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June 30, 2003  

 
CIR UPDATE
Rafael Betancourt was promoted from Akron to Buffalo this afternoon. He had been nothing short of dominating with the Aeros, posting a 1.39 ERA in 31 games and ranking 4th in the league in strikeouts with 75 (while pitching out of the bullpen!). Oscar Alvarez takes his place on the Aeros roster.

In other Akron news, Ryan Church will not travel with the team to Bowie and will have an MRI done on his left hand which has been bothering him all season.

More tomorrow in the CIR.


CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT -- Monday, June 30  
Record:32-47, 4th Place, 10.5 GB
Last:Defeated Cincinnati 3-1 on Sunday
Streak:Won one
Next:Old-fashioned DH in Kansas City tonight, 5:05 PM ET
Matchup:Cliff Lee (0-00, 0.00) and Brian Anderson (4-6, 4.05)
On Deck:Four games in Minnesota

Tremendous outing from Jason Davis yesterday in holding the Reds to one run over 7.2 innings. Davis finishes the month of June with a 3.02 ERA and .244 BAA in six starts (41.2 IP, 38H, 9W, 21K) which has lowered his season ERA to 4.53 from 7.20 on May 8. The only caution on Davis right now is his workload as he's up to 97.1 innings for the season and on pace to finish around 200 which is awfully high for a 22-year old in the big leagues (let alone at any level). His pitch counts are also steadily increasing (113 yesterday) but the Indians have exercised some restraint in not extending him past 100 pitches (not that 100 is the magic number but it is a nice yardstick). I suspect Davis may become a logical candidate to be shut down in August or September (figure around 160-170 innings) with the Indians then using his rotation spot for Cliff Lee, Kyle Denney, Jason Stanford, Brian Tallet, or even Jeremy Guthrie.

Are we really 1-8 against the 1st place Kansas City Royals. My god, I can't believe that I'm saying that on the eve of July. Let's get two tonight, guys!

Cliff Lee has been promoted to start Game 1 today in Kansas City. Immediately following the game, Lee will be optioned back to triple-A and Jose Santiago will be called up from Buffalo (he's already with the team) for game two. Jake Westbrook was optioned to Buffalo to make room for Lee/Santiago.

Let's start with Lee, who has been outstanding since returning in late May from an abdominal strain that caused him to miss the first two months of the season. In six starts (one in Kinston, two for Akron, and three for Buffalo), the left-hander has held opposing hitters to a combined .191 average while posting a 1.67 ERA and striking out 32 in 32.1 innings (22 H, 17 W). Most recently, he was 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and .250 BAA in three triple-A starts (16 IP, 15 H, 10 W, 15 K). The only concern is the high walk totals (which he's had problems with in the past) but the sample size is small so consider it simply something that bears continued watch. Lee will make just the one start and then return to Buffalo although it's likely that he will return later in the season for a longer audition in the rotation.

For Jake Westbrook, this is one of the few times when a demotion can be viewed as a good thing as the Indians are sending him to Buffalo to become a starting pitcher again. He'll make two starts for the Bisons before returning to the big leagues on July 12 to start one of the games in a double-header against the White Sox. But here's where it gets interesting as the Indians Indians plan on keeping Westbrook in the rotation after that All-Star break. Since they've also stated they're not going to switch to a six-man rotation, who will be removed to make room for Westbrook? One given is that CC Sabathia is safe and I think Jason Davis is safe also (at least until August or September as noted above). The other three (BA, Billy Traber, and Ricardo Rodriguez) are the likely candidates to be moved with Anderson possibly being dealt and Traber/Rodriguez being moved to the bullpen or even triple-A (I suppose. Gotta list all options in this crazy year). I don't see BA being moved to the bullpen until after the trade deadline so if he's still in Cleveland past the All-Star break, I think you're looking at either Rodriguez or Traber making the switch.

Westbrook has pitched better out of the bullpen (12G, 1.84 ERA, .275 BAA, 14.2 IP, 14H, 2W, 7K) than in the rotation (9GS, 5.40 ERA, .305 BAA, 46.2 IP, 54H, 20W, 17K) but the 1.84 ERA does hide the high BAA and the low K/IP ratio. It's obvious the Indians have a desire to see if Westbrook can be a starter long-term but I wonder if it's going to be for our benefit or for another club? With CC, Davis, Rodriguez, Traber, Lee, Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Tallet, Kyle Denney, Jason Stanford, and Francisco Cruceta, the Indians have ten potential starting pitchers that will be ready for big league innings over the next two years. Westbrook will have more trade value as a starter than a reliever and it would not surprise if one of the motives for this move is to increase his trade value in the offseason. There's not much to lose as his trade value isn't all that high right now (although I'm sure he has some) and, if he struggles, he simply falls back into the bullpen mix or gets moved off the roster in some fashion (trade, release, outright, etc.) in the offseason to make room for another pitcher coming up through the ranks. In short, the month of July is going to be huge in the career of Jake Westbrook. Well, at least in his career with the Indians.

For what it's worth, here's how the Indians rotation should line up leading to the All-Star break.

6/30: Cliff Lee
6/30: Brian Anderson
7/01: Ricardo Rodriguez
7/02: Billy Traber
7/03: CC Sabathia
7/04: Jason Davis
7/05: Brian Anderson
7/06: Ricardo Rodriguez
7/07: (off day)
7/08: Billy Traber
7/09: CC Sabathia
7/10: Jason Davis
7/11: Brian Anderson
7/12: Ricardo Rodriguez
7/12: Jake Westbrook
7/13: Billy Traber
7/14: (all-star break)

For Jose Santiago, this will be his third appearance in an Indians uniform this season, although his last stint lasted only one day (last Sunday in Pittsburgh) when the Tribe needed an extra arm for protection after back-to-back 15-inning games. It's unknown how long Santiago may remain with the big league club but with Westbrook not ticketed for a return until July 12, it would seem his chances are pretty good for a two-week stay. That is, unless the Indians want to mess around with Chad Paronto or Aaron Myette or Alex Herrera or (you get the picture).

Recently promoted Victor Martinez sits atop the Top Prospect Alert Hot List. Grady Sizemore checks in at number six thanks to a 10-game streak in which he has hit .425 (17-for-40) and Jeremy Guthrie is number eight (obviously written before yesterday's start -- see recaps below).

Josh Boyd notes in the Daily Dish on Baseball America that the Indians player development staff was pleased with the strides he made working with minor league catching instructor Chris Bando despite the fact that the 14% of basestealers he had thrown out was the lowest rate of any catcher in the International League. "He's embraced the role of catching," Indians assistant farm director Ross Atkins said. "His release… when he would take ball from his glove to hand to throw to second, it was like all the movement was down below his waist. Now it's a more natural catcher's movement straight up to his ear, not a swing across his stomach. He's more consistent." Martinez was 1-for-2 yesterday in throwing out baserunners.

Milton Bradley's streak of 31 consecutive games reaching base came to an end yesterday when he went 0-for-4. His web gem more than makes up for it though.
Even with the 0-fer, Bradley still made Peter Gammons All-Star ballot.

I forgot to mention that Matt Lawton's second longball on Saturday was the 100th of his career.

The ATM Reports note that Paul Byrd had more pain in his elbow during a bullpen session over the weekend. He previously had elbow surgery in April and could be facing another surgery that would end his season (before it even started).

Rudy Seanez was designated for assignment by the Red Sox.

The PD article on the 2002 draft will have to wait until tomorrow. Sorry about that.

Today in Indians History
1978 - Larry Doby becomes the second black major league manager, replacing Bob Lemon as skipper of the White Sox. Chicago has a 34-40 record at the time, and will go 37-50 the rest of the way.

1995 - Eddie Murray collects his 3,000th career hit against Minnesota's Mike Trombley in a 4-1 Cleveland win at the Metrodome. The Indians slugger is the 20th player to reach the milestone and the third in franchise history to do it wearing a Cleveland uniform.

BUFFALO: Jeremy Guthrie was not sharp and the Bisons committed four errors in the field in a 7-1 loss to Scranton. Guthrie (2-3, 5.88) allowed seven runs on nine hits and a walk and did not strike out a batter in 4.2 innings of work. Carl Sadler threw 2.1 innings of scoreless relief and Alex Herrera followed with two innings of scoreless ball. Reed Secrist's solo homerun (#2) provided the lone Bisons run. Josh Bard doubled and Scott Pratt, Maicer Izturis, Greg LaRocca, and Jhonny Peralta singled. Travis Hafner walked three times. Hafner, Peralta, Guthrie, and Dusty Wathan all made errors.

AKRON: Chad Durbin allowed one run in his first AA start of the season as the Aeros rolled over Erie 9-3. Durbin (1-0, 1.80) pitched five innings and allowed one run on seven hits and a walk while striking out three. The lone run came on a solo homerun. Kazuhito Tadano struck out four in three innings of one-run relief and Rafael Betancourt struck out the side in the 9th while allowing a run to cross the dish. Luke Scott (.364) belted his second homerun, singled, walked, and drove in three runs. Luis Gonzalez singled twice, tripled, and was hit by a pitch. Corey Smith tripled and singled. Hector Luna singled and walked, Alex Requena singled, and Tyler Minges received a free pass.

KINSTON: The K-Tribe won their 5th in a row in a 5-2 win over Potomac. Brian Slocum (4-4, 4.41) turned in a strong outing as he allowed only two runs in eight innings, scattering five hits and walking none while striking out seven. Both runs scored on solo blasts. Lee Gronkiewicz closed out the final inning by striking out the side for this 19th save. Eider Torres singled twice and doubled. Wily Taveras doubled, walked, was hit by a pitch, and stole a base. Jason Cooper doubled. Rodney Choy Foo singled, walked, and stole a base. Ivan Ochoa singled and swiped a bag. Dave Wallace, Miguel Quintana, and Brian Kirby added basehits. Rick Elder walked.

LAKE COUNTY: All good things must come to an end as the Captains nine-game winning streak was snapped in a 4-1 loss to Lakewood. Fausto Carmona (9-3, 1.78) pitched well through seven innings but a key error by Chris De La Cruz allowed three unearned runs to cross the plate. Carmona was charged with four runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk while striking out three. Dan Eisentrager finished with three whiffs in two innings. JJ Sherrill's single was the Captains only hit. Nathan Panther walked and stole a base. Shaun Larkin was hit by a pitch and walked. Micah Schilling and Angel Bastardo walked and Bryan Kent's sac fly plated the Captains only run.

MAHONING VALLEY: The Scrappers pounded Auburn 14-6. Earl Johnson had four hits and stole a base (#10). Ryan Mulhern doubled twice, walked, and stole a base. Kevin Kouzmanoff was on base five thanks to two singles and three walks. Jesus Colmenter and Mike Conroy each drove in three runs and singled twice. Clint Chauncey tripled and singled. Cesar Suarez had two hits. Ryan Goleski singled twice and walked. Brad Snyder walked. TJ Burton (11.25) allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks in 3.1 innings while striking out four. Matt Davis (1-2, 1.68) picked up his first professional win with 1.2 scoreless innings of relief. Adam Hanson blanked the Doubledays for two frames. Dan Rich and Reid Casey each allowed a run in one inning of work. Colmenter, Kouzmanoff, Goleski, and Suarez committed errors.

BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe defeated Bluefield 6-2 behind the strong pitching of Rafael Perez who threw five innings of one-hit ball. Perez (1-1, 1.65) struck out six and walked two in notching his first win in the States. Hector Santana followed and allowed a run in two innings as did Reid Santos. Caleb Brock and Chris Clem had a pair of hits. Jose Cruz and Luis Hodge tripled. Juan Valdes tripled and walked. Fernando Pacheco doubled and Chad Longworth walked. Clem, Santana, and Julio Garcia walked.

SLY FOX MASUGA (2-9): The mighty Foxers pulled off one of the greatest upsets in softball history as they "run-ruled" the ringer-laden Slam Jams squad 18-7 in six innings. Want proof that I have the greatest wife in the world? I was allowed to have a celebratory brew after the game while she remained in the car with two very tired and cranky kids. Better yet, I don't owe her anything for it, isn't that right, honey? Right? Riiiiigggghhhtt.

 

June 29, 2003  

 
Record:31-47, 4th Place, 11.5 GB
Last:Lost 5-4 to Cincinnati on Saturday
Streak:Lost one
Next:Today vs Cincinnati, 1:05 PM ET
Matchup:Jimmy Haynes (1-6, 6.55) vs Jason Davis (6-6, 4.82)
On Deck:Three games in Kansas City next week

One more strike, Danys. One more.

Nice power display from Matt Lawton yesterday (pair of homeruns) but anyone else think he had a shot at Olmedo's double that went over his head and bounced off the wall?

Victor Martinez laced a double down the rightfield line in his first game with the Indians. Josh Bard doubled, singled, walked, and stole a base in his first game for the Bisons. One thing to keep an eye on with Martinez is his ability to control the running game. He gunned down only 14% (10-for-72) in triple-A while Bard led the American League in throwing out 44% (17-of-39) of attempted basestealers. Fortunately, that aspect of the game is not as important as it was in, say, the 1980s, but it still bears close watching.

Nice to see that Eric Wedge did not send CC Sabathia back out to the mound in the 7th inning after he had already thrown 108 pitches through six frames.

Jason Boyd decided not to appeal his three-game suspension and is sitting out this weekends series against the Reds.

The Indians sold the contract of triple-A right-hander Jason Phillips to the Orix Blue Wave for an undisclosed sum yesterday. Phillips was having another sensational season in Buffalo, being named to the International League All-Star Team, and posting a 10-1 record with a 2.12 ERA (85 IP, 68 H, 19 W, 56 K) while holding opposing hitters to a .222 average. His 10 wins led the circuit and he was second in the ERA race. This type of performance is nothing new for Phillips as his three-year totals in the Indians farm system include a 2.97 ERA and a 1.073 WHIP. Impressive work, to say the least. The knock on Phillips (or why he isn't regarded as a top prospect) is that he's 29 years old and does not have a dominant pitch in his repertoire. Still, he manages to get a lot of people out. I've been a fan of Phillips the past few seasons and I was impressed with how he handled himself in his six starts for the Tribe last season. But I also realize that with CC Sabathia, Jason Davis, Ricardo Rodriguez, and Billy Traber in the rotation and Cliff Lee and Jeremy Guthrie ready for big-league innings later this season, the potential for Phillips to have an impact with the Indians was pretty slim. He would have been a minor league free-agent in the offseason and (because of the above) it's likely that Phillips would have signed with another organization this fall. In fact, it would not have surprised me to see him end up with a Milwaukee or Tampa Bay and win 10 games next year in the big leagues.

The question you have to ask about this type of transaction is if the Indians could have gotten more (i.e., players or prospects) for Phillips? Certainly, his performance the last two seasons in triple-A would merit some interest from other clubs, right? I would think so, but maybe not. Phillips cleared waivers last October (after his surgery) and he also cleared waivers in May and that alone makes you question his trade value considering that any team could have acquired him (twice) for the cost of a waiver claim. That said, I'm sure the Indians could have dealt him for a PTBNL but I suspect Mark Shapiro valued the cash more than a light-hitting single-A shortstop (or whomever the PTBNL would have been) and, although the following could have been done in other ways, this move does free up a rotation spot in Buffalo for Kyle Denney who is in the mix to be added to the 40-man roster in the offseason. Unfortunately, we'll probably never know what other teams were offering for Phillips so it's tough to say if we could have gotten more. In the past week, the Indians have now raised anywhere from $800-$1.2 mil by trading Karim Garcia, Dan Miceli, and Phillips. Will this money be put towards signing draft picks, used as a potential war chest in trying to deal Matt Lawton next month, or is it to cover losses due to reduced attendance? Let's hope for the former two rather than the latter. If the Indians sign Aaron Laffey (see below) and the Indians say they used Phillips money for the signing, I think that's a pretty fair deal and an efficent use of resources. We'll see what happens.

As for Phillips, I think this is a good career move for him. If he pitches well in Japan, he stands to make a lot more money than he would have in the States, toiling in triple-A and making the major league minimum if he could stick with a big league club. And there's nothing preventing him from making some good coin in Japan for three years and then returning to the States at age 32 with a enhanced resume. Good luck Jason, I wish you well.

Phillips is the third player the Indians have sold to Japan in the last 13 months. Martin Vargas was sold to the Chunichi Dragons last May for a reported $300-500k and Jason Beverlin was sold to the Yakult Swallows for a reported $250k this spring. I would imagine that Phillips would fetch a pretty good price given his impressive numbers this season and the local papers are reporting that it could be in the $500k range. Beverlin, incidentally, is pitching pretty well for the Swallows. Anyone know where to find English stats for the Japanese League?

As I mentioned above, although nothing has been officially announced, I suspect that we'll soon hear that Kyle Denney will be promoted from Akron to Buffalo to replace Phillips in the Bisons rotation. John Farrell has stated recently that Denney is ready to move up so the timing fits perfectly. Denney, two years removed from Tommy John surgery, is having an outstanding year in double-A, holding hitters to a .237 average and posting a 2.41 ERA (6th in league) in 14 starts (82 IP, 74 H, 21 W). His 74 punchouts are 4th in the circuit. Denney is not on the 40-man roster but he's a prime candidate to be added in the offseason and I'm sure the Tribe wants to take a look at him at triple-A as part of the evaluation process. He turns 26 in July and profiles as a back of the rotation starter.

Paul Hoynes reports in the PD that Travis Hafner is expected to remain in Buffalo for at least six weeks. I hope this is more due to the Indians desire to evaluate Ben Broussard in the big leagues than it is any indication of Hafner falling out of favor within the organization.

Luke Scott homered in his first double-A game on Friday night and he also won the Carolina-California League All-Star Game Home Run Derby last Tuesday. According to Josh Boyd from Baseball America, "Scott's strong compact stroke produced towering blasts to left-center and dead center in the home run contest".

Stephanie Storm notes in the ABJ that Mark Shapiro hinted this past week that Grady Sizemore could be headed to Buffalo soon. Sizemore had three more hits yesterday and is now hitting .301/.359/.469/.828 with 15 doubles, 5 triples, and 9 homeruns for the Aeros.

The transactions on MLB.com note that Joe Weaver has been transferred to Mahoning Valley which I assume means that the 43rd round pick out of Oklahoma State has signed with the Indians.

Andy Call notes in the Canton Repository that John Mirabelli is in Chicago this weekend to check out 15th round catcher Ryan Spilman. Call also quotes Mirabelli as saying that the Indians have made an "aggressive offer" to 16th round pitcher Aaron Laffey who has to be lured away from a commitment to Virginia Tech. This is encouraging news as Laffey had 4th-5th round potential and perhaps it hints that the Tribe is going to use the money saved in the Garcia/Miceli deal and the yen acquired for Jason Phillips to sign a couple of flyers from the draft.

Good article in the PD about the Indians 2002 draft but I'll have to reserve comment until tomorrow.

Sheldon Ocker noted in Saturday's ABJ that the Indians are expected to exercise their five-year option to remain in Winter Haven for spring training after Port Charlotte indicated they were not going to build the Indians a $3.5 million office and clubhouse.

Dan Miceli picked up the save for the Yankees on Friday night with a scoreless 9th inning. He was called upon because Mariano Rivera had pitched in three consecutive games.

Jeff Kent was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Astros with tendinitis in his left wrist.

Dave Burba allowed three runs in 5.2 innings for the Brewers yesterday in his first major league start this season. He was recalled on Friday.

The ATM Reports reports that John Rocker has been released by the Devil Rays. Rocker was pitching for double-A Orlando and had a 9.15 ERA in 17 appearances that included 26 walks in 19.2 innings.

Can someone explain to me how Eddie Perez is hitting .300 with eight homeruns for the Brewers?

BUFFALO (48-30, 1st Place): Jason Phillips threw seven shutout innings to lead the Bisons to a 1-0 victory over Columbus on Friday. Phillips (10-1, 2.12) allowed six hits and two walks and struck out three while picking up his 10th win of the season. Jose Santiago tossed a scoreless frame and Chad Paronto worked a scoreless final inning for his 12th save. Scott Pratt singled twice and stole two bases. Alex Escobar doubled and singled. Maicer Izturis singled. Travis Hafner singled, walked, and was hit by a pitch. Luis Garcia walked and Greg LaRocca drove in the games only run with a sac fly.

The other Jason (Stanford) tossed eight strong innings to lead the Bisons to a 8-3 victory over Scranton on Saturday. Stanford (8-2, 3.15) allowed just two runs on five hits while walking none and striking out two in notching his 8th win of the season. Carl Sadler finished by allowing a run in one inning. Nate Grindell (.230) homered and doubled. Scott Pratt (.262) added a solo shot (#3). Josh Bard (.667) doubled, singled, walked, and stole a base in his first game since being demoted. Alex Escobar (.239) had a pair of hits. Travis Hafner (.311) walked twice, singled, and stole a base. Jhonny Peralta (.252) and Luis Garcia (.247) added basehits.

AKRON (52-30, 1st Place): Francisco Cruceta took a no-hitter into the 8th inning as the Aeros knocked off Erie 5-1 on Friday. Cruceta (6-5, 3.21) was touched for four hits and an unearned run after the no-hitter was broken but finished for his first complete game of the season, walking one and striking out three in the process. Luke Scott homered in his first game in double-A and also walked twice. Tyler Minges and Hector Luna doubled and singled. Grady Sizemore doubled and knocked in two runs. Ryan Church, Corey Smith, and Joe Inglett singled while Victor Valencia singled and walked. Inglett committed and error.

The Aeros scored nine times in the first three innings on Saturday and went on for a 10-5 victory over Erie. Luis Gonzalez (.289) homered (#5) with two singles to lead the attack. Joe Inglett (.271) reached base five times as he singled twice and walked three times. Maybe he led the attack. Hector Luna (.257) had a pair of hits. Grady Sizemore (.301) had three hits and was hit by a pitch. Victor Valencia (.261) drove in four runs as he doubled and walked. Alex Requena (.186) tripled and singled and Luke Scott (.286) added a basehit. Derrick Van Dusen (8-4, 4.13) allowed two runs in five innings, giving up seven hits and three walks while striking out five. Fernando Cabrera struck out three and walked one in two innings in his first bullpen outing of the season. Jose Vargas (3.12) worked a scoreless frame and Ryan Larson (4.35) allowed three runs on four hits and a walk in the 9th.

KINSTON (5-3, 3rd Place, 0.5 GB): The K-Tribe belted three homeruns on Friday night as part of an 8-3 victory in Frederick. Rodney Choy Foo blasted his 4th tater of the season and also singled to drive in three runs. Miguel Quintana added a solo shot (#2) and Wily Taveras also went deep for the second time this season. Taveras also singled. Ivan Ochoa (.406) doubled twice, walked twice, and also stole a base. Eider Torres singled, walked, and stole a base. Jason Cooper walked twice and tripled while Matt Knox singled and walked. Mariano Gomez (5-3, 3.86) allowed three runs in 5.1 innings on six hits and a walk. He struck out three and served up two longballs. Scott Sturkie threw 2.2 scoreless innings and Chris Cooper mopped up with a scoreless frame.

The K-Tribe won their fourth in a row with a 10-7 victory in Frederick. Rick Elder (.259) homered (#4), doubled, and walked twice. Rodney Choy Foo (.286) had a pair of hits and stole a base (#17). Matt Knox (.310) doubled and singled. Wily Taveras (.296) singled twice, drove in two runs, and stole two bags (#39-40). Eider Torres (.242) singled. Dave Wallace (.100) and Miguel Quintana (.295) doubled. Ivan Ochoa (.394) walked twice and stole a base (#11). Dan Denham (4.72) was charged with six runs (three earned) in four innings as he gave up seven hits and two walks while striking out three. Victor Kliene (3.42) struck out three in three innings of one-hit relief. Nate Fernley (3.57) tossed a scoreless frame. Marcos Mendoza (3.54) allowed three hits in a third of an inning and Lee Gronkiewicz (3.04) notched his 18th save by recording the final outs. Ochoa committed two errors and Quintana made one.

LAKE COUNTY (9-0, 1st Place, 2.0 GA): The Captains rolled to a 9-2 victory over Lakewood on Friday for their 8th straight victory. Shaun Larkin tripled and singled to drive in three runs. JJ Sherrill homered (#8) and singled. Chris De La Cruz singled twice and walked. Nathan Panther singled and walked. Ben Francisco (.324) doubled and walked. Bryan Kent and Clayton McCullough singled while Jonathan Van Every walked. Keith Ramsey (10-3, 2.68) struck out seven in six innings while allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. Blake Allen (1.60) struck out three in two innings and Juan Lara finished with a scoreless final inning. Nathan Panther and Bryan Kent made errors.

The Captains made it nine in a row with a 8-1 victory over Lakewood on Saturday. Sean Smith (7-3, 3.58) did not allow an earned run in five innings (one unearned) and permitted only two hits while walking three and striking out two. Shea Douglas (0.94) tossed three innings of hitless relief, walking two and striking out one. Todd Pennington (1.05) finished with a scoreless final inning. Nathan Panther (.264) singled twice, doubled, and also stole a base. Ricardo Rojas (.250) had two hits and swiped a bag. Ben Francisco (.321) singled and walked. JJ Sherrill (.261) doubled, walked, and drove in two runs. Chris De La Cruz (.232) doubled and knocked in three runs. Shaun Larkin (.275) walked three times, Clayton McCullough twice, and Micah Schilling (.215) once. Sherrill and Smith committed errors.

MAHONING VALLEY (6-6, 2nd Place): The Scrappers lost 4-3 to Hudson Valley in 10 innings on Friday. Reid Casey (0-1, 1.93) took the loss when he allowed a run in 1.2 innings. Ryan Prahm started for the Valley and allowed three runs (two earned) in four innings on two hits and three walks while striking out four. Honeduis Pereyra tossed three scoreless innings and Mark Harris walked two in a scoreless frame. Eric Johnson had two hits while Ryan Mulhern and Ryan Goleski doubled. Goleski drove in two runs. Brad Snyder had a hitless debut but stole a base. Cesar Suarez made two errors.

The Scrappers lost 9-6 to Auburn as the Doubledays scored five times in the last three innings en route to improving their record to a league-best 12-1. Randy Perez (4.26) allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks in four innings of work, striking out four in the process. Michael Hernandez (0.00) walked one in two innings. Ignacio Montano (0-1, 15.43) took the loss when he allowed four runs on four hits and two walks in 1.1 innings, Shane Wallace (7.36) recorded two outs and Chris White (2.25) allowed a run in one inning. Jesus Colmenter (.281) and Javi Herrera (.303) had a pair of hits. Kevin Kouzmanoff (.245) tripled. Earl Johnson (.224) walked three times and singled. Brad Snyder (.200) walked twice, doubled, and drove in two runs while playing centerfield. Ryan Goleski (.349), Mike Conroy (.200), and Cesar Suarez (.200) added basehits. Ryan Mulhern was 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. Perez did not help his cause as he committed an error in the field.

BURLINGTON (5-8, 3rd Place, 3.0 GB): Despite scoring three times in each of the last two innings, the B-Tribe lost 9-6 to Martinsville on Friday. Dan Cevette turned in a solid five innings as he struck out six and allowed two runs on four hits and no walks. Jonathan Amador struggled through one-third of an inning, as he walked four, hit a batter, gave up a hit, and had six runs cross the plate. Jimmy Schultz worked a scoreless 1.2 innings, Chip Southerland struck out two in a scoreless frame, and Bo Ashabraner allowed a run in one inning. Jose Cruz (.400) singled twice, doubled, and walked. Juan Valdes doubled and drove in three runs. Chad Longworth walked twice and singled. Luis Hodge had a basehit. Brandon Pinckney walked and was hit by a pitch and Chris Clem received a free pass. Pinckney, Cevette, Amador, and Domingo Vasquez committed errors.

The B-Tribe lost 9-3 to Martinsville on Saturday. Adam Miller (0-1, 4.50) allowed four runs in four innings in his second pro start. He gave up four hits (including a homerun) and a walk while striking out two. Nelson Hiraldo (7.30) gave up five runs in four innings on nine hits and a walk while striking out two. Daniel Guzman (2.57) finished with a scoreless inning. Juan Valdes (.364) had two hits. Brandon Pinckney (.224) singled twice and walked. Teodoro Encarnacion (.314) had three hits. Jose Cruz (.395) singled, walked, and was hit by a pitch. Fernando Pacheco (.147) doubled as did Julio Garcia who was also hit by a pitch. Domingo Vasquez added a basehit.


 

June 28, 2003  

 
CIR UPDATE
One day after throwing seven shutout innings for his 10th win of the season, Jason Phillips is headed to Japan after the Indians sold his contract to the Orix Blue Wave. Phillips was leading the Triple-A International League in wins and had a 2.12 ERA for the Bisons (85 IP, 68 H, 19 W, 56 K).


CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT -- Saturday, June 28  
Record:31-46, 4th Place, 11.5 GB
Last:Won 3-0 over Cincinnati on Friday
Streak:Won one.
Next:Today vs Cincinnati, 1:05 PM ET
Matchup:Ryan Dempster (2-4, 6.49) vs CC Sabathia (7-3, 3.51)
On Deck:Three games in Kansas City next week

Just a quick update this morning...

The Indians called up Victor Martinez and sent Josh Bard down to Buffalo. Martinez did not play yesterday but I would expect to see him in the lineup today.

Tremendous outing from Billy Traber yesterday as he shutout the Reds for seven innings and retired 15 of the first 16 hitters he faced.

Luke Scott belted a two-run jack in his first game with Akron.

The Captains ran their record to 8-0 with a 9-2 victory over Lakewood.

Dave Burba was recalled by the Brewers and will start today against the Twins.

Juan Gonzalez is a fool.

See you tomorrow.


 

June 27, 2003  

 
CIR UPDATE
Jason Boyd has dropped the appeal of his three game suspension for bumping umpire Dana DeMuth last Saturday in Pittsburgh. He'll sit out all three games against the Reds this weekend.


 
CIR UPDATE
Fernando Cabrera is moving to the bullpen in Akron. This is not a surprise as the Indians indicated back in spring training that this move was in the works. Chad Durbin will be recalled from Mahoning Valley to start on Sunday for the Aeros. More in the next CIR.


 
CIR UPDATE
Oops...forgot to mention that Paul Hoynes noted in the Plain Dealer that Victor Martinez left last nights game with what is believed to be a bruised calf. Martinez was stepped on while covering first base.


CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT -- Friday, June 27  
Record:30-46, 4th Place, 11.5 GB
Last:Lost 4-1 to Kansas City on Thursday
Streak:Lost three in a row
Next:Tonight vs Cincinnati, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Danny Graves (3-6, 5.11) vs Billy Traber (2-4, 4.56)
On Deck:Three games in Kansas City next week

"Right now, every pitcher in the league should be salivating to pitch to our lineup."
-- Pretty observant comments from Milton Bradley following last nights game.

Are you ready for Victor Martinez? I know I am. Forget about the All-Star break (or whatever the predetermined deadline is) and bring him up now, place him 5th in the lineup, and be done with it. Martinez had three more hits yesterday and is now hitting .329/.395/.474/.869. He's also driven in runs in seven consecutive games. It's time. Lord knows the offense could use a boost.

Jason Boyd was suspended three games for bumping umpire Dana Deluth last Saturday in Pittsburgh and also fined $1500. He's appealing the suspension and will continue to play for the Indians until his hearing, which is expected to be heard sometime next week.

Greg LaRocca, Jason Phillips, Victor Martinez, Jason Stanford, and Alex Escobar were named to the International League All-Star team.

Travis Hafner had three hits (all singles) yesterday and is now hitting .304/.458/.357 with three doubles. Note the high OBP (16 walks) and hope that the low slugging will improve as his wrist gains strength. He needs to get himself back to Cleveland for evaluation against big-league pitching.

Another Bison we will probably get a look at later this season is second basemen Maicer Izturis who is quietly putting together a sensational season in the middle of the diamond. After returning to Akron to start the season (he spent the second half of 2002 in Canal Park), Izturis hit .280/.351/.390/.741 with 11 doubles, 5 triples, a homerun, and 14 steals in 218 ABs for the Aeros before being promoted to triple-A for the first time in his career. Despite the advance in level, Izturis has managed to increase his numbers (.329/.388/.474/.862) while maintaining his eye at the plate (24/23 BB/K ratio in Akron versus 8/7 ratio in Buffalo). That is a very encouraging sign, although admittedly, his 76 triple-A at-bats is a small sample size. Izturis is not on the 40-man roster but he is Rule 5 eligible so the Indians would need to add him to the 40 in the offseason. At this point, I think he's a lock as his speed, defense (solid-to-good glove), and versatility (shortstop by nature, moved to second base by Indians) make him a prime Rule 5 target. The only downsize to his game right now is his lack of power which is not to be unexpected given that he looks every bit as small as the 5'8", 155 pounds he's listed at. He's overshadowed by the bigger names in the system but Izturis has re-emerged as a prospect this season.

As speculated earlier in the week, Luke Scott was promoted from Kinston to Akron where he'll join the Aeros today. Scott slumped a little after a hot start but he still posted solid numbers for the K-Tribe, hitting .278/.360/.498/.858 with 12 doubles and 13 homeruns. The only knock on Scott is his age (just turned 25 on Wednesday) and the fact that he was very old for the Carolina League. It will be interesting to see how he fares against more advanced pitching. The Indians will push him because he's another who will need to be added to the 40 in the offseason and evaluation is the name of the game during the second half.
   
According to the Aeros Dynamics newsletter, Nate Grindell is expected to be demoted from Buffalo to Akron today to take the roster spot of the recently traded Ron Wright.  However, with Luke Scott joining the Aeros, I'm not sure if this move will still happen. Grindell was hitting .220 with a homerun in 109 ABs for the Bisons this year.  He hit .283 with 11 homeruns for Akron last season.

Who would take Grindell's roster spot in Buffalo?  Is Chris Magruder (remember him?) ready to be activated?  He's been out since late March with a broken ankle.   How about this idea: Josh Paul (catcher) refused assignment by the White Sox today and became a free agent.  What if the roster spot was created for Paul and hints at the "sooner rather than later" promotion of Victor Martinez with Paul taking over as the catcher in Buffalo?  Josh has some skills and Maric loves him, so he has to be good, right?  Just a thought.

Ivan Ochoa, he of the .239 lifetime average, is off to a fast start in Kinston, hitting .387/.472/.419 in 62 at-bats. He's been bothered by a nagging hamstring but when he's played, he's hit, which is an interesting development for the slick fielding shortstop.

JJ Sherrill was activated off the Lake County disabled list.

Tim Drew (7.50 ERA in AAA) was recalled by Montreal and will join the Expos bullpen while Mike Bacsik was sent back to triple-A by the Mets while Marcus Scutaro was designated for assignment by the Mets.

This Day in Indians History (from www.todayinbaseballhistory.com
1986 - Give him an 'A' for effort. San Francisco second baseman Robby Thompson (current special assistant to Mark Shapiro) is caught stealing four times in the Giants' 7-6, 12-inning win over the Reds, establishing a new major league record. Thompson was thrown out by Bo Diaz (former Indians catcher) in the fourth, sixth, ninth and 11th innings.

BUFFALO (46-30, 1st Place, 5.5 GA): The Bisons continue to roll as they knocked off Columbus 10-8 last night. Victor Martinez had three more hits and drove in three runs. Travis Hafner and Luis Garcia also had three hits apiece. One of Garcia's knock was a double. Greg LaRocca and Reed Secrist singled, doubled, and walked. Maicer Izturis did the same and also stole a base. Jhonny Peralta added a basehit and was hit by a pitch. Brian Tallet allowed five runs in six innings on seven hits and three walks while fanning three. Lance Caraccioli was touched for two runs in 1.1 innings. Aaron Myette walked three and recorded only one out. Alex Herrera was credited with the win despite recording only one out and walking two. Chad Paronto worked a final scoreless frame for his 11th save.

AKRON (50-30, 1st Place, 5.0 GA): Off day

KINSTON (3-3, 3rd Place, 1.5 GB): Miguel Quintana singled in the winning run in the 10th inning to give the K-Tribe an extra inning win in Frederick. Ivan Ochoa singled three times and drove in a pair of runs. Luis Cotto was on base four times, twice by singles and twice by walk. Wily Taveras tripled and was hit by a pitch. Jason Cooper added a basehit in his high-A debut. Eider Torres walked and stole his 34th base. Rodney Choy Foo received three free passes. JD Martin (4.59) turned in another solid outing as he went six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out five. Doug Lantz tossed two scoreless innings and Lee Gronkiewicz (2-1, 3.12), despite giving up a game-tying three-run homer in the bottom of the 9th inning, was credited with the win after the Indians rallied in the top of the 10th and he shut the door in the bottom-half of the inning.

LAKE COUNTY (7-0, 1st Place, 1.0 GA): The Captains cruised to their seventh consecutive victory Jim Warden and two relievers combined on a 8-0 shutout of Lakewood. Warden (1-1, 2.45) turned in his best outing of the year as he struck out five in six innings, scattering only two hits and a walk. Carlos De La Cruz and Kevin Martin then finished with a combined three innings of one-hit relief. Shaun Larkin (.271) drove in three runs with a homer (#12), double, and single and he also walked. Nathan Panther also had three hits, including his 9th longball, and he also walked and stole a base. Clayton McCullough had a pair of hits while Chris De La Cruz drove in a pair of runs and singled. Micah Schilling walked twice and Ben Francisco and JJ Sherrill also received free passes.

MAHONING VALLEY (6-4, 2nd Place, 3.0 GB): The Scrappers were shut out 2-0 by Hudson Valley last night as Jesus Colmenter, Ryan Mulhern, and Ryan Goleski managed the only MValley hits. Mulhern also walked and stole a base. Kevin Kouzmanoff and Josh Noviskey also received free passes. Adam Brandenburg tossed four scoreless innings, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out one. Matt Davis (0-2, 2.45) took the loss when he allowed a run in one inning of work. Roger Lincoln finished with three innings of one-run ball.

BURLINGTON (5-6, 2nd Place, 2.0 GB): The B-Tribe defeated Martinsville 7-4. Jose Cruz (.355) had two hits, including his third double of the season. Chris Clem singled twice, walked, was hit by a pitch, and also stole a base. Luis Hodge also had a pair of baseknocks. Mike Woodson singled and drove in two runs while Julio Garcia added a basehit. Fernando Pacheco was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and also made an error in the field. Edward Mujica (1-0, 4.20) allowed four runs in five innings on seven hits and a walk while striking out three. Matt Haynes tossed two scoreless frames and Rodolfo Navarro picked up his first save after pitching a scoreless final two innings.


 

June 26, 2003  

CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT -- Thursday, June 26  
Record:30-45, 4th Place, 10.5 GB
Last:Lost 3-1 to Kansas City on Wednesday
Streak:Lost two in a row
Next:Tonight vs Kansas City, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Jose Lima (1-0, 4.76) vs Ricardo Rodriguez (3-7, 5.47)
On Deck:Three games this weekend vs the Red Legs


Tonight is the night. I do this every year so if you're not a hoops fan, feel free to skip down to the Tribe news. Otherwise, here's my NBA mock draft...

1) Cleveland: LeBron James.....It's now official
2) Detroit: Darko Milicic.....The next Nowitski?
3) Denver: Carmelo Anthony.....Kiki is Mile High
4) Toronto: Chris Bosh......The next KG?
5) Miami: Maciej Lampe....Riley starts to rebuild
6) LA Clips: Chris Kaman.....Ha Ha ($1 to Nelson Muntz)
7) Chicago: Dwayne Wade....So underrated, he's overrated
8) Milwaukee: Kirk Hinrich....Can shoot better than.....
9) New York: TJ Ford.... who will run with Spree
10) Washington: Jarvis Hayes....Stackhouse replacement
11) Golden State: Marcus Banks....Arenas replacement
12) Seattle: Nick Collison....Not a fan
13) Memphis: Mickael Pietrus....Sounds good on paper
14) Seattle: Reece Gaines....PG who shoots first
15) Orlando: Leandrinho Barbosa....Please drop to 2nd
16) Boston: Luke Ridnour....The next-gen Bob Cousy?
17) Phoenix: Zarko Cabarkopa....Who dat?
18) New Orleans: Mike Sweetney....Slider who can play
19) Utah: Aleksandar Pavolov....I love "best shooter" types
20) Boston: Brian Cook....This years Boozer?
21) Atlanta: Boris Diaw...6-9" French PG?
22) New Jersey: Zoran Planinic....See you in a few years
23) Portland: Ndubi Edi...Typical Blazers pick
24) LA Lakers: David West....Nice situation
25) Detroit: Travis Hanson....Another shooter
26) Minnesota: Mo Williams....Brandon replacement
27) Memphis: Sofokis Schortsonitis...Grizz going Euro.
28) San Antonio: Kendrick Perkins....Will learn from the best
29) Dallas: Malick Badiane....Is he related to Pape at CSU?
31) Cleveland: Jerome Beasley....Athletic D2 big man.

I'd prefer the Cavs go long-term Euro in the second but Beasley's an interesting player. They also need to bring in a (quality) veteran(s) to help at the point and in the paint.

C'mon Cavs...Gotta make it happen!!

Tremendous outing by Brian Anderson last night in holding the Royals to one run over eight innings. This continues a nice streak by BA over his last five starts (dating to June 2) in which he's posted a 2.35 ERA in 30.2 innings. If he can keep this up for the next month, the Indians just may have a valuable trading chip to bring to the table at the trade deadline in July. Lefties are always in demand and Anderson's low salary ($1.5 million base) should make him even more attractive to a contender.

Karim Garcia and Dan Miceli were dealt to the New York Yankees yesterday in a move clearly designed to create space (and at-bats) in the outfield. Garcia had just been activated off the disabled list by the Indians on Monday and the prevailing notion had been that Coco Crisp was going to have to be sent down to Buffalo when Ricardo Rodriguez was activated for his start tonight but this deal takes care of that. Karim's problems this season are well documented, bothered by a wrist injury, he hit only .194/.238/.366/.603 with six extrabase hits (five homeruns) in 93 at-bats for the Indians this season. His numbers at Buffalo during a 14-game rehab assignment weren't all that more impressive either, as he hit .267/.290/.367/.657 with six doubles and no longballs in 60 ABs. Mark Shapiro had indicated that he would play after his activation but there was a definite time period in which he had to perform before a decision was made on his future. It's likely that would have been around the All-Star break and I think Shapiro saw this trade as an opportunity to bypass that evaluation period and simply implement the inevitable and turn the ABs over to the kids now.

Garcia has a history with the Yankees as he actually began the 2002 season in the Yankees system (signed with New York after the Indians released him in spring training) and played in two games with the Yankees in June before he was designated for assignment, which he refused and re-signed with the Indians on July 13. His second half last year was one of the lone bright spots for the Indians as he hit .299 with 16 homers and a major-league leading 52 RBIs from August 6 through the end of the season. The Tribe had hopes he could duplicate that performance in 2003 but the combination of a bum wrist and poor plate discipline (7 walks in 153 combined ABs) did him in. I've been a Garcia supporter in the past but, while it would have been nice to see him get a half-season of healthy ABs with the Indians this year, I can't argue with moving him to create regular playing time for Jody Gerut and Coco Crisp. Garcia, incidentally, is the greatest outmaker, compared to the league average, among OF with 1000+ PA (since 1900) according to the ATM Report. Even if you don't know what means, realize that being an "outmaker" is never good.

Dan Miceli was signed by the Indians in May after being released by the Rockies and he actually pitched pretty well for the Tribe, posting a 1.20 ERA and striking out 19 in 15 innings (9H, 6W). The Yankees need bullpen help and I have a feeling that Miceli is whom they were after and Mark Shapiro saw this as an opportunity to move Garcia, free up regular at-bats for the kids, while saving some money in the process. Depending on the source, the Indians are likely to save $500k (PD) or $700k by trading Miceli and Garcia's contract and, hopefully, that money would be given to John Mirabelli to use in signing some of the later-round flyers from the recent draft. I'm not holding my breath on that one though.

The Indians will receive a PTBNL, of whom Mark Shapiro described as "not of substantial consequence", or cash from the Yankees. One paper noted that the Indians will have until November 1 to make their choice while Paul Hoynes notes in the Plain Dealer that Mark Shapiro indicated it would likely be cash and less than $10,000. With that being said, I don't think there's a real need to start examining the Yankees system for possible PTBNLs, but I will mention one player of whom the Indians should be intimately familiar with and that is RHP Brandon Harmsen who the Yanks selected in the 6th round last year out of Grand Rapids CC. If the name sounds familiar, it's because the Indians drafted Harmsen in both 2000 (24th round out of high school) and 2001 (28th round out of GRCC) but could not come to terms with the righty as a DFE before last years draft. Harmsen signed with New York for a $100k bonus and had a 4.71 ERA in eight appearances (36.1 IP, 55 H) in eight appearances in the Midwest League before being demoted to the NY-Penn League where he has not allowed an unearned run in 10 innings. He doesn't really fit the "not of substantial consequence" profile as described by Mark Shapiro but if Miceli and Garcia perform well in New York, maybe the prospect headed our way could get bumped up a level.

Jack Cressend replaces Miceli in the bullpen after his contract was purchased from Buffalo. Cressend is a 28-year old right-hander whom the Indians claimed off waivers from the Twins this past October after Minnesota removed him from their 40-man roster and tried to sneak him through waivers (likely due to the fact that Cressend had shoulder surgery in September). He's been rehabbing the last two months in the Indians farm system and aside from a disastrous first game in Kinston, he's pitched pretty well. His combined numbers at Akron and Buffalo have him posting a 0.59 ERA in 30.2 innings (22H, 8W, 22K) and holding opposing hitters to a .199 average. Nice work. He doesn't throw hard (88-90) but he had a solid 2001 campaign with the Twins (3.67 ERA, 56.1 IP, 40 K) before his injury-plauged 2002 season (on DL since June, surgery in September).

Ricardo Rodriguez will be activated today to start against the Royals and he will take Karim Garcia's spot on the 25-man roster.

I probably haven't said enough about the tremendous season that Milton Bradley is having but his two hits last night raised his averages to .347/.444/.529/.973 and he's now reached base in 59 of the 60 games he has played this year. I talk about walks a lot and how that's an indicator that a hitter controls the strikezone and, therefore, should find himself in better hitting counts more often, and one reason for his success this year is very obvious. Bradley has 38 walks in 225 at-bats as opposed to 32 walks in 328 at-bats last season. Better pitch counts equal better pitches to hit which turns into more hits. It will be a crime if he is not on the All-Star team.

Is Eddie Murray still on the coaching staff? Does Brandon Phillips know who he is? Just wondering.

Jose Santiago cleared waivers and has accepted an assignment to triple-A Buffalo. He pitched two scoreless innings last night.

Kazuhito Tadano allowed his first earned runs in double-A last night as he was touched for three runs on seven hits (including one longball) in three innings of work. His ERA now stands at 0.87 (3 ER in 31 IP) and he's allowed 29 hits and 3 walks while striking out 27.

Kinston catcher Ben Margalski was traded to the Montreal Expos (probably for future considerations). Margalski, known more for his defensive skills, lived up o that billing at the plate as he was hitting only .154/.286/.188 in 117 ABs for the K-Tribe this year. Margalski was acquired by the Indians last October from the Phillies as the PTBNL from the Jeff D'Amico trade in April 2002.

Margalski's removal from the roster makes room should make room for Dave Wallave to be promoted from Lake County. Wallace is hitting .291/.413/.453/.866 with 14 doubles and six homeruns for the Captains with 37 walks, 10 HBPs, and 52 strikeouts. The former Vanderbilt quarterback (and non-drafted free-agent signee by the Indians) has opened some eyes this season and it will be interesting to see how he responds at a higher level.

Jason Cooper will join Wallace in Kinston in a major boost to the K-Tribe offense. Cooper hit .298/.387/.550/.937 with 17 doubles, 6 triples, and 12 homeruns for the Captains while walking 32 times and striking out 51 times. He signed very late last year so be encouraged by the fact those numbers came (essentially) in his first season of pro ball. I don't think it's out of the question that a good second half in high-A ball could have Cooper starting 2004 in Akron next season.

Jim Ingraham notes in the LMJ that Michael Aubrey (strained quad) will be out for seven more days and that fellow first-rounder Brad Snyder is expected to make his pro debut tomorrow for Mahoning Valley. Since signing with the Indians, Snyder has been getting himself back into baseball shape since Ball State's season ended early and he had not played in a month.

I'm not sure if it's the same guy but Kevin Sullivan (catcher) has signed with the Rockies and is bouncing around their system behind the plate.

Thanks to the Miceli acquisition, Mike Thurman was designated for assignment by the Yankees.

Jose Vizcaino was placed on the 15-day DL by the Astros after he was hit by a pitch that fractured his left wrist.

More on the Indians and Port Charlotte, it now looks like the Tribe is going to have to purchase their own furniture and computers. What kind of barbarians are running that county?!? Thanks to Paul for keeping us informed on the latest news down in Florida.

I am addicted to the 11:00 hour of Seinfeld on Channel 43. It's the best (and the worst).

BUFFALO (45-30, 1st Place, 4.5 GA): Cliff Lee tossed six shutout innings to lead the Bisons to a 8-0 victory over Columbus. Lee (2-0, 2.25) struck out six and allowed five hits and two walks in his six frames on the mound. Jose Santiago (guess he cleared waivers, huh?) worked two scoreless innings while Carl Sadler finished with a scoreless frame. Victor Martinez (.323) singled twice and doubled to drive in two runs. Travis Hafner (.275) had three hits and a walk. Luis Garcia knocked in four runs with a pair of doubles. Maicer Izturis (.315) doubled, singled, and walked. Greg LaRocca had a pair of hits. Reed Secrist doubled and Scott Pratt and Jhonny Peralta singled. Alex Escobar struck out three times and walked.

AKRON (50-30, 1st Place, 5.5 GA): The Aeros lost 5-3 in Portland. Oscar Alvarez (4.66) started and allowed two runs in three innings. Kazuhito Tadano permitted his first earned runs in double-A as he was touched for three runs in three innings on seven hits (including one longball). Jake Robbins and Rafael Betancourt finished with a scoreless inning apiece. Brian Luderer had two hits and a walk. Joe Inglett and Grady Sizemore doubled. Alex Requena singled twice and stole a base. Ryan Church, Corey Smith, and Tyler Minges added basehits. Minges also walked. Luderer committed an error.

KINSTON (2-3, 3rd Place, 1.5 GB): All-Star Break

LAKE COUNTY (6-0, 1st Place, 1.0 GA): All-Star Break

MAHONING VALLEY (6-3, 2nd Place, 2.0 GB): The Scrappers shutout Hudson Valley 7-0. Scott Roehl, Michael Hernandez, and Adam Hanson combined to strike out 11 Explorers while limiting them to just four hits. Hernandez picked up his third win by pitching three hitless innings and fanning five. He'll be moving up soon. Ryan Mulhern drove in three runs with his first pro homerun and a single.

BURLINGTON (4-6, 3rd Place, 2.0 GB): The B-Tribe lost 10-7 in Kingsport. Nick Pesco started for the Indians and pitched well in three innings, giving up one run on three hits and three walks while striking out two. Richard De Los Santos was charged with five runs (only one earned) in two innings while Hector Santana allowed three runs in two innings of work. Dan Guzman finished by allowing a run in his lone frame. Jose Cruz belted his second homerun and also doubled and singled to drive in three runs. Junior Garcia (.381) continues to rock as he singled twice, walked, and stole a base. Domingo Vasquez doubled and stole a base. Teodoro Encarnacion doubled. Juan Valdes walked twice and singled while Omar Casillas singled and walked. Brandon Pinckney walked twice and stole a base and Chris Clem walked twice and was hit by a pitch. Clem made two errors in the field and De Los Santos hurt his cause by also committing a miscue.

 

June 25, 2003  

CIR UPDATE  
The Indians traded Karim Garcia and Dan Miceli to the New York Yankees today for a PTBNL. Interesting deal, especially considering the Yankees cut Garcia early last season and the Indians just signed Miceli a little over a month ago after he was released by the Rockies. Jack Cressend was called up from Buffalo to take Miceli's spot in the bullpen. Ricardo Rodriguez should take Garcia's spot on the 25-man roster which means that Coco Crisp should remain in Cleveland. There's a lot of shoulds in that sentence, we'll see what transpires later this evening. I wonder who will replace Cressend in Buffalo, perhaps Rafael Betancourt or Kazuhito Tadano? More tomorrow in the CIR.


CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT -- Wednesday, June 25  
Record:30-44, 4th Place, 9.5 GB
Last:Lost 3-1 to Kansas City on Tuesday
Streak:Lost one
Next:Tonight vs Kansas City, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Kyle Snyder (1-4, 4.75) vs Brian Anderson (4-6, 4.35)
On Deck:Three games vs Cincinnati this weekend

Thanks to Ron, Rick, Dave, and Gary for allowing me the opportunity to talk Tribe with them last night on the Reality Check program on SportsTalkCleveland.com. It was a good time and good discussion and I look forward to having the opportunity to talk with them again in the future.

You can stop dreaming now. Let's just not discuss last night's game, ok?

As expected, Jhonny Peralta was returned to Buffalo to make room for Ricky Gutierrez on the 25-man roster. Gutierrez played third base last night and went 1-for-4 in his first game at the big league level since August 14 of last year.

Dave Elder will have exploratory surgery today in Philadelphia (same doctor who operated on Jason Bere) on his ailing shoulder and is out for the season. Elder has been on the disabled list since May 13 with tendinitis.

Ellis Burks' surgery on Monday was successful as he had two bone chips removed and his ulnar nerve was moved to prevent further irritation.

Jeremy Guthrie continues to adjust to triple-A hitters as he fired his second consecutive tremendous outing last night in blanking the Columbus Clippers for eight innings in the Bisons 4-0 victory. Guthrie, who carried a shutout into the 9th inning in his last start, scattered four hits and walked none while striking out five in a start that was reminiscent of the dominance he demonstrated in double-A earlier this season. In his last two starts, he's allowed just one run in 17 innings while scattering seven hits and a walk and striking out eight.

Victor Martinez is ranked number three on the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet while Grady Sizemore earns honorable mention honors. Martinez had two more hits last night and his average now stands at .317 for the season.

Sandwich first round pick Adam Miller threw four hitless innings in his professional debut on Monday in Burlington's 4-3 win over Kingsport. Miller walked only three and struck out two in an encouraging opening to his pro career.

Ryan Garko (3rd round pick) was presented with the Johnny Bench award as the best college catcher after he hit .402-18-92 and led the Stanford Cardinal to the final game of the College World Series (which they lost to Rice on Monday night). Garko is now free to sign with the Indians and negotiations are not expected to last long since Garko is a college senior.

Mike Thurman, released by the Indians this spring, was called up by the Yankees. He'll work out of the bullpen for the Bronx Bombers.

In case you missed it last night, John Hart dealt Juan Gonzalez to the Montreal Expos for a pair of minor leaguers with the deal hinging on Gonzalez waiving his no-trade clause within the next 72 hours, something his agent (Jeff Moorad) has indicated is not going to happen. I understand it's his contractually negotiated right to refuse a trade but you have to wonder why Gonzalez would pass on the opportunity to play the rest of this season for a contender while also receiving the opportunity to play a few games in his native Puerto Rico. Smells like posturing for more money to me. Bravo to Omar Minaya for once again attempting to make a run at the postseason under the auspices of MLB control. For an excellent take on this deal, check out the Newberg Report.

The spring training saga continues. Port Charlotte has tossed the Indians proposal fpr a $3.5 million office and clubhouse back into the Indians laps, saying that if the Tribe wants it for their exclusive use, they are going to have to pay for it.

BUFFALO (44-30, 1st Place, 3.5 GA): Jeremy Guthrie turned in his second consecutive start as he blanked the Columbus Clippers for eight innings in a 4-0 Bisons victory. Guthrie, who carried a shutout into the 9th inning in his last start, scattered four hits and walked none while striking out five in a start that was reminiscent of the dominance he demonstrated in double-A earlier this season. Chad Paronto pitched a scoreless final inning. Greg LaRocca doubled and singled. Scott Pratt singled twice with a walk and Victor Martinez added two more hits. Nate Grindell belted a solo homerun (#1) and walked while Mark Little singled. Maicer Izturis was a perfect 3-for-3 and scored twice.

AKRON (50-29, 1st Place, 5.5 GA): The Aeros lost 6-5 to Portland. Joe Inglett had three hits, including his first homerun, in the losing cause. Alex Requena also went yard for the first time this year. Ryan Church and Corey Smith had a pair of hits. Tyler Minges singled and doubled. Grady Sizemore (.296) singled and walked. Brian Luderer banged out a safety and Hector Luna walked. Kyle Evans (3.06) went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out six. Ryan Larson gave up two runs in two innings to lower his record to 0-4 on the season.

KINSTON (2-3, 3rd Place, 1.5 GB): All-Star Break

LAKE COUNTY (6-0, 1st Place, 0.5 GA): The Northern Division (Lake County) lost to the Southern Division 3-2 in the South Atlantic League All-Star game last night in Lexington, Kentucky. Fausto Carmona, Todd Pennington, and Dan Eisentrager each worked a scoreless inning while Shea Douglas allowed an unearned run. Among the position players, Jason Cooper singled, Nathan Panther was picked off first base (after pinch-running for Cooper) and Shaun Larkin and Chris De La Cruz were hitless.

MAHONING VALLEY (5-3, 2nd Place, 2.0 GB): The Scrappers fell 10-9 in 11 innings last night to Batavia. Ryan Mulhern and Javi Herrera both singled, doubled, and walked. Kevin Kouzmanoff doubled and singled. Anthony Lunetta and Ryan Goleski each singled twice. Cesar Suarez singled twice and stole two bases. Eric Johnson singled, walked, and swiped three bags (#6-7-8). Mike Conroy singled and walked and Jesus Colmenter singled and stole a base. TJ Burton was roughed up for seven runs in 3.2 innings as he gave up 11 hits and walked two without striking out a batter. The bullpen pitched pretty solid after that, striking out 13 in 7.1 innings of relief and allowing only one earned run. Honeudis Pereyra fanned five in 2.1 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) to score. Shane Wallace struck out three in two scoreless innings and Chris White fanned four in two scoreless frames. Matt Davis was charged with the loss when an unearned run crossed the plate in the 11th inning. Davis and Eric Johnson committed errors for the Scrappers.

BURLINGTON (4-5, 3rd Place, 1.0 GB): The B-Tribe lost 4-2 to Kingsport. Juan Valdes (5th round) drove in a pair of runs with a pair of hits. Jose Cruz doubled. Fernando Pacheco doubled and walked. Omar Casillas, Julio Garcia, and Domingo Vasquez singled while Matt Colin and Chad Longworth walked. Rafael Perez allowed four runs (three earned) in 5.1 innings on seven hits. He walked none and struck out three. Jonathan Amador struck out three in 1.2 innings and Reid Santos tossed a scoreless frame.

 

June 24, 2003  

CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT -- Tuesday, June 24  
Record:30-43, 4th Place, 9.5 GB
Last:Won 8-5 in Pittsburgh on Sunday
Streak:Won one
Next:Tonight vs Kansas City, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Chris George (8-4, 6.53) vs Jason Davis (6-5, 4.82)
On Deck:Three games vs Cincinnati this weekend at the Jake

I'm scheduled to appear with Ron Glasenapp on SportsTalkCleveland.com tonight at 8:30 PM ET to talk a little Tribe. It's an Internet only broadcast so you'll have to go new school to tune in.

Thanks to Chris Seper for the CIR mention in the Business section of the Plain Dealer yesterday in his article on Cleveland area blogs. It's much appreciated.

Dream with me a little here. If we sweep the Royals this week and the White Sox sweep the Twins, the Indians would only be 6-1/2 games out of first place on June 27. Pretty hard to believe, huh?

{{SMACK}}

Ok, back to reality. Mark Shapiro is quoted in the Plain Dealer this morning as saying that "sometime after the All-Star Break, we're going to bring every young guy up that we want to evaluate". Given that the Indians already have Jason Davis, Billy Traber, Josh Bard, Coco Crisp, Jody Gerut, Brandon Phillips, Zach Sorenson, Jhonny Peralta, and Ricardo Rodriguez in the big leagues, it's amazing that they have more to promote. Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez are the logical candidates along with Jeremy Guthrie (Shapiro says this is a development year so he's not a certainty to be promoted) and Alex Escobar (Shapiro says "he'll be on our team next year. I can wait until then to evaluate him"). Interesting comment, huh? I'm going to have to do some digging on this but, at first glance, 2003 may be Escobar's last option year so the Indians would have to carry him on the big league roster in 2004 or risk losing him through waivers. I suppose we'll also get a look at the other minor leaguers (Luis Garcia, etc) on the 40-man roster and possibly some of the "need to add to the 40 or risk losing in the Rule 5 draft" players like Jason Stanford and Maicer Izturis. Don't forget Rafael Betancourt (71 K in 43.1 innings for Akron) too. Those K's should merit a look, no? Japanese sensation Kazuhito Tadano is a doubtful callup simply because he does not need to be added to the 40-man roster in the offseason. Ok, I'm getting away from myself here. We'll save this discussion for later in the season.

Karim Garcia was activated from the disabled list yesterday and Mark Shapiro said that he will primarily play rightfield which would seem to indicate that Jody Gerut would move over to leftfield. What this does to Coco Crisp (DH, platoon, sent to triple-A) remains to be seen. Paul Hoynes notes in the Plain Dealer that Shapiro indicated that Garcia has a specific amount of time to show he belongs in the big leagues and while Shapiro would not specify the exact length of time, I agree with Hoynsie that the All-Star Break is the probable deadline. Expect him to play a lot over the next three weeks.

Jose Santiago was designated for assignment (one day after being called up) to make room for Garcia on the 25-man roster and the Indians have 10 days to trade, release, or outright him to the minor leagues. Another team could claim him on waivers as well. Santiago also has the right to refuse assignment to the minor leagues but he would have to forfeit the remainder of his Indians contract if he chooses that route. I believe he signed for approximately $600k and even with a split major/minor league deal I would suspect he's making more than the average triple-A player and would accept assignment to Buffalo unless another team offers him more dollars. Santiago has to be designated because he is out of options.

Jim Ingraham also wonders on the fate of Nick Bierbrodt (as I did yesterday) in the LMJ this morning after the lefty failed to see any action in the 39 innings against the Pirates over the weekend. According to Ingraham, though, Mark Shapiro says that "'For us, Nick is going to be a development guy that we will try to develop at the major league level. 'We'll pick our spots on when we use him. But he's a left-hander, with a good pedigree. We just need to figure out where he fits for us.'' As to whether he'll be designated for assignment when Ricardo Rodriguez is activated on Thursday, Shapiro said "'If we put him on waivers, we'd lose him for sure". So, does this mean that Bierbrodt will be with the Indians after Thursday? It sure sounds like it, doesn't it? But I think there still remains a possibility that he could be the odd man out.

So if not Bierbrodt, who will be sent down when Rodriguez is activated? How about this list...

1) Zach Sorenson: Ricky Gutierrez can play three infield positions along with Johnny Mac.
2) John McDonald: Placed on the 15-day DL, Gutierrez and Sorenson handle shortstop.
3) Shane Spencer: Either released or traded. Hitting only .235/.299/.331/.630 with three homeruns and 40 strikeouts in 166 at-bats.
4) Karim Garcia: The leash was very short.
5) Coco Crisp: Sent down until the Indians dump one of Spencer, Garcia, or Lawton.
6) Wildcard: The roster is full of marginal players (Blake, Boyd, Miceli, etc). Would it be a surprise (or big loss) if we moved one of them?

(Quick side note: Lots of good comments from Mark Shapiro today)

I haven't seen anything cross the wire, but Ricky Gutierrez is expected to be activated today with Jhonny Peralta being the likely candidate to be sent down. Although I suppose it wouldn't be that surprising is Zach Sorenson is sent down or John McDonald is placed on the disabled list.

Victor Martinez was named the International League Hitter of the Week after hitting .412 and slugging .794 with four doubles, three homeruns, and driving in nine runs.

Martinez was also named to the World Team for the Futures Game (it's his second consecutive appearance) while Grady Sizemore was named to the U.S. Team. Marty Brown (Buffalo manager) and Brad Komminsk (Akron manager) will serve as coaches for the U.S. squad. The Futures Game will be played on Sunday, July 13 at Comiskey Park as part of the All-Star Game Festivities and will be televised by ESPN2.

Travis Hafner is expected to return to the Bisons lineup tomorrow and Mark Shapiro had some rather strong words regarding Hafner in the Plain Dealer this morning as he said "'I wouldn't say disappointed is the right word, but we are feeling a sense of urgency in that we need to find out about what we have in Travis." I think Shapiro is dead-on here. It's too early to be disappointed (and he's been injured) but the urgency is definitely there with Ben Broussard in the mix and all the outfielders that will need at-bats (either in the outfield or DH) at the big league level next year.

The Tribe made two minor-league deals, the first of which sent Buffalo right-hander Jamie Brown to Boston for a PTBNL. He'll report to their triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket. Brown was the Indians 21st round pick in 1996 draft and was pitching pretty well for the Bisons, posting a 3.52 ERA in 61.1 innings while only giving up 45 hits and 17 walks. The key number when looking at Brown, however, is 26 as that is both his age and the number of strikeouts he's posted this season. The former makes him old for a prospect, especially when he is surrounded by younger hurlers with better arms, while the latter is well below average when combined into a K/BB ratio (26/17) or K/IP ratio (26/61.1), both of which are strong indicators of future big league success. Brown became expendable when Brian Tallet was returned to Buffalo (along with the recent promotions of Jeremy Guthrie and Cliff Lee) and the Bisons rotation will now consist of Guthrie, Lee, Tallet, Jason Phillips, and Jason Stanford. This is a good move for Brown, though, as the Sox need pitching and I wish him well. He was a good organizational soldier.

The second trade sent Aeros first basemen Ron Wright to Detroit for a PTBNL and he'll report to their triple-A affiliate in Toledo. Wright's a former top prospect (Braves and Pirates) turned journeyman who was hitting .261/.376/.466 with nine doubles and nine homeruns for Akron this season. It would not surprise me, however, if this move is a prelude to a domino chain of promotions in which Luke Scott is promoted to Akron from Kinston and Jason Cooper moves from Lake County to Kinston.

The above makes even more sense when combined with Captains manager Luis Rivera's comment in the Plain Dealer this morning in which he said that some callups will be announced today or tomorrow.

LHP Luis Alvarado was released from Mahoning Valley. He was the Indians 19th round pick in the 2001 draft and had a 3.32 ERA in two seasons in the Indians system (both at Burlington). Alberto Garza was also released from the Valley. He pitched in one game for the Scrappers (striking out two) after resigning with the Indians earlier this season after he was released by the Yankees after signing with the Bronx Bombers in the offseason as a minor league free-agent. You got all that?

The White Sox activated Sandy Alomar from the 15-day disabled list.

Team USA is scheduled to play five games at Mills Field in Strongsville from 7/24-7/28 and the best part of all is that admission is FREE. Last year, I saw Indians first round pick Michael Aubrey and the #2 overall pick Rickie Weeks play for the Red, White, and Blue so it's well worth marking those dates on your calendar (especially given the price). Team USA is currently having trials to finalize the national roster but you can expect to see a bunch of potential 2004 first round picks on the field in Strongsville in July.

Today in Indians History (from www.todayinbaseballhistory.com)
1983 - Milwaukee's Don Sutton strikes out Alan Bannister in the eighth inning of a 3-2 win over Cleveland to become the eighth pitcher in Major League history with 3,000 career strikeouts. County Stadium is packed with 46,037 fans for the game, mostly to welcome back popular outfielder Gorman Thomas, who was traded to Cleveland earlier in the month

CLEVELAND (30-43, 4th Place, 9.5 GB): Scheduled day off

BUFFALO (43-30, 1st Place, 2.5 GA): Scheduled day off

AKRON (50-28, 1st Place, 6.5 GA): Eric Crozier drove in Corey Smith with a triple in the top of the 9th inning to give the Aeros a 2-1 victory in Portland. Crozier also walked while Smith doubled and singled. Hector Luna and Grady Sizemore had two hits apiece with Sizemore driving in the other Akron run. Joe Inglett walked three times and singled while Ryan Church doubled and Tyler Minges added a baseknock. Kyle Denney (2.41) struck out seven in six innings of one-run ball, scattering five hits and a walk. Ryan Larson allowed four baserunners in 1.1 innings while Jake Robbins (4-1, 1.16) was credited with the win after recording two outs in the 8th inning. Rafael Betancourt (1.25) struck out the side in the 9th for his 16th save.

KINSTON (2-3, 3rd Place, 1.5 GB): All-Star Break

LAKE COUNTY (6-0, 1st Place): All-Star Break

MAHONING VALLEY (5-2, 2nd Place, 1.0 GB): Eric Johnson (#2) and Jesus Colmenter (#1) belted homeruns to lead the Scrappers to a 8-3 victory over Batavia. Mike Conroy had two hits, including a triple, while Ryan Goleski and Javi Herrera doubled and Scott Threinen singled. Kevin Kouzmanoff and Anthony Lunetta walked. Randy Perez (2.08) did not allow an earned run (three unearned) in 4.2 innings as he walked two, permitted four hits, and struck out four. Ryan Prahm fanned five in 2.1 innings while Ignacio Montano and Reid Casey worked a scoreless frame apiece. Herrera, Colmenter, Threinen, and Perez committed errors in a sloppy day in the field for the Scrappers.

BURLINGTON (4-4): No boxscore reported but they did defeat Kingsport 4-3.

 

June 23, 2003  

ESPN.com - MLB - MLB Transactions  
CIR UPDATE
According to ESPN.com, the Indians have designated Jose Santiago for assignment and activated Karim Garcia from the 15-day disabled list. More tomorrow in the CIR.


 
FUTURES GAME UPDATE
You can listen to the announcement of the Futures Game players today on MLB.com for FREE from 3:00 to 5:00 PM this afternoon.

Grady Sizemore was named to the United States and Victor Martinez was named to the World team.

The Futures Game will be played on Sunday, July 13 at 5:30 and will be televised on ESPN2.


CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT -- Monday, June 23  

Record:30-43, 4th Place, 9.5 GB
Last:Won 8-5 in Pittsburgh on Sunday
Streak:Won one
Next:Tuesday vs Kansas City, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Paul Splittorf (0-0, 0.00) vs Al Fitzsimmons (0-0, 0.00)
On Deck:Three games vs Kansas City this week


"The Baseball Derby is the most interesting experiment I've seen in the fantasy prospect world." -- Baseball America

Play the Baseball Derby. It's the new, innovative, FREE game that involves projecting the success of baseball's top prospects using the betting system of horse racing. Follow your team's top prospects and win some great prizes, including autographed prospect memorabilia and the big daddy, an autographed ARod ball. Don't miss out, the deadline to enter is July 17. I'm playing (and getting my butt kicked) but it's still cool and worth checking out.

One weekend, 39 innings, 3, 1-2 record. Ugh.

Good weekend, though, for Milton Bradley (7-for 15 with three walks) and Brandon Phillips (5-for-17, two doubles, one homerun taken away by Brian Giles).

I know the bullpen was worked hard on Friday and Saturday but with a day off on Monday, I see no reason why CC Sabathia was allowed to start the 6th inning having already thrown 102 pitches.

Without question, PNC is the nicest park I have been to.

Ricky Gutierrez is expected to be activated from the disabled list either today or tomorrow and join the Indians for the start of their three-game series with the Royals on Tuesday. Gutierrez had three hits yesterday to raise his averages to .292/.338/.354/.692 for the Bisons in what should be his final rehab game at triple-A. Ricky has played second base, shortstop, and third base for Buffalo and I suspect we'll see him play all those positions with the Indians. It will be nice to see him back on the field (and recovered from his injury) and also to see if the Tribe can get any kind of return on their investment but, let's be honest, his return is not going to jump-start the offense (sub .700 OPS in triple-A) and it's questionable whether he'll be any improvement over Casey Blake (.254/.328/.406/.734, 16 2B, 6 HR) at the hot corner.

Jhonny Peralta is expected to return to Buffalo to make room for Gutierrez on the roster. Peralta was 4-for-24 in his short stint with the Indians that included two hits yesterday. I heard Tom Hamilton speculating on the radio yesterday that something may happen with John McDonald (back) but there was nothing in the papers on Johnny Mac this morning.

We can thank the back-to-back 15 inning games on Friday and Saturday for the return of Jose Santiago to the Indians bullpen. Santiago actually pitched pretty well in Buffalo (30IP, 27H, 10W, 17K) although those numbers and a .241 BAA don't necessarily support the 0.90 ERA he posted in 13 appearances. Still, as I mentioned when he was sent down, it's easy to see that he could be effective at the major league level if he can keep the ball down (and over the plate). It's easy to surmise that his stay in Cleveland will be short with Ricardo Rodriguez scheduled to be activated from the disabled list on Thursday but maybe it won't when you consider that Nick Bierbrodt has appeared in only two games (2 IP, 5 K) since signing with the Indians two weeks ago and did not pitch at all over the weekend despite the Tribe playing 39 innings against the Pirates. What does he have to do to get into a game? Is he hurt? Nothing has been reported. Is the Tribe sitting on him in the hopes of sneaking him through waivers (out of options, would need to be designated)? I don't have the answer to those questions but his inactivity makes me question whether he'll still be with the Indians at the end of the week.

Brian Tallet was optioned back to Buffalo to make room for Santiago on the 25-man roster. The only surprise in this move is that it happened a few days earlier than expected as Tallet was going to be sent down when Rodriguez was activated this week. Tallet posted a 3.77 ERA and .310 BAA in four appearances (14.1 IP, 18H, 5W, 6K) with the big league club. In two starts, he was 2.46 and .295.

To make room for Santiago on the 40-man roster, Ellis Burks was moved from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.

Speaking of Burks, Hal Lebowitz reports that Ellis is planning on purchasing a home in the Cleveland area (this explains his recent purchase of Cavaliers season tickets). The Indians hold a $6 million option on Burks for next season but it's anticipated that they will exercise the $500k buyout and allow him to become a free-agent. The above would seem to indicate that Burks plans (or hopes) on returning to the Indians next season. I think the Tribe would be happy to bring him in back, albeit at a reduced salary and a reduced role as designated hitter at-bats will be needed for (take your pick) Victor Martinez, Ben Broussard, Travis Hafner, your choice of young outfielder. I just think it's cool that Burks is still traveling with the team and will continue to travel with the team after his surgery today. I've never understood why guys just pack their bags and go home for the season instead of hanging out (and rehabbing) with the team. Hal also notes that the Indians would like Burks to remain with the organization after he retires, an offer that Burks would seem receptive to given he's purchasing a home in the area.

Jason Boyd says he did not bump umpire Dana Deluth on Saturday but it sure looked like he did on the replays. He and the Indians are awaiting word from the league office and if it's concluded that a bump occurred, Boyd will likely be suspended for a few games.

Victor Martinez is atop the Top Prospect Alert Hot List after hitting .407 through the month of June. I think he's getting pretty close to a call-up (maybe during the All-Star break).

Bisons skipper Marty Brown was quoted in the Buffalo News as saying that Travis Hafner (wrist) will return to the lineup on Wednesday.

They're eating bugs in Kinston.

Brian Slocum threw four innings out of the bullpen yesterday for the K-Tribe in order to get his work in before the Carolina League all-star break.

Kinston outfielder Wily Taveras received some love from Assistant Farm Director Ross Atkins in the Plain Dealer over the weekend as Atkins noted that Taveras has changed his approach at the plate and has a cannon for an arm in centerfield. Taveras is hitting .292/.383/.361/744 with eight doubles, two triples, and a homerun while maintaining a solid 26 BB / 32 K plate discipline ratio. He also has excellent speed and has swiped 38 of 47 bases this season. That combination of defense, speed, and OBP is his ticket to the big leagues but whether he can be anything more than a backup outfielder probably depends on his ability to add some more pop without sacrificing his eye or plate discipline. He'll need to be added to the 40-man roster in the offseason which makes him an interesting player to follow over the second half of the season.

Paul Hoynes reports in the Plain Dealer that Michael Aubrey will miss at least a week for Lake County after straining his right quadriceps muscle.

Nathan Panther was activated from the Captains disabled list last week (missed this in Saturday's report, I think).

Jesus Colmenter was also activated from the Lake County DL and sent down to Mahoning Valley where he had three hits yesterday.

Tonight on ESPN (7:00 ET), you can check out 3rd round pick Ryan Garko and the Stanford Cardinal battle the Rice Owls in the final game of the College World Series. You may also get a sneak preview of the Indians 2004 1st round pick in the form of 6'9" Rice right-hander Jeff Neimann who is 16-0 this season with a 1.63 ERA (121 IP, 87H, 32W, 142K) and is expected to be among the first ten picks in the 2004 June draft. Based on current standings, the Indians would have the 8th pick in the first round.

According to the Houston Chronicle, it looks as if Chuck Finley may be retiring.

Matt White (sore shoulder) returned to the mound for the Mariners and allowed one run in two-thirds of an inning yesterday.

This day in Indians History...

1932: Lou Gehrig plays his 1,103rd successive game in a Yankees uniform, equaling Joe Sewell's record with one team (Cleveland).

1962: Larry Doby, retired from the Cleveland Indians, signs on with the Chunichi Dragons. He becomes, with Don Newcombe, the first former major league player to toil for a Japanese team. Doby's season batting average will be a mediocre .225.

BUFFALO (43-30, 1st Place, 1.5 GA): The Bisons swept a doubleheader from Charlotte on Saturday.  Jason Phillips (9-1, 2.31) went seven innings in the opener for his 9th win, allowing three runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out two.  Victor Martinez belted his seventh homerun (and third in two games) and drove in two runs.  Maicer Izturis knocked in a run and had a pair of hits.  Ricky Gutierrez and Luis Garcia singled and walked while Scott Pratt and Greg LaRocca added basehits. 

The Bisons prevailed in the nightcap 6-3.  Victor Martinez (.311) had two more hits and also walked.  Karim Garcia did the same.  Maicer Izturis (.277) needed only a homerun for the cycle as he singled, doubled, and tripled.  Scott Pratt doubled and singled.  Dusty Wathan and Reed Secrist doubled.  Greg LaRocca and Alex Escobar added basehits.  Lance Caraccioli struck out four in four scoreless innings.  Alex Herrera was credited with the win despite allowing three runs in two innings and Chad Paronto worked a scoreless final frame for his 10th save.  Pratt and Martinez committed errors for the Bisons.

The Bisons lost 8-6 to Charlotte on Sunday. Jason Stanford (7-2, 3.24) took the loss after allowing eight runs (seven earned) in five innings on ten hits. He struck out five and walked none. Jack Cressend tossed three scoreless innings and Aaron Myette worked a scoreless frame. Ricky Gutierrez had three hits and stole a base. Scott Pratt also had three hits and knocked in two runs. Mark Little doubled with two singles. Luis Garcia banged out two doubles. Victor Martinez and Greg LaRocca had two hits apiece. Karim Garcia added a baseknock. Maicer Izturis played shortstop.

AKRON (49-28, 1st Place, 6.0 GA): The Aeros split a doubleheader in Binghamton on Saturday.  Derrick Van Dusen (7-4, 4.16) allowed two runs in five innings on five hits and three walks while striking out four for his seventh win.  Rafael Betancourt (1.28) fanned four in two scoreless innings for his 15th save.  The offense managed only three hits with one of them being a Ron Wright solo homerun (#9) and the others being a Hector Luna triple and a Luis Gonzalez single.  Gonzalez, Grady Sizemore, Wright, Corey Smith, and Eric Crozier walked. 

In the nightcap, the B-Mets jumped on Francisco Cruceta for five runs in the first inning (thanks in part to a Luis Gonzalez injury) and went on to a 5-1 victory over the Aeros.  Cruceta (5-5, 3.60) did not allow a run after that was charged with two earned runs (five total) in six innings on six hits and two walks while striking out seven.  Victor Valencia belted a solo homer (#8) and also singled.  Alex Requena doubled and walked.  Luis Gonzalez and Ron Wright singled and Tyler Minges walked.

Binghamton rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 9th inning for a 3-2 victory over Akron on Sunday. Fernando Cabrera started for the Aeros and allowed a run in 3.1 innings, striking out six and permitting five hits and two walks. Jose Vargas struck out four in 2.2 innings while Kazuhito Tadano remained perfect in double-A with two more scoreless innings. Jake Robbins suffered the loss when the tying run scored thanks to a hit batsmen and he walked in the winning run after the bases were loaded thanks to two singles and an error. Grady Sizemore went 4-for-4 with a triple and stolen base. Joe Inglett doubled. Corey Smith singled and swiped a bag and Ron Wright singled and walked. Robbins and Smith (#30) committed errors.

KINSTON (2-3, 3rd Place, 1.5 GB): Dan Denham struggled through four innings in his high-A debut as the K-Tribe lost to Salem 9-0.  Denham allowed seven runs (six earned) in 4.1 innings on eight hits and four walks while striking out one.  Let's chalk this one up to nervousness after his promotion.  Victor Kliene fanned three in 2.2 innings while Marcos Mendoza allowed two runs in two innings.  Rodney Choy Foo and Ivan Ochoa singled twice while Wily Taveras, Matt Knox, Miguel Quintana, and Rick Elder singled once.  Taveras and Luis Cotto walked while Luke Scott was hit by a pitch.  Knox committed an error.

Travis Foley tossed five shutout innings as the K-Tribe defeated Salem 3-2 on Sunday. Foley (5-7, 4.77) allowed just two hits and two walks over his five innings of work while striking out three. Brian Slocum worked the final four frames and was charged with two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out two. Dennis Malave had a pair of hits while Wily Taveras singled, was hit by a pitch, and stole his 38th base. Matt Knox and Armando Camacaro singled and Ivan Ochoa walked twice and Luke Scott received a free pass.

The K-Tribe is off until Thursday due to the Carolina League All-Star Break.

LAKE COUNTY (6-0, 1st Place, 1.0 GA): The Captains won their 5th in a row in a 10-3 victory in Delmarva.  Dave Wallace homered (#6) for the second straight game and also singled to drive in three runs.  Ricardo Rojas also went deep (#3) and doubled, driving in three runs, and also stealing a base.  Chris De La Cruz had a pair of hits and Jason Cooper doubled.  Shaun Larkin singled and walked while Ben Francisco singled and was hit by a pitch.  Nathan Panther and Micah Schilling added basehits while Angel Bastardo walked twice.  Sean Smith (6-3, 3.84) struck out eight in 5.2 innings and allowed two unearned runs on three hits and three walks.  Juan Lara was charged with an unearned run in 1.1 innings while Kevin Martin fanned three in two innings.

The Captains ran their unbeaten to six with a 3-2 win in Delmarva on Sunday. Jake Dittler allowed two runs in five innings, scattering four hits and a walk while striking out five. Shea Douglas (2-1), Blake Allen, and Todd Pennington (12th save) struck out six in four scoreless innings of relief. Ben Francisco had a pair of hits while Jason Cooper tripled. Micah Schilling singled and stole a base. Bryan Kent doubled. Chris De La Cruz singled. Ricardo Rojas and Jonathan Van Every also stole bases.


The Captains are off until Thursday due to the South Atlantic League All-Star break (game is Tuesday).

MAHONING VALLEY (4-2, 2nd Place, 1.0 GB): The Scrappers rolled over Auburn 9-3 on Saturday. Jesus Colmenter had three hits, including a double, to drive in three runs. Ryan Goleski also drove in three runs with a double and single. Ryan Mulhern and Josh Noviskey also doubled and singled. Javi Herrera had two singles and Kevin Kouzmanoff added a basehit. Eric Johnson walked and stole a base. Adam Brandenburg allowed two runs in 3.2 innings on four and a walk. He struck out two. Michael Hernandez fanned four in 2.1 scoreless innings to notch his second win. Matt Davis allowed an unearned run in 1.2 innings while Dan Rich worked a scoreless final 1.1 innings. Herrera made an error for the Scrappers.

Auburn knocked off the Scrappers 5-2 on Sunday. Chad Durbin (1-1, 2.25) worked the first five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks. He fanned five. Roger Lincoln did not allow a run in two innings while Mark Harris was charged with a run in two frames. Cesar Suarez and Kevin Kouzmanoff had two hits apiece for the Scrappers. Eric Johnson stole three bases (#3-4-5), singled, and was hit by pitches twice. Clint Chauncey and Ryan Goleski singled and walked and Jesus Colmenter received a free pass. Kouzmanoff committed an error in the field.

BURLINGTON (3-4, 3rd Place, 2.0 GB): The B-Tribe won 7-6 in Bristol.  Matt Colin homered (#1) and singled to drive in four runs.  Chris Clem singled twice, walked, and stole a base.  Brandon Pinckney singled twice and walked.  Junior Garcia drove in two runs with a pair of hits and also walked and stole a base.  Mike Woodson singled while Juan Valdes singled and stole a base.  Domingo Vasquez walked.  Edward Mujica allowed three runs on five hits and two walks in five innings while striking out five.  Matt Haynes struck out five in two innings while Bo Ashabraner (8th round pick) worked a scoreless innings.  Jimmy Schultz allowed three runs in the final inning.

Bristol rallied for a pair of runs in the late innings for a 3-2 victory over Burlington on Sunday. Dan Cevette (3.52) went the first 4.2 innings and allowed just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out five. Hector Santana relieved Cevette and allowed a run in the 7th inning (pitched 2.1 innings total) while Rodolfo Navarro surrendered the game-winner in the 8th. Junior Garcia (.462/.500/.769) doubled, singled, and stole a base. Teodoro Encarnacion doubled while Brandon Pinckney, Matt Colin, and Chris Clem singled. Colin and Clem drove in the Indians runs and Colin also walked. Pinckney, Domingo Vasquez, and Fernando Pacheco committed errors in the field.

 


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