September 2008

"I must be out, or I'd pick up the phone. Where could I be?"

For some reason that I don’t quite understand, it’s become commonplace for us reporters to ask ballplayers how many text messages and calls they’ve received the day after a big game or event.

So, in case you’re wondering, Cliff Lee has received a bunch of calls and text messages. Not sure how many, exactly. Perhaps that makes me a bad reporter. But I can tell you that CC Sabathia texted him and Casey Blake did not. Clearly, then, Blake is a bad person.

Frankly, I’m not interested in the whole text message count thing. Wouldn’t you rather know if a guy got a late-night text from a psycho ex-girlfriend? Much more interesting.

Anyway, I’m a little late with the lineups. Lot going on here today. But here they are, regardless…

INDIANS (66-70): CF Grady Sizemore, RF Franklin Gutierrez, LF Ben Francisco, SS Jhonny Peralta, DH Victor Martinez, 1B Ryan Garko, C Kelly Shoppach, 3B Andy Marte, 2B Asdrubal Cabrera. RHP Fausto Carmona (7-5, 4.50).

WHITE SOX (77-60): SS Orlando Cabrera, C A.J. Pierzynski, RF Jermaine Dye, DH Jim Thome, 1B Paul Konerko, LF Nick Swisher, 2B Alexei Ramirez, 3B Joe Crede, CF Jerry Owens. LHP John Danks (10-7, 3.30).


  • Martinez threw to all the bases for the third time since his activation today. He handled it well, and Wedge said to expect Vic to get his first start behind the plate sometime this weekend in Kansas City.
  • Adam Miller (right finger surgery) threw a 25-pitch bullpen at Progressive Field today, using all his pitches. He’ll throw a 20-35 pitch simulated session on FRiday, either at Akron or Lake County. He’s expected to take part in the Arizona Instructional League and, if all goes well, will probably play in Winter Ball, too.
  • The Indians 33 seasons without a 20-game winner was the largest gap in Major League history. The Phillies went 32 years from 1918 to 1949.
  • Lee is just the seventh pitcher since 1920 to win 20 of his first 22 decisions. He joins Roger Clemens (2001), Ron Guidry (1978), Gaylord Perry (1966), Whitey Ford (1961), Preacher Roe (1951) and Lefty Grove (1931).
  • Oh, and don’t forget that Lee has four more starts.
  • More on Lee… The man of the hour will be signing autographs tomorrow (Wednesday) from 4-6 p.m. ET at AJ Rocco’s on 812 Huron Road. The cost of the signing ($20 per item) will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Cliff’s son, Jaxon, is a leukemia survivor.
  • A scoring change from last night’s game… Credit Grady Sizemore with a base hit in the third inning. He went to second on an error by the pitcher, Clayton Richard. The run is still unearned.


Callups/injury update

Aaron Laffey is not on the list of callups today. So the Indians will not be going with a six-man rotation, as previously speculated.

Not only that, but head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff is expected to talk to the media in a little bit, and Laffey will be one of the topics of conversation. Have not heard what the injury is.

Laffey went 3-1 with a 5.55 ERA in six starts following his July 26 demotion to Buffalo.

UPDATE (6 p.m.): Laffey is shut down for the season with left elbow inflammation. Soloff indicated that the injury is not serious, as no structural damage was found in an MRI. Laffey thought he could pitch through the soreness, but the Indians didn’t want to chance it. More info on the site later.

More injury updates… Travis Hafner (right shoulder weakness) will be taking BP here the next three days, then play somewhere — either Mahoning Valley, Akron or Lake County — on Friday and Saturday. He will be evaluated Sunday to determine whether he’s ready to join the Indians.

Also, Jake Westbrook told the Indians before the season that he was experiencing intermittent right hip soreness. He will see a specialist this week, and it will be determined if he should have arthroscopic surgery on the hip at the end of the week. If he does, the Indians still expect him to begin his return-to-throw program on time.


On call

A year ago, Cliff Lee was a September call-up. Tonight he won his 20th game.

I cannot guarantee similar success for the people listed below, but, nonetheless, I present to you the likely list of callups tomorrow, courtesy of Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News:

2B Josh Barfield, 1B Mike Aubrey, RHPs Brian Slocum, Tom Mastny and John Meloan, LHPs Aaron Laffey and Rich Rundles.

I’m particularly interested to see what Meloan brings to the table. Still not sure if the Indians will go with a six-man rotation that includes Laffey, as the Tribe’s upcoming probables beyond the Chicago series are TBD.

And as reported on the site, Travis Hafner will not be activated Tuesday. He wasn’t ready to play every day in Triple-A, and he’s not ready to play every day up here.