brandon Phillips also singled. Ellis Burks walked twice and Omar Vizquel, Shane Spencer, and Tim Laker also walked. Bill Selby was credited with an RBI in the 7th. Jake Westbrook (2.28) was charged with three runs in 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits and three walks while striking out one. Jake threw only 53 of 97 pitches for strikes but kept the ball down in the strike zone when he put the pill over the plate and induced 12 groundball outs, including three double-play balls. Terry Mulholland recorded one out and was charged with a run. Carl Sadler allowed two runs in 1.1 innings and Jose Santiago allowed three hits (including a two-run single) while recording two outs.

The streak stands at six in a row as the A's rallied in the 9th inning for a 4-3 victory over the Tribe. CC Sabathia (3.79) started for the Tribe and allowed three runs (two earned) in seven innings on six hits and a pair of walks. He struck out five batters, all consecutively in the early innings. CC tossed 112 pitches with 73 being for strikes. He did not help his cause in the 6th inning as he hesitated on a throw to first which led to an infield single and then made a poor choice on a slow runner up the third base line when he tried to make a play at third with a poor flip to an empty bag that allowed two runs to score. David Riske (5.40) worked a scoreless frame in relief. Danys Baez (6.00) made his first appearance since serving up Mike Cameron's grand slam on Tuesday in Seattle and gave up a leadoff single and two-out game-winning double for the loss. Jody Gerut (.333) had three hits and an RBI in his second major league game. Omar Vizquel (.278) and Josh Bard (.243) singled. Karim Garcia (.208) singled and walked. Brandon Phillips (.234) doubled. Shane Spencer (.247) singled and walked. Matt Lawton (.154) and Travis Hafner (.192) both walked. The Indians left 10 runners on base and were a combined 1-for-14 with seven strikeouts in the last four innings. Ricardo Rincon (2-1, 2.84) struck out four in two innings to pick up the win for the A's.

BUFFALO (14-6): The Bisons defeated Scranton 5-1 on Wednesday. Jason Stanford (1-0, 2.65) tossed 6.1 innings of one run ball, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out three. Jerrod Riggan struck out three in 1.2 innings and Jason Boyd worked a scoreless final frame. Jody Gerut singled twice, knocked in a run, and stole a base. Greg LaRocca singled, doubled, and drove in a run. Dusty Wathan had two hits and a stolen base. Victor Martinez doubled and plated a run with a sac fly. Coco Crisp doubled. Zach Sorenson singled, walked, and stole a base. Scott Pratt belted his first home run. Ben Broussard singled in a run and Jhonny Peralta singled and walked. Indians rule 5 pick (later traded to Detroit) Travis Chapman (.291) homered (#5) and Wendell Magee (.377) singled twice for SWB.

On Thursday, the Bisons split a doubleheader with Pawtucket. In the opener, the PawSox prevailed 3-2. Greg LaRocca doubled twice for the Bisons. Alex Escobar singled twice and drove in a run. Coco Crisp singled in a run, Zach Sorenson singled, and Jody Gerut singled, walked, and stole a base (#4). Mike Fyhrie (1-2, 4.76) allowed three runs in six innings, striking out six. Victor Martinez threw out two of four base stealers. Earl Snyder (.211) homered (#2) for Pawtucket. In the nightcap, Jamie Brown threw five shutout innings in a 7-0 Bisons victory. Brown scattered two hits and a walk. Alex Herrera tossed two scoreless innings, walking three. Coco Crisp had three hits, including a triple, drove in two runs, and stole a base (#5). Scott Pratt had two hits. Jody Gerut homered (#5). Victor Martinez singled and stole a base. Greg LaRocca doubled and drove in two.

On Saturday, the Bisons knocked off Pawtucket 7-1 behind the pitching of Brian Tallet. Tallet (2-0, 3.77) struck out nine over six innings, allowing only one run of four hits and no walks. Dave Elder threw two scoreless innings and Jason Boyd tossed a scoreless frame. The Bisons scored seven runs in the 3rd inning. Coco Crisp had two hits. Greg LaRocca doubled and singled. Zach Sorenson and Victor Martinez singled and walked. Nate Grindell drove in two with a single. Ben Broussard and Luis Garcia added basehits.

Jason Phillips continues his dominance of triple-A as he won his fourth game of the season in a 2-1 victory over Scranton. Phillips (4-0, 1.50) scattered four hits and two walks over six innings, allowing only an unearned run in the first inning while striking out five Red Barons. Lance Caraccioli fanned two in one inning of relief and Chad Paronto picked up his first save with two innings of scoreless relief. Greg LaRocca (.397) singled twice and knocked in a run. Coco Crisp doubled for the sixth time this year. Ben Broussard singled and stole a base. Nate Grindell doubled in a run and was hit by a pitch. Zach Sorenson and Victor Martinez walked.

The Bisons rallied but came up a run short in a 5-4 loss to Scranton. The Red Barons had scored three runs in the top of the 9th inning to push the lead to 5-1 but the Bisons rallied with three in the bottom half of the frame but could not push the tying run across the plate. Dave Burba (1-3, 2.05) allowed one run in five innings on four hits and two walks while striking out two. Alex Herrera (7.71) allowed two runs in 1.1 innings and Jerrod Riggan (1.74) allowed two runs (one earned) in 2.2 innings of relief. Ben Broussard (.250) homered (#2) and singled twice to drive in a pair of runs. He also stole a base for the second straight game. Coco Crisp (.384) had two hits. Greg LaRocca (.389) and Victor Martinez (.277) both singled. Alex Escobar (.162) and Luis Garcia (.182) each knocked in a run. Zach Sorenson (.224) and Jhonny Peralta (.254) walked. Four of five base stealers were successful against Victor Martinez. Travis Chapman homered (#4) for Scranton.

AKRON (12-11): The Aeros lost to Bowie 6-5 in 12 innings on Wednesday after rallying for three runs in the bottom of the 9th inning to send the game into extras. Shane Wallace started and allowed two runs in three innings. Marcos Mendoza allowed two runs in two innings in his return to the mound. Rafael Betancourt tossed two scoreless frames. Ryan Larson worked a scoreless inning. Jake Robbins went three scoreless and Aquiles Pinales took the loss when a run crossed in the 12th. Maicer Izturis had three hits. Ryan Church singled twice, walked, and was hit by a pitch. Ron Wright had two hits, a walk, and drove in two runs. Eric Crozier was 0-for-6 with four strikeouts and an error.

The Aeros had a scheduled day off on Thursday. On Friday, they won in Altoona 4-1. Kyle Denney (3-0, 2.35) allowed a run in the 1st inning and then threw five scoreless innings, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out six. Derrick Van Dusen (relief?) tossed a scoreless frame and Jason Rakers earned his first save with two innings of scoreless relief. Maicer Izturis (.298) tripled, singled, and drove in two runs. Ron Wright doubled, singled, and knocked in a run. Tyler Minges needed only a homerun for the cycle as he singled, doubled, and tripled. Eric Crozier singled and stole a base. Grady Sizemore singled and walked. Victor Valencia added a basehit. Former Indian Chan Perry (.396) had two hits, knocked in a run with a sac fly, and stole a base for Altoona.

Three days after losing in 12 inning, the Aeros went even farther on Saturday, as they needed 15 innings and a two-out single from Corey Smith to knock off Altoona 4-3. The Aeros had previously rallied for three run in the top of the 8th inning to take a 3-2 lead only to see Altoona tie it at 3 in the bottom half of the frame. Smith was 3-for-7 on the night. Victor Valencia doubled and singled and knocked in a run. Tyler Minges had three hits. Maicer Izturis singled, walked twice, and stole a base. Grady Sizemore singled, walked, and drove in a run. Ron Wright singled but struck out five times. Ryan Church singled and Hector Luna singled and walked but his struggles in the field continue as he made two errors. Fernando Cabrera (2.14) allowed two runs in six innings on five hits and no walks. He struck out four and served up a home run. Marcos Mendoza allowed a run in 1.1 innings. Rafael Betancourt worked 1.2 scoreless innings. Ryan Larson tossed three innings of one-hit ball and Aquiles Pinales (1-1, 7.00) struck out three in three inning of shutout ball to pick up his first win of the season.

Jeremy Guthrie threw his first complete game shutout as he pitched the Aeros to a 4-0 victory in Altoona. Guthrie (3-0, 1.27) scattered only three hits and walked none while striking out six in picking up his third victory of the season. Brian Luderer (.385) homered (#1) and singled. Luis Gonzalez (.276) knocked in a run and doubled, singled, and walked. Ron Wright (.356) had a pair of hits and an RBI. Hector Luna (.176) singled twice. Maicer Izturis (.291) tripled and walked. Tyler Minges (.244) doubled. Corey Smith (.232) made two errors (#10-11) in the field.

KINSTON (11-8): The K-Tribe beat Salem 7-2 on Wednesday. Brian Slocum (1-1, 1.71) allowed two runs in five innings on seven hits and three walks, striking out three and serving up one longball. Chris Cooper tossed 2.2 scoreless innings and Lee Gronkiewicz closed the game out with 1.1 scoreless innings. Luke Scott drove in four runs with a solo homer (#5) and a three-run double. Pat Osborn had two hits. Rodney Choy Foo and Brian Wright both singled and walked. Joe Inglett drove in three runs with a single and walk. Armando Camacaro and Brian Jenkins added basehits.

Lynchburg knocked off the K-Tribe 11-6 on Thursday. Rodney Choy Foo (.417) had three more hits, walked, and scored two runs. Luke Scott doubled. Joe Inglett doubled, walked, and drove in a run. Eider Torres singled in a run. Brian Wright tripled, walked, and knocked in three. Armando Camacaro singled. Mariano Gomez (4.64) allowed three runs in the 1st inning and one in the 6th but was scoreless in between. He struck out six, walked two, and allowed five hits. Jack Cressend (0-1, 40.50) made his first appearance as an Indian and allowed six runs on seven hits and a walk in 1.1 innings. Victor Kliene was charged with a run (unearned) in one inning.

Rain postponed the K-Tribe's game on Friday and they'll play a doubleheader on Saturday.

The K-Tribe swept a doubleheader in Lynchburg on Saturday. Travis Foley (2-0, 2.70) picked up the win in the opener with five innings of two-run ball, striking out seven. Kazuhito Tadano recorded all six of his outs via the whiff. Eider Torres singled twice, knocked in a run, and stole a base. Rodney Choy Foo (.412) singled, walked, and stole a base. Brian Wright singled twice, drove in three runs, and also walked. Joe Inglett doubled and walked. Pat Osborn doubled, Luke Scott singled, Ben Margalski doubled and walked twice with an RBI, and Dennis Malave walked and stole a base. In the nightcap, the K-Tribe prevailed 3-2 with Nick Moran picking up his third win of the season. Moran (3-0, 2.38) allowed two run in 5.2 innings, striking out three, walking none, and allowing five hits, including a big fly. Lee Gronkiewicz tossed 1. scoreless innings of relief for the save. Brian Wright (.303) singled twice and stole a base. Eider Torres doubled. Rodney Choy Foo (.400), Brian Jenkins, Pat Osborn, and Armando Camacaro singled. Osborn and Camacaro drove in runs. Luke Scott walked and stole a base.

The K-Tribe had a scheduled day off on Sunday.

LAKE COUNTY (16-8): Fausto Carmona (3-0, 1.25) tossed six shutout innings to lead the Captains to a 10-0 victory over Savannah. Carmona allowed only two hits and a walk while striking out four to pick up his third win of the season. Dan Eisentrager was credited with the save after striking out five in three scoreless innings of work. Ricardo Rojas (.289) doubled and triple and drove in two runs. Dave Wallace doubled, walked, and drove in three runs. JJ Sherrill singled, walked twice, and scored three times. Micah Schilling knocked in two runs, doubled, and walked. Nathan Panther doubled. Shaun Larkin singled, walked, and drove in a run. Jonathan Van Every added a basehit, and Chris De La Cruz singled and walked with an RBI.

The Captains fell 3-1 to Savannah on Thursday. Dan Denham (0-1, 2.86) struck out seven in five innings, allowing three runs on six hits, including a homerun, and two walks. Shea Douglas fanned four in three innings of scoreless relief and Kevin Martin tossed a scoreless frame. Martin now is unscored upon in 5.2 innings to start the season. Nathan Panther homered (#3). Matt Knox doubled and walked. Micah Schilling doubled. Chris De La Cruz singled, Dave Wallace was hit by a pitch, JJ Sherrill walked, and Matt Knox doubled and walked.

The bats were silent again on Friday night, as the Captains were blown out by Charleston 8-1. Jason Cooper returned to the lineup with a pair of hits and the lone Captains RBI. JJ Sherrill doubled, Bryan Kent singled, and Jonathan Van Every singled and stole a base (#5). Sean Smith started strong with four scoreless (and hitless) innings but then served up three homeruns in the 5th before being relieved by Juan Lara. Smith (2-2, 4.91) allowed only the three hits and walked three and struck out three. Juan Lara was charged with four runs (two earned) in three innings of work. He struck out five. Carlos De La Cruz struck out two in 1.1 innings of relief.

The Captains rallied on Saturday with a run in the 8th inning for a 3-2 victory over Charleston (SC). Shaun Larkin (.325) had a pair of hits and drove in a run. Nathan Panther singled twice. Matt Knox drove in two runs with a single and sac fly. JJ Sherrill, Jason Cooper, Ricardo Rojas, and Micah Schilling added baseknocks. Keith Ramsey (2.08) allowed two runs on six hits in 5.1 innings, walking one and striking out five. Blake Allen picked up his second win with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief and Todd Pennington earned his 5th save of the season by striking out the side in the 9th inning, including BJ Upton (#2 overall pick in the 2002 draft) to end the game. Pennington has now struck out 17 hitters in 8.1 innings this season.

The Captains allowed a run in the top of the first inning but shut down Charleston the rest of the way and went on to a 3-1 victory on Sunday. Jake Dittler (3.38) worked only three innings before nearing his pitch limit and allowed the one run on five hits and three walks. He struck out three. Dan Eisentrager (2-0, 1.89) was sensational in relief as he struck out three in four innings of one-hit ball. Shea Douglas (1.37) picked up his third save as he struck out three in two hitless innings. Dave Wallace (.258) homered and singled and drove in two runs. JJ Sherrill (.271) walked twice and stole a base (#4). Nathan Panther (.256), Bryan Kent (.243), and Jonathan Van Every (.164) singled. Matt Knox (.200) tripled with a sac fly. Shaun Larkin (.326) singled and walked and Jason Cooper (.292) was hit by a pitch.


April 26, 2003  

Jeff Faine, huh? Ok, I can live with that. So where does this leave Melvin Fowler, guard? Or does this mean that last years 3rd round pick is a bust? Will the WR in the second round streak come to an end this year? I think so, the next couple of picks should be defense. Thank god the draft is going fast.

We're on the clock. Will the pick be Boss Bailey, Eric Steinbach, Andre Woolfolk, EJ Henderson, or Sammie Davis? If it's me, I take Bailey, but I still think they're going to take Woolfolk. Hey, any chance we could trade down and get the Raiders two picks at the bottom of the round?

I'm working on a CIR update but before the draft really gets rolling, here's my Browns projections...

1st: Andre Woolfolk, CB, Oklahoma
2nd: Nick Barnett, LB, Oregon
3rd: Tony Pashos, OT, Illinois
4th: Brett Romberg, C, Miami
5th: Dan Klecko, DT, Temple
5th: Charles Drake, S, Michigan
6th: Joe Odom, LB, Purdue


April 24, 2003  

Thursday, April 24

I have a ton of stuff to do today so there will not be a regular CIR this afternoon. But instead of leaving you with nothing to read, let me recommend the following newsletters for your reading enjoyment. All are free, all are well-written, and all are a must-read for any serious baseball fan.

ATM Reports
Standings, Stats, News, Commentary, and Rumors delivered to your mail box every day. On Sundays, you receive a complete statistical report, and I mean complete. You won't believe the info that Lee sends out until you subscribe.

The Prospect Report
If you're a fantasy leaguer, a prospect junkie, or just want to know who the stars of tomorrow will be, Kevin Goldstein's Prospect Report delivers a boxscore report for every level of the minor leagues into your mailbox every day.

Billy-Ball is a baseball column by Bill Chuck who enjoys the fun of the game and, more important, enjoys making fun of the game. Bill's quirky look at the idiosyncrasies--and the idiots--of the sport is published Monday through Friday during the baseball season.

The Newberg Report
While focused on the Texas Rangers, the Newberg Report is an excellent read and offers insight and analysis on all of baseball.

Out of Left Field
A fun look at baseball and baseball trivia delivered a couple of times a week into your mailbox.

19 to 21
An excellent once a week newsletter on baseball history from John Shiffert.

Direct from Pluto.
Weekly news and notes from Terry Pluto. That's all that needs to be said.

The Amico Report
This is an NBA newsletter but the author is a Northern Ohio native and frequently talks about the Cavs. It's especially timely with the playoffs upon us and the LeBron lottery around the corner.

I added links on the website for the webcasts for the Indians, Bisons, K-Tribe, and Captains. Only the Aeros games are not available over the web (as far as I know). I also added a link to an excellent Cardinals blog, Red Bird Nation. Check it out.

Happy 36th birthday Omar!

See you tomorrow.


April 23, 2003  

More moves by the Aeros this afternoon. The new guys are Ron Wright, who was activated from the Bisons DL and sent down to Akron, and Marcos Mendoza, who was activated from the temporary inactive list. To make room for Wright and Mendoza, Jim Goelz was placed on the disabled list with a left quad strain and Dan Neil was released. Neil was originally signed by the Tribe as an undrafted free agent in 1999, had a pretty good year in 2001, underwent shoulder surgery last May, and had a 7.71 ERA in 7 innings for the Aeros this season. More tomorrow in the CIR.

Wednesday, April 23

Record:7-13, 4th Place, 9 GB
Last:Lost 8-5 to Seattle on Tuesday
Streak:Lost one
Next:Tonight in Seattle, 7:05 PM
Matchup:Ricardo Rodriguez (2-0, 2.08) vs Gil Meche (1-1, 4.86)
On Deck:Weekend series in Oakland

Thanks again to Kevin Keane and his crew for inviting me on the EXTRA INNINGS show on WTAM last night to talk about the CIR. In case you missed it, it was only the most scintillating five minutes in Cleveland sports talk radio history, so you didn't really miss much. Kevin and a few of the other guys at WTAM are on the CIR mailing list which, needless to say, is pretty darn cool. Thanks again guys, I had a great time.

If you're new to the CIR, don't forget that you can subscribe to the free e-mail newsletter by clicking on NEWSLETTER in the links to the left. While you're over there, don't forget to sign the CIR Guestmap. Thanks also to Ken from Florida for calling in and representing and thanks to Spiez for letting me tie up his phone lines for a little bit last night. After my radio debut, I had to high tail it over to the softball diamonds where I made my managerial debut as the skipper of the mighty Sly Fox Masuga juggernaut. The final score was 30-20 but you'll have to read the recaps below to see if the good guys prevailed.

After all that excitement, it's a good thing I didn't stay up to watch the end of the Tribe game.


And not just for the big guys, Akron and Lake County also lost in the 9th inning, and Kinston and the Sly Fox blew big leagues (oops, wasn't supposed to mention that yet).

Can someone explain CC Sabathia's problem with left-handed hitters this year? They're raking him to the tune of .375/.423/.625/1.048 while righties are still raking (but with a smaller rake) at a .284/.341/.419/.760 clip. This isn't necessarily anything new as, in terms of average, lefties have hit CC better over the last two years (.245 vs .240) but righties have fared much better overall (.720 OPS vs .658 OPS). The wide disparity in 2003 is the concern although the sample size is still relatively small. CC has been effective but far from dominant this year in what should be a major growth season for him. I'm not worried, but I'm worried I may have to start worrying. Don't worry, I'll let you know when we should really start to worry.

Danys Baez has now allowed runs (and homeruns) in three consecutive outings going back to his 34-pitch, 1.2 inning appearance against the Orioles on April 16. Included in that stretch is two blown saves and a run allowed in mop-up duty against the Sox. The one sure thing in the pen is no longer so sure. This is the last thing Eric Wedge needs to deal with right now.

Saw Travis Hafner make a nice diving stop last night at first. I'm not ready to nominate him for a gold glove or anything but he hasn't been that bad in the field from what I've seen.

John Farrell is quoted in the Lake Herald as saying that Jason Bere will not make a rehab start for Lake County on Monday.

The Lake-Herald also reports that Jason Cooper has sat out the last three games with a bruised right foot suffered over the weekend in Greensboro when he fouled a pitch off his foot. He could return to the lineup tonight.

Steve Karsay is scheduled to meet with Dr.Andrews in Birmingham with the Yankees fearing that he could be out for the season.

The Diamondbacks resigned Greg Swindell to a minor league contract and released Jerry Spradlin. Spradlin had a 19.80 ERA in six games in triple-A.

Alberto Garza was released by the Yankees, according to Garza posted a 1.72 ERA for Akron last year, striking out 45 in 36.2 innings. Wonder if he's hurt again and I wonder if the Indians have any interest in bringing him back.

Tim DeCinces was placed on the disabled list in Buffalo.

From the ATM Reports, Ellis Burks tied George Foster for 65th place on the all-time HR list with his second homerun on Monday. Karim Garcia's second dinger on Monday was the 50th of his career.

Can you name a linebacker on the Browns roster? Ok, can you name a linebacker that's any good on the Browns roster? Yeah, me neither. Pray that either EJ Henderson or Boss Bailey are available when the Browns pick in the first round. As for the Couch to Dallas rumors, if we can get a bunch of high picks for him, do it. The same goes for Holcomb. We'll see what transpires out of the Browns Star Chamber on Saturday.

CLEVELAND (7-13): First, the good news. The Indians rallied for three runs in the top of the 9th inning, capped by a Bill Selby two-run pinch hit single, to take a 5-3 lead over the Mariners. Now, the bad news. Danys Baez did not record an out as the Mariners went single, walk, single (run), walk, salami to win the game. CC Sabathia (4.06) started for the Tribe and went the first five innings, allowing three runs on eight hits. He walked none and struck out four. CC needed 99 pitches to work the full five innings and threw 64 strikes with a 3:8 GB/FB ratio. Not a good performance but at least he held the M's to three runs. Terry Mulholland did not allow a hit (walked three) in three perfect innings of relief and Danys Baez, well, you've already read about him. Milton Bradley reached base four times, twice by single and twice by walk. That's what I'm talking about from a leadoff man. Matt Lawton also had a pair of hits. Karim Garcia walked twice and singled. Josh Bard doubled and walked. Ellis Burks had the RBI single that tied the game in the 8th. Travis Hafner blasted his third homerun of the season. Shane Spencer had a pinch-hit single. Brandon Phillips and Omar Vizquel added basehits.

BUFFALO (10-4): All good things must come to an end and the Bisons seven-game winning streak did just that last night in Scranton as they fell 4-0 to the Red Barons. Dave Burba (1-2, 2.12) took the loss although he didn't really pitch all that bad in allowing three runs in six innings on six hits and a walk. He struck out two. Lance Caraccioli gave up a solo homerun in his one inning and Chad Paronto tossed a scoreless 9th inning. Victor Martinez and Greg LaRocca had a pair of hits for the Bisons. Jhonny Peralta doubled, Ben Broussard singled, and Jody Gerut walked.

AKRON (10-9): The Aeros allowed an unearned run to cross the plate in the top of the 9th inning and lost to Bowie 3-2. Kyle Evans turned in another solid outing, allowing two runs on five in six innings, walking one and striking out one. Jason Rakers pitched well in relief, striking out two and allowing only two hits in three innings, but was charged with the loss. Luis Gonzalez singled, walked, and stole a base. Victor Valencia singled and knocked in a run. Maicer Izturis singled and walked. Corey Smith singled, walked, and committed his 8th error (in the 9th inning). Tyler Minges singled and Grady Sizemore (.301) drove in a run with a sac fly. Alex Requena and Eric Crozier both walked and Hector Luna made two errors (#7-8) in the field. The Aeros stranded nine runners on base.

KINSTON (7-7): The K-Tribe looked like the Sly Fox last night as they could not hold onto an early 7-2 lead and lost to Salem 10-7. JD Martin worked two scoreless innings, then allowed two runs in the 3rd and walked the first two batters in the 4th before everything imploded and the Avalanche erupted for a 7-run outburst that put them ahead to stay. Martin (1-2, 7.71) was charged with eight runs in 3.1 innings on six hits (one homerun) and three walks while striking out four. Scott Sturkie allowed a run in 2.2 innings. Kazuhito Tadano allowed a run in two innings while striking out four and Lee Gronkiewicz worked a scoreless final frame. Luke Scott (.383) doubled and singled with an RBI. Rodney Choy Foo (.390) singled twice. Bill Peavey had a pair of hits. Joe Inglett (.326) singled twice and knocked in a run. Eider Torres tripled in a run. Wily Taveras had two hits and drove in two. Miguel Quintana doubled and Brian Wright added a safety.

LAKE COUNTY (14-5): The Captains wrapped a perfect 0-5 evening for the organization last night with a 5-4 loss to South Georgia. Jake Dittler made his 2003 debut and held the Waves scoreless through the first three innings before allowing a run in the 4th and two in the 5th. He permitted five hits, walked none, and struck out four. Blake Allen struck out four in three innings of one-hit relief. Todd Pennington took the loss when he served up a two-run homerun in the top of the 9th inning that gave the Waves the lead (and victory). JJ Sherrill and Ricardo Rojas each doubled and singled. Chris De La Cruz singled and drove in a run with a sac fly. Dave Wallace knocked in a run and singled. Shaun Larkin walked, singled, and drove in a run. Jonathan Van Every doubled and Micah Schilling singled. The Captains struck out 10 times as a team.

SLY FOX (0-1): Things looked good early for the Fox as they jumped out to a quick 12-1 in the first two innings. But reality quickly settled in and Swoosh went on a 20-0 run and never looked back for a 30-20 victory in the season opener for both teams. The Foxers did manage to rally back to close the gap to 21-20 entering the 5th inning but then reality reared its ugly head again and Swoosh racked up nine runs in the bottom half of the inning to invoke the dreaded run rule. The Fox was really in mid-season form defensively as cutoff men were missed repeatedly, grounders went through many a leg, and fly balls were an adventure all night. At the plate, Jake drove in five runs with three hits. Harold Ballgame doubled three times. Captain Sweatpants doubled twice and singled. Frankie took a liking to the two HOLE and doubled with two singles. Joe had three hits. Brady Newguy had a pair of singles, as did Komar. Janimal doubled, Sean added a baseknock, and Coach The singled with a sac fly. Mini tripled and Komar had two hits. Both of these yahoos also struck out swinging. Did I mention this was SLOW PITCH? Brady (0-1, 38.57) took the loss as he allowed 30 runs in 7 innings (note: the scorekeeper's pencil does not know how to write an "E" in this league).

Welcome to everyone who has found the CIR thanks to my appearance on the EXTRA INNINGS show on WTAM last night with Kevin Keane. If you're interested in signing up for the free daily newsletter, just click NEWSLETTER over in the left side links. Today's report will follow shortly. Many thanks to Kevin and his crew for inviting me on the show, it was a lot of fun!


April 22, 2003  

I am scheduled to be a guest on the 10th inning show with Kevin Keane tonight at approximately 8:35 PM. You can listen old school on WTAM 1100 AM or new school at If you hear someone babbling incoherently, odds are it's me :-). Tune in if you get the chance!

Tuesday, April 22

Record:7-12, 4th Place, 8 GB
Last:Won 9-2 in Chicago on Monday
Streak:Won two
Next:Tonight in Seattle, 10:05 PM
Matchup:CC Sabathia (0-2, 3.81) vs Freddy Garcia (1-3, 5.09)
On Deck:Three games in Oakland over the weekend

If you have to split a series, win the last two. It's amazing what a difference that makes moving forward.

The bats are hot. Hopefully we're catching Freddy Garcia (1-3, 5.09) at the right time tonight.

Jason Bere threw in a bullpen session and reported no problems with his shoulder. He'll throw again in Seattle on Thursday and could make a rehab start for Lake County on Monday, according to the Canton Repository. The paper also notes that Bere has incentive clauses in his contract that pay off if he reaches 180 innings or 21 starts which explains his desire to get back into the rotation and comments like "if I have to make a rehab start". Bere has not pitched in a game since the last week of spring training and with Jake Westbrook pitching so will, I don't think the Indians are in any rush to bring him back.

When he does return, however, the Indians have stated that he will rejoin the rotation. A lot can happen between now and his early-to-mid May return but, right now, it looks like Jake Westbrook would be the odd man out regardless of how well he is pitching. As we've discussed previously, the Indians are rightly concerned about Westbrook's workload given his lack of innings thrown over the past three seasons, and a move to the bullpen would, theoretically, allow them to reduce his workload under a controlled usage pattern. Sure, they can do that, or they could just keep Westbrook in the rotation and put him on a 60 pitch/4 inning or 75 pitch/5 inning limit and then bring in Bere for the rest of the game. Teams do it all the time in the minor leagues with the A's and Rangers being the most well-known practitioners but if you're concerned about Westbrook's usage and Bere's arm needs to be built up to regular use strength, I don't see why this type of scenario couldn't work for a month (or so) until a spot opens up via injury, poor performance, or one of these two pitches themselves out of a job. And yes, I know it works in the minor leagues because the focus is on development and not necessarily winning ballgames, but I don't really see how removing Westbrook entirely from the rotation and replacing him with Bere is going to help win ballgames either. Just my opinion. The other problem the Indians face is who to send down when Bere returns. See the Dave Elder note a few paragraphs down.

The Bisons have rescheduled their plethora of rainouts from the first week of the season. Three of the makeup games are now "away" games to remain in accordance with minor league scheduling requirements from the major leagues that prohibit minor league teams from playing more than two doubleheaders in a row and more than three in a seven day period. The Bisons will play doubleheaders this Thursday in Pawtucket, July 12 in Syracuse, July 21 and 22 at home versus Syracuse, and August 3 at home versus Pawtucket. In addition, they'll also play a single game on July 28 at Pawtucket on what was originally scheduled as a day off for both clubs. A revised calendar file for Outlook will be uploaded to the CIR website later this afternoon.

The Buffalo News reports that Bisons pitching coach Terry Clark has been working with Alex Herrera on shortening his leg kick and quickening his delivery. Yesterday was the first time he took the new look to the mound (see recaps).

Dave Elder ran his season-starting scoreless streak to 9.2 innings last night with another 2.1 innings of scoreless relief for Buffalo. During this stretch, he's struck out 12, walked five, and allowed only three hits in six appearances (five saves). If you remember, Elder was also unscored upon in 8 innings for the Indians this spring. His problem (now that he's in triple-A) is that he's not on the 40-man roster which means the Indians would have to remove a player (trade, serious injury, or designate for assignment) from the 40 in order to add him to the roster. Chad Paronto would seem a likely candidate to be designated if/when the Indians decide to promote Elder. The other problem Elder faces is the makeup of the Tribe bullpen. He's not going to replace Danys Baez, Carl Sadler, Billy Traber, or Terry Mulholland (unless they change the makeup of the pen) so that leaves three possible spots. David Riske and Aaron Myette are both out of options (although Riske may still have one) and the Indians are infatuated with Jose Santiago (who admittedly has a 3.18 ERA and hasn't allowed a run since 4/9 but has allowed 16 hits in 11 innings). I don't think they're ready to cut bait on Riske, Myette, or Santiago just yet (I'm not with Riske and Myette either) so it looks like Elder may have to wait for an injury to open up a spot.

The Aeros made a flurry of moves on Monday. Francisco Cruceta (0-3, 5.11, 12.1 IP, 7W, 17K) was placed on the DL (retro to 4/18) with a sprained left ankle as was Jose Vargas (0-0, 2.57, 7IP, 6W, 7K) with right shoulder soreness. Jason Rakers (0-1, 3.86) was sent down from triple-A Buffalo and the recently signed Jake Robbins was activated from extended spring training to round out the pitching staff. Behind the plate, Brian Luderer was also activated from extended spring training where he was recovering from a strained right elbow suffered toward the end of spring training. He'll take the place of Dusty Wathan (.273/.273/.333, 2 2B) who was promoted to Buffalo.

Paul Hoynes notes in the Plain Dealer this morning that Cruceta sprained his ankle while covering third base and that Mark Shapiro said Cruceta would miss two starts.

Ryan Church sat out last night with a sore wrist caused when he ran into an outfield wall while making a catch. It doesn't sound like it's anything more than day-to-day, according to the ABJ.

The Beacon Journal also has John Farrell quoted as saying that the Indians want to see 7-to-10 quality starts out of Jeremy Guthrie at the double-A level before they consider moving him up. Up to where? The paper believes that the Tribe has plans on a short stay at Buffalo before they think about promoting him to the big leagues. I'm not so sure that the Indians stand anything to gain financially from pushing his major league debut date sometime into the second half of the season since Guthrie is signed to a four-year major league contract which, I believe, runs through 2006. Coincidentally (or not), if Guthrie makes his debut sometime in the second half this year, he would be arbitration eligible after the 2006 season. So because of that, I don't think there is any hidden agenda on the Indians part for taking a cautious approach with their 2002 first round pick. There's no harm in letting him have a few triple-A starts under his belt before he hits the bigs.

Corey Smith walked twice last night. Ordinarily this is a nice little statistical note and nothing more, but when you consider that Smith had walked only 123 times in 1212 career ABs while striking out 340 times, any signs of improved plate discipline is something to take notice of. Granted, we're only 18 games into the season, but Smith has shown a marked improvement in his BB/K ratio, having walked 12 times and struck out 12 times, as compared to 59 walks and 141 strikeouts last season. His power has not diminished with the improved eye either as 8 of his 15 hits have gone for extra bases (4 2B, 4 HR) and he's slugging .525 with an OPS of .905. These are very encouraging numbers for the 2000 1st round pick. The Daily Dish concurs. The next sentence you should read real fast like a disclaimer at the end of a commercial. Smith has also made seven errors in the field this year after making 34 last year at Kinston.

Luke Scott belted a 2-run walkoff homer for the K-Tribe last night and the 2001 9th round pick out of Oklahoma State is now hitting .372/.413/.698/1.111 with four dingers and two doubles. He leads the Carolina League in slugging, is fourth in batting average, and tied for first in homeruns.

Channel 8 will televise the Lake County vs Charleston game at the new Eastlake park this Saturday at 1:05 PM. Now we have something to watch in between picks of the NFL Draft.

A couple of streaks were extended in Eastlake last night. Shaun Larkin homered and doubled to extend his hitting streak to 10 games and Dave Wallace singled to make it 15 consecutive games in which he has reached base via hit, walk, or hit by pitch. Wallace is hitting .265 but has a .478 OBP thanks to 13 walks and "taking one for the team" 7 times. Keith Ramsey also turned in another great start last night and has now walked only one batter in 25 innings this year.

Jake Dittler was activated off the DL by Lake County and will start tonight against Savannah. Ignacio Montano was placed on the disabled list with a sore muscle in his left elbow.

Peter Gammons focuses on the Indians in his latest Diamond Notes column on I'll comment on this tomorrow.

Jayson Stark notes that the Yankees have quietly started looking for a shortstop upgrade from Erick Almonte and that they've been looking at "super-utility types" who could play a role after Jeter returns. John McDonald fits that profile perfectly, don't you think?

If you like baseball trivia, do yourself a favor and sign up for the free Out of Left Field mailing list run by Rachael Reid. If the name sounds familiar, Rachael was a contributor to UTK last year.

Let's talk about.....annoying commercials.   Can someone please tell Continental Airlines to change their radio ad campaign? I just can't listen to those ridiculous spots for another six months. And how about those popups for the Saddam most wanted deck of cards? That didn't take long, did it?

CLEVELAND (7-12): The Indians did some more yard work in Chicago as they went deep four times and earned a series split with the White Sox with a 9-2 victory. Karim Garcia drove in four runs with two two-run homers (#4-5) and Ellis Burks added a pair of solo shots (#2-3). Burks also singled. Omar Vizquel tripled, singled, and knocked in a run, Milton Bradley doubled and drove in two. Brandon Phillips (.210) scored three times and had three hits and a walk. Travis Hafner and Josh Bard singled and Casey Blake walked twice. Jake Westbrook (1-2, 2.00) picked up the first win of the season with 5.2 innings of solid work in which he allowed two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out one. Jake struggled with his control a little (61% strikes) but recorded 11 of his 17 outs via the groundout (including one doubleplay). Billy Traber tossed a scoreless inning of relief and David Riske threw an encouraging 2.1 scoreless innings, striking out one and walking none.

BUFFALO (10-3): The Bisons continue to roll as they knocked off Scranton 6-4 for their 7th consecutive victory. Jason Phillips (3-0, 2.00) gave up three runs in the first inning but held the Red Barons scoreless for the next five to pick up the win. He allowed five hits and three walks while striking out three. Lance Caraccioli allowed a run .2 of an inning and Dave Elder earned his 5th save with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief, striking out three. Victor Martinez (.273) continues to inch closer to that .300 mark with three hits and two RBIs. Jhonny Peralta (.294) also is closing in on .300 as he doubled twice and drove in two runs. Greg LaRocca had a pair of hits, knocked in a run, and swiped two bags. Zach Sorenson tripled, Coco Crisp singled and walked, and Jody Gerut, Ben Broussard, and Alex Escobar added basehits.

AKRON (9-9): The Aeros rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 8th inning for a 9-7 victory over Bowie. Maicer Izturis went after the cycle the hard way as he needed only a single after he belted his first homerun and also doubled and tripled. Izturis also stole a base and knocked in two runs. Tyler Minges (.204) doubled, singled, walked, and knocked in two runs. Brian Luderer debuted with a pair of hits and RBIs. Grady Sizemore singled and stole a base. Luis Gonzalez doubled. Hector Luna doubled and drove in two. Corey Smith and Alex Requena walked twice and Eric Crozier drew one free pass. Jeremy Guthrie (1.86) struggled for the first time in his brief pro career but managed to hold the Bay Sox to three runs in five innings, allowing six hits and two walks while fanning three. Aquiles Pinales was hit hard to the tune of four runs in one inning and the newly signed Jake Robbins picked up the win in his Indians debut with three innings of scoreless relief, striking out three.

KINSTON (7-6): Luke Scott belted a walkoff homer in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the K-Tribe a 7-5 victory over Salem. Scott also drove in a run in the 8th inning with a single as the Indians rallied from a 5-2 deficit with two runs in the 8th and another in the 9th to send the game into extras. Joe Inglett had a fine day at the plate as he banged out three doubles. Rodney Choy Foo doubled twice and was hit by a pitch. Bill Peavey drove in two runs, doubled, and walked. Brian Jenkins walked twice and singled. Pat Osborn singled and make two errors in the field. Nick Moran (2.12) continues to impress as he struck out seven in six innings of two-run ball, walking none and allowing only three hits. Both of the Salem runs were of the solo homer variety. Victor Kliene was charged with three runs allowed (one earned) in 1.2 innings, Doug Lantz struck out three in 1.2 scoreless innings, and Shane Arthurs fanned two in a scoreless final frame.

LAKE COUNTY (14-4): Keith Ramsey threw seven innings of one-run ball to lead the Captains to a 3-1 victory over Savannah. Ramsey (3-1, 1.80) surrendered a solo homer in the 1st but only four other hits from that point, walking one and striking out three. Carlos De La Cruz earned his first save of the year with two innings of shutout relief, striking out two. In 13 innings this year, De la Cruz has now struck out 18 batters. Shaun Larkin had a perfect night at the plate, hitting his second homer with a double and two walks. Nathan Panther doubled and singled and drove in a run. Ricardo Rojas drove in the other Lake County run and singled. Dave Wallace and Matt Knox added basehits and Jonathan Van Every walked.


April 21, 2003  

The Aeros made a flurry of moves this afternoon. Francisco Cruceta was placed on the DL (retro to 4/18) with a sprained left ankle as was Jose Vargas (right shoulder soreness). Jason Rakers was sent down from triple-A Buffalo and the recently signed Jake Robbins was activated from extended spring training to round out the pitching staff. Behind the plate, Brian Luderer was also activated from extended spring training and he'll take the place of Dusty Wathan who was promoted to Buffalo. More tomorrow in the CIR.

Peter Gammons writes about the Tribe in his latest diamond notes column on More tomorrow.

Monday, April 21

Record:6-12, 4th Place, 8-1/2 GB
Last:Won 7-4 in Chicago on Sunday
Streak:Won one
Next:Today at Chicago, 2:05 PM
Matchup:Jake Westbrook (0-2, 0.73) vs Jon Garland (0-1, 5.82)
On Deck:Three game series in Seattle (Tues-Thurs)

What a weekend. Not so much for the Indians, but the weather was great and our cable and broadband install went off without a hitch. The Easter Bunny paid a visit and left plenty of goodies to tempt our woefully inadequete willpower for the next week. The only downer was my Paska making which didn't turn out so well after I did my best Jesus impression (think loaves and fishes) and turned a recipe designed to make four small loaves into a strange-tasting blob of dough that was enough for nine huge loaves with plenty leftover in reserve. Who knew that following directions exactly was so important? Fortunately, the wife (hi) came to the rescue and made a batch on Saturday that was just like Baba used to make. Good times.

With the switch to broadband, I'm probably going to move away from AOL in the next few months which makes it a perfect opportunity to find a new home for the CIR mailing list. If anyone runs or has access to a listserv, I would love to speak with you. Or if you run a mailing list and can recommend a good service, please drop me a line.

Lot of news and recaps from the weekend....

Aaron Myette was activated from his rehab assignment over on weekend and made his Indians debut on Saturday, giving up a three-run homer to Carlos Lee. Myette pitched eight innings combined at Buffalo and Akron on his rehab assignment, allowing six hits and six runs (two earned) while walking six and fanning 8. He'll work in the middle-to-late innings for the Indians. He has a great arm but has had control and longball problems in the major leagues as a starter. Paronto was 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA in 6.2 innings.

Milton Bradley sat out Friday's game with a sore right hamstring but was back in the lineup on Saturday and Sunday. Milton also misread three balls over the weekend which led to White Sox doubles. Someone should fit him with a pair of Lou Brown glasses and see if that works. Seriously, though, as long as Milton is hitting .375, the Indians will live with the occasional mental mistake (frequent mistakes are a different story) If he drops below .300 and back to the .250-.270 range, he'll need to start looking over his shoulder towards Coco Crisp and Jody Gerut in Buffalo.

Matt Lawton has sat out the last two games. He's in a 0-for-11 slump and is hitting just .145 for the season. I suspect he may be back in the lineup against the right-handed Jon Garland this afternoon.

The Canton Repository reports that Jason Bere will throw a bullpen session in Chicago today followed by a simulated game in Seattle later in the week.

Travis Foley and Lee Gronkiewicz returned to action yesterday for Kinston. Foley had been in extended spring training recovering from a muscle strain in his right forearm. Gronkiewicz was hit in the hand by a line drive earlier in the week. Nate Fernley was placed on the disabled list to make room for Foley.

The Indians signed pitcher Blake Stein to a minor league contract over the weekend. Stein is a big right-hander (6'7") who's main claim to fame is that he was part of the Mark McGwire trade that brought Big Mac to St.Louis back in 1997. Stein has a career record of 21-28 with a 5.41 ERA in 117 games covering 475.2 innings and parts of five seasons in the big leagues. Primarily used as a starter (66 career starts), the Royals began the process of converting him to the bullpen last season where he made 25 relief appearances (27 total) and posted a 7.91 ERA in 46.2 innings. He did strike out 42 though. Stein throws hard but has problems finding the plate (281 career walks) and the bullpen is probably the best spot for him at this stage in his career. I like the signing as Stein fits the profile of the live arm starter who never makes it, bounces around for a few years, and then re-emerges as a quality setup man. See Grimsley, Jason for a prime example. Don't laugh. Grimsley has been very solid out of the pen in three of the last four seasons, first with the Yankees and now with the Royals. Stein will start in extended spring training and probably report to Buffalo shortly thereafter.

Ryan Thompson was released by the Devil Rays. Jed Hansen was signed to a minor league contract by the Cardinals.

Jayson Stark reminds us that Chuck Finley is still available and is looking to sign somewhere soon. Even if he signs today, what are the odds that he would be ready before June 1?

Former Indians Marquis Grissom (SF) and Jolbert Cabrera (LA) were involved in a collision on the bases on Saturday night and Grissom sat out yesterday with a concussion. Cabrera, meanwhile, is hitting .269 and blasted a two-run homer for the second straight game yesterday. He's seeing a lot of time at second base with Joey Thurston in the minors.

If you want to read a first-hand account of the Cell Phone incident in Oakland over the weekend, check out Elephants in Oakland. Can't say I agree with their general tone; whoever threw that phone deserves to be made an example of with some serious time. Same with that loser in Chicago who charged the umpire last week. If they ever start profiling for potential field chargers, they can start with the porn mustache and royal blue muscle shirt this guy was sporting. How he fought his way through the gaggle of chicks that must have been surrounding him with those duds on is beyond me. And is there any doubt that he was carrying around six stacked beer cups in a vain attempt to prove his masculinity? Woo-Hoo! Lock him up and throw away the keys. Bud Shaw had a great take on the hazard of "second-hand beer" at the ballpark in Sunday's PD. As a father who will soon be taking his two young kids to games, I'm not looking forward to having to throw down with these kind of guys to teach them a lesson. Hey, I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Happy belated 20th birthday (Friday) to Tribe farmhand Michael Haynes.

I cannot get the Tweenies song out of my head. It's not even the theme song, it's the frigging promo. Someone please shoot me.

CLEVELAND (6-12): Bartolo Colon went the distance to lead the White Sox to a 5-3 win on Friday night. Colon (2-0, 3.21) needed only 102 pitches (67 strikes) to hold the Indians to three runs on nine hits and three walks, while striking out three. Ricardo Rodriguez (2.08) was solid for the Indians, allowing only three runs in six innings on five hits and four walks while fanning four. Billy Traber was charged with the loss (first in the big leagues) after he recorded only one out and walked two batters (4 of 14 pitches for strikes) in relief. Jose Santiago had a chance to keep the game in check but a double play ball up the middle went off the glove and Terry Mulholland allowed a run in one inning. Omar Vizquel doubled, singled, and knocked in a run. Josh Bard doubled and singled. Ellis Burks singled and walked twice. Shane Spencer singled and walked. Karim Garcia had a hit and an RBI and Brandon Phillips and Casey Blake added basehits.

Errors did the Indians in on Saturday as they led to seven unearned runs and a 12-3 White Sox win. Travis Hafner, Karim Garcia (twice), and Brian Anderson were officially charged with errors and Milton Bradley misplaced two balls that went for hits but were mental errors on the part of the Indians centerfielder. Anderson (2-2, 3.51) took the loss and was charged with nine runs (two earned) in five innings. Terry Mulholland tossed two scoreless innings and Aaron Myette made his Indians debut one to forget by allowing three runs in one inning of work. Travis Hafner homered (#2), doubled, and walked. Casey Blake homered (#1). Milton Bradley doubled, singled, and walked. Brandon Phillips walked, Karim Garcia singled, and Omar Vizquel grounded into three double plays.

The Indians blasted three homeruns off of White Sox ace Mark Buehrle and went onto a 7-4 afternoon victory over the Sox. Ellis Burks (.305) homered (#1), singled, walked, and drove in two runs. Shane Spencer (.278) went back-to-back with Burks for this second dinger of the year. Karim Garcia (.239) also went deep (#3) and singled twice. Casey Blake (.218) drove in two runs with a double and two singles. Josh Bard (.235) had two hits and a walk. Milton Bradley (.375) singled twice and walked. Omar Vizquel (.261) singled and walked, Travis Hafner (.211) singled, and Brandon Phillips (.169) was the only member of the lineup without a hit. Jason Davis (2-2, 6.97) threw 70% (60 of 86) of his pitches for strikes and held the White Sox to three runs over 6.2 innings, striking out one, walking one, and allowing seven hits. 12 of the 20 outs he recorded were of the groundball variety which is a very good sign. Carl Sadler (0.00) retired the only batter he faced, Jose Santiago (3.18) tossed a scoreless inning, and Danys Baez (1.59) served up a solo homerun to Carlos Lee in the 9th.

BUFFALO (9-3): Jody Gerut (#3) and Greg LaRocca (#1) went deep on Friday to lead the Bisons to a 6-4 victory over Ottawa. Ben Broussard, Jhonny Peralta, and Coco Crisp added two hits apiece. Jason Stanford gave up four in 5.2 innings, Lance Caraccioli picked up the win in relief, and Dave Elder threw another scoreless inning for his 4th save.

The Bisons blasted four longballs on Saturday to once again defeat Ottawa by a score of 6-4. Jody Gerut (#4) did yardwork for the second straight game and Victor Martinez (#2), Alex Escobar (#2), and Luis Garcia (#2) also homered. Garcia was 4-for-4 on the day. Nate Grindell added two hits. Mike Fyhrie (1-1, 4.91) allowed three runs in the 1st inning but held the Lynx scoreless over the next five to pick up his first win. Jason Boyd tossed a scoreless final inning for his first save.

No longflys, but the Bisons knocked off Ottawa again on Sunday, this time by a count of 5-2. Brian Tallet (4.37) struck out six in six innings and Alex Herrera earned the victory as he struck out five in two innings of relief. Ben Broussard (.214) singled twice and knocked in a pair of runs. Coco Crisp (.395) singled and was hit by a pitch. Jhonny Peralta (.277) tripled in a run. Greg LaRocca (.333) singled, drove in a run, and was hit by a pitch. Scott Pratt (.111) doubled. Victor Martinez (.225) and Zach Sorensen (.250) singled. Jody Gerut (.271) walked and stole a base. Luis Garcia (.265) walked twice.

AKRON (8-9): The Aeros were rained out on Friday but came back to sweep a doubleheader from Harrisburg on Saturday. Kyle Denney (2-0, 2.65) struck out eight in seven innings of one run ball to lead the Aeros to a 3-1 win in the opener. Denney walked only one and scattered three hits, including a solo home run. Corey Smith homered (#4) and walked. Luis Gonzalez had a pair of hits and drove in a run. Hector Luna singled and walked, Maicer Izturis (dropped to 9th in the order) singled and stole a base, and Ryan Church walked.

In the nightcap, the Aeros received more quality pitching as Derrick Van Dusen (1-1, 6.43) allowed only one run in six innings to pitch the Aeros to a 6-1 win. He allowed only five hits and one walk while striking out five. Ryan Church homered (#2) and drove in two runs. Luis Gonzalez doubled with two singles to drive in a run. Dusty Wathan plated a run and doubled and singled. Hector Luna doubled, Tyler Minges singled, Grady Sizemore doubled with 2 RBIs, Jim Goelz singled, and Eric Crozier walked twice and stole a base.

The outstanding pitching continued on Sunday as the Aeros hurlers held the Senators scoreless for 11 innings before finally surrendering a run in the bottom of the 12th inning and a 1-0 loss. Fernando Cabrera (1.80) worked the first five innings, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out four. Rafael Betancourt struck out six in three innings and Aquiles Pinales struck out four in two innings. Shane Wallace and Ryan Larson combined to allow the winning run to cross the plate with Wallace being charged with the loss. Maicer Izturis (.241) doubled twice and singled. Grady Sizemore (.318) doubled. Luis Gonzalez (.281) singled and was hit by a pitch. Eric Crozier (.281) singled and walked. Tyler Minges (.176) singled and Ryan Church (.264), Victor Valencia (.172), and Corey Smith (.268) walked.

KINSTON (6-6): The K-Tribe lost 4-3 to Myrtle Beach on Friday despite receiving six sensational innings from Brian Slocum who did not allow a run and permitted only two hits and a walk while striking out four. Shane Arthurs and Scott Sturkie allowed a pair of runs in the 8th and 9th innings with Sturkie being charged with the loss. Luke Scott homered and stole a base. Brian Wright and Joe Inglett had three hits apiece with Wright doubling.

Mariano Gomez turned in his best performance of the season to lead the K-Tribe to a 1-0 shutout win over Myrtle Beach. Gomez (4.60) gave up a leadoff double and then held the Pelicans hitless over the next 18 outs, allowing only two walks and a hit batsmen. He also struck out five. Kazuhito Tadano (2-1, 2.45) was credited with the win after striking out four in three innings of one run relief. Brian Jenkins provided the lone Indians run with a solo blast (#1) in the 7th inning. He also singled. Eider Torres added two hits, including a double.

Travis Foley went five solid innings in his first start of the season as the Indians blew out Myrtle Beach 9-2 on Sunday. Foley struck out seven and allowed only two runs on three hits and a pair of walks. Chris Cooper tossed three scoreless innings of relief and Lee Gronkiewicz returned to action with a scoreless final frame. Luke Scott (.368) provided a 3-run jack (#3) and singled to lead the offense. Eider Torres (.264) singled twice, walked, and stole a pair of bases (#7-8). Pat Osborn (.256) doubled and singled. Miguel Quintana (.267) drove in three runs with a double and singled and he also walked and stole a base. Ben Margalski (.129) had two hits. Rodney Choy Foo (.364) singled and walked with a ribbie. Brian Wright (.283) doubled and walked twice. Brian Jenkins (.200) singled in a run and Brian Kirby (.000, 0-for-8) walked.

LAKE COUNTY (13-4): The Captains were rained out on Friday and split a double-header in Greensboro on Saturday. Dan Denham (2.12) allowed only two runs in six innings in the opener which the Captains went on to win 3-2. Denham struck out three, walked one, and gave up seven hits. Blake Allen was credited with the win thanks to two scoreless innings of relief. Ricardo Rojas and Micah Schilling drove in runs for the Captains. Rojas singled and Schilling also walked. Chris De La Cruz, JJ Sherrill, Dave Wallace, Matt Knox, and Nathan Panther added basehits.

Saturday's nightcap did not go so well as the Bats took the Captains behind the woodshed for a 8-1 beating. Juan Lara (0-2, 7.90) took the loss as he gave up six runs in 2.2 innings. Shaun Larkin had a pair of hits and JJ Sherrill doubled and walked.

The Captains turned things around on Sunday as the offense bounced back 13 hits and 10 runs in a 10-2 blowout win. JJ Sherrill (.295) homered (#4) and walked twice. Chris De La Cruz (.276) had three hits and a pair of RBIs. Jonathan Van Every (.133) doubled, singled, walked, stole a base, and knocked in two runs. Matt Knox (.211) had two hits. Dave Wallace (.267) doubled, walked, and drove in two. Shaun Larkin (.306) doubled in a run. Micah Schilling (.229) doubled and walked, Nathan Panther (.250) singled twice, and Ricardo Rojas (.222) doubled with an RBI. Sean Smith picked up his second win with five innings of two-run ball. Smith (2-1, 4.15) struck out three, walked one, and allowed seven hits, including two long flys. Shea Douglas threw four scoreless innings of relief to earn his second save.

Sorry, no proofreading of the recaps. Gotta run.


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