Kerry Wood Traded to New York

We aren't done... With a half hour left until the MLB Trade Deadline at 4 PM ET, the Yankees are on the verge of obtaining Kerry Wood from the Indians.

At about 3:20, Buster Olney came through that the Yankees were closing in on a deal for Wood and a few minutes after that said that the Indians would eat a large portion of Wood's remaining salary.

More details on their way.

3:46 ET: The deal is done with the MLB's approval of the money the Indians are sending the Yankees. Wait, what? Yeah it's weird. You would think if there is one team that would just take on all the salary that a player like Wood is still owed, it would be New York, but apparently not even the Yankees will take that on without the Indians picking some of it up.

Either way, I'm sure the Indians will save SOME money, which again could be turned around and thrown into the draft pick budget. Will the Indians get a player in the deal? Who knows, if they do, it probably will be no one of significance. At least in my opinion.

Wood is owed just short of $4 million on his contract for the rest of the season.

And in sort of a poetic justice, if that's what you want to call it, Chris Perez is on to save his first game as the official full-time closer. As I said earlier when Wood went on the DL, I believed that was the start of his reign as closer and that is indeed going to be the case.

3:48 ET: Jayson Stark says the Indians will get a PTBNL or cash.. Wait I thought the Indians were paying the Yankees? Or is it that the Indians will get some money back later if they don't want the player?

Either way, the Yankees could owe us two players... One of significant major league value according to Shapiro.

3:53 ET: Joel Sherman says the Yankees are picking up $1.5 million of the $3.6 million that Wood is owed. Meaning the Indians are picking up the other $2 million. You laugh but that million and a half can go towards two draft picks.

4:06 ET: Jayson Stark returns to say that the Yankees will pay an extra $200,000 if Wood remains healthy. If he "breaks down" it will be just the $1.5 million. Weird addition to this trade.

I think this could be it for this one.. I'll return if there is, but otherwise, full recap and all that fun stuff tomorrow morning on all the trades and all the roster moves in response to the trades throughout the organization.

4:18 ET: I continue to lie... Last one.. Castrovince says the Indians have until October 18th to select PTBNL or Cash.

Jake Westbrook Traded to St. Louis

The Indians and Cardinals are currently in discussions that look to be at least sending Westbrook to St. Louis.

There are now numerous reports from around the internet (of course!) that the Padres have involved themselves in the deal and that old friend Ryan Ludwick would be headed to San Diego.

One interesting development of note is the fact that Jake Westbrook will be owed an extra $2 million in salary if he is traded. That is in addition to the near $4 million he is owed in remaining salary.

This is getting interesting.

12:15 ET: Joel Sherman says both that the Padres may have dropped out of this thing and that Jake Westbrook has agreed to lower that $2 million trade kicker. How many guys would do that?

12:18 ET: Josh Tomlin will go on three days rest today according to Tony Lastoria if Jake is dealt. Bullpen will probably still pitch a majority of the game. Means we need someone for tomorrow, probably Jeremy Sowers for a one and done. Still think Huff is the man for Tuesday.

12:22 ET: The three-way deal involving San Diego, St. Louis, and Cleveland is still alive according to Buster Olney.

If the deal does go down, looks like Ryan Ludwick will be with the Padres, the Cardinals will get Westbrook and a prospect from San Diego, and the Indians will get prospects.. Plural. Meaning probably one from San Diego and one from St. Louis. One can only speculate.

12:32 ET: No news on this front for the past ten minutes.. But I have to clear something up. Josh Tomlin last started on Tuesday, so technically he's had three days off.. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.. So he'd be going on three-days rest, not four.. Are we going to get technical here? Starting tomorrow would be four days rest, would it not? Does today count as a rest?

12:33 ET: From Al Pawlowski on Indians on Deck, Josh Tomlin will start today, Jake Westbrook has officially been scratched. A deal sounds all but official now.

12:34 ET: Buster Olney says that the Padres are sending a prospect and cash to the Indians as a part of the three-way deal... You have to imagine the Cardinals will send something, unless they are just going to take on all of the salary.

12:40 ET: Deal is Done... Details to follow, I'm sure.

12:47 ET: The Indians will receive AA RHP Corey Kluber from San Diego... He's 6-6 with a 3.45 ERA in 21 starts.

1:00 ET: Jordan Brown has been called up to take Jake Westbrook's roster spot.

1:15 ET: It wouldn't seem to me as if the Indians will be getting anything from St. Louis other than some salary relief, which is just fine with me. It was good that the Padres got involved so that they could be the ones giving up the prospects because clearly the Cardinals were not going to do that for Westbrook.

I think if the club ends up clearing some money up to use on draft pick signings, and I've been saying this for awhile now, it will be just as good as getting prospects in return for a guy like Westbrook. The Cardinals got a left-hander from San Diego by the name of Nick Greenwood in the deal.

1:17 ET: Castrovince says the Indians are sending cash to the Cardinals in the deal. Doesn't mean we are paying for Westbrook's whole salary, but with somewhere around 4-5 million (if you include the trade kicker Westbrook gets, but he said he'd lower) you have to imagine the Indians are still saving some cash.

I'd say this deal was awesome for the Padres though. Ryan Ludwick for a fringe rotation/bullpen guy and a non-prospect? Pretty good.

1:35 ET: Possibly the last update for awhile... Sounds like Kluber has been one of the Padres' high risers this year. He wasn't in the Top 30 according to Baseball America, but his fastball has gained velocity and it just sounds like he's one of those guys that has improved. Not sure if he'd be a Top 30 guy for them (most likely wouldn't be for us), but he's definitely someone of value.

As for tomorrow's starter as Josh Tomlin strikes out the side in the second inning, I would think Jeremy Sowers would be one logical choice since you have a 40-man spot open. Huff is out of the question with a Thursday start and I maintain he'll be the guy on Tuesday, Carrasco is hurt, and Yohan Pino went last night. Castrovince says Jeanmar Gomez on three days rest is a possibility... I'd much rather throw Sowers out there for a start and let him get one more start before end that saga than have Gomez coming up and going on three days.

1:40 ET: I lied, one more..... Tony says the Indians saved a significant amount of money in trading Westbrook. They'll take on his escalators (probably that trade kicker too) and the Cardinals will pay the rest of his salary. If that is the case, that is a good chunk of change to get some of those HS draft picks signed.

A decent prospect and some salary relief for Westbrook? I'll take it. Doesn't close the door on Jake Westbrook as an Indian either.

The Rundown: The Trading Post

Well, three of the five trade-able pieces are now gone.

Last night as the Tribe got beaten down by the Jays in Toronto, Austin Kearns was the next player dealt as he was removed from the game early and this time it couldn't have been an injury.

After the game, it was announced Kearns was dealt to New York for a PTBNL or Cash.

This was on the same day the most recently traded player, good old Jhonny Peralta made his Tiger debut and, of course, he did something that would be illogical.

So Kearns is gone, Peralta is gone, Branyan's been gone... Who's next?

Is someone next?

It may not be today, but it sounds like the club could move Jake Westbrook, pre/post non-waiver deadline, there is interest in him, especially now with Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee off the table. Is Kerry Wood going to get dealt after today's deadline? It sounds like he will be activated today for the game against Toronto. And heck, with all the rough starting pitching and Talbot's injury, the bullpen needs all the help they can get.

Let's start with the latest.


Manny Acta was a big Austin Kearns fan, but he was still happy to see Kearns get the opportunity to win this year.

"I can't say enough about what this guy has done for us," Acta said. "Me being familiar with him, I have a soft spot for this guy -- spending two and a half years with him over there in D.C. He came over here in Spring Training with no spot guaranteed or anything for the first time in his career. He earned the spot and pretty much carried this club for a month or so when Grady Sizemore went down and some of the other guys were struggling. 

First sentence sums it up. You can't say enough about what he did. You bring a guy in on the cheap, he steps in and produces when your team is going through some injuries, and he provides a nice veteran presence on the ball club by leading by example.

Now you can say whatever you want about trading him, but that's coming out ahead. When you sign a guy for dirt cheap and get some good production from him, then trade him for something of value (whether it is cash or, as Shapiro is stating, a prospect with major league value) that is good business.

We are looking at two options here for Shapiro. He can take the cash, however much it is, it may not be a whole heck of a lot, but I'd have to imagine it would be enough to sign one of those high school draft picks. Or he can just take the player and we'll have to take his word on it being someone of value. If they do take the player, I have a feeling they either have the budget, or are planning on creating the budget to start getting some of these draft picks signed, be it a trade for Westbrook or Wood.

In the long term, this officially means Michael Brantley will get his opportunity. There really are no other options at this point, even with Trevor Crowe in center right now. Brantley will be back, and back soon.

But right now unless this club places Travis Hafner on the disabled list, they can't call Brantley up because of the ten day rule in him being optioned out. So for the short term it sounds like they'll activate Kerry Wood and go with a stocked bullpen for the next two-three games.

Now if Jake Westbrook is dealt today, they'll be put into a bind and because it is a 1 PM start, I think it would be difficult to get someone from Columbus (playing in Louisville to boot) up to Toronto in time to start. Plus Justin Germano was kind of just used yesterday.

I think if Hafner is ready to get back in there as a DH, Shelley Duncan will be in left today. If not you'll see Duncan at DH, maybe Nix in left, Marte at third and we'll go from there. If worse comes to worse and we do trade Westbrook, Marte didn't pitch yesterday, so I'd have to imagine he'd be available for an inning or two.

What? You knew it was coming.

I think this also opens up the opportunity for Jordan Brown at some point. Brown's bat is worthy of a shot and especially if Hafner's shoulder issues are going to flare up, then it would be the perfect opportunity to get him up. Still Trevor Crowe is a nice little player and seems to be hitting the ball well right now, but at some point, the club is going to have to set him aside as just a fourth outfielder, give Brantley the reigns in center and that will open up the opportunity to see Jordan Brown in left field.


This club is going to need a starter for Mitch Talbot now as well. Mitch hit the DL almost immediately, so you can cross him out for at least three starts after he suffered a mid-back strain in Thursday's game against New York.

The Talbot DL move set off a chain that brought Jensen Lewis back to Cleveland, yet again, and Justin Germano up for the first time. Germano took Peralta's 40-man roster spot, but you have to imagine that it will be short lived with Kerry Wood coming back soon.

The Kearns trade may prolong his stay, but Germano is just up here because the bullpen has been worked hard. Lewis however takes Jess Todd's spot and I think Lewis may be here to stay for a little longer than one week.

Who does the club go with now in Talbot's spot? Whoever it is, they figure to get at least three starts, so maybe this could be the time to give Carlos Carrasco a shot. Now if my math is right, Carrasco should be slated to go today for the Clippers (he hasn't pitched since the 25th, so his turn has to be coming up), which is another interesting thing to consider when thinking about a Westbrook trade.

(EDIT 10:05: Looks like Marty Popham has been called up from Kinston to make a spot start for the Clippers. Not sure if Carrasco was originally scheduled, but it may something in terms of what is happening Tuesday, at least, or it could be in preparation in dealing Westbrook Maybe they'll fly Carrasco out to Toronto just in case. All speculation on my part... Other than Popham getting a spot-start, of course.)

Carlos however went four innings in his last start on Sunday and the club may still be hesitant to throw him out there when he isn't coming off the best of situations in Columbus.

I think in the end we'll see David Huff up here taking Talbot's spot. Huff lined up perfectly with Talbot, pitching on Thursday and with the club needing an arm for Tuesday, I think that is when we'll see David Huff again.

It's unclear how long Talbot will be out, but when you are talking about a back issue with a pitcher, that could really stop them from doing things such as, uh throwing. So if he doesn't throw for a week or so, it may take him awhile to get back up and going and he could probably miss more than just three starts.


I was in the car on way to the game on Wednesday, just killing time on my phone, watching twitter, texting, trying to do something on the car ride in... Then the tweet came through from Anthony Castrovince that a lineup change was coming and I immediately thought Kearns trade.

Of course I was wrong and when I got to the ballpark, I checked again (after I ran from the little park area with the trees in front of the main gates to the main gates with it pouring rain) to see that Jhonny Peralta had been dealt.

Look, I appreciate the season Peralta put up in 2007 and the job he did in the playoffs that year. I appreciate how he came in to take over for a legendary gold glove shortstop and took his lumps...

But man was he agonizing to watch this year at the plate.

And now for him to go out in his Detroit Tiger debut and hit two home runs? I'm calling shenanigans. I know they say Peralta truly cares and he's a guy that may not show the fire, but it is there.

BS, at least this season. Maybe even last season.

I'm getting the vibe that Jhonny Peralta wasn't really all there this season and wasn't really giving it his all. Now he's with a team that is competing for something and the light has clicked on for him. Oh it's time to play baseball.

Garbage, straight up. How else do you explain his horrendous season and then in his first game with a new team, he goes deep twice. I pinpoint lack of focus and think he didn't have the focus here that he does now. And don't think, because I've brought this up before.... Don't think for a second that third base didn't have something to do with it.

I still maintain that Peralta was a little miffed at that move, not so much the move, but when the move happened. Still the writing was on the wall with him, he should have known it was coming. But I'm pretty sure that the move got to Jhonny and the attitude he had towards it wasn't one you want from a team player.

Now in return for Peralta's services, the Tigers dealt left-handed starting Giovanni Soto. Yes he has the same name as the Cubs catcher, but no he doesn't spell it the same way, he plays a different position, and he's coming from a different organization, so let's be real with the jokes.

Soto is an interesting player. He wasn't in Detroit's top 30 prospects according to BA, but he's only 19, he'll report to Lake County and up to this date, he's had an impressive career.

Soto, like Peralta isn't even changing divisions. Heck, Soto just had to switch clubhouses at the time of the trade because his Western Michigan team was playing at Lake County. Soto is set to make his debut tonight with the Captains at South Bend.

In 2010 with Western Michigan, Soto is 6-6 with a 2.61 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 82 innings. This is really his first full professional season, he did play for the Gulf Coast League Tigers starting in six games and pitching in 13 total, but he's young, he's left-handed, and so far he's put up great numbers. Not a bad return for someone who was not going to be with this team next year.


You have to wonder if the rehab of Anthony Reyes will be accelerated with the injuries to the pitching staff and the potential of Jake Westbrook being dealt. What if Westbrook is dealt, say by the first week and a half of August? Reyes will be pitching again on Sunday for Akron and if he gets up to six innings in the next few starts after that, he may be an option sooner than we all thought.

Starting to worry about Travis Hafner. You would have thought the shoulder issues were a thing in the past given that he's gone this long without them flaring up, but they're back. The random days off here and there was starting to make me skeptical of things, left-hander or not, it was just too often Acta was sitting him.

Alright we have to talk about Andy Marte pitching, don't we? The guy STRUCK OUT NICK SWISHER! I mean come on! He didn't walk anyone in a game where Tribe REAL Starting pitchers walked 12. He got Robinson Cano, the best hitter in the American League to ground out. This is a third baseman who's never stepped foot on a pitching mound other than to talk to a pitcher, never to be one.

I know all he threw was fastballs in the 80 MPH range (topping out as high as 89, that's harder throwing than Jeremy Sowers), but his pitches had some movement to them and guess what, HE WAS THROWING STRIKES! Is it going to be sad that when Marte is long gone, and we mention his name, this may be the greatest moment of his career as an Indian? I mean most will probably still think back and think of him being a bust, but then they'll remember the inning of relief he once pitched against the Yankees where he struck out a Major League .300 hitter.

Holy Crap.. Now that's a party.


The Problem: Michael Brantley in the Majors

Michael Brantley really excited us all last year. With Grady Sizemore out for the year, the opportunity presented itself to Brantley and he certainly put himself on everyone's radar.

Sure, he was already on the radar because he was involved in the trade that sent CC Sabathia packing, but this is a different radar. His performance suggested that maybe the hype about him is real and maybe this is our leadoff hitter of the future.

The hitting this season though has been a problem. Michael hasn't produced at the major league level when he's had his two opportunities and everyone needs some answers as to why.

THE SUBJECT - Michael Brantley

THE PROBLEM - Trying to hit Major League pitching

For the second time this season, the club has sent down Michael Brantley to Triple-A Columbus after the speedy outfielder produced less-than stellar results at the big league level. Brantley's second stint in Cleveland was a lot longer than his first, but it still would seem as if he needs more of an extended period of time before we start jumping to conclusions about his future.

Brantley made the club out of spring training, thanks in large part to Russell Branyan starting the season on the disabled list. When Branyan was ready, Brantley was the odd man out of the equation and sent to Columbus for more time at Triple-A. In a way, that wasn't such a bad thing considering his age and how little time he spent there last year due to injuries and a late-season call-up.

He was most excellent in that late season cup of coffee, hitting .313 in 28 games and stealing four bases. He was a nice spark to the lineup late in the year and after that, he put the belief in many that he'd be a legitimate option to eventually take over the leadoff role in Cleveland.

Soon, the Indians would deal Branyan, enabling Matt LaPorta to take over at first, and with both Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo shelved, the window was open for Brantley to make his return on Independence Day.

Stint number two ended the other day with the promotion of starting pitcher Josh Tomlin. Austin Kearns' injury issues didn't require a trip to the disabled list, Shin-Soo Choo is back earlier than expected, and Trevor Crowe has been hitting to the point where he doesn't deserve to get demoted to backup role, let alone the minor leagues.

The club loves Shelley Duncan and considering they didn't designate Andy Marte for assignment, one can only assume carrying Brantley was carrying one-too-many outfielders. So now Michael finds himself back in Columbus for the second time. He will most definitely be back in the major leagues this season, for what we should hope is an audition lasting longer than a month. But before he comes back, he'll need to diagnose his issues at the major league level and get them corrected.

THE EVIDENCE - Numbers that are important

2009 - Cleveland Indians
28 GP, .313 AVG/.358 OBP/.348 SLG, 10 R, 0 HR, 11 RBI,  8/19 BB/K, 4/8 SB

2010 - Cleveland Indians, April 5th - April 18th
9 GP, .156 AVG/.229 OBP/.188 SLG, 4 R, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 3/9BB/K, 0/0 SB 

2010 - Cleveland Indians, July 4th - July 26th
17 GP, .157 AVG/.231 OBP/.214 SLG, 8 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 7/4 BB/K, 2/3 SB

2010 - Columbus Clippers
59 GP, .315 AVG/.391 OBP/.406 SLG, 47 R, 3 HR, 26 RBI, 11/27 BB/K, 11/16 SB

On the scope of things, it is obvious he doesn't have a problem hitting Triple-A pitching. Last year he only hit .267 in a season he dealt with injuries at numerous points. Yet he still held great on-base numbers, getting on with a .350 percentage and striking out only two more times than he walked.

The mediocre numbers at Columbus in 2009 and the great ones here in 2010 can give us two main ideas. The first is that Brantley is actually healthy and that when he is healthy, he can hit well. The second is that there should be a great amount of hope in terms of Brantley "getting it" at the next level of professional baseball.

Injuries aside, Brantley made adjustments at the Triple-A level, something every player pretty much has to do if they want to keep advancing. Brantley did the same in at the Double-A level with Huntsville in the Milwaukee system.

With the Stars in 2007, he played in 59 games and hit a mediocre .251, but still held a healthy on-base percentage of .353. The next season, his last with Milwaukee and his first full-season with Huntsville, he hit .319 with an even better on-base percentage of .395.

From these numbers we can come to terms with one of Brantley's problems, I say one of because I think there are multiple things that could be at the root of his issues this season when it comes to the major leagues.

One of Brantley's problems and perhaps his easiest to fix, is making adjustments. He clearly made them at the previous two levels when he needed to and now that he's tasted the bitter feeling of failure, he can probably go back to the kitchen and try again.

If Michael Brantley's overall problem is hitting at the major league level, then why exactly does he have many problems that are holding him back? Maybe he doesn't have multiple problems, but perhaps he has multiple reasons that are the cause for his struggles.

I think two of those reasons are out of his control. One is the fact that he actually hasn't had a long run of playing time at the level. Last year was his longest run and he was successful in it. It helped that he came swinging out of the gates and was very electrifying and exciting. But if you are going to judge someone you need something even bigger than the 28 games he played in 2009. You need something bigger then a sample size and Brantley simply hasn't got that in 2010 either.

That in a way is out of his control, even if he hits at the Columbus level like he has been. He can only hope there is an opening at the big league level and it's around when he is playing well. Even then if Austin Kearns is dealt at some point in the next few weeks, pre or post-waiver deadline, then it won't matter how Brantley is doing, he'll likely be the guy in line for a shot.

In a way that reason is in his control because if he were to get that shot, it is up for him to make it impossible for the Indians to take his opportunities away from him. You need to crawl before you walk though and that's essentially what were trying to help Michael do right now.

The other problem that is out of his control is pressure that the Indians and fans have put onto him. I think after 2009, a lot of people expect more of the same and it doubles when Manny Acta isn't hesitant about putting that pressure on Brantley by making him his leadoff hitter. Acta employed the same tactic with Carlos Santana, fresh off the bus from Columbus, without any major league experience. So in a way it isn't all that crazy when he throws Brantley into a trusting position like the leadoff role, especially since he and many believe that is the spot he should occupy at some point in the future.

The problem is Michael Brantley isn't Carlos Santana. He isn't of the same ilk and he may not have the same personality that Santana has. Maybe he feels the pressure, maybe he sees the trust the team has put in him and he feels he has to try too hard to do something.

That could lead to lack of adjustments and forgetting who you are as a hitter, and those two things lead to the little things hitters do to make them unsuccessful. Those two things right there, those are the biggest reasons that Brantley is struggling.

Brantley On Base
2006 - West Virginia (Single-A): .402 OBP, 71 BB, 51 K
2007 - West Virginia (Single-A): .413 OBP, 31 BB, 22 K
2007 - Huntsville (Double-A): .354 OBP, 29 BB, 25 K
2008 - Huntsville (Double-A): .395 OBP, 50 BB, 27 K
2009 - Columbus (Triple-A): .350 OBP, 59 BB, 48 K
2009 - Cleveland (MLB): .358 OBP, 8 BB, 19 K
2010 - Columbus (Triple-A): .391 OBP, 29 BB, 27 K
2010 - Cleveland (MLB): .230 OBP, 10 BB, 13 K

Brantley On the Bases - Steals and Attempts

2006 - West Virginia (Single-A): 24 for 31
2007 - West Virginia (Single-A):18 for 24
2007 - Huntsville (Double-A): .17 for 20
2008 - Huntsville (Double-A): 28 for 36
2009 - Columbus (Triple-A): 46 for 51
2009 - Cleveland (MLB): 4 for 8

2010 - Columbus (Triple-A): 11 for 16
2010 - Cleveland (MLB): 2 for 3

Now what do these numbers largely represent? The answer is simple because the answer is the player we've been talking about all this time, Michael Brantley.

You see this is what Michael Brantley is all about. This is why so many think he can be a potent leadoff hitter at the major league level. He does the two things that a leadoff hitter needs to do really well. Get on base and then cause havoc when they get there. Brantley is all about getting on and stealing bases and this is something he did very well in both 2008 and 2009.

We know he has major league speed. Sure at the next level with players like Carlos Santana behind the dish on a nightly basis, you won't be able to steal 46 bases with such ease. Yet it is worrisome when Brantley, even if it is only 26 games, has only attempted to steal three times. He ran eight times in 28 games last year and that is with Eric Wedge calling the shots.

Wedge was anti-steal, we all know this. Manny Acta is the exact opposite. He's all for setting runners in motion, putting on the suicide squeeze, dropping down bunts, and trying to play strategical baseball. With Acta as his manager, Brantley has only three attempts at stealing a base?

Sounds to me like someone out of his element, focusing on too much of what he isn't about and not enough on what he is about. This problem is exposed even more when you look at him getting on base. Of course because he is only on base 23 percent of the time, he doesn't have as many opportunities to steal. But not being on base is just further showing that he isn't playing his game.

Regardless of the level, regardless of how well he was hitting, Michael Brantley, at every level of professional baseball, found a way on base. His on-base percentage has never been lower than .350 until this season in the major leagues. He's never struck out more than he's walked until this year and last year at the major league level. Last year it was masked by him managing to hit (and the small amount of games, obviously), but now he's not even doing that.

Again, it does go back to him not having a larger amount of plate appearances at this level and the numbers looking kind of skewed, but it has become apparent that Brantley is getting away from his game.

THE SOLUTION - Getting back to basics.

So how do we get Brantley back to his game? That's a great question, but only Michael and hitting coaches Jon Nunnally and Lee May can answer it. It boils down to Brantley though; he has to stop putting so much pressure on himself to perform when he puts Chief Wahoo on his head.

When I watch Brantley hit, I don't see what I should. I see someone trying to lift balls into right field. It may not be the coolest thing to be, but Brantley has to essentially be a scrappy hitter. Put the bat on the ball and let it find a hole. In the offseason, Brantley said he put on some weight, all muscle, in hopes of adding more power to his game.

At the time, to me it seemed like a positive move. Now, I absolutely hate it.

Brantley should just embrace the role of being a singles hitter and the Indians should encourage it. You can pay players like Matt LaPorta, Shin-Soo Choo, and Carlos Santana to hit home runs and doubles off the wall. You need to pay players like Michael Brantley to put the ball in play and create mayhem on the base paths. A single for Michael Brantley could easily be turned into a double with his legs. Be it a steal or something hit just deep enough for him a player like him to leg out two bases, Brantley's doubles should be coming off his speed, not his power.

Michael Brantley has 16 career home runs in his professional career. That's over 2,000 at-bats and he's only hit the ball over the fence 16 times. Realistically, how much more can you expect if he were to continue to bulk up and attempt to add more of a power stroke to his game?

After you answer that question, answer this one. At what expense do you do that? Not only does the mentality for a player like that change, so does his body. What makes Brantley dangerous? His legs. If you are adding more weight (even if it is muscle) to his upper frame, you are adding more weight he has to carry when he's attempting to steal a base.

Michael Brantley shouldn't try and change his game or change who he is. The Indians shouldn't try to change him or his game either. Does he really need to hit for more power? There are plenty of players in the system and on the team right now that will add pop, it can't hurt to have one guy at the top of the lineup providing a different element to your attack.

Brantley needs to get back to what makes him successful and what makes him successful isn't trying to muscle up on the ball. If he's making adjustments to his swing in Columbus, but they aren't working in Cleveland, then there may not be adjustments that need to be made. As things often do, it may be a case of the mental part of the game causing Brantley's issues.

The solution to Brantley's problem may not be something overly complicated. It may not take much time at all. For all we know, Michael may just have to execute the game plan he's most comfortable with.


Minor Issues: McFarland On Top of the CAR; Looking at Hodges

What's the News?

With Josh Tomlin getting promoted, there needed to be moves made in order to get him on the 40-man roster and the active roster. Now the club could have just designated a player like Andy Marte and made one move for all of them.

But with Michael Brantley struggling the way he is and Trevor Crowe hitting the way he is, they decided that now isn't the time to get an extended look at Michael Brantley, so they sent him to Columbus.

That means they needed a 40-man spot and they got in the form of designated Wes Hodges, someone who was regarded as the third baseman of the future a few years ago.

Times change, especially when that third baseman is now a first baseman, and he can't even play that well. Hodges' downfall is his defense. His bat has always been good, but lately it hasn't and when you translate his numbers from third to first, they sort of lose their luster. The club has Matt LaPorta, they've got other guys like Beau Mills, Matt McBride, Jordan Brown, and in the grand scheme of things, Lonnie Chisenhall wasn't even a big reason for Hodges getting shifted, Hodges defense was.

Hodges is hitting a modest .270 this season with nine home runs and 47 RBI. He's coming off a bit of a lost season in Columbus in 2009 thanks to injuries. He hit just .265 with five home runs and 38 RBI. Hodges was impressive in big league camp with his bat, but really struggled defensively at first. The hitting hasn't exactly carried over to Columbus. He's been decent, but not what you would want from a major league player at first base.

So DFAing him makes sense. He can barely hit left-handed pitching to begin with, so if anything, he'd just another platoon player. He'll probably end up back on the club because it is unlikely someone would claim him at this juncture.

Diego Seastrunk is in the tournament  that is just as wild and wonderful as the NCAA Tournament. The Minors Moniker Madness tournament is underway and so far, so Seastrunk. Diego is in the field of 64, a 7 seed in the upper left bracket (also called the Icicle Reader Bracket). He's already defeated Will Rhymes and is now up against a stiff test, Mark Hamburger! It is very hard not to vote for someone named Hamburger, so Seastrunk may be done after this round.

Still, give him your support. Vote Seastrunk.


The five game win streak of the Clippers came to an end last night as Eric Berger got the spot-start in place of promoted Josh Tomlin.

The monster Jared Goedert hit his 17th home run as a Clipper and also walked twice. Goedert's blast and Jose Constanza's three hits were not enough for the Clippers though as Berger struggled early on and put the club in a hole. He did battled back though to put his team in a decent position to win the game by giving up just an unearned run in innings 2-through-6.

Berger's final line in his AAA debut, 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3ER), 3 BB, 3 K

Zach Putnam suffered the loss after giving the lead back up to Buffalo in the seventh inning after Jose Constanza stole third and scored on a throwing error in the same play.

Zeke Carrera was removed from the game after he tweaked his hamstring rounding the bases in the ninth. He will be out for the next few games.


The Aeros returned the favor to Bowie from Monday night's loss and set themselves with a rubber match with second place and the wild card spot on the line in Wednesday's game. Akron shutout Bowie on Tuesday 4-0 and if they win, the two will be tied for second.

Rob Bryson and Bryan Graham, two arms I really like. Price recorded a three inning save with four strikeouts, his first of the season. Bryson had another positive outing after a rough debut, striking out one in his shutout frame.

Anthony Reyes made his second rehab start, first with the Aeros, going three innings, striking out one and giving up just a hit and a walk.

The big blow came from Matt McBride, who hit his 17th home run of the season, a three run shot in the 1st inning. He's now knocked in a team high 64 runs on the season.


Winston-Salem and Kinston had put on a pitchers duel between TJ McFarland and Nate Jones for six innings, then the offense appeared. WS got on the board in the seventh, but still trailed by one until the K-Tribe added two in the eighth and four more in the ninth for a lopsided final score of 8-1.

Kyle Bellows had three hits and three RBI on the night, including a triple. Jeremie Tice had two hits and two RBI, including a double. Juan Diaz, Chun Chen, and Doug Pickens with RBIs as well.

TJ McFarland continues to be one of the stories of Kinston's season though as he went six innings, gave up just the one run off four hits and four walks to earn his 10th win of the season. Matt Langwell picked up save number three with an inning and a third of scoreless baseball.

McFarland's 2.53 ERA is second in the Carolina League and he is the first pitcher to 10 wins this season.


The Captains didn't play last night, yet again another update when they are off.

They've been not as good as in the second half, but it may not matter because Great Lakes has continued their hot play from the end of the first half and has carried it over BIG TIME. They're 24-6 and a full 10 games ahead of the fourth place Captains. Not to worry because they are already in the playoffs.


The Valley was also off last night and they remain in last place at 14-24. This team is bad offensively and they aren't going anywhere until they get some of these draft picks signed later next month. They're dead last in the NY-Penn League in Average, OBP, SLG and second to last in runs scored. They've hit just 12 home runs and 54 doubles. They've got no punch. Giovanny Urshela and Chase Burnette are the only bright spots.

Meanwhile they're pitching has been the one thing that has been good because of a few individuals. Alex Kaminsky, the non-drafted free agent is leading the team with four wins and a 1.96 ERA. Owen Dew has been good in his six starts and out of the bullpen, James Ehlert, another NDFA, has been solid. Closer Nick Kirk has notched four saves and hasn't been bad either.


The Rundown: Indians Host Freedom Night and Gunning for 600

Thunderstorms hit the area the past week and with me being in Youngstown on Saturday night, it would of course mean we would get hit pretty hard. On top of that, lightning actually struck a tree in the neighbors yard. I witnessed something get struck by lightning and yes, because no one was hurt, it was in fact pretty damn cool.

The uncool part was the fact that it hit a cable and knocked out the internet, so I didn't get a chance to do a usual Sunday morning update like I wanted.

With work on Monday and Tuesday, time obviously isn't on my side, but I wanted to go through a few things here, so I'm writing this post up watching the game here on Monday and setting this to post Tuesday morning.


I thought Christmas in July was a silly promotion. It sounds just weird. Beach Weekend is cool because it is a neat theme and they do some fun stuff. But Christmas in July? Sounds like a minor league promotion (and that is exactly what the Akron Aeros are doing this upcoming series, not to downgrade it, it just seems way too gimmicky) to be quite honest.

However the Indians are doing something really cool tonight. I received a great tip from Daniel of the International Justice Mission. What is Freedom Night exactly and what does it have to do with anything?

For one, Freedom Night information can be found here. The basics are this. From 5 to 6:30 there is a Reception going on where IJM and staff from the Indians are hosting at Heritage Park. You can learn all about the 5 Weeks for Freedom biking campaign. What is the 5 Weeks of Freedom campaign?

14 American will be biking the Underground Railroad from Alabama to New York, practically retracing the steps of Freedom Seekers in an effort to raise awareness for the IJM. You can also meet some of these riders at this reception.

Tickets are 25 dollars to just the game, but if you would like to go to the reception, you can get into that and the game for 35 bucks.

If you have any interest at all at how to get involved and help out with the 5 Weeks of Freedom Campaign, please visit this link.

This is just another one of the great events that the Indians put on and one of the stand-up things this organization does. Speaking of, how about having the team out there for kids running the bases on Sunday? That was a great thing and it will actually continue for the rest of the season.


Alex Rodriguez was shutout of his attempt for 600 career home runs this past weekend against Kansas City, which makes it all the more likely he'll do it in Cleveland, especially with a four game set.

Our section, isn't 182, the section that has the highest chance of nabbing the A-Rod home run ball. In fact my section, 304, isn't even listed. But at least I have a chance, where as anyone down the base lines and behind home plate has no chance.

What's funny is that the folks at SeatGeek have actually pegged an exact seat in 181 as the "Money Seat" to be. If you are in Row J and in the aisle, you are likely to have the best shot at the ball. That is in fact in the bleachers.

Come on A-Rod.. Break the percentages. Hit one to section 304, Row C, Seat 9... Or 8, I don't care if my dad catches it.


Not a fan of Michael Brantley continuing to hit leadoff. Get him out of there and get the pressure off. I think him hitting leadoff though says good things for him in terms of staying come tomorrow's roster move.

The roster move of course is coming because Josh Tomlin has been named starter for Tuesday's showdown against CC Sabathia. I'm good with the decision of Tomlin by Acta. David Huff was the only other reasonable option available if you ask me, but I won't argue with Tomlin being chosen, he deserves it the way he's pitched in Columbus.

I want Gomez to rip things up in AAA before he gets back here. I think that start he made was what he needed to kick his season into gear and I want to see hitters at the Triple-A level get run down. As for Carlos Carrasco, I think he's still coming off that issue with his elbow and letting him get his opportunity at this juncture, wouldn't be fair to him.

What roster move will happen though. Trevor Crowe doesn't seem to be going anywhere the way he's hitting, and with Austin Kearns battling issues, that seems even more set in stone that he and Brantley will survive the call-down. But what about Kearns? Acta expects Kearns to be ready to go again on Tuesday, probably on a more full-time basis than he has been. But is a trade with him imminent, or could they flat out release him? Who knows. The club does need a 40-man roster spot and trading Kearns would certainly be the most ideal move since the club would love to get younger players like Crowe and Brantley full-time shots.

But if worst comes to worst, Shelley Duncan or Andy Marte seem to be expendable. The club also has the option of moving Aaron Laffey to the 60-day disabled list, but that doesn't seem likely for something like a dead arm, especially this early in the process. In a way I hope it is neither, I really like Shelley Duncan, he's a cool cat.

Anthony Reyes has returned. Sort of, he's been with the AZL club and will be with the Akron Aeros this upcoming week for a few starts. Reyes will throw three innings or 50 pitches.

We've got Kerry Wood on the horizon, and he'll return into the closers role when Acta feels he is ready. He won't go back into the closers role from the get-go and who knows if he'll make rehab appearances, but he will get a few non-save situations before he's thrusted back in there.


Minor Issues: Kipnis leads red-hot Aeros with two dingers

What's the News?

Another draft pick has decided on what he's going to do. 26th Rounder Ben Lively will pass up a 177K signing bonus to attended Central Florida. We now know that five draft picks (all 26th round and later) are passing up an opportunity with the Tribe.

Bad news for Carlos Carrasco. Not only did he get injured in last night's game against Durham, Aaron Laffey is dealing with a dead arm, which means that if Laffey needs to be DLed, it would be awful timing on Carlos' part in terms of getting his shot.

Carrasco was removed with one out in the fourth inning after making a pitch to Durham player Dan Johnson.

Was in Akron last night to take in the Aeros game and see Choo and Cabrera. Of course Cabrera was activated surprisingly yesterday so that didn't happen. But I was right behind the on-deck circle and if you saw the tweet, I sent in a picture. Great to finally get a first look at Jason Kipnis. It was also the second look I got for Kelvin De La Cruz, who was much better this time around. Both starts have involved rain though, which is weird.


The Clippers beat Durham on Monday, but last night they were shutout by Durham and fell 7-0 thanks in large part to the Carlos Carrasco injury.

Josh Judy provided relief, finishing the fourth inning and pitching the fifth, but things fell apart under Jeremy Sowers, who was tagged with his sixth loss after he gave up seven runs off 11 hits. He's jello.

Zeke Carrera had two of the five hits for the Clippers, Jared Goedert doubled and stole a base.


It was a great win last night, sixth straight for the Aeros as they toppled front-running Altoona 10-3.

Jason Kipnis led the game off with a home run and then Beau Mills added another RBI later in the inning. Lonnie Chisenhall hit an absolute BOMB to center field over the high wall in the third inning. Then came the big fourth inning in which the Aeros batted around and the Altoona pitcher struggled to even get an out.

Jason Kipnis hit his second home run, a three-run shot. Johnnie Drennen hit a two-run shot to right field and Beau Mills capped it all off with a two-run shot.

It was the most home runs the Aeors have hit in a game all season. Kipnis' lead-off homer was the first for the Aeros in a long time, not since Brad Snyder did it.

Kelvin De La Cruz was good in the five innings he pitched. He gave up six hits and three walks to yield two runs, but really he did a good job of getting ground balls.

Shaky debut by Rob Byrson who gave up a run off FOUR walks and a hit. Bryan Price was dominant though for three innings, giving up just a hit.


The K-Tribe topped Winston-Salem last night behind Joe Gardner and his eighth win of the season.

Gardner went six innings of a rain shortened win, giving up one earned (two runs) off three hits and two walks.

Karexon Sanchez hit a solo home run and knocked in another run to account for two of the four Kinston runs Chun Chen knocked in just his third run for the K-Tribe as Donnie Webb added one and had two hits.


The Lake County Captains were off last night.


This Alex Kaminsky kid was quite the find. The Mahoning Valley squad shutout State College (the dumb deer) winning 4-0 and collecting 11 hits.

Alex Kaminsky went five innings, gave up just three hits and two walks. It was Non-drafted Free Agent night as fellow NDFA's James Reichenbach and James Ehlert both pitched two scoreless with Ehlert striking out five hitters.

Kevin Fontanez doubled twice and scored while Dan DeGeorge added two hits, two stolen bases, and two RBI. Chase Burnette had two hits and a RBI.


Notes and Quotes: Is Jhonny Peralta a Wizard?

Here comes the cavalry!

Pick a day any day to go down to Akron between Monday and Wednesday to see both Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera start for the Aeros before they make their returns to the club on Friday.

I might make up for my skipping out on Saturday with a game tonight if it doesn't rain. If not tonight, then tomorrow since I work Wednesday night.

This is fantastic news for the club, especially coming off a four game sweep of the Tigers. Maybe this second half is going to be a fun one to watch.


"The last time I played was July 1 [actually, July 2]," Choo said. "So I have not seen a pitcher for 20 days. I take batting practice every day, but I want to see a pitcher to get more comfortable." 

Not many players voluntarily take on a rehab assignment, but that is what Shin-Soo Choo wanted to do. He is eligible to come off the DL, yesterday I think, or today, but Choo wanted to see live pitching before he returned to the club.

Choo took 50 swings in outdoor batting practice yesterday and said he felt pain free.

Meanwhile Cabrera is in the middle of his rehab stint. He did not play yesterday for Akron and will come back down 76 to eclipse that 30 at-bat mark the Indians wanted him to reach.


This was most definitely a spot start, but if it sets off a run for Jeanmar Gomez that puts him in the Indians plans, all the better. Gomez has been the three, hell even four to Carlos Carrasco, David Huff, and Josh Tomlin most of the season. But because of Huff's tweet and Tomlin not being on the 40-man roster, he received an opportunity and ran with it.

As we've now learned, Justin Masterson was indeed pushed back from the Sunday start for a reason. He twisted his ankle during the All-Star break back in his home. The injury isn't serious, but it was enough to push him back. Had that not happened, it would have likely been Carlos Carrasco going on Tuesday in normal turn, like we all thought it would go down.

But the Masterson ankle twist caused the Indians to have to shuffle their cards and re-deal. David Huff was scratched Saturday in Columbus and told he'd go for the big league club on Sunday. Huff was told not to tell anyone, but he obviously did and whoever he told decided to tweet it.

That led the Indians to getting peeved off and that led to them giving Gomez the start instead. Good thing they did, because Gomez was good. He also felt good.

"I was not nervous," said Gomez, who allowed just two unearned runs on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts. "I felt very, very good." 

Jeanmar still had a plane ticket waiting for him to North Carolina so he could meet up with the rest of the Clippers on their road trip after the game. Clearly he didn't pitch that perfect game he needed to stick around, but he certainly pitched well enough for everyone to remember him. Tim Belcher said Gomez was not intimidated and he remained calm. I'll take that any day of the week from a starter because that usually leads to results more often than not.

I'm ready to see more. Gomez hasn't been having the greatest year in Columbus, but baseball is a funny sport. Who knows what this may do for his confidence as he progresses.


Ryan Raburn crashed into the wall and the gate opened, I laughed, hysterically.

It would be the only way that Jhonny Peralta could score on an inside-the-park home run. That and if all three outfielders were knocked unconscious. That is essentially what happened to Raburn as he ranged back and jumped to make the catch. The bullpen door went flying open, the ball went back the other way.

What's funnier than that was what Peralta had to say after the game on the matter.

"I tried to run the best I can," the slow-footed Peralta said with a smile. "I can't breathe too good. It was really hard for me. I ran as fast as I can." 

Throw in him scoring from first on LaPorta's triple and Jhonny certainly had an adventurous first day back in the lineup after three games missed with the flu. Little guy had a big day!

Did anyone else notice a person getting out of the way just before Raburn crashed into the wall? Could someone have unlocked the door right before in attempt to aid Peralta? Did Raburn just hit the gate really hard? Is Peralta a wizard? None of these questions will ever be answered for sure.


It looks like the plan for now is to go with a stocked up bullpen and play without a backup middle infielder, at least for the series against the Twins. Today the Indians will sent Jeanmar Gomez back down and recall relief pitcher Jess Todd to be added to their bullpen. Todd's stay may be short, unless he does very well and someone implodes as the club will be getting both Cabrera and Choo back on Friday.

Jhonny Peralta can play short in a pinch, but it is a bit of a gamble going with just Donald and Nix as your only middle infielders for the next three games. I say go for it. Those are the only two infielders because Anderson Hernandez was designated for assignment to make room for Jeanmar Gomez on Sunday. This move with Hernandez was coming sooner or later with Cabrera coming back, it just came sooner because of the double header and the bullpen use.

So Cabrera comes back, takes the 40-man spot of Hernandez and the roster spot of possibly Todd. Who's space does Choo take? The candidates are Trevor Crowe, Michael Brantley, Shelley Duncan, and Andy Marte.

I'll go ahead and rule out Michael Brantley and believe the club is serious about giving him his audition. I have a fear that they'll want to continue painfully with Trevor Crowe, which leads me to believe it could be Shelley Duncan or Andy Marte. Shelley can't play third, but Jayson Nix can, which basically makes it a matter of preference because they won't need Duncan to do much in the outfield and both he and Marte can play first.

Or they could trade Austin Kearns between now and Friday, that would be the most, uh, helpful, move.

Minor Issues: Huff responds with seven shutout innings

What's the News?

It escaped me yesterday that Anthony Reyes made a rehab start for the Arizona League Indians. A-Rey is on his way back.

Shin-Soo Choo AND Asdrubal Cabrera will be in Akron tonight for rehab starts. What a treat for the Akron fans, and it is dollar dog night? It may be packed, but it may be worth checking out.


If this little situation that has gone on with David Huff has sort of "motivated" him the right way, because we all know that David Huff seems that kick in the rear, then good for us. The Clippers starter was dominant through seven innings yesterday, shutting down Norfolk with two hits and three walks to earn his fourth win as a part of a 1-0 shutout.

Bryce Stowell continued his magic with a scoreless frame and Vinnie Pestano notched save number seven.

The lone Clipper run came across thanks to Lou friggin Marson. He knocked in Wes Hodges who was one of three Clippers with two hits, joining Cord Phelps and Nick Weglarz.


Can we play Erie every day? The Aeros completed a four game sweep of the Sea Wolves and continue to remain hot thanks in large part to facing this team in eight straight games.

This one was a big comeback with 10 runs in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings. Beau Mills and Damaso Espino knocked in a pair of runs, Carlos Rivero had three. Jerad Head had a four hit, four run scored night and Jason Kipnis stole his fourth base in addition to scoring twice and collecting three hits.

Scott Barnes won game number five and pushed his ERA below 5.00 by going six strong innings and striking out four. CC Lee pitched two scoreless and it helped complete a great week by the Aeros bullpen in which they gave up just one earned run over 15 innings.


The K-Tribe had an off-day and resume at home against Winston-Salem tonight.


Wow I don't know what to say about this one....

The Captains lost 18-11 and it wasn't just as simple as losing 18-11, even though there is nothing simple to that.

The Caps got out to a 11-3 lead after the sixth inning, game in hand right?

Not really. Cedar Rapids put up 14, YES 14! 14 runs in the seventh inning.

Brett Brach put in a good start, went 5.1 and gave up three earned off six hits and a walk, no biggie. Nick Sarianides ended the sixth and then the pain started. Sarianides line ended up with six runs, five earned off six hits in one inning.

He gave way to Ryan Morris who couldn't stop the bleeding, but rather took a pick-axe to the wounds. Morris recorded just one out and gave up six runs off four hits and one walk. His ERA over two games is 40.50.

Jose Flores came in to get the final out, but even he gave up three earned runs before his night was over.

What an awful display of relief work.

The offense did what they had to do, but how can you be expected to battle back and score more runs after that?

Adam Abraham hit two home runs, both of the two-run variety as a part of his three hits. He and Casey Frawley scored three runs, with Frawley knocking in three runs on the day. Chris Kersten also knocked in three off a three-run home run. Jason Smit and Greg Folgia added their three hits and Delvi Cid stole base number 42 as he scored two runs.


The Valley had a bit of a meltdown, not as bad as Lake County's but after scoring two in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead, the club gave up three in the top of the ninth to re-surrender it.

Jordan Cooper put in a good start, going five innings and giving up an earned run off seven hits. JD Goryl gave up a hit through two innings while Dale Dickerson got tagged with the loss after giving up three unearned runs in that ninth inning after Chase Burnette committed a few errors.

The two runs the Scrappers put up in the eighth came off the bat of Carlos Moncrief who homered in his second straight game. Kelvin Rucker's sac-fly in the ninth brought the club within one, but it was not enough to complete a comeback.


Notes and Quotes: Jeanmar Gomez cant top a rain-delayed double header, can he?

Alright three games starting in the matter of one day, you ready for it?

You ready for the Jeanmar Gomez era to begin?

I am, maybe he'll do something awesome. It's situations like these where that type of stuff happens.


"At this time," Acta said, "we feel it's better for David to work on his delivery at Triple-A." 

In more ways than one right? Those were the words Manny Acta gave when asked about Huff not starting on Sunday.

Acta wouldn't mention the tweet, but I have to believe that the whole 'delivery' thing is something in response to that. Chris Antonetti wouldn't speak about the rouge David Huff tweet either.

But Huff's agent sure as hell did in an e-mail.
"If word got out about Huff possibly throwing a spot start on Sunday, it was not David's doing," Huff's agent, Jim McDowell, wrote in an e-mail to MLB.com. "He did not post anything on Twitter about any of this; in fact, his own account was terminated over a month ago. And if stuff gets out and circulates over the Internet or Twitter or whatever, well, welcome to 2010."

"With Cleveland having a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday," McDowell wrote, "even Inspector Clouseau would have an inkling as to why Huff was pulled from his start."

"Dave will be pitching for Triple-A Columbus [on Sunday], apparently because this was such a big deal," McDowell wrote. "He'll continue to focus on making the necessary improvements and adjustments that will bring him back to the big leagues for what will be a long, successful career." 
Think he's a little ticked? David Huff updated his facebook fan page and it said that @David.G.Huff wasn't the real him. Well @David.G.Huff wasn't the one who tweeted that information. That is the account Jensen Lewis was referring to.

@DHuff11 was the account that tweeted about the start and @DHuff11 was the verified account of David Huff up until, now I guess. Huff said he deleted his account a month ago and I will actually say that every time I've clicked on his account, it did say not available.

But why did this tweet come out? Only David Huff and the Indians knew about the start happening and Huff was told to keep it under wraps. He obviously told someone if he didn't tweet the information and probably that someone he told updated his account because they have access to it.

I'm not sure I'd take away his start because of it, but Huff should understand the meaning of "keep it under wraps" well enough to... do just that.

Instead, it will be Jeanmar Gomez making his Major League debut because he's the only other guy on the 40-man roster that hasn't pitched. They could have withheld Josh Tomlin last night, but he needs a 40-man spot and with Asdrubal Cabrera coming off the 60-day DL soon, there may not be a spot readily available.

Manny Acta said awhile ago that this would be a spot start and that the only way the person making the start would stay up is if they threw a perfect game. Well what better person to do it than Jeanmar Gomez, who threw a perfect game at Double-A Akron last year?

It still remains to be questioned why the club is choosing to have the spot start come today rather than on Tuesday when they could just use Carlos Carrasco. Does it have to do with Masterson? Did it originally have to do with preference of Huff over Carrasco and Tomlin? If so, you'd think after what happened they'd simply move Masterson back up to the original day and let Carrasco go Tuesday.

Does it have to do with activating Asdrubal Cabrera on Monday, a day before you'll need the spot start, making it a bit of a roster issue to get a spot-starter on the active roster?

I don't know, because before yesterday, Anthony Castrovince made it sound like they planned on just optioning out someone in the bullpen to get Gomez up here, but now it sounds like it will be an infielder.

But the bullpen pulled double duty yesterday for the most part. Chris Perez, Rafael Perez, and Joe Smith all pitched in both games and Jensen Lewis tossed two innings. They kind of might need all the arms they have just in case.

Regardless, everyone in the pen pitched really really well to boot, so who would you kick out?


This news came down yesterday shortly after I had polished off yesterday's notes and quotes and it really feels like this news was weeks ago with both games yesterday and all the drama with the David Huff/Jeanmar Gomez swap.

But Kerry Wood is back on the disabled list, which is why Jensen Lewis was back yesterday and Chris Perez saved the first win in the afternoon.

Wood has a blister on his right index finger, which is annoying, but also not serious from the sounds of it. The move was retroactive to July 12th, meaning he's eligible and will likely come off before July 31st, the non-waiver trade deadline.

Still, that throws a bit of a wrench in the idea of trading Kerry Wood, because it is an immediate loss in value and loss in confidence for some other team that he can remain healthy and he's actually pitching at his best. It gives him maybe a few days to get into a game, but what is that?

Wood can still be moved and is probably more likely to be moved post non-waiver deadline in August.I mentioned that even before the injury and now with the injury, it looks like that will be the only way the club can move him.

I do think though that this should be Chris Perez's job for good now. I wouldn't bother putting Wood back into the role. I know you want to establish his value, but with the up and down opportunities the closer gets on this team, you won't build value as quick. Teams are not acquiring him to be a closer, they'll be acquiring him to be an arm in the back end.


The first inning has been hell the past three games. Fausto Carmona struggled in the first yesterday, Talbot threw a lot of pitches in his, as did Jake Westbrook. Yet that hasn't stopped any of them from bouncing back. Westbrook was able to pitch deeper into the game you'd imagine, Talbot managed to hold it at one run through five, and Carmona had probably the most impressive bounce back by going seven innings.

"[Carmona] deserves a lot of credit for the way he's handled himself," manager Manny Acta said. "It was looking like the game would unravel, but he kept his composure." 

Acta was praising his bullpen for both games and what they did. He also couldn't believe the way game two ended the way it started.

"With the way it started," manager Manny Acta said, "if you would have told me the game was going to end up 2-1, I wouldn't have believed you." 

Rafael Perez is really coming around. He hasn't given up an earned run since a solo shot in Texas earlier this month and in this Detroit series, he's really been thrust into meaningful situations and come through big time.

With Chris closing, Rafael is going to need to step up and be another option late in games, him and Joe Smith. Tony Sipp seems to be coming back around and that should be a nice little group of four to handle things providing the starters continue to do what they're doing.

Minor Issues: Packer continues to shine

What's the News?

You ever wake up in the morning and not feel like doing what you planned on doing?

That was me yesterday, so I didn't see the Aeros. I know, I'm a bad person.

Anyway Rob Bryson has finally been promoted to Akron. It would have happened sooner had he not got injured. He'll take the place of Zach Putnam, who was just promoted to Columbus, much deserved on his part.


The Clippers were shutout last night, a rare result for them and their powerful offense.

Josh Rodriguez stayed hot with two hits and a double and Cord Phelps upped his average to .388 with two more hits and a walk himself.

Josh Tomlin pitched well, but with no offense it didn't matter. Seven strong with three earned runs (all solo home runs) surrendered and four strikeouts.

It will be David Huff going for the Clips today thanks in part to "The Tweet."


It took a bit of a comeback for the Aeros, but they picked up yet another win over Erie last night, 6-5.

Eric Berger started and pitched four scoreless innings before facing trouble in the fifth and sixth innings. He gave up five earned off eight hits with three strikeouts. Bryan Price picked up the win with two scoreless frames in relief and Zach Putnam notched his third save.

Asdrubal Cabrera had a double, a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored in his first full game with the Aeros at shortstop. Looks like he could be nearing that point of return for the Indians, perhaps by Monday if he plays today.

Two-hit days for Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Miguel Perez. Perez and Chisenhall knocked in runs, Kipnis stole a base and scored a run and Chisenhall was plated twice.

Matt McBride knocked in a pair and doubled and Jerad Head hit a solo home run.


Joey Mahalic and Dave Roberts struggled pitching-wise for the K-Tribe in their 6-3 loss yesterday. Mahalic gave up four and Roberts gave up two.

Offensively Jeremie Tice, Donnie Webb, and Ron Rivas had two hits and a RBI each with Webb hitting his third home run on the season. Lucas Montero had three hits.


Matt Packer is the last guy that needs run-support the way he's pitching, but he got plenty of it an inning after he exited, just to make sure he'd take home the W.

Packer improved to 8-4 with seven strong innings with just a single run given up in the first inning. Antwoine Hubbard gave up a hit in two innings of relief, but it's Packer who continues to impress as a starter. His ERA is now sitting at 1.65 through 82 innings pitched. He's even better as a starter in 11 games, with a 1.43 ERA.

Chris Kersten was the big man on this night, hitting a grand slam home run for the Captains. Greg Folgia had three hits, including a double and a two-run homer. Casey Frawley had two hits and a RBI, one of them being a triple.


Owen Dew really put together a nice outing, bouncing back nicely from a disaster of a start last time out to help lead the Scrappers to a 7-4 victory.

Dew went six innings and gave up just a walk and three hits with no runs. Unfortunately Casey Gaynor and Gregario Rosario couldn't hold the lead and Dew doesn't get a win, but the offense came back and Nick Kirk nailed down his fourth save with a couple of strikeouts.

A great day for Jordan Casas in center field. He had three hits, two of them doubles, one of them a triple and he knocked in two runs on the day. Not to be outdone, Carlos Moncrief hit a two run home run and stole his third base. It was a running kind of a day as Kevin Fontanez stole two bases, Brian Heere nabbed one and Tyler Cannon got his first as well.

Kelvin Rucker had a triple and scored twice.


Notes and Quotes: David Huff and Dangerous Tweets

Far be it for me to post unfavorable opinions about a restaurant on a baseball blog, so I won't mention any specific names. Finding the name of this place isn't hard though, especially if you are my friend on Facebook.

But last night, as I hinted on twitter, was one of the worst dining experiences I've ever had. Bad service, sub-par food, and almost late to the Indians game because of it. Usually it is Paninis or The Winking Lizard, but we just had Paninis and The Winking Lizard was packed, so Plan...whatever we could find, was initiated.

Horriawful... The place clearly had two people waiting on tables, one bringing out food, and like nine bartenders. Okay the nine bartenders was an exaggeration, but the other numbers were not. It took forever for us to get service as you kind of just walk in and seat yourself. Every worker in that place seemed to just ignore us, not even saying something like "We'll be with you in a moment" or anything of sorts.

Then for some reason, Potato Skins, a burger and three pieces of chicken on a bun (yeah that was the sandwich, I don't like lettuce and tomato, but no cheese?) take a half hour?

Didn't miss first pitch but it was dangerously close. That wouldn't have been pretty. I did miss a chance to go over and see Shin-Soo Choo hand out t-shirts in right field. That was angering.


Let me just say right now that David Huff is making the start on Sunday.

We'll get to the actual baseball.... err importance... later but let's talk about this first.

Is at @DHuff11 real? According to Jensen Lewis, David G. Huff isn't real, but Jensen doesn't seem to know how to work the @ function well. But @DHuff11 is a verified account and it was Jensen who was pretty much the first one to make public Huff's account. Jensen claims Huff doesn't have twitter.

I'm questioning Jensen's... err... I don't know what the dude is on about.. So we'll move on from that.

Anyway @DHuff11 is real and Huff tweeted that he'd be making the start Sunday, which is a shock to me because I assumed it would be Tuesday that the club would use a spot-starter. Castrovince's re-tweeting of that Huff tweet would make one assume that is verified information, but it apparantely was just a rouge tweet on Huff's part.

"Huff now claims, according to The Plain Dealer, that he's not the one who sent that tweet. But that was definitely his account. I'm told his Twitter account was linked to his Facebook account, which has multiple administrators. Could be that one of those administrators received this info and sent it out prematurely."

If you believe Castrovince, and I do, you will believe that the Indians told Huff he'd be starting Sunday and told him not to tell anyone .Well Huff obviously told someone, regardless of whether he posted that news or not, he told someone enabling them to post that on his facebook or twitter account.

That's the problem with not managing your own web stuff David.

Anyway the quote from Belcher would lead one to believe that the tweet put Huff starting in jeopardy, but I have two trump cards.

1. David Huff was scratched from his start in Columbus last night.

2. Josh Tomlin isn't on the 40-man roster.

The club isn't going to add Tomlin to the 40-man for one start just to prove a point to David Huff.

Tomlin is the other candidate for the start on Sunday because Carlos Carrasco pitched on Thursday (more on that in a second). Now a lot of other human beings and I assumed Carrasco was being lined up perfectly to start on Tuesday and the rest of the rotation would flow as normal.

But the Indians aren't going the simple way with this, they are making it rather weird by throwing Carmona and Talbot today for the double header and choosing a spot starter for Sunday, pushing Laffey to Monday and Justin Masterson, curiously to Tuesday.

Who knows what the method to their madness is, but it isn't the way I'd do it. I want to see Carlos Carrasco and go from there, but the Indians want this to be a one-time deal, so I guess in a way it makes sense to let David make the start.

Anderson Hernandez will probably still lose his roster spot, being DFAed in the process and allowing Asdrubal Cabrera to be re-added upon return.

What I don't understand is why people say "Carrasco had been in the mix until he pitched Thursday." If he was in the mix, WHY did he pitch Thursday? Just don't even say he was in the mix, gah.


Asdrubal Cabrera had four more at-bats last night and I'm going to assume he'll play again tonight, this time at shortstop. Shin-Soo Choo meanwhile may be back just as soon as Cabrera will be as he may not even need a minor league rehab assignment.

Because Choo has kept himself in great shape and is back to full workouts, he may not need to go on a rehab assignment and he could be back as soon as the end of next week. That would be fantastic.

Why was Jhonny Peralta out for the first game of the second half? Flu, of course. Thank god, because Andy Marte partied yesterday and I'm hoping for another party appearance today, especially with the double-header.

Mike Redmond was officially released yesterday. The Indians couldn't find any takers for his services via the trade.

Shelley Duncan got an at-bat last night just to get an at-bat, not because Travis Hafner was hurt or anything. With a double-header today, Acta wanted to put Hafner in the lineup for the day game and wanted a little extra rest for that with a 8-2 lead.

Minor Issues: Aeros Roll, Huff from start

What's the News?

Good news on the status of Jason Knapp, the lost soul in the Cliff Lee deal that has not pitched an inning this year. Knapp will soon see live game action as the Indians continue to baby him through whatever it is that is wrong. Let's be clear that the Indians are just letting this process play out really slowly because of the age of Knapp and how important he is to this organization.

It is frustrating watching it progress this slowly knowing he won't be near Cleveland for awhile, but better safe than sorry.

Planning on being at the Aeros game tonight to catch Asdrubal, as well as do some much needed viewing of the Aeros team. It is a different team than it was since I last went to a game. Eric Berger going for the good guys.

Jose Constanza continues to deal with a little sickness as he was not in the lineup again last night. He only pinch-ran for the IL All-Stars and did not play in the first game back on Thursday.

David Huff did not start as planned.... I wonder


The Clippers fell last night to Norfolk in a bit of a barn-burner offensively, 12-9.

Justin Germano started, which tells you all you need to know about the clubs plans for that Sunday spot-start in Cleveland. Germano only went 3.2 innings and gave up four runs, one of them earned (committed an error as well). Carlton Smith gave up three earned, but it was Jeremy Sowers who got the loss after giving up four earned off four hits, two wild pitches, and three walks.

Josh Rodriguez is ripping it up and he had three more hits last night with a game-high four RBI. Jordan Brown hit a two-run home run, his 4th of the season and Jared Goedert continues to mystify the world with his 16th home run in just his 35th game with the Clippers.

Nick Weglarz scored three times off his three hits and Cord Phelps scored three times off his two hits. Zeke Carrera made his Clipper debut in center and batted ninth, he had two hits and a RBI.


The Aeros continue to pad their win total against the lowly Erie Sea Wolves with a 8-1 drubbing last night.

In four at-bats, Asdrubal Cabrera walked twice and scored a run and stole a base before being replaced by Jerad Head who doubled and scored a run on the night.

Jason Kipnis was on base all five times, knocking in a run and scoring twice as well as stealing his second base of the year. Tim Fedroff knocked in two runs, hitting a triple and a double on the evening and scoring twice.

Paolo Espino didn't need much on this night to earn his 9th win of the season. The EL All-Star gave up three hits and struck out five through six scoreless frames before giving way to Connor Graham and Omar Aguilar, who both pitched perfect innings with Aguilar striking out the side.

The Aeros have two more chances to tally up some wins against Erie before welcoming in first place Altoona for a three game series.


Kinston's offense fought back all night to re-take the lead and tie the game after the pitching kept giving it away. In the end, they couldn't do anything about not hitting last as Potomac scored two in the bottom of the tenth to send their fans home happy.

Cory Burns took the loss after giving up two unearned runs in the tenth. Burns was saddled with his second blown save after hitting a batter with one out, walking the next and then falling victim to an error by Nate Recknagel that let the winning run score.

TJ McFarland didn't do much to keep whatever lead the club gave him early. In 5.1 innings of work he gave up the other six runs off eight hits and two walks. The bullpen trio of Travis Turek, Rob Bryson and Chris Jones did well to pitch 3.2 innings of scoreless relief.

Kyle Bellow was 3-4 with two walks and three runs batted in on the night as the main contributor. Bo Greenwell walked and had two more hits and is now hitting .385 on the season. Karexon Sanchez walked three times and scored three times while Jeremie Tice added two hits and a run scored, but he did strike out three times.


That stupid raccoon! Quad Cities downed the Captains yesterday 5-1 as Clayton Cook simply ran into a wall late in his outing.

Tim Palincsar had two of the hits, Casey Frawley knocked in the only run and Adam Abraham doubled. Jason Smit struck out three times, and Delvi Cid stole his 41st base.

Clay Cook completed five innings and gave up the four runs off five hits and a walk and is now 4-6 on the year.


The Valley dropped one to Brooklyn yesterday 2-1, despite out-hitting the Cyclones 8-6.

Kelvin Rucker with two hits and the lone RBI for the Scrappers. Mike Rayl fell to 0-3 on the season after giving up two runs in five innings of work. He did not walk a hitter and struck out three, tough luck loser. Kyle Smith tossed two scoreless innings with just a walk and three strikeouts.


A 1-0 victory for the A-Tribe as their pitching staff shuts down the Mariners offense completely.

Felix Sterling and Harold Guerrero threw four innings each with Sterling striking out eight, yes eight hitters (that's two per inning) and giving up both hits. Guerrero struck out five. Matt Speake picked up his first save with two strikeouts himself

Nick Bartolone knocked in the lone run, Aaron Siliga stole his third base and Jesus Aguilar was 1-2 with a walk.


The D-Tribe went ahead and won to pull within one game of their division lead.

Jairo Kelly walked three times while Xavier De Los Santos knocked in a run off three hits. Erik Gonzalez and Charlie Valerio had two hits and a RBI each.


Notes and Quotes: Queit CC and Finding Value

I hate four day weekends....

It just screws up my groove in terms of sleeping and all that... We've had several four-day weekends this year, getting the Friday and Monday off. It's very erratic for me.

I woke up at six this morning without the aid of an alarm, mostly because I went to bed at freakin' 10:30 last night. I have no control over myself at that point, I was falling asleep in my chair. I didn't actually get out of bed until eight, but I must have woke up and fallen back asleep at least 6 times in that two hour span. I didn't need any more sleep, but if I get up at six, that's just two more hours I have to waste.

Yesterday was cool and all mostly because baseball was back. As I've mentioned here before, the Wednesday after the All-Star game is the most boring day in sports because there isn't a single worthwhile sporting event going on. Don't even bring up the Tour de France, that isn't even on normal TV... Plus it isn't in this country.

There wasn't any Indians baseball though, which made Thursday night a little tedious to get through. After an hour of The Office at 7, I'm left with nothing on television for the next few hours until I ultimately get tired, lay down for a bit around 9:30 and doze in and out until I slap myself at 10:30 and say, okay brush teeth, go to bed.

While I am I recounting my Thursday night? Perhaps because I can't think of anything relevant to discuss as we open up notes and quotes this morning. Perhaps because I've just started a stretch of days in which I have to get through before I ultimately have to re-adjust my schedule to go back to work. The good news is, I work four days next week, have two days off, and I'm back to the grind. I know, I sound crazy, but if I'm going to be getting up at six in the morning, I want it to have a purpose.

I'm in a never ending cycle of 10:30 to 6. Perhaps the Indians game will get me out of it tonight, as I'm going. Thankfully the Tigers are in town and that usually means a game that takes at least three hours. I won't be in bed til at least 11:30. This is good news.


After the All-Star break, in my opinion at least, is when the trade talks really start to kick up. If you aren't in it by now, you probably aren't going to be in it in a few weeks, which means you are probably looking to unload any veteran that has any worth to a team in contention and no value to your team beyond 2010.

The Indians have plenty of those, at least the second part of that equation.Whether they have veterans that are of any worth to another team is another question all in itself.

The first thing I want to point out is a great resource that fellow Tribe blogger Steve Buffum contributed to. It's a 2010 Trade Deadline Primer book and it is very well done. The book has bloggers from all 30 teams highlighting the first half of the season and tossing out names from their team and others, that may be in trade discussions these next few weeks.

While useful in that aspect, Steve also does a great job of grading each player that made a contribution (or lack of contribution) in the first half of the season, as well as summing things up to this point. Visit his blog for more information and if you have any interest in purchasing it, visit this link.

That all being said, I wouldn't expect talks for any Tribe players to heat up for another week or dangerously close to the deadline. You see, Cliff Lee was the first domino to fall, and a few more have to tumble before players like Jake Westbrook and Jhonny Peralta become desirable to other teams.

I want to make one point about Kerry Wood that Castrovince opened up in the latest Inbox. The guy may very well be on the roster after the trading deadline and moved during the waiver trade process due to his contract. As we know, waiver trade deadlines don't produce much, but even if he was traded before the Non-Waiver Deadline, the club would still get minimal in return unless they opted to pay his salary.

Let me say that along those lines, this isn't about acquiring prospects. You aren't going to get impact prospects for names like Peralta and Kearns. You aren't going to get impact prospects for salaries like Westbrook and Wood unless they're performing AND you help out with salary.

If you get something for Austin Kearns that is intriguing, great, fantastic, that is awesome. The main thing trading Austin Kearns does is open up at-bats for younger players. This club needs to trade Kerry Wood so they can put Chris Perez back in the closers role to see if he can handle it full-time for the future.

This club needs to deal Jhonny Peralta to give Jared Goedert an honest to god's chance at hitting major league pitching.

You have no Cliff Lee or Victor Martinez this time around. So when these players are inevitably traded, don't get all salty when you see they were traded for the Indians favorite player, the PTBNL, cash, or Brian Bixler...again.

Austin Kearns will be attractive to a team looking for a good bench player and if someone loses an outfielder between now and July 31st, maybe he starts looking like a better lady to take home.

Jhonny Peralta will be attractive to anyone without a brain.

Kerry Wood will be attractive to anyone that thought Eric Gagne would be a good idea.

And Jake Westbrook will look good to any team that needs a starting pitcher, which is every team for the most part.

I remind you that the club has a lot of draft picks that aren't signed. A lot of high-upside draft picks that are requiring a nice little over the slot bonus... Dump Westbrook, Wood, and Peralta, and maybe, just maybe some of those guys get signed.


Way to own up to your words CC Sabathia.

I'm sure you caught by now what CC had to say the other day in regards to the 2007 team being dismantled in just a few short years.

Anthony Castrovince sure had his way with the quote.

Paul Couisneau added on....

And for good measure, I got my pot shots in while I could.

What a buffoon CC is... Having the audacity to claim that the Indians were at fault and at fault alone for him no longer being in Cleveland. Anyone who read this blog back in 2008 knew that CC Sabathia's contract offer was brought up every waking moment. The world knows that Cleveland offered the guy a 18 million per year deal and he cut off negotiations before they even got underway.

Just read anyone of the three pieces I just linked... We all have the same point. CC is turning into a douchebag, but the sad thing is, there are no shortage of Cleveland fans that are still rushing to HIS defense rather than the organizations.

Sad... Just Sad... All around.


As mentioned in Minor Issues, Brian Bixler was traded back to Pittsburgh for a PTBNL. I doubt that PTBNL will amount to anyone. Maybe it will be Jesus Brito (hitting under .200 for the Pirates Single-A team right now) the guy we traded for Bixler.

No it won't.

Good news on Shin-Soo Choo and his injured thumb.Choo said Dr. Graham's physical opinion was that the visual opinion wasn't as bad.

"He said the MRI results look bad, but he touched my thumb and moved it around and everything and said it's not as bad [as the MRI appears]," Choo said. "He doesn't think I have a torn ligament."  
That started Choo on a path without surgery, which has including him taking 20 swings on Tuesday. Yesterday when the club returned from the break, Choo took 30 more swings as well as a fly ball shag session. The next step is batting practice this weekend and that could enable him to hit the road with the team.

As for the other core player of this lineup, Asdrubal Cabrera, he's in Akron finishing up his rehab stint. He went 2-4 last night in his first game with the Aeros. Cabrera is said to need 30 at-bats, which would put him in Akron for at least the rest of the weekend. He didn't play the whole game last night, and I'd have to imagine they would want him to play two complete games back to back before activating him.

I'm hoping he's in the lineup Saturday as I would like to get down to Canal Park that night and catch an Aeros game. I was going to go last night until I got home and realized, I WAS TIRED!

Cabrera says he thinks he'll be here for four or five more games, which sounds about right.

Jake Westbrook goes tonight, Carmona is getting the day-start for tomorrow's double header against Verlander while Talbot goes in the evening. Acta is clearly lining up his three best starters first and Talbot deserves that.

Masterson will finish off the series and Laffey has the Twins game on Monday. As I noted in Minor Issues and on Twitter, Carlos Carrasco pitched well last night and he would be in perfect line to start on Tuesday. You obviously are going to need another starter for Tuesday because Jake Westbrook is not pitching on three days rest. Someone is coming up to make that start and my money is on Carlos Carrasco. Anderson Hernandez will probably be axed, and after Carrasco's start, depending on what he and Laffey does, I think one of those two will get sent back down so the club can activate Cabrera.

The club can easily do that with Carrasco and Laffey because of Thursday's off day, it would put either pitchers next start next Monday.