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August 30, 2003  

CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT -- Saturday, August 30  
Record:60-75, 4th Place, 11 GB
Last:Lost 7-3 to Toronto on Friday
Streak:Lost one
Next:Tonight vs Toronto, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Cory Lidle (11-11, 6.21) vs Jake Westbrook (6-7, 4.78)
On Deck:Four games in Detroit next week

Jake Westbrook vs Cory Lidle for the Pizza Feed today (sigh). Not exactly a marquee matchup.

Brandon Phillips sat for the second straight game with a bruised wrist. The more I think about Phillips, the more I'm leaning towards the thought of just letting him spend the entire first half of 2004 in Buffalo and then make an evaluation after the All--Star Break. There will be no pressure on him in spring training, no pressure in early April, and he can just concentrate on playing ball and working on the adjustments the Indians want him to make at the plate. As for who will play second? I wouldn't be surprised if the Indians target a veteran free-agent (Adam Kennedy of the Angels comes to mind if he's non-tendered) in the 1-year, $1.5-$2 million dollar range similar to how they filled needs with Jason Bere, Brian Anderson, and Shane Spencer last offseason. I would also expect them to bring in a couple of Casey Blake six-year free-agents and hope to strike gold again. Although with the Indians possibly being on the verge of contention next season (if things break right), a veteran second basemen (who can play, of course) may be more appealing if he falls within their financial parameters. Just a thought.

Jason Davis played catch yesterday but no date has been set for his return to the mound.

Milton Bradley (back) is in Los Angeles to receive a second opinion.

John McDonald (knee) is in Vail to receive a second opinion.

Ellis Burks continues to recover from elbow surgery and he may be able to return in mid-September.

Jason Stanford is expected to start for the Indians on Monday and Chad Durbin on Tuesday against the Tigers. Durbin will need to be added to the 40-man roster which I believe currently stands at 39 (don't quote me on that though).

David Cortes cleared waivers and pitched yesterday in Buffalo.

Captains shortstop Chris De La Cruz has steadily been raising his average after a slow start and is now hitting .265 after going 9-for-24 with 5 RBIs this week. He's still not showing much power (11 extra base hits in 393 at-bats) but a strong finish is something to build on for next season. Kinston shortstop Ivan Ochoa did the same thing last year in Columbus.

Juan Gonzalez (.294/.329/.572/.901, 24 HR) is officially out for the season with a right calf injury. Where he eventually signs this offseason will be one of the fun things to watch in the free-agent market.

Mitch Meluskey was called up by the Astros.

Jaret Wright was claimed off waivers by the Braves. Wright was absolutely pounded this season as he went 1-5, 8.37 with a .348 BAA in 47.1 innings (69H, 28W, 41K) for the Padres. With an offseason and spring of Leo Mazzone's tutelage, expect Wright to post a 2.50 ERA next year as one of John Smoltz' setup man :-).

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it strange that high school football completed its second week before Labor Day?

BUFFALO (72-68, T-3rd, 7.5 GB): The Bisons won their 5th in a row with a 6-4 win over Ottawa. Zach Sorenson, Greg LaRocca, Benji Gil, Victor Valencia, Dusty Wathan all banged out two hits apiece. Sorenson and Valencia doubled. Lance Caraccioli allowed three runs in six innings with five punchouts. David Cortes picked up the win in two innings of relief.

AKRON (86-52, 1st Place, 8.0 GA): Rained out.

KINSTON (37-30, 1st Place, 1.0 GA): The K-Tribe won 2-1 in Myrtle Beach to maintain their slim one game lead over Salem with three games remaining. The Avalanche kept pace with a 6-5 win over Lynchburg. Travis Foley (10-10, 3.69) was sensational through six innings as he did not allow a run while fanning six and permitting five hits and three walks. Scott Sturkie allowed a bases-loaded walk and Marcos Mendoza and Lee Gronkiewicz closed out the game with a scoreless inning apiece. Armando Camacaro doubled, singled, and drove in a run. Rodney Choy Foo tripled. Wily Taveras plated the other Indians run and singled. Ivan Ochoa and Trey Dyson added basehits.

LAKE COUNTY (48-19, 1st Place, 7.0 GA): The Captains won in Lexington 7-3. Ricardo Rojas drove in three runs with a pair of singles and also stole two bases. Ben Francisco (.277) singled three times. Michael Aubrey (.341) had a pair of hits, as did Chris De La Cruz. Javi Herrera and Bryan Kent doubled, Nathan Panther walked twice, and Shaun Larkin added a baseknock. Dan Eisentrager (12-3, 1.72) worked 5.2 innings, allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out two. Shea Douglas and Kevin Martin combined for 3.1 scoreless innings of relief.

MAHONING VALLEY (36-35, 2nd Place, 18.5 GB): Joe Weaver and Honeudis Pereyra combined on a 5-0 shutout of Aberdeen. Weaver (1-0, 2.91) worked the first five innings, scattering two hits and two walks while striking out one. Pereyra (2.59, save #1) finished the final four by punching out six and allowing just one hit and a walk. Mike Conroy (.291) drove in four runs with his 7th dinger, a double, and single. Jonathan Van Every singled twice and stole a base. Brad Snyder had two hits. Ryan Goleski doubled. Ryan Garko singled. Brett Parker returned to action with a single and stolen base.


August 29, 2003  

Record:60-76, 4th Place, 11 GB
Last:Won 8-3 over Detroit on Thursday
Streak:Won two in a row
Next:Tonight vs Toronto, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Kelvim Escobar (9-8, 4.36) vs CC Sabathia (12-7, 3.44)
On Deck:Four games in Detroit next week

Jody Gerut took Jeremy Bonderman deep twice last night in the Indians 8-3 victory over the Tigers for his 17th and 18th homeruns of the season. Gerut is now hitting .285/.342/.509/.851 and among AL rookies, he's 3rd in BA, 3rd in OBP, 1st in Slg, 1st in OPS, T-2nd in HR, T-4th in 2B, and 3rd in RBIs. He has a chance to finish the season leading every category with the exception of doubles and RBIs where Hideki Matsui's 152 additional at-bats have provided him a substantial lead.

Cliff Lee was solid again last night, holding the Tigers to three runs in seven innings while punching out seven.

Ryan Ludwick has been taking ground balls at firstbase in preparation for a possible switch in 2004.  With Travis Hafner and Ben Broussard both swinging from the left side (Ludwick is right-handed) and six outfielders (Crisp, Gerut, Bradley, Ludwick, Lawton, Escobar) fighting for at-bats, increasing Ludwick's versatility could help to get him in the lineup.   We'll see how it pans out next March but, in general, increasing versatility is never a bad thing.

Bob Wickman is expected to throw an inning tonight for Akron, Victor Martinez is expected to play throughout the inning for the Aeros, and Jason Boyd will throw for the Aeros on Monday.  Expect Martinez and Boyd to be activated on Tuesday.

Alex Escobar was named to the International League All-Star Team.  Grady Sizemore and Kyle Denney were selected to the Eastern League squad.  Wily Taveras and Lee Gronkiewicz represent Kinston in the Carolina League.  Fausto Carmona, Luis Rivera (manager), and Tony Arnold (coach) were honored in the Sally League.  Carmona was named Most Outstanding Pitcher.  Brandon Pinckney was named the Appy League All-Star utility player and Rafael Perez the Pitcher of the Year.  The NY-Penn League has not announced their postseason all-star teams.

The Daily Dish offered these comments from Indians scouting director John Mirabelli yesterday regarding Jeremy Guthrie... "One thing he did when he got in trouble was he went to his velocity instead of pitching out of it. He learns pretty quick, though. He was 92-94, touching 95 (in his last two starts). His stuff is still pretty firm."

Hector Luna had four hits in the Aeros 6-3 victory over Trenton last night to raise his averages to .290/.361/.439 with 19 doubles, two homeruns, and 16 steals in 21 attempts.  He's made 35 errors in the field although the majority of those were committed early in the season.  Remember that Luna was a Rule 5 selection by Tampa Bay last December and I suspect that he'll be a likely candidate again this offseason if the Indians do not add him to the 40-man roster.

Kinston's lead is down to one game after the K-Tribe lost 4-3 to Winston-Salem and Salem split a doubleheader last night.  The Indians conclude the season with four games in Myrtle Beach (22-43) while Salem finishes with a four-game series against Lynchburg (38-28).

Andy Call notes in the Canton Repository that Brian Slocum (shoulder inflammation) was placed on the Kinston DL.

Brandon Pinckney was promoted from Burlington to Lake County and he debuted last night for the Captains by reaching base four times.  Pinckney, Sally League All-Star utility player, hit .272/.333/.327 with 11 doubles, 1 homer, and 8 steals for the B-Tribe this season.

Ross Atkins was promoted from Assistant Farm Director to Director of Latin American Operations where he will oversee scouting and player development of the Indians two academies in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Assistant Director of Pro Scouting Mike Hazen will take over Atkins' previous role. Donnie Poplin was promoted to major league scout.

Russ Branyan (ankle sprain) was activated off the DL by the Reds. He's hitting .227 with 5 homers for the Reds this season.

Anyone else forget the Browns played last night? I was flipping between the Tribe, Miami-Louisiana Tech, the US Open, and Extreme Rides on Discovery Channel before I stumbled across the Browns game. Tim Couch looked pretty good on the drive that ended with his touchdown pass to Northcutt.

BUFFALO (71-68, 4th Place, 7.5 GB): The Bisons scored four times in the first inning off former teammate Aaron Myette and went on for a 9-4 victory.  Maicer Izturis drove in three runs with a homer (#2) and single and he also walked and stole two bases.  Benji Gil also went deep (#2).  Luis Garcia singled and doubled and Dusty Wathan had two hits.  Chad Durbin (3-6, 4.60) went seven innings for the win, allowing two runs on five hits and no walks, striking out five.

AKRON (86-52, 1st Place, 8.0 GA): The Aeros scored five times in the first inning and went on for a 6-3 victory over Trenton.  Hector Luna (.290) had four hits.  Corey Smith (.268) tripled with two singles.  Luke Scott (.277) banged out three basehits and Brian Luderer tripled and singled.  Paul Rigdon (3-0, 3.23) went five innings for the win, allowing three runs and striking out four.  Kazuhito Tadano punched out five in four innings of one-hit relief.

KINSTON (36-30, 1st Place, 1.0 GA): The K-Tribe saw their lead reduced to just one game with a 4-3 loss in Winston-Salem.  All the runs were scored through four innings and the two bullpens combined for 10 scoreless frames.  Oscar Alvarez (4-1, 2.78) took the loss after allowing four runs in six innings while striking out five.  Matt Knox (#4) and Trey Dyson (#1) belted solo homers.  Rodney Choy Foo had a pair of singles.

LAKE COUNTY (47-19, 1st Place, 6.0 GA): Fausto Carmona suffered through an uncharacteristically poor outing as the Captains lost to Kannapolis 7-3.  Carmona (17-4, 2.06) allowed seven runs (five earned) in 5.2 innings on nine hits.  Chris De La Cruz (.265) had three hits.  Brandon Pinckney singled twice, walked, and was hit by a pitch.  Bryan Kent doubled and Ben Francisco and Bill Peavey singled.

MAHONING VALLEY (35-34, 2nd Place, 18.5 GB): The Scrappers won 3-2 in Auburn.  TJ Burton (4-2, 6.79) tossed five innings of shutout ball, fanning five and allowing just three hits and a run.  Brad Snyder (.263) tripled, singled, and walked.  Mike Conroy, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Anthony Lunetta singled


August 28, 2003  

CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT -- Thursday, August 28  
Record:59-74, 4th Place, 12 GB
Last:Won 9-7 over Detroit on Wednesday
Streak:Won one
Next:Tonight vs Detroit, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Jeremy Bonderman (6-17, 5.28) vs Cliff Lee (2-1, 2.25)
On Deck:Three games vs Toronto this weekend

More great work from the bullpen as Jack Cressend, Rafael Betancourt, Danys Baez, and David Riske combined for 4-1/3 innings of one-run ball last night in the Indians 9-7 victory over the Tigers. Riske continues to look smooth in the closer role.

Coco Crisp extended his hitting streak to 10 games (.356) with the first four-hit game of his big league career.

Jody Gerut is so solid.

John McDonald was placed on the 15-day DL (back) and it's likely that he is done for the season. Paul Hoynes notes in the PD that McDonald will also require offseason knee surgery (?). Replacing McDonald on the roster is (ta-da) Brandon Phillips, who returns to the big league after hitting a paltry .175/.247/.279 with seven doubles, three homeruns, 12 walks, and 22 strikeouts in 43 games (157 ABs) for the Bisons. Phillips went 0-for-1 last night before leaving the game in the 4th inning after he was hit by a pitch on the wrist. X-Rays were negative and I suspect he'll be listed as day-to-day. It will be interesting to see how the Indians use Phillips the rest of the season as it was not certain (at least publicly) if they were even going to recall him when rosters expand next week.

Jason Davis skipped his scheduled outing yesterday after an MRI revealed that he has shoulder tendinitis. The Indians have not disclosed when he will make his next start. Davis has already thrown 154.2 innings this season so the Indians are being extra cautious as the season winds to a close. Last year, he threw 172.4 innings between Kinston, Akron, and Cleveland.

As feared, the news from Birmingham was not good as Brian Tallet did require Tommy John surgery and he's expected to be out for the next year. At first glance, you would think that he would be a candidate to sneak through waivers and remove from the 40-man roster. I'm not sure he would sneak through, but if he did, I think he would likely be an attractive Rule 5 pick because a team could keep him on the DL for all (or most of 2004) and then fulfill the rest of their Rule 5 requirements in the later portion of the second half or 2005 (when the requirements are reduced). I'm just thinking along the lines of how Derek Thompson being injured in the spring made it easier for the Dodgers to protect him and not return him to the Indians.

Paul Hoynes reports in the Plain Dealer that Victor Martinez will make a rehab appearance in Akron on Saturday.

After watching the continued use of Cressend, Betancourt, Baez, and Riske out of the bullpen, I was prepared to write "where is David Cortes" this morning but the Indians answered that yesterday when they designated Cortes for assignment and added Jose Santiago to the 40-man roster. Cortes, signed out of the Mexican League in July, made only two appearances for the Indians since his recall on August 10 and had a 12.00 ERA with four runs allowed in three innings of work. Santiago has an impressive 2.43 ERA in 66.2 innings in Buffalo that covers up a .298 BAA and 79 hits allowed with 22 walks and only 33 strikeouts.

Kieran Mattison debuted in Kinston yesterday and allowed two runs in two-plus innings.

Dan Cevette has been moved up to Mahoning Valley with Burlington's season complete and he worked four-plus innings yesterday for the Scrappers. Cevette posted a 3.45 ERA in 13 starts for the B-Tribe, holding Appy League hitters to a .261 BAA and allowing 58 hits in 57.1 innings while striking out 48 and walking 29.

77 years ago today, Emil Levsen of the Cleveland Indians pitched two complete-game victories over the Boston Red Sox, 6-1 and 5-1. He did not strike out a batter in either game of the doubleheader. The Indians used the identical lineup in both games.

7 years ago today, the Indians finished the season 12-0 against Detroit Tigers to become the seventh team to sweep a season series since 1900.

BUFFALO (70-68, 4th Place, 8.5 GB): The Bisons won a wild one 12-8 over Scranton. After playing to a 1-1 tie through three innings, the Bisons erupted for seven runs in the top of the 4th inning only to watch the Red Barons counter with six runs in the bottom half of the frame off Jeremy Guthrie. The Bisons added four runs later and the bullpen shut the door from there (save for a solo homer allowed by Alex Herrera). Guthrie (4-9, 6.52) allowed seven runs on 12 hits in 3.2 innings. Matt White (2-3, 2.29) picked up the win with 3.1 innings of relief. Chad Paronto recorded his 17th save. Derrick White drove in five runs with a homer (#1) and single. Zach Sorenson had three hits, including a double, and stole two bases. Luis Garcia and Victor Valencia singled and doubled while Maicer Izturis singled twice. Lou Lucca and Benji Gil added basehits.

AKRON (85-52, 1st Place, 7.5 GA): The Aeros lost in Trenton 8-2. Derrick Van Dusen (10-8, 4.92) allowed six runs on six hits and five walks in 3.1 innings. Joe Inglett and Nate Grindell doubled while Grady Sizemore and Ryan Church both singled and walked.

KINSTON (36-29, 1st Place, 1.5 GA): The K-Tribe lost 6-5 to Winston-Salem in 12 innings to lower their lead to 1.5 games over Salem (did not play). Dan Denham allowed three runs in five innings, permitting six hits and three walks while striking out four. Kieran Mattison debuted by allowing two runs in 2.2 innings. Ryan Prahm (1-3, 4.21) was charged with the loss in relief after allowing a run in 2.1 innings. Jason Cooper (.318) homered (#8), doubled, singled, and was hit by a pitch. Rodney Choy Foo and Trey Dyson both singled twice and walked. Matt Knox belted his 3rd homerun. Eider Torres singled twice, walked, and stole his 43rd base. Ivan Ochoa doubled and walked.

LAKE COUNTY (47-18, 1st Place, 7.0 GA): The normally reliable Captains bullpen gave up four runs in the 9th inning as Kannapolis rallied for a 5-4 victory. The blowup wasted a fine effort from Nelson Hiraldo who struck out six in five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and a walk in the process. Reid Casey did not record an out in the 9th and was charged with three runs while Kevin Martin (1-1, 1.14) took the loss. Nathan Panther, Shaun Larkin, Bill Peavey, and Michael Aubrey doubled. Aubrey also singled in the game.

MAHONING VALLEY (34-35, 2nd Place, 19.5 GB): The Scrappers lost 5-1 to Auburn. Dan Cevette (promoted from Burlington) allowed five runs in 4.2 innings on five hits and five walks while fanning three. Adam Hanson struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings of relief. Jonathan Van Every and Jesus Colmenter tripled. Mike Conroy, Ryan Goleski, and Ryan Garko added basehits.


August 27, 2003  

CIR UPDATE: Jason Davis has MRI  
The AP is reporting that Jason Davis underwent an MRI on Tuesday, which did not reveal any damage. As a precaution, the Indians are skipping his scheduled start today and they have not yet decided when he will next take the mound.

Record:58-74, 4th Place, 12 GB
Last:Lost 5-4 to Detroit on Tuesday
Streak:Lost one
Next:Tonight vs Detroit, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Shane Loux (0-0, 7.20) vs Terry Mulholland (3-3, 4.29)
On Deck:Three games vs Toronto this weekend

Ugly game last night, but I warned you about noted Indian-killer Nate Cornejo.

Just heard on WKNR that Jason Davis will not start tonight due to "shoulder fatigue". Terry Mulholland will make the emergency start for the Tribe. I'm sure will learn more as the day progresses. Speaking of Mulholland, Seattle's reportedly looking for a bullpen lefty....

Great work again from the bullpen last night as Jack Cressend, Rafael Betancourt, and Danys Baez combined for five scoreless innings in relief of Billy Traber. In 19 appearances, Betancourt now holds a 1.50 ERA and .174 BAA with 19 punchouts in 24 innings while Cressend has a 1.24 ERA and .212 BAA in 21 appearances covering 29 innings. Betancourt has been especially tough on righties (.096 BAA) while Cressend will be a nice "reserve-righty" in strato next year as he's holding lefties to a .188 BAA.

John McDonald left the game last night in the 6th inning with stiffness of the lower back and Eric Wedge indicated post-game that McDonald may be done for the season. Since the All-Star Break, Johnny Mac is hitting just .165 with August being even worse at .132 (7-for-53). Brandon Phillips and Zach Sorenson are infielders on the 40 at Buffalo. Dare they call up Phillips? Spare us they Sorenson? Long-shot move, juggle the roster and add Maicer Izturis (Rule 5 eligible) to the 40 and give him a look over the next few weeks.

Ryan Ludwick had three hits last night, including two doubles, and is now hitting .267/.306/.524/.830 with four doubles and seven homeruns since being acquired from Texas. He's also struck out 33 times with only 6 walks and that's a ratio that bears watching.

Ludwick was also involved in a baserunning blunder that cascaded to Foxesque proportions when he was thrown out at home on a groundball to the pitcher (?) only to watch Tigers catcher Brandon Inge fire to first base to double-up Josh Bard who had erroneously rounded first-base. Somewhere in the distance, Jake was heard to yell "Hold the bag, Komar".

( was actually Tigers pitcher Nate Cornejo who tagged Ludwick and then fired to first to double-up Bard).

Someone e-mailed me yesterday and asked "Yeah, but did you like the trade?". DOH! Guess I forgot to mention that, huh? Well, here's the answer. Sure, I liked the trade. I mean, what's not to like? BA is going to be a free-agent at the end of the season regardless of whether he's an Indian or a Royal. He can sign with the Indians in the offseason regardless of whether he finished 2003 as an Indian or a Royal. We're 11 games out of first place, 15 games under .500, and Anderson's remaining six starts in 2003 have zero impact on the long-term future of this franchise. Plus, the Indians save a little money (and hopefully use that to sign a draft pick), can evaluate either Jason Stanford or Chad Durbin in BA's rotation slot for the rest of this season, pick up two long-shot prospects, and they'll have a longer period in which to negotiate with Anderson in the offseason. What's to argue?

I will say, though, that I continue to be amused by the spinning (mostly by the fans now) that this dramatically improves the Indians chances of signing Anderson in the offseason and that's the reason for the deal. Yes it does provide the Indians a larger window in which to negotiate with Anderson but this deal was also very much about money. If you don't agree with that, just ask yourself if this trade gets made if the Royals (or another team) tell the Indians "we'll pay the rest of his 2003 salary but we're not paying any incentives you agreed to, that's your responsibility". If that's the dealbreaker, it's about the money. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Even if money were the only reason for the trade, it's still a good move for the organization.

Sheldon Ocker reports in the ABJ that Jason Stanford is expected to be recalled and start for the Indians on Monday.

Omar Vizquel was activated from the disabled list and went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice. After the game, Omar said that he was not 100% but was well enough to play. From the sound of things, it looks like these last five weeks of the season will serve as a test for his knee and if swelling persists, surgery is likely an option in the offseason. I would assume that even under the worse case scenario (surgery) he would still be ready for spring training and/or opening day. If not, why not just do the surgery now to jumpstart the rehab. Let's just hope that he can't make the condition worse by playing in these meaningless games.

Paul Hoynes reports in the Plain Dealer that Milton Bradley is scheduled to begin physical conditioning this week and the Indians should know soon whether Bradley can return to the field this season.

I believe that Brian Tallet and his elbow were scheduled to go under the knife in Birmingham yesterday. Best case is 6-to-8 weeks, worse case is Tommy John surgery and 9-to-12 months.

The Captains cliched the Northern Division second-half title with a 7-0 shutout win in Kannapolis last night.

Juan Lara continues to sizzle in the Valley as the Dominican southpaw tossed seven innings of one-run ball in the Scrappers 2-1 loss to Jamestown. Over his last three starts, Lara has allowed just two runs in 19 innings (0.47 ERA) while striking out 17 and permitting just 10 hits and three walks.

In a long-rumored deal, Brian Giles (.299/.430/.521/.951, 16 HR) was finally sent from the Pirates to the Padres for Oliver Perez, Jason Bay, and a player to be named later. Giles has been hurt this season and his .951 OPS is his lowest since 1998 (his last season with the Indians) but that's 6th best in the National League (in an off-year). This is obviously a cost-cutting move by the Pirates and they did receive a top pitching prospect in Oliver Perez in return but Giles is a veritable bargain for the next two years at $7 million/season. Great deal by the Padres as they move into their new ballpark next year.

Anyone else been watching the World Poker Tour? Let me tell you, there are few more magical moments in sports than when a guy throws his nuts on the table and goes all in.

BUFFALO (69-68, 4th Place, 10.0 GB, 5.0 GB-WC): The Bisons defeated Rochester 8-4. Scott Pratt homered (#4), doubled, and singled twice. Lyle Mouton belted his 10th homerun and Benji Gil (#1) added a solo shot. Chris Magruder (.341) had three hits and a walk. Zach Sorenson and Macier Izturis doubled and singled and Brandon Phillips (.175) singled. Jason Stanford (10-4, 3.43) went seven innings for the win, striking out nine and allowing four runs on eight hits (two longballs) and a walk.

AKRON (85-51, 1st Place, 8.5 GA): The Aeros rallied with five runs in the late innings but finished one run short in a 6-5 loss in Trenton. Kenny Rayborn (4-1, 2.05) worked a scoreless first three innings before surrendering four runs in the 4th. Todd Pennington allowed two runs in 1.1 innings and Jake Robbins and Jose Vargas worked a combined three scoreless innings. Corey Smith doubled twice. Ryan Church had two hits and drove in three runs. Grady Sizemore singled twice. Brian Luderer doubled, Eric Crozier walked twice and singled, and Nate Grindell walked and singled.

KINSTON (36-28, 1st Place, 2.0 GA): Rodney Choy Foo blasted a grand slam (#11) in the 8th inning to give the K-Tribe a 5-4 victory in Winston-Salem and maintain their two game lead over Salem. Choy Foo also singled and was hit by a pitch. Jason Cooper (.313) had three hits. Matt Knox rapped out two basehits. Ivan Ochoa tripled. Trey Dyson debuted with a single and walk. Victor Kliene (6-4, 2.56) carried a shutout through six innings before allowing a two-run homer in the 7th, finishing with two runs allowing on six hits and a walk and one punchout. Lee Gronkiewicz recorded his 37th save by retiring all four batters he faced.

LAKE COUNTY (47-17, 1st Place, 7.0 GA): Jim Warden and Ignacio Montano combined on a four-hit shutout of Kannapolis in the Captains 7-0 blanking of the Intimidators. Warden (4-3, 2.86) struck out four through seven innings while scattering three hits and four walks. Montano closed with three punchouts in two innings of relief. Michael Aubrey (.336) doubled twice and singled. Eric Johnson tripled, singled, and drove in two runs. Nathan Panther scored three times, walked twice, singled, and stole a base. Chris De La Cruz, Ben Francisco, Micah Schilling, and Ricardo Rojas added basehits.

MAHONING VALLEY (34-34, 2nd Place, 18.5 GB): Juan Lara was splendid through seven innings but the Scrappers fell 2-1 to Jamestown. Lara (3.29) fanned nine and allowed just one run on four hits and two walks in another strong outing from the left-hander. Brandon Rickert took the loss in relief with one run allowed in two frames. Ryan Garko doubled and Brad Snyder, Anthony Lunetta, and Ceasr Suarez singled. Kevin Kouzmanoff singled, walked, and knocked in the Scrappers lone run. Ryan Goleski walked twice.

SLY FOX MASUGA: The mighty Foxers returned from a two-week layoff with their heads shoved up their respective dasypygal features and slept walked through a 18-6 opening round playoff loss to the hated Zemitos. Big Daddy held the ball like a egg and the Zemitos scrambled the son-of-a-bitch, the defense was awful, the bats were generally silent, and the Foxers now face the daunting task of winning six in a row out of the losers bracket in their quest for the championship. Only Granddaddy Rahm emerged from this game with a smile on his face.


August 26, 2003  

Record:58-73, 4th Place, 11 GB
Last:Won 7-5 in Tampa on Sunday
Streak:Won three in a row
Next:Tonight vs Detroit, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Nate Cornejo (5-13, 4.76) vs Billy Traber (6-6, 4.33)
On Deck:Three games this weekend against Toronto

Brian Anderson was traded to Kansas City yesterday in exchange for minor leaguers Trey Dyson, Kieran Mattison, and cash considerations. The cash considerations relate to the Royals picking up the cost of incentives that Anderson earned while pitching for the Tribe.

Signed as a free-agent this past offseason, Anderson did exactly what Mark Shapiro was hoping for from the veteran left-hander. He ate up innings and was a steadying veteran influence in the rotation. After a rough two months to start the season (5.00 ERA), Anderson has pitched pretty well over the last three months, going 7-5 with a 2.93 ERA in 15 starts, highlighted by a 1.42 ERA in four starts in August. Nothing like getting hot at the right time, huh? Anderson finishes his second tour of duty with the Tribe with a 9-10 record and a 3.71 ERA in 25 appearances (24 starts). Those numbers, however, overshadow the fact that Anderson allowed more than a hit per inning (162H in 148IP) and rarely struck anyone out (72 punchouts). Given that combination, it shouldn't be a surprise that Anderson leads the major leagues in unearned runs allowed with 27. He lets a lot of guys on base and batters put the ball in play against him, which wasn't helped by a young Indians defense behind him. True to his nature, he did keep the walks to a minimum (32) but he also served up a lot of gopher balls (21). Anderson is not a top-of-the-line starter (maybe not even a mid-rotation starter) as his more ardent fans would have you believe if you listen to the local radio call-in shows but for the price and the role he was being asked to fill, BA had a fine campaign for the Tribe.

The Indians are spinning this deal as a means to make it easier to resign Anderson in the offseason as a free-agent and that is somewhat accurate because this trade does provide more negotiating time for the Indians and BA than if he remained with the Tribe for the rest of this year. The reason being that Anderson has a clause in his contract which prohibits the Indians from offering him arbitration. This is a player-friendly clause because any team signing him would not have to potentially compensate the Indians with draft picks depending on what type of free-agent BA would be classified as in the offseason (and that's another story). The deadline for offering your own free-agents is December 7 and for players that reject arbitration, teams only have until January 8 to resign them and then they lose negotiating rights with them until May 1. I would assume this date (Jan 8) also applies to players who were not offered arbitration. If it does not, it may revert back to the December 7 date and I'm looking for clarification on that this afternoon.

I qualified my initial assessment as somewhat accurate because this trade does allow the Indians to negotiate with BA for the entire offseason (which is a plus) as opposed to just through December 7 or January 8. However, with the large number of free-agents, non-tenders, and bought-out option players expected to hit the free-agent market this offseason, I wonder how many players/agents are going to hold out for the best offer versus taking a good offer that comes along early to guarantee their money and roster spot. I'm just thinking about what happened to Kenny Lofton this past offseason and I think we're going to see more of that this winter. Besides, if BA really wants to return to Cleveland as he has indicated, if he doesn't receive a multiyear offer that blows him away in November or December, what are the odds that he's suddenly going to find that available on the market in January or February? My guess is pretty slim. So yes, the Indians are correct in that this deal does potentially make it easier for BA to resign with the Indians this winter but I think that's a definite spin to deflect the anticipated negative reaction to the trading of a fan favorite. It wouldn't surprise me if this extra negotating time is not even an issue and BA is back in the Indians organization before Christmas (if not sooner) under a similar contract to the one he played for in 2003.

Keep in mind that it's also very much a spin designed to minimize the monetary savings in this deal and the fan perceived notion that Larry Dolan wants to trade every veteran to pad his wallet. The Royals will pay the remainder of Anderson's 2003 salary, estimated at $200-300k (depending on your source) and they also guaranteed $325k in performance incentives that include a $50k bonus that Anderson was due from the Indians for making his 23rd start. I detailed BA's incentives in the 8/13 CIR and it's likely the Indians would have owed him $175k in incentives if he had remained with the Tribe for the rest of the season. So in total, this move saves the Indians $375-$475k in 2003 payroll. Whether that money goes towards the bottom line or is reinvested in baseball operations (draft picks, foreign players) remains to be seen. Let's hope for the latter.

Other quick thoughts...

You have to admire Anderson for waiving his $600k trade bonus to make this deal possible. He's excited about the opportunity to pitch for a contender and that is quite a different (and refreshing) approach than what the Rangers have been dealing with in Juan Gonzalez and Rafael Palmiero.

Anderson starts tonight for the Royals and if Tony Pena maintains his current rotation, BA would be scheduled to pitch against the Indians on September 11 in Kansas City and again on September 16 in Jacobs Field.

Other teams reportedly interested in Anderson were San Francisco and St.Louis and my suspicion is that the Royals simply won out with the best financial package.   Two teams were reportedly inquiring before the July 31 deadline and three teams showed interest over the past week.

Omar Vizquel is expected be activated from the disabled list to fill Anderson's spot on the 25-man roster. Either Jason Stanford or Chad Durbin will join the Indians six-man rotation when rosters expand next week.

As for the players the Indians acquired, Mark Shapiro referred to them as "depth prospects" and it's important to note that neither needs to be protected on the 40-man roster this offseason. Here's a profile on each.

Colie Livingston "Trey" Dyson III is a 6-4", 224 pound, 23-year old first-basemen/outfielder who bats and throws left-handed and was signed by the Royals in July 2002 as an undrafted free-agent out of the University of South Carolina where he was teammates with Kinston closer Lee Gronkiewicz and 2002 39th round draft pick (since released) Blake Taylor.  He was the designated hitter on the Gamecocks 2002 College World Series team and was also named the 2001-2002 SEC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for which he received a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship.  After signing with the Royals, Dyson hit .236/.280/.391/.671 with six homeruns for Spokane in the Northwest League.  Promoted to the high-A Carolina League for 2003, Dyson has held his own at the higher level (and in a pitcher's park), hitting .275/.364/.464/.828 with 31 doubles, 14 homeruns, 72 runs batted in, and a solid 60/92 BB/K ratio.  He was named as a replacement to the Carolina League All-Star Team as a callup replacement and had a minimum 25-game streak of reaching base through the month of May.  Baseball America notes that his bat is going to have to carry him and so far it's elevated him past the organizational tag that typifies most undrafted free-agents. 

Kieran Mattison is a 6-0", 205 pound, 23-year old right-hander who signed with Kansas City as an undrafted free-agent out of East Carolina.  It's likely he went undrafted because he pitched only 73 innings for the Pirates during his college career although he did post a 1.98 ERA in 22 appearances during his senior season.  After signing with the Royals in July 2002, he posted a 1-1, 1.80 record in 13 appearances for the Gulf Coast League Royals.  Moved into the rotation this spring, Mattison blew through the low-A Midwest League, posting a 2.50 ERA and 8-5 record with 89 punchouts in 108 innings which earned him a spot in the Midwest League All-Star Game.  He was named the MWL Pitcher of the Week for May 26-June 1 when he did not allow a run in 15 innings which was part of a larger stretch in which he posted a minor-league best 0.44 ERA (2 ER in 44 IP) and .169 BAA for the month of May and did not allow a run from May 15 through June 6 (32 innings).  That earned him recognition as an "emerging prospect" from Sportsticker.  Mattison struck out 11 on June 20 at Wisconsin and in his five Burlington losses, the Bees scored a grand total of one run and were shut out four times.  Promoted to high-A Wilmington in the Carolina League, Mattison has not been as dominant as he was in Burlington, but he's held his own in seven starts, posting a 3.74 ERA and striking out 29 in 33.2 innings with 38 hits and 9 walks.  He did throw six shutout innings against the K-Tribe on July 27, punching out four and allowing just two hits and two walks. Keeping the ball in the park has been a problem at both levels as he's served up 15 homers in a combined 141 innings but he's held opposing hitters to a .230 BAA.  Baseball America notes that Mattison throws a two and four-seam fastball in the 88-91 mph range along with a changeup, curve, and developing slider. 

Neither player is considered much of a prospect although both have played well enough that you have to take notice of their performance.  It's been said that both players have been/are old for their leagues and while you would like a 23-year old to have reached double-A by now, I don't think it's surprising that a college senior plateaus in a high-class A league in his first full professional season.   Mattison is particularly intriguing given his outstanding level of performance in the pro ranks and limited college workload.  His stuff, however, will likely place him in the "prove it at every level" category of prospect but that's a level of prospectdom that most undrafted free-agents never reach.

Both will report to Kinston and it will be interesting to see how they fit into the lineup/rotation.  Dyson joins a crowded outfield that already includes Jason Cooper, Wily Taveras, and JJ Sherrill and he'll likely either take over first base or platoon with the right-handed hitting Matt Knox.  Mattison joins a rotation that already includes Travis Foley, Dan Denham, Jake Dittler, and the hot left-handed arms of Victor Kliene and Oscar Alvarez.  Brian Slocum (tendonitis) is also a candidate to return to the rotation if healthy.  Mattison will likely replace one of the two lefties or work out of the bullpen for the rest of the season.

Mark Shapiro is quoted in the local papers as saying that "about four players" will be recalled from Buffalo when rosters expand next week. Bisons currently on the 40-man roster include Brandon Phillips, Luis Garcia, Alex Herrera, Carl Sadler, Jason Stanford, Jeremy Guthrie, Zach Sorenson, and Brian Tallet. Non-40 candidates for recall would likely include Maicer Izturis, Chris Magruder, Nick Bierbrodt, Matt White, Chad Durbin, and Kyle Denney. For any of these six to be recalled, another player would have to be removed from the 40-man roster. Ryan Church, Fernando Cabrera, and Francisco Cruceta are also on the 40-man roster and it would not surprise me to see Church and Cabrera in Cleveland once the Aeros playoffs are finished. Cruceta is possible too although his heavy workload would probably make him more of an observer than player.

Grady Sizemore (#5) and Fausto Carmona (#7) are listed on the Prospect Hot Sheet by Baseball America.

The Tigers are in town tonight for the start of a three-game series. They're trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since the All-Star Break and they may have a shot at it with Nate Cornejo on the mound. He's 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA at the Jake this season (go figure that).

Anyone notice Mike Trivisano's slip yesterday? He was talking to Rick Manning and John Saunders about Fox Sports Net and mentioned that it was channel 30 on his Adelphia cable (and then paused while everyone started to crack up). For those who aren't familiar with his WTAM show, Trivisano pimps the dish relentlessly. If I were Adelphia, I would be all over this.
BUFFALO (68-68, 4th Place, 10.0 GB, 5.0 GB-WC): The Bisons returned to .500 with a 3-2 victory in Rochester. Victor Valencia homered (#1) and singled while Greg LaRocca had two hits, including a double. Brandon Phillips also doubled and Zach Sorenson and Derrick White added basehits. Kyle Denney (4.74) went six strong innings, punching out eight and allowing two runs on five hits and three walks. Nick Bierbrodt (2-1, 2.45) was credited with the win in relief and Chad Paronto recorded his 16th save.

AKRON (85-50, 1st Place, 9.5 GB): Day Off

KINSTON (35-28, 1st Place, 2.0 GA): The K-Tribe's lead drop to two games after a 3-2 loss in Winston-Salem. Jake Dittler (2.95) was sensational in defeat as he allowed just one run (solo shot) through seven innings, giving up six hits and a walk while striking out three. Michael Hernandez (6-3, 3.64) suffered the loss in defeat after allowing two runs in one inning of work. Wily Taveras singled, walked, and stole two bases (#56-57). Eider Torres doubled. Jason Cooper singled, walked, and stole a base.

LAKE COUNTY (46-17, 1st Place, 7.0 GA): The Captains knocked off Kannapolis 3-1. Sean Smith (10-4, 3.64) allowed only one run in 5.1 innings in picking up his 10th victory of the season. He fanned three, walked three, and gave up three hits. Shea Douglas (1.40) tossed 2.2 scoreless frames and Kevin Martin (0.86) closed with a scoreless inning. Chris De La Cruz (.261) drove in two runs and singled twice. Nathan Panther doubled. Ricardo Rojas reached base three times with two walk and a single and he also stole a base. Bill Peavey, Eric Johnson, Michael Aubrey added basehits.

MAHONING VALLEY (34-33, 2nd Place, 17.5 GB): The Scrappers moved one game over .500 with a 4-2 victory over Jamestown. Anthony Lunetta banged out three hits, including a double. Ryan Mulhern belted his 6th homerun. Josh Noviskey walked twice and singled. Mike Conroy, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Jesus Colmenter added basehits. Roger Lincoln (3-0, 2.83) went five innings for the victory, striking out six and allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. Honeudis Pereyra fanned five in three innings of relief. Chip Southerland closed with a scoreless final inning.

BURLINGTON (37-31, T-2nd, 6.5 GB): The B-Tribe finished their season with a 2-0 loss to Princeton. Juan Valdes (.223) went out with a bang as he singled twice and doubled. Argenis Reyes singled and stole a base and Omar Casillas doubled. Edward Mujica (2-6, 4.37) finished his first season in the States on a high note as he allowed just one run in five innings, scattering four hits and walking none. Reid Santos permitted a run in one frame and Jimmy Schultz, Bo Ashabraner, and Jonathan Amador combined for two scoreless innings. Reyes, Mujica, and Tanner Munsey (2) committed errors in the field.


August 25, 2003  

The latest AP report says that Brian Anderson waived his $600k trade bonus to complete the deal between the Royals and the Indians. Mark Shapiro indicated that the Indians would like to have BA back and stated ""I would still like to have one veteran in our rotation to provide us with stability". Note that he's talking about 2004, not the last six weeks of this season.

Additionally, the Royals will pay the performance incentives related to games started and innings pitched that Anderson will reach over the next six weeks.

Both Dyson and Mattison will report to Kinston. How they fit into the lineup and rotation, respectively, remain to be seen. If Brian Slocum's injury is worse than originally reported (7-10 days), I could see Mattison stepping into his rotation spot with Oscar Alvarez moving to the bullpen. Of course, with one week left in the regular season, they might just stick Mattison in the pen too.

More tomorrow in the CIR.

The Royals official website is reporting that Kansas City will receive a Player to Be Named Later and cash from the Indians in the Brian Anderson trade. This is the only source that I have seen reporting this. We'll learn more tonight as details continue to emerge.

CIR UPDATE: BA traded to Kansas City  
Brian Anderson was traded to the Royals today for minor league first baseman-outfielder Trey Dyson and right-hander Kieran Mattison and cash considerations

The AP reports that Dyson, 23, has spent this season Wilmington of the Class A Carolina League, where he batted .275 with 14 homers and 72 RBIs in 128 games while Mattison, 23, went 8-5 with a 2.50 ERA in 17 starts for Burlington of the Class A Midwest League.

The regular CIR will follow shortly. More on these two in tomorrow's report.

ESPN link ---> Click here.

Record:58-73, 4th Place, 11 GB
Last:Won 7-5 in Tampa on Sunday
Streak:Won three in a row
Next:Tuesday vs Detroit, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Milt Wilcox (0-0) vs Eric Wilkins (0-0)
On Deck:Three games against Toronto this weekend

It was a most excellent weekend for the Indians down in Florida as they swept the Devil Rays.

Cliff Lee was outstanding on Friday night as he tossed eight innings of two-run ball in the Tribe's 8-3 victory (and needed only 97 pitches to do so).

The offense erupted for six runs in the 7th inning (and just as I happened to turn the game on) to rally for a 7-5 win on Saturday. CC Sabathia picked up a deserved win despite allowing five runs in six innings as he gutted his way through the flu and thoughts of his ailing father and pregnant wife back home. Travis Hafner hit two bombs and continues to rock since the break (.311/.383/.583/.966, 6 HR).

The bullpen tossed four innings of one-run ball on Sunday (which followed three scoreless innings on Saturday) to preserve the Tribe's 7-5. David Riske recorded back-to-back saves and looked impressive doing so in setting the side down in order in both innings on 27 pitches (20 of which were for strikes).

Ryan Ludwick stayed hot through the weekend and he's now 15-for-39 (.385) with four homeruns in his 11 games.

Jody Gerut's average has climbed to .282 and he's now hitting .282/.338/.486/.824 with 26 doubles, 15 homeruns, and 55 RBIs. I forgot which local paper I read over the weekend which basically said that Gerut should not even be considered for Rookie of the Year but that statement could not be farther from the truth. Gerut leads AL rookies (min 300 ABs) with a .824 OPS and if you prorated his numbers to match the 510 ABs accumulated by Rocco Baldelli and Hideki Matusi, Gerut would have 37 doubles (rookie leader), 21 homeruns (rookie leader), and 78 RBIs (trail Matsui). It's true that Gerut will probably receive scant consideration due to his late start, the Indians record, and the stretch run exposure of Matsui and Angel Berroa, but to say that Gerut does not even merit consideration is just plain wrong.

Omar Vizquel went 1-for-14 (.071) with a walk and a stolen base in four games for Lake County over the weekend. Omar is quoted in the News-Herald as saying that the plan is for him to be activated on Tuesday but there's been no official word from the Indians. I suspect the Indians would just as soon wait until September 2 when rosters expand to activate Omar but if they do it sooner, I wouldn't be surprised if they stick the struggling John McDonald (back) on the DL and give him some rest.

Bob Wickman tossed a pair of scoreless innings over the weekend for Lake County and is now unscored upon in three rehab appearances, striking out five and allowing one hit. His next scheduled appearance is Tuesday for Mahoning Valley.

The local papers reported that Ellis Burks may return this season in September. While the Indians have not publicly ruled out that possibility, I think they're really just showing respect to a well-liked veteran player. The reason why this is unlikely to happen is that Burks is on the 60-day DL (like Bob Wickman) and a player would have to be removed from the 40-man roster in order to return Burks to active duty. The Indians could swing that but I have a feeling they're reserving those "assignable" players for use if/when they promote non-40 players like Kyle Denney, Nick Bierbrodt, Matt White, Maicer Izturis, etc., for a September look.

The Tribe signed veteran infielder Benji Gil to a minor league contract and he debuted with Buffalo yesterday. Gil was released by the Angels earlier this season after hitting just .192/.214/.272/.486 in 125 at-bats. He's played parts of eight seasons in the big leagues and has career averages of .240/.288/.365 with 31 homeruns in 500+ games. Gil also has a World Series ring from last years Angels world championship. It's likely that Gil was signed to replace the injured Mark Little (back) in Buffalo in an attempt to provide the Bisons with an offensive spark the last week of the season. It's agreed that that thought may sound strange given his major league numbers and it's doubtful that he fits into the Indians long-term plans although I suppose that it's possible he could sign a minor league deal with the Tribe in the offseason with a spring training invite.

The Bisons lost 6-1 yesterday to fall five games behind in the wild card chase with one week remaining in the regular season. They also dipped below .500 and, according to the Buffalo News, are in danger of posting their first sub-.500 season since becoming an Indians affiliate in 1995 (they went 72-72 in 1999). The Bisons have gone 19-37 since June 28 and 8-21 since July 27 when they held a 1/2 game in the Northern Division.

Despite losing 3-1 to Harrisburg yesterday, the Aeros clinched first-place in the Southern Division. They'll host Games 1 (Wed, Sept 3), 2, & 5 (if necessary) of the opening round of the Eastern League playoffs at Canal Park.

Francisco Cruceta took the loss yesterday for Akron but still pitched well in allowing just two runs in seven innings. Over his last seven starts, Cruceta has been nothing short of dominating as he's posted a 1.58 ERA in 51.1 innings while allowing just 39 hits and 16 walks with 39 strikeouts. This has been a solid growth season for Cruceta as he's 12-9 with a 3.15 ERA in 26 games and holding Eastern League hitters to a .237 BAA. My only concern is that his innings (157.1) are starting to pile up and he still has one regular season start and possibly 2-4 more playoff starts before he's shut down for the season.

Catcher Javi Herrera is red-hot in Lake County with six consecutive multiple-hit games during which he's raking at a .545 (12-for-22) clip with three doubles and 10 runs batted in. That has raised his overall averages to a .275/.353/.397/.750 level with 13 doubles and 1 homerun for the Captains. Defense was the reason for his selection in the second round but it's very encouraging to see his bat responding against such a high level of competition in his first exposure to professional pitching.

Scrappers outfielder Ryan Goleski blasted his 8th homerun of the season yesterday, a three-run shot, to tie Kevin Kouzmanoff for the team lead. Goleski (24th round, EMU) is hitting .303/.362/.493/.855 with 12 doubles, 8 bombs, 17 walks, and 60 strikeouts while Kouzmanoff (6th round, Nevada) is hitting .277/.349/.455/.854 with 8 doubles, 8 longballs, 20 walks, and 34 whiffs.

Burlington plays its final game of the season today against Princeton.

Former Indian Bobby Bonds passed away at the age of 57. Acquired from the Rangers, along with Len Barker, in exchange for Jim Kern and Larvell Blanks, Bonds spent one season (1979) in Cleveland where he hit .275/.463/.367/.830 with 25 homeruns and 34 stolen bases (and was one of my favorite players). He was dealt to St.Louis in the offseason for John Denny and Jerry Mumphrey and the Indians then flipped Mumphrey to San Diego for Bob Owchinko and Jim Wilhelm. Owchinko stuck with the Tribe for a couple of seasons before he was dealt to the Pirates in the Bret Blyleven deal. A few years later, Blyleven was sent to the Twins for a package that included shortstop of the future Jay Bell. Unfortunately, Bell's future wasn't with the Indians as he was sent to Pittsburgh for Felix Fermin who also lasted a few seasons before being sent to Seattle in December 2003 in exchange for Omar Vizquel. So there you have it, Bobby Bonds for Omar Vizquel. As Mel Allen would say, "how about that!". Our condolences go out to the Bonds family on his passing.

(Transactions were plucked from the Cleveland Indians Compendium).

Travis Driskill was outrighted to triple-A by the Orioles and removed from their 40-man roster. Driskill had a 6.00 ERA in 20 appearances for the O's this season.

David Bell (.198/.297/.287/.584, 4 HR) remains on the disabled list with the Phillies (back and hip) and will not swing a bat for another three weeks. Bell is making $3.2 million this season and is guaranteed another $14 million (or so) over the next three years. For reference, Casey Blake ($330k) is hitting .272/.324/.451/.775 with 31 doubles and 16 homeruns for the Tribe.

Rotoworld reports that Russ Branyan (ankle sprain) will begin a rehab assignment forthe Reds shortly. AJ Hinch begins a rehab assignment in Toledo today for the Tigers.

Former Kent State star Mike Gulan retired after a 11-year professional career. Gulan played briefly in the majors with the Cardinals (1997) and Marlins (2001) and went 0-for-15 with three walks. He was originally drafted by the Cards in the 2nd round of the 1992 draft. If he becomes a doctor backhome in Stuebenville, they may include him in a Field of Dreams remake someday.

Anyone else addicted to the Orbitz balloon game? If they just added some lasers, it'd be like playing Defender.

BUFFALO (67-68, 4th Place, 10.0 GB, 5.0 GB-WC): The Bisons lost 6-1 to Rochester to fall one game under .500. Lance Caraccioli (4-8, 5.13) allowed six runs (only two earned) in six innings on 10 hits while striking out four. Matt White (2.50) punched out five in three scoreless innings of relief. Brandon Phillips, Greg LaRocca, Dusty Wathan, and Maicer Izturis singled. Phillips, Zach Sorenson, Luis Garcia, and Benji Gil committed errors.

AKRON (85-50, 1st Place, 10.5 GA): The Aeros lost in Harrisburg 3-1. Francisco Cruceta (12-9, 3.15) turned in another strong outing as he struck out nine in seven innings of work, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks. Fernando Cabrera allowed a run in one inning of relief. Ryan Church doubled and singled while Hector Luna and Luis Gonzalez added basehits. Corey Smith walked twice.

KINSTON (35-27, 1st Place, 3.0 GA): Day Off

LAKE COUNTY (45-17, 1st Place, 6.0 GA): The Captains for the first time in 22 home games as they were blanked 5-0 by Delmarva in their regular season home finale. The good guys finished with a 54-16 home record which is going to be a tough act to follow in future years in Eastlake. Dan Eisentrager (11-3, 1.64) tossed six innings of one-run ball, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out three. Carlos De La Cruz and Reid Casey combined to allow four runs to score in the 9th inning. Ben Francisco and Chris De La Cruz doubled while Clayton McCullough singled. Omar Vizquel was hitless in four at-bats.

MAHONING VALLEY (33-33, 2nd Place, 17.5 GB): The Scrappers pulled even at .500 with a 5-1 win over Jamestown. Ryan Goleski smacked a three-run homer (#8) to tie Kevin Kouzmanoff for the team lead. Anthony Lunetta singled twice while Josh Noviskey tripled and Mike Conroy doubled. Scott Roehl (4-6, 3.94) went five innings for the win, striking out six and allowing just one run on four hits and no walks. Matt Davis (1.47) worked three scoreless innings of relief and Dan Rich closed out the final inning. Jesus Colmenter made two errors and Brad Snyder committed one.

BURLINGTON (37-30, T-2nd, 5.5 GB): The B-Tribe defeated Princeton 2-1. Nick Pesco (1.82) allowed one run in 4.1 innings on three hits and three walks while striking out three. Richard De Los Santos (3-4, 6.41) fanned six in 3.2 scoreless innings for his third win of the season. Caleb Brock doubled and drove in both Indians runs. Brandon Pinckney and Junior Garcia each singled, walked, and stole a base. Chris Clem, Teodoro Encarnacion, and Jose Cruz added basehits. De Los Santos committed an error on the mound.


August 24, 2003  

Record:57-73, 4th Place, 12.0 GB
Last:Won 7-5 over Tampa Bay on Saturday
Streak:Won two in a row
Next:Today vs Tampa Bay, 1:15 PM ET
Matchup:Jake Westbrook (5-7, 4.66) vs Jeremi Gonzalez (6-5, 3.46)
On Deck:Three games versus Detroit

Friday and Saturday's minor league recaps...

BUFFALO (67-67, 4th Place, 10.0 GB, 4.0 GB-WC): The Bisons lost 7-5 to Ottawa on Friday. Jeremy Guthrie allowed four runs in six innings and Nick Bierbrodt (1-1) served up a grand slam. Scott Pratt had three hits and Greg LaRocca belted his 10th home. Brandon Phillips added a basehit.

Rochester pushed the Bisons back to an even .500 and four games out of the wildcard hunt with an 11-4 win on Saturday. Chad Durbin (2-6, 4.88) took the loss after allowing four runs in six innings. He did strike out seven. Carl Sadler (7.09) was awful in relief as he allowed five runs in two frames. Chris Magruder (.339) had three hits. Brandon Phillips (.169) smacked his third homerun.

AKRON (85-49, 1st Place, 10.5 GA): The Aeros lost in Harrisburg 10-8 on Friday night. Paul Rigdon allowed six runs in four innings while Jake Robbins was charged with the loss after allowing two runs in two frames. Grady Sizemore singled twice with a double and also stole a base. Luis Gonzalez and Corey Smith both had two hits. Tyler Minges belted a solo shot (#10).

The news was better yesterday for the Aeros as Ryan Church blasted a homerun (#13) in the top of the 11th inning to give the good guys a 12-11 extra-inning victory over Harrisburg. Church's longball was one of six Aeros dingers on the night which included a three-run shot from Grady Sizemore (#13), two, two-run homers from Luis Gonzalez (#6-7), and solo shots from Corey Smith (#9) and Nate Grindell (#3). Kyle Evans (3.40) struck out six in five innings of one-run ball. Derrick Van Dusen allowed five runs in 2.2 innings. Jose Vargas was charged with five unearned runs (thanks to a Corey Smith error -- he had two in the game) in 1.1 innings and Kazuhito Tadano (4-1, 1.34) picked up the win with two scoreless innings of relief.

KINSTON (35-27, 1st Place, 3.5 GA): Oscar Alvarez was dominant on Friday night in Kinston's 6-1 win over Wilmington. Alvarez recorded 11 of his 18 outs via the punchout and allowed just three hits, a walk, and a run in six innings on the mound. Michael Hernandez (6-2, 3.14) worked two innings for the win. JJ Sherrill doubled twice and singled. Jason Cooper and Miguel Quintana doubled and singled while Eider Torres singled twice.

The K-Tribe was blanked 4-0 on Saturday. Travis Foley (9-10, 3.89) took the loss despite allowing just one run on two hits and three walks in five innings. Miguel Quintana had two hits to lead the offense.

LAKE COUNTY (45-16, 1st Place, 7.0 GA): The Captains recorded their 21st shutout of the season in a 5-0 blanking of Greensboro on Friday. Bob Wickman started and struck out the side on 10 pitches. Nelson Hiraldo debuted in low-A with five innings of three-hit ball, walking one, and striking out six. Ignacio Montano and Reid Casey closed with three scoreless frames. Shaun Larkin belted his 19th homerun and singled. Bill Peavey smacked his 4th longball and also singled. Javi Herrera doubled and singled. Michael Aubrey added a basehit. Omar Vizquel was hitless in four at-bats.

On Saturday, Fausto Carmona recorded his 17th win as the Captains knocked off Delmarva 5-1. Carmona (17-3, 1.83) allowed only a solo homerun and two other hits in six innings with a walk and three strikeouts. Blake Allen and Kevin Martin combined for three scoreless innings of relief. Bill Peavey belted his 5th homerun and walked. Javi Herrera (.275) singled twice and knocked in a pair of runs. Bryan Kent also had two hits. Shaun Larkin and Ben Francisco singled while Michael Aubrey walked. Omar Vizquel walked and stole a base.

MAHONING VALLEY (32-33, 2nd Place, 17.5 GB): The Scrappers lost 9-4 to Brooklyn on Friday. Ryan Mulhern singled twice and doubled while Anthony Lunetta doubled twice. Ryan Garko singled and doubled and Brad Snyder and Jesus Colmenter had two hits apiece. TJ Burton (3-2, 7.36) allowed eight runs (five earned) in 3.2 innings for the loss. Snyder, Mulhern, Colmenter, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Jonathan Van Every committed errors.

The Valley rebounded on Saturday with their sixth win in their last eight games with a 10-6 victory over the Cyclones. Kevin Kouzmanoff (.280) drove in four runs with a homer (#8) and single. Brad Snyder (.274), Ryan Goleski (.304), Ryan Mulhern, Jesus Colmenter, and Anthony Lunetta had two hits apiece. Joe Weaver (3.41) did not allow and earned run (three unearned) in five innings, striking out three, walking one, and surrendering four hits. Adam Hanson (3-2, 2.75) was credited with the win in relief after working three scoreless innings. Chip Southerland served up a three-run homer in the 9th. Mulhern and Ryan Garko made errors.

BURLINGTON (36-30, 3rd Place, 5.5 GB): The B-Tribe lost 5-1 to Pulaski on Friday. Mike Woodson provided the lone run with his first homer of the season. Argenis Reyes, Chris Clem, and Luis Hodge doubled. Adam Miller (0-4, 4.96) allowed two runs in three innings on five hits and no walks while striking out four. Aaron Laffey (2.91) struck out seven in five innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits and no walks.

Appy League Pitcher of the Year Rafael Perez ended his season in style
by not allowing an earned run (one unearned) in six innings of work in the Indians 7-1 win over Pulaski. Perez (9-3, 1.70) struck out four while scattering four hits and a walk. Omar Casillas belted his first homerun. Jose Cruz singled twice with a triple and stolen base. Chris Clem doubled and singled while Juan Valdes singled twice and swiped a bag. Clem made the error which led to the unearned run crossing the plate.


August 22, 2003  

CIR UPDATE: Baseball Prospectus Pizza Feed  

Hi Everyone,

Pardon the second mailing today, but if you live in the Cleveland area, you should find this message from Baseball Prospectus very interesting.

"Still a Few Spaces Left: Join BP Authors Nate Silver, Will Carroll and David Cameron on August 30th for the first Pizza Feed in Cleveland. This Feed will be extra special because it will be held inside Jacobs Field and includes a ticket to the Indians-Jays game. During the Feed, you'll hear from the authors and from special guests from the Indians front office and clubhouse. Space is extremely limited and only the first 25 people will make it behind the velvet rope, so please be sure that if you RSVP, you can attend the game. E-mail with the subject line Cleveland RSVP. Those making the list will be contacted after the list closes. Cost is $18 per person and includes pizza, soft drinks, and a game ticket."

Unless you're a premium subscriber to BP, you probably haven't heard about this event as it's not being publicized on the website. Only a few seats remain and it should be a fantastic night. Hope to see you there!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not respond to me. You must respond to Will Carroll at with the subject line CLEVELAND RSVP.

Have a good weekend everyone,

Record:55-73, 4th Place, 12.0 GB
Last:Lost 4-3 to Minnesota on Wednesday
Streak:Lost three in a row
Next:Tonight in Tampa, 7:15 PM ET
Matchup:Cliff Lee (1-1, 2.25) vs Joe Kennedy (3-9, 6.19)
On Deck:Three games at home against Detroit.

If you missed the Massachusetts-Texas Little League game last night (won by Massachusetts 14-13 in extra innings), you missed one of the best games you'll ever see, regardless of level. Rallies by both teams, emotions flowing, monster homeruns, and a bang-bang play at first to end the game, it was simply awesome. I don't know how the coaches keep from being "bleeped", unless ESPN has just decided not to show that when it does happen. I know I would fill up a swear jar pretty quick as I mumble "get this friggin kid out" under my breath.

Omar Vizquel made his first rehab appearance in Lake County and played six innings for the Captains last night, going 1-for-3 at the plate. He'll play nine innings this evening. Bob Wickman will "start" for the Captains and will work one inning or 20 pitches.

Baseball America has published tentative rosters for the Arizona Fall League (which begins play September 30) and the Indians representatives on the Mesa Desert Dogs are as follows:

Kyle Evans, Akron right-hander who has split time between the rotation and bullpen this season. He has a 9-5, 3.47 record with a .260 BAA but has weak secondary ratios as his K/IP is at 62/124.2, his K/BB ratio is at 62/35, and his IP/H ratio is at 127/124.2. Rule 5 eligible in the offseason, this is a good opportunity to see how he fares against a higher level of competition.

Michael Hernandez, Kinston left-hander who has a combined 8-2, 2.43, .193 BAA for Kinston and Mahoning Valley this season in 19 appearances. In 37 innings, Hernandez has struck out 46 while walking only nine and allowing just 26 basehits. Missed the first two and a months with an injury (knee?) so this allows him to extend his season. When healthy, he's pitched very well for the Tribe and he could go move quickly next season. He's Rule 5 eligible in 2004.

Todd Pennington, Akron right-hander who dominated the South Atlantic and has held his own in five appearances with the Aeros despite skipping high-A Kinston. Pennington has a combined 1.04 ERA and .142 BAA in 43.1 innings and has struck out an amazing 72 hitters while walking 20 and allowing just 21 hits. More telling, his double-A stats in six innings for Akron include seven punchouts, seven hits, and three walks. Pennington is on the taxi squad which means that he can only pitch on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Like Evans, Rule 5 eligible in December. Not a hard thrower, this will be a good opportunity for the Tribe to see if he can be effective against a higher class of hitters.

Dave Wallace, Kinston catcher whom Josh Boyd of Baseball America lists as the "emerging prospect" on the Desert Dogs roster. Wallace emerged in Lake County, hitting .291/.413/.453 with 14 doubles and 6 homeruns before a promotion to Kinston mid-season. He's struggled against the higher level pitching to the tune of .234/.324/.383 with 13 doubles and two homeruns but has shown signs of life with the bat of late. Rule 5 eligible. Catchers are always in demand, if he plays well in Arizona, he could be a surprise addition to the 40.

Joe Inglett, Akron second basemen who is hitting a combined .301 at Kinston and Akron this season with his double-A numbers sitting at an impressive .303/.401/.422 with 15 doubles and four homeruns. Inglett also demonstrates impressive plate discipline with more walks (56) than strikeouts (46) which contributed to his recent streak of 45 consecutive games reaching base. If he had any speed (two steals) he would probably be considered one of the better leadoff prospects in the minor leagues. Also Rule 5 eligible.

Corey Smith, Akron third basemen who is hitting .260/.327/.379 with 25 doubles, 8 homeruns, 45 walks, and 95 strikeouts. He's also made 42 errors in the field. While the overall numbers are not that impressive, Smith has cut down dramatically on his strikeouts this season while maintaining his walk rate which is an encouraging sign. It will be interesting to see if Corey plays any outfield in the desert. Last year the Indians messed around with Eric Crozier in right-field during the AFL. Rule 5 eligible, Smith was supposed to play in the AFL last year but a knee injury prevented him from doing so. Unless he completely tanks in Arizona, I suspect Smith will be added to the 40-man roster in November.

Luke Scott, Akron outfielder who is hitting a combined .278/.318/.481 with 25 doubles and 19 homeruns for Kinston and Akron this season. Fully healthy for a full-season for the first time since signing with the Indians in 2001, Scott has put together an impressive growth season that needs to be tempered somewhat by the fact that he's 25 years old. His plate discipline has fallen off with the promotion to Akron although the power numbers have remained steady. He's also on the taxi squad and is ticketed for only Wednesday and Saturday play right now. Also, Rule 5 eligible and fighting for a spot on the 40.

Grady Sizemore, Akron outfielder whom Josh Boyd calls the "best position prospect" on the Desert Dogs roster. The Futures Game MVP has set career-highs in doubles (25), triples (10), and homeruns (12) this season despite making the jump to double-A at the age 20 (he turned 21 on August 2). He's also maintained a solid eye at the plate which is equally impressive for such a young player and has season averages of .299/.367/.473/.840. Rule 5 eligible but he's a lock to be added to the 40-man roster in November.

Ken Coleman, former voice of the Indians and Browns, passed away at the age of 78. Coleman worked in Cleveland from 1952-1967 before moving onto Boston where he spent the rest of his broadcast career, save for four years in Cincinnati during the Big Red Machine days. His signature line "This is Ken Coleman, rounding third and heading home", is kept alive by his son Casey who hosts an Indians pregame show on WTAM. My condolences to the Coleman family on his passing.

Jose Vizcaino (.240-2-19) was activated from the 15-day disabled list by the Astros. He had been on the DL since June 25 with a broken left wrist.

Nice to see Twins fans out in support of their team. Only 30,000 last night for a first-place showdown with the Royals. Yeah, 30,000 is a nice crowd but for a first-place showdown in a three-team race? Did the Mall of America have some sort of sidewalk sale going on last night?

Don't forget to watch The Office tonight.

BUFFALO (67-65, 4th Place, 9.5 GB, 2.0 GB-WC): The Bisons lost 7-2 to Ottawa. Jason Stanford (9-4, 3.33) allowed four runs in seven innings on eight hits and two walks while striking out five. Dusty Wathan singled twice, Mark Little doubled, and Zach Sorenson added a basehit. Brandon Phillips six-game hitting streak was snapped.

AKRON (84-48, 1st Place, 10.5 GA): Day Off

KINSTON (34-26, 1st Place, 3.5 GA): The K-Tribe lost in wild fashion last night 4-3 to Wilmington. I'll let the Kinston Free Press describe what happened in the top of the 9th inning with the Indians leading 3-2. "With runners on second and third, Gronkiewicz got Justin Cowan to bounce a one-hopper toward the mound. The only problem was the one-hop was huge and the ball bounced over the mound. K-Tribe shortstop Ivan Ochoa and second baseman Eider Torres converged on the ball at the same time, running into each other near the second base bag as Shanks scored the tying run. Ochoa retrieved the loose baseball and fired to third to nail Blanco, who had gotten a late jump. The throw sailed wide of the bag but ricocheted off the face of the K-Tribe dugout, directly to third baseman Rodney Choy Foo. Seeing that Blanco was rounding the bag and stretching for home, Choy Foo slipped as he set himself for the throw to the plate, double-clutched, and then tossed little more than a lob to catcher Armando Camacaro, whose tag on Blanco came a shade late." Crazy. Dan Denham (4.92) tossed five scoreless innings, allowing five hits and two walks with no strikeouts. Lee Gronkiewicz (2-3, 2.63) took the loss on his 25th birthday. Jason Cooper had three hits, including a double. Eider Torres singled twice. Matt Knox and Miguel Quintana doubled.

LAKE COUNTY (43-16, 1st Place, 7.0 GA): The Captains rolled over Greensboro 9-2 as Keith Ramsey limited the Bats to two runs over seven innings en route to his 13th victory of the season. Ramsey (13-5, 2.71) allowed nine hits, including a two-run homer, a walk while fanning one. Shea Douglas (1.45) recorded his 10th save with three punchouts in two innings of relief. Nathan Panther and Javi Herrera both doubled and singled. Ben Francisco and Michael Aubrey also doubled. Micah Schilling added a pair of hits. Omar Vizquel went 1-for-3 and played six innings in the field.

MAHONING VALLEY (31-32, 2nd Place, 16.5 GB): The Scrappers climbed to within one game of .500 with a 5-0 shutout of Brooklyn at Cafaro Field. Juan Lara (2-3, 3.59) went the first six innings and struck out four while allowing just three hits and a walk. Matt Davis and Dan Rich finished with a combined three scoreless innings of relief. Ryan Mulhern (.290) homered (#5), doubled, singled, and knocked in three runs. Ryan Garko and Anthony Lunetta had two hits apiece. Mike Conroy doubled, Ryan Goleski singled, and Brad Snyder singled and walked.

BURLINGTON (35-29, 3rd Place, 6.0 GB): The B-Tribe defeated Pulaski 4-3. Argenis Reyes (.287) had three hits and stole a base while Chris Clem (.266) doubled twice with a single. Caleb Brock added a baseknock. Dan Cevette (3.45) did not allow an earned run (one unearned) in four innings, fanning three and walking four with four hits allowed. Rodolfo Navarro (3-2, 5.79) picked up the win in relief despite allowing two runs in 2.2 innings. Matt Haynes (2.50) notched his second save.


August 21, 2003  

CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT -- Thursday, August 21  
Record:55-75, 4th Place, 11.5 GB
Last:Lost 4-3 to Minnesota on Wednesday
Streak:Lost three in a row
Next:Friday in Tampa Bay, 7:15 PM ET
Matchup:Albie Lopez (0-0) vs Nick Bierbrodt (0-0)
On Deck:Three games against Detroit next week

Paul Hoynes reports in the Plain Dealer that Mark Shapiro will be in Buffalo today with a message for Brandon Phillips that basically says "produce". Phillips has struggled since being demoted last month and his triple-A numbers are worse than his numbers with the Indians. In 37 games, Phillips is hitting just .172/.257/.266 with six doubles and two homeruns. He does, however, currently have a modest six game hitting streak in which he has gone 7-for-23 with two doubles, a homerun, and two walks. Additionally, he's walked 12 times in 128 at-bats which equals the number of free passes he received in 300 at-bats with the Indians. Maybe his approach in the batting cage (which has generally been praised) is starting to be applied during games, which would be a very encouraging step.

While Shapiro is in Buffalo, expect him to take a look at two outfielders headed in opposite directions. Chris Magruder has done nothing but rake since being activated off the disabled list and he's currently sitting at .333/.407/.509/.916 with six doubles, two triples, and three homeruns in 108 at-bats. He's not on the 40-man roster and would seem to make an attractive Rule 5 pick in December given his versatility in the outfield and solid overall game. Luis Garcia, on the other hand, is on the 40-man roster although I would think that his hold on that spot is tenuous at best. The 24-year old Garcia, acquired along with Coco Crisp in the Chuck Finley trade, has struggled mightily in his first exposure to triple-A pitching, hitting a woeful .213/.258/.331/.589 with just 20 walks and 90 strikeouts. Most distressing has been his dramatic drop in power as he's belted only seven homeruns (previous full season career-low of 18) although he does have a respectable 25 doubles. With all the other outfielders in the system (above and below him) coupled with his regression at the plate this season, I would not be surprised if the Indians removed him from the 40 this offseason in order to protect another prospect.

Captains second basemen Micah Schilling is the 15th best second base prospect in the minor leagues according to Baseball America. The 20-year old Schilling (1st round supplemental pick in 2002) does not have impressive overall numbers (.235/.345/.310 with 15 doubles and no homeruns) but he's picked up the pace in the second half and has maintained a decent amount of plate discipline (54 BB to 87 K). Kinston second sacker Eider Torres (.248/.313/.282, 11 2B, 42 SB) makes the "others to watch" list while Brandon Phillips is on the "graduated to the big leagues list". BA forecasts that both Torres and Schilling will return to their current levels to start 2004 and that sounds about right. Both will need to show improvement at the plate, specifically the ability to drive the ball, before they can be moved up a level.

The Cardinals have indicated they are willing to take on $500k in salary for the stretch run. That's about $500k less than what Brian Anderson would be owed between his salary, trade bonus, and performance incentives.

Grady Sizemore and Kyle Denney were named to the Eastern League All-Star Team.

Kenny Rayborn won his fourth consecutive game last night for Akron as he tossed six shutout innings in the Aeros 3-0 blanking of Reading. In four starts since being plucked out of the independent leagues, Rayborn is holding Eastern League hitters to a 0.79 ERA and .235 BAA with 18 punchouts in 22.2 innings (20H, 5W). While he can't be considered much of a prospect at age 28, he's still an impressive addition to an Aeros rotation that has grown thin due to triple-A callups. That's just what the rest of the Eastern League wanted to see, huh?

Nelson Hiraldo was promoted from Burlington to Lake County where he'll make a start for the Captains on Friday. Hiraldo has split time between the bullpen and rotation for the B-Tribe but that hasn't stopped the 19-year old with the mid-90s fastball from posting impressive numbers, such as a 6-1, 3.81 record with a .241 BAA and 52 strikeouts in 52 innings while walking just 11. Lost amid the higher profile arms in Burlington, Hiraldo is another young exciting pitching prospect to keep your eye on.

Seventeen years ago today, on August 21, 1986, heralded prospect Forest Gregory Swindell made his major league debut against the Boston Red Sox. After working his way through the lineup scoreless in the first two innings, the Sox reached Swindell for four runs in the 3rd and two more in the 4th before he gave way to the bullpen. The 26,000 faithful that were on-hand (and from what I remember, it was a large walkup crowd) gave the portly southpaw a standing ovation as he left the mound and then settled back into their seats to watch the Sox go on to trounce the Tribe 24-5. Somewhere in my parents basement there's a fading boxscore that recorded the memories of the night. Swindell went on to have a pretty decent major league career ($30 million in career earnings) that found him finally retiring this season (although not officially). In seven seasons with the Indians (including 13 games in 1996), Swindell went 61-56 with a 3.86 ERA which is pretty impressive considering the horrible teams for which he played.

BUFFALO (67-64, 4th Place, 8.5 GB, 2.0 GB-WC): The Bisons moved to within two games of the wildcard spot with a 4-2 victory over Ottawa. Kyle Denney (2-0, 5.30), fresh off a recall from Akron, struck out five in six innings and allowed just two runs on four hits and no walks to pick up the win. Lance Caraccioli (5.28) worked a perfect final three innings for his second save. Victor Valencia had three hits, including a double. Zach Sorenson doubled, singled, and walked. Greg LaRocca also had two hits and a walk. Lou Lucca doubled and Brandon Phillips, Mark Little, and Luis Garcia singled. Chris Magruder walked and stole a base. Sorenson made an error.

AKRON (84-48, 1st Place, 10.0 GB): Kenny Rayborn won his fourth consecutive start as the Aeros blanked Reading 3-0. Rayborn (4-0, 0.79) tossed six shutout innings, punching out six and scattering four hits and a walk. Kazuhito Tadano fanned four in two innings and Fernando Cabrera worked a perfect final inning for his 4th save. Hector Luna (.291) doubled, singled, and stole a base. Ryan Church also had two hits. Joe Inglett doubled and Luis Gonzalez, Brian Luderer, and Luke Scott added basehits.

KINSTON (34-25, 1st Place, 4.0 GA): The K-Tribe increased their lead to four games with a 6-1 victory over Potomac. Victor Kliene (5-4, 2.56) allowed just one run on five hits and a walk while fanning one in six innings in another strong outing from the left-hander. Ryan Prahm and Michael Hernandez mopped up in relief with a combined three scoreless innings. Matt Knox blasted a three-run double in the first inning. Rodney Choy Foo had two hits. Eider Torres doubled and drove in two runs. Jason Cooper singled and walked.

LAKE COUNTY (42-16, 1st Place, 7.0 GB): The Captains kept on rolling as they knocked off Greensboro 4-3. Michael Aubrey (.340) doubled and singled. Javi Herrera doubled, singled, walked, and knocked in two runs. Nathan Panther (.284) also had two hits and stole his 35th base. Chris De La Cruz, Bill Peavey, Micah Schilling, and Ricardo Rojas added baseknocks. Jim Warden allowed two unearned runs in 4.2 innings. Carlos De La Cruz (8-1, 3.33) fanned five while allowing one run in 3.1 innings of relief for his 8th victory. Kevin Martin worked a scoreless 9th for his 3rd save. The Captains were sloppy in the field as Panther, De La Cruz, Schilling, and Rojas all committed errors.

MAHONING VALLEY (30-32, 2nd Place, 17.5 GB): Scheduled day off.

BURLINGTON (34-29, 3rd Place, 6.0 GB): The B-Tribe put a 10-spot on the board in the 4th inning and went on to a 13-4 victory in Johnson City. Chad Longworth homered (#3), doubled, and walked. Luis Hodge also had two hits, driving in three runs, and stole a base. Mike Woodson doubled and singled. Junior Garcia singled twice, walked, and stole a base. Fernando Pacheco also had two hits and a walk. Edward Mujica (4.62) allowed four runs in four innings on five hits and three walks. Jimmy Schultz (1-0, 5.06) turned in his best performance of the year in striking out seven in three innings of two-hit ball. Jonathan Amador worked a final two scoreless innings.


August 20, 2003  

CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT -- Wednesday, August 20  
Record:55-72, 4th Place, 11.5 GB
Last:Lost 8-2 to Minnesota on Tuesday
Streak:Lost two in a row
Next:Tonight vs Minnesota, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Brad Radke (8-10, 5.09) vs Brian Anderson (9-9, 3.83)
On Deck:Three games in Tampa Bay this weekend

For 23 innings over the past six days, Jason Davis and Johan Santana traded zeros on the scoreboard. One right-hander, one left-hander. One 23 years old, the other 24. Santana finally made a mistake to Casey Blake in the 5th inning which put the Tribe up 2-0. Davis returned the favor the next inning when he served up a 0-1 meatball to Matt LeCroy that put the Twins ahead 3-2 and they went on from there for a 8-2 victory. Regardless of the final outcome, the dominance exhibited by both of these young hurlers was very real. Get used to Davis and Santana, we're going to be seeing a lot of these two over the next few years as the Tribe and Twins battle for the AL Central crown.

Speaking of Casey Blake, does he love to face his former teammates or what? He had four more hits last night, including his 15th homerun, to raise his season averages against the Twins to a lofty .345/.345/.745/1.090 with 7 doubles and 5 longballs in just 55 at-bats. Note that the OBP and BA are exactly the same which hints that he's not exactly thinking that a "walk's as good as a hit" when he steps up to the plate. That homerun ties Blake with Matt Lawton for the team lead which speaks volumes about a) the Indians lack of power, and b) the solid season that Blake is producing at the plate.

Torii Hunter, struggling through a disappointing season (.244/.309/.444/.753) after his All-Star campaign a year ago, took offense to a Jason Davis inside fastball last night and started jawing at Davis after he struck out to end the sixth inning. If you remember, these two were involved in a similar incident on July 4 in the Metrodome that ended with Davis, Hunter, and a host of others ejected from the game. Davis had a great quote after the game where he said "I figured we got something in the Hunter Zone or whatever" and then when questioned about Hunter's reaction he responded "It's kind of humorous and immature". Classic. By my crude calculations, Davis would be scheduled to start against the Twins on Monday, September 15 so he'll have one more opportunity to put one in the Hunter Zone.

David Cortes made his second appearance last night and was roughed up for three runs and five hits in two-plus innings that included an 8th inning homerun to Dustan Mohr. I didn't see the 96-97 mph fastball that has been bandied about in the past week and his mechanics just looked awful. To me, it looked like his release point was all over the place and he just fell apart at the end of his delivery. Am I a pitching coach? No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night (crickets chirping).

Paul Hoynes reopens the Brian Anderson trade talks in the Plain Dealer as he reports that the Indians have reportedly narrowed the field of interested teams but are still negotiating over players. Addressing Anderson's contract, likely the $600k trade escalator/bonus and performance incentives, would also need to be completed before any trade could be consummated. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Mark Shapiro has met with Anderson twice in the past week, although Shapiro says that nothing formal has been discussed and I think you can probably interpret that as meaning that they've discussed it but haven't said you're going to St.Louis if you'll do this in regard to your contract (or something to that effect).

Hoynes also notes that Anderson has a clause in his contract which prohibits the Indians from offering him arbitration which enhances his attractiveness on the free-agent market because a team signing him would not have to potentially lose a draft pick if they sign him and the Indians offered him arbitration. That means BA could sign early with another team (before the December 7 deadline teams facing in offering their free-agents arbitration) to get a jump on the market and avoid what happened to Kenny Lofton and others who waited to sign this past offseason. That also means that if the Indians don't resign him by December 7, they can't resign him until May 1 which basically means that BA will be gone from Cleveland.

Time is of the essence because a trade for Anderson would have to be completed by August 31 in order for Anderson to be eligible for the postseason roster. Likely trade candidates include Houston and St.Louis and I suppose we have to add in the Cubs since they're dealing for every available veteran on the market. I'm not going to speculate on whom we might want/receive in return only to say don't set your expectations too high. It's a buyer's market, especially if the acquiring team is going to absorb the full brunt of the contract and incentives. Also assume that the quality of the prospect received in return will likely depend on how much money the Indians are willing to eat. In this regard, they would essentially be buying a prospect and how much $600k (more or less) would buy you remains to be seen. I wonder if they're deciding on whether to let Anderson go for basically nothing (and not paying any of his remaining salary) and then use that money they would have paid BA in salary and incentives to sign another of the 2003 draft picks. That's what the decision may eventually come down. How they can best utilize the X amount of dollars they owe BA the rest of the season. Is it best invested in BA, a prospect from another organization, or a 2003 draft pick? We'll see what they decide.

Bob Wickman made his 2003 debut in a rehab appearance in Akron last night and pitched a perfect inning, retiring the side in order on nine pitches. Wickman will next throw tomorrow night in Lake County. Paul Hoynes notes in the Plain Dealer that Wickman could rejoin the Indians next week but this contradicts everything that the Tribe and Wickman have said the past few months as the goal all along has been for Wick to work 14-16 minor league innings and then shut it down in preparation for 2004. If anything has changed regarding that plan, I can't imagine the reason why.

Maybe Hoynes was thinking of Omar Vizquel who will join Wickman in Eastlake tomorrow night and stay through the weekend as he plays four games with the Captains on a rehab assignment.

Rafael Perez was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year in recognition of his dominating 2003 season in which he posted a 8-3, 1.86 record and held Appy League hitters to a .223 BAA in 63 innings (52H, 15W, 59K). Perez' eight wins are tied for first in the circuit, his 1.86 ERA ranks third, and his 59 punchouts place him fifth overall. He should have one more outing this season to improve upon those numbers. Brandon Pinckney was also named to the Appy League All-Star team as the Utility Player. The 12th round shortstop from Sacramento City College leads the league in hits with 68 and has posted averages of .288/.350/.347/.697 with 11 doubles and one longball.

Nick Pesco's five scoreless innings last night in the B-Tribe's 6-3 to Johnson City lowered his ERA to 1.80 which is good for second in the league, one spot ahead of Perez. If Perez is Pitcher #1 in the Appy League than Pesco has to be #1A as he hasn't allowed an earned run since July 22 (23 innings) and in his last seven starts (dating to July 15) he has a 0.54 ERA in 33 innings with 32 punchouts while allowing just 17 hits and 11 walks. Dominating. For the season, Pesco is holding Appy hitters to a .186 BAA and has 52 strikeouts in 50 innings with 33 hits and 19 walks allowed.

With the minor league season winding down in the next two weeks, here's a quick recap of how each of the six farmclubs stand in their respective playoff races. Note that the actual games remaining against specific teams may be slightly off to makeup games added to the original schedule.

BUFFALO (season ends 9/1): The Bisons (66-64) trail Scranton (69-61) in the wildcard race by three games, Ottawa (67-62) by 1-1/2 games, and Columbus (67-64) by 1/2 game. They have two games remaining against Scranton and five against Ottawa.

AKRON (season ends 9/1): The Aeros have clinched a playoff spot.

KINSTON (season ends 8/31): The K-Tribe leads the Southern Division by three games over the Salem Avalanche whom they do not meet again this season.

LAKE COUNTY (season ends 9/1): The Captains clinched a playoff spot thanks to their 1st Half Northern Division championship. Since they're also in first place in the second half (six game lead), they'll likely face a wildcard team in the first round of the playoffs.

MAHONING VALLEY (season ends 9/3): The Scrappers have no shot at the playoffs with a 30-32 record. They trail the division leading Auburn Doubledays (47-14) by 17-1/2 games. Best they can play for is climb above .500 to finish the season.

BURLINGTON (season ends 8/25): The B-Tribe is six games out with six games to play.

So barring a Buffalo hot streak, it looks like the Tribe will have three minor league teams in the playoffs this season.

From the Newberg Report... "Ryan Drese is going to have to do a whole lot more before I'm eager to see his return, but he's dealing right now for Oklahoma: since getting chewed out by special assistant Dom Chiti recently, the righthander has allowed two runs in three starts (all wins), scattering 15 hits and five walks in 21 innings of work, fanning 14."

Karim Garcia homered for the third consecutive game last night for the Yankees. Since being dealt to the Bronx Bombers, Garcia is mashing at a .343/.403/.629/1.031 clip with six homeruns. Interestingly enough, he's also walked seven times in 70 at-bats which is one more than he had in all of 2002 with the Indians.

How much longer are we going to have to wait for a Baseball Bunch reunion?

BUFFALO (66-64, 4th Place, 8.5 GB, 3.0 GB-WC): The Bisons kept their wildcard hopes alive with a thrilling 9th inning victory over Scranton. Entering the 9th inning with a 4-1 lead, Carl Sadler served up a grand slam to Travis Chapman (Indians selection in the 2002 Rule 5 Draft whom we sold to the Tigers) that gave Scranton a 5-4 lead and seemingly dashed the Bisons playoff hopes. In true fighting style, however, Chris Magruder led off the bottom of the 9th with a double off former Indian Jim Crowell, setting the stage for Lyle Mouton, who promptly drilled a two-run, game-winning homerun (#9) into that good night and giving the Bisons a 6-5 come-from-behind victory. Magruder (.343) also homered (#3) and singled in the game while Mouton (.314) also singled and walked. Brandon Phillips doubled and Luis Garcia and Dusty Wathan added basehits. Sadler's (2-1, 6.22) slam (although he ended up being credited for the win) wasted a stellar effort from Jose Santiago (2.51) who carried a shutout into the 8th inning and finished with one run allowed in seven frames on nine hits and a walk while striking out two. Greg LaRocca and Maicer Izturis committed errors and all four Scranton runs in the 9th were unearned.

AKRON (83-48, 1st Place, 10.0 GB): The Aeros defeated Reading 8-2. Francisco Cruceta (12-8, 3.17) went seven innings for the win, allowing just one earned run (two total) on six hits and three walks while striking out two. Bob Wickman worked a perfect first inning in his first rehab appearance. Hector Luna (.289) had four hits, including a double. Luke Scott (.278) doubled and tripled. Ryan Church (.261) tripled and singled. Luis Gonzalez (.308), Eric Crozier (.247), and Brian Luderer had two hits apiece. Tyler Minges belted his 9th homerun. Nate Grindell doubled and Corey Smith singled and walked. Luna and Church committed errors.

KINSTON (33-25, 1st Place, 3.0 GA): Jake Dittler threw six strong innings in leading the K-Tribe to a 4-1 victory over Potomac. Dittler (4-1, 3.31) struck out seven and allowed just one run in six innings while scattering five hits and a walk en route to his 4th Carolina League win. Lee Gronkiewicz struck out three for his 35th save. Ivan Ochoa singled twice, walked, and stole two bases (#24-25). Jason Cooper and Matt Knox had a pair of hits. Wily Taveras walked twice and stole a base (#55). Miguel Quintana added a basehit.

LAKE COUNTY (41-16, 1st Place, 6.0 GA): The Captains defeated Greensboro 7-4. Sean Smith returned to the mound and tossed four hitless innings, walking two and striking out four. Blake Allen (6-3, 2.11) was credited with the win despite allowing four runs in 2.2 innings. Reid Casey recorded the final seven outs for his first save. Bill Peavey belted his third homerun. Chris De La Cruz had two hits and stole a base. Bryan Kent singled twice, walked, and swiped a bag. Javi Herrera walked with two baseknocks. Micah Schilling and Ben Francisco added basehits.

MAHONING VALLEY (30-32, 2nd Place, 17.5 GB): The Scrappers scored six times in the first inning and went onto to a 8-1 victory in Batavia. Ryan Goleski (.308) belted his 7th homerun and singled. Ryan Garko (.262) had three hits, including a double. Jonathan Van Every (.289) doubled twice. Ryan Mulhern doubled and singled. Anthony Lunetta doubled while Mike Conroy singled and walked. Brad Snyder added a basehit. Scott Roehl (3-6, 4.14) did not allow a run in five innings as he walked none, fanned four, and permitted just four basehits.

BURLINGTON (33-29, 3rd Place, 6.0 GB): Nick Pesco turned in another outstanding performance but the bullpen blew up in a 6-3 B-Tribe loss to Johnson City. Pesco (1.80) tossed five scoreless innings in allowing five hits and two walks with five punchouts. Richard De Los Santos (2-4, 7.07) took the loss when he allowed six runs in two innings on the mound. Caleb Brock, Luis Hodge, and Chad Longworth all tripled while Brandon Pinckney had a pair of singled. Bo Ashabraner committed an error during his scoreless inning on the mound.


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