May 2009

Betancourt headed to the DL

Rafael Betancourt has been the Indians’ go-to reliever all season, but now he’s going to the disabled list.

Betancourt left Sunday’s game against the Yankees in the eighth inning with a strained right groin. He’s expected to be placed on the DL on Monday. The corresponding roster move was not yet known.

Brought in to face Mark Teixeira with two on and one out in the eighth, Betancourt threw three pitches to get to a 2-1 count. On this third pitch, he felt a pop and stepped off the mound. Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff and manager Eric Wedge rushed out and, after a short chat, Betancourt walked off the field.

“I knew I had to stop pitching right away,” Betancourt said.

The Indians turned to right-hander Matt Herges, who gave up a game-tying double to Teixeira.

UPDATE: In case you missed it on the site, Tony Sipp was recalled to fill Betancourt’s spot on the roster.

5/31: Indians vs. Yankees

Today’s 12:40 p.m. game will be broadcast on TBS, STO and WTAM.

cle5.gifINDIANS (21-30):
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, LF Ben Francisco, 3B Jhonny Peralta, RF Shin-Soo Choo, DH Mark DeRosa, 1B Ryan Garko, C Kelly Shoppach, 2B Luis Valbuena, CF Trevor Crowe. RHP Carl Pavano (5-4, 5.50).



nyy2.gifYANKEES (29-20):
SS Derek Jeter, LF Johnny Damon, 1B Mark Teixeira, 3B Alex Rodriguez, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Hideki Matsui, RF Nick Swisher, CF Brett Gardner, C Francisco Cervelli. RHP Phil Hughes (3-2, 5.16).

Sizemore to DL, Gimenez promoted

Grady Sizemore’s sore left elbow isn’t getting any better, and the Tribe’s three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner is headed to the disabled list for the first time in his career.

To replace Sizemore on the active roster, the versatile Chris Gimenez was promoted from Triple-A Columbus. This is Gimenez’s first exposure to the bigs.

The Gimenez promotion helps the Tribe on two fronts, because he can play the corner outfield and serve as the backup catcher while Victor Martinez nurses his bruised left knee. Martinez said he is still very sore and unable to play. He remains day to day.

Sizemore has played just three games in center field since May 16 because of the elbow problem, which he said bothered him most on throws.

Ain't no way, never surrender

Regarding tonight's other big game in the Cleveland sporting scene, well, I think this link pretty much says it all.




  • The news of the day is that Travis Hafner's right shoulder is still bothering him. No, don't double-check the timestamp on this entry. This isn't May 30, 2008, when Pronk first landed on the DL. It's May 30, 2009, and Hafner, nearing the end of a rehab assignment during his second DL stint with the shoulder problem, is still sore. The rehab runs up Wednesday. At that point, he either has to come back here to play or to get further treatment and restart the whole process.
  • Hafner is batting .429 (12-for-28) with a homer, three doubles and six RBIs in eight games on the rehab. That's encouraging. The shoulder news is not.
  • Anthony Reyes will visit Dr. Lewis Yocum in California on Tuesday to get a second opinion on his right elbow, but it's pretty much a certainty that Reyes will have an ulnar nerve transposition performed on the elbow, ending his '09 season. The recovery from such a procedure is four to six months. "It sucks," Reyes said. "I worked my butt off this offseason."
  • Grady Sizemore will continue to DH these next two days before the Indians decide whether or not to test out his inflamed left elbow.
  • RHP Joe Smith's rehab from a strained right rotator cuff begins tonight in Columbus.
  • We've had six hours, 32 minutes worth of rain delays this week. 
  • Brad Grant, director of amateur scouting, said this year's Draft class is heavy on pitching, at both the high school and collegiate levels. Safe to assume the Indians will be targeting pitching with the 15th overall pick in the first round. The Draft takes place June 9-11.
  • Earlier this month, I informed you the Indians will have paid Masa Kobayashi $95,663.75 per out, when all is said and done. Here's another troubling tally. The Indians signed David Dellucci to a three-year, $11.5 million contract to hit right-handed pitching, right? Well, in three years, Dellucci racked up a grand total of 127 hits off right-handers. That comes out to $90,551.18 per hit off a righty.
  • Jim Ingraham of the News-Herald did a much simpler mathematical equation when he pointed out that the Indians will have paid Dellucci $4 million per RBI (1) by the end of this season. It's good work if you can get it.
  • The Indians are fourth in the Majors in runs scored and third in the big leagues in on-base percentage.
  • From the "who would have thunk it" department, RHP Matt Herges' 8 1/3-inning scoreless streak is a season-long by a Tribe reliever. Lefties are 2-for-23 off Herges.


5/30: Indians vs. Yankees

Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game will be braodcast on WMMS 100.7 FM and STO.

cle3.gifINDIANS (21-29):
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, DH Grady Sizemore, C Victor Martinez, 3B Jhonny Peralta, RF Shin-Soo Choo, LF Mark DeRosa, 1B Ryan Garko, CF Ben Francisco, 2B Jamey Carroll. RHP Fausto Carmona (2-4, 6.42).



nyy2.gifYANKEES (28-20):
SS Derek Jeter, LF Johnny Damon, 1B Mark Teixeira, 3B Alex Rodriguez, 2B Robinson Cano, C Jorge Posada, DH Hideki Matsui, RF Nick Swisher, CF Brett Gardner. LHP CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.42).

I had a friend was a big baseball player

Braylon Edwards catches footballs for a living. But he caught on to baseball pretty quick at Progressive Field during the Indians’ pregame activities today.

Edwards, the Cleveland Browns wideout, had asked the Indians if he might be able to take a few hacks during batting practice, and the club was more than happy to oblige. He was given a jersey with his name and No. 17, a bat from reliever Jensen Lewis and an experience he can Braylon-Edwards_19.jpgbrag about for years to come.

Why will Edwards brag? Because on his final swing in BP, Edwards took first-base coach Luis Rivera deep, smacking a high fly into the left-field bleachers, about 400 feet from home plate.

“I felt it right away,” Edwards said. “It was a good hit.”

And it didn’t matter that this was BP. Edwards did what any fan would do in this situation. He trotted around the bases to make the homer official.

“I don’t get to hit one of those very often,” said Edwards, who guessed that he last took batting practice when he was 15. “I hit a homer, so I felt the need to run the bases.”

Edwards also played catch with Lewis and shagged some fly balls. He didn’t drop any balls, but, as one sarcastic onlooker noted, it wasn’t a Sunday between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.


  • Edwards, of course, isn’t the only sports star in the house tonight. The Yankees are in town, and that means CC Sabathia is back at Progressive Field. A throng of reporters and cameramen huddled around Sabathia in the Yankee dugout before batting practice. I’ll have a story on CC’s return in advance of his start tomorrow.
  • You won’t like this. CC, who attended last night’s Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals with some of his Yankee teammates, was asked what advice he’d give his buddy LeBron James about making the move to New York. “It’s the biggest stage in the world,” Sabathia said. “He’s the best player in the NBA. If he wanted to come there, I think they’d welcome him with open arms.”
  • Regarding the David Dellucci move, there’s not much more to add that hasn’t been said already. The guy just didn’t perform here. But there’s an old expression, “I don’t blame you, I blame the guy who hired you.” That’s how I feel about the Dellucci situation. I didn’t know then and I don’t know now what the Indians were thinking when they gave a platoon outfielder a three-year contract. But mistakes happen, I guess.
  • Grady Sizemore remains in DH mode. Eric Wedge said Sizemore will probably pick up a baseball to test out his sore left elbow on Sunday or Monday. Still looks like the Indians will have to make a call on Sizemore when Travis Hafner comes off the DL.
  • Saturday night’s game will be on WMMS 100.7 FM because of the Cavaliers conflict. If, God willing, the Cavs win Game 6, then Monday night’s Tribe-Yankees game will also be moved from WTAM to WMMS.
  • Thursday’s win was significant not just because it completed a sweep of the Rays, but also because it was the Tribe’s first win this season when scoring less than four runs. The Indians were 0-16 in previous games in which they scored less than four. In fact, the win snapped a streak of 29 straight losses, dating back to last year, in such a situation.
  • Double-A Akron OF Nick Weglarz had a slow start this season, but he’s made up for it in a hurry. Weglarz is batting .378 (28-for-74) with seven doubles, six homers and 28 RBIs in 23 games this month.
  • LHP Chuck Lofgren will make a spot start for  Columbus on Sunday. Lofgren has an Eastern League-best 1.48 ERA at Akron this season.
  • If you’re like me, the one thing you wanted to ask Braylon Edwards is, “Do those five-hour energy pills he advertises really work? Well, here’s the answer. “They work,” he said. “No ifs, ands or buts about it.” After all the rain delays this week, I think I could use one of those.


UPDATE (6:50 p.m. ET): Tonight’s game will not start on time. The tarp is being rolled out on the field as I write this.

UPDATE No. 2: Can’t believe I forgot to mention that Slider is receiving the coveted “Golden Silly String” award for his induction into the Mascot Hall of Fame after tonight’s game.

UPDATE No. 3: Here’s CC’s new house.

UPDATE No. 4: One more link. Here are Rays skipper Joe Maddon’s intriguing thoughts on why his team can’t win in Cleveland, as told to my buddy Marc Lancaster of the Tampa Tribune. 

5/29: Indians vs. Yankees

Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game will be broadcast on WTAM and WKYC Channel 3.

cle.gifINDIANS (21-28):
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, DH Grady Sizemore, 1B Victor Martinez, 3B Jhonny Peralta, LF Mark DeRosa, RF Ben Francisco, 2B Jamey Carroll, C Kelly Shoppach, CF Trevor Crowe. LHP Cliff Lee (2-5, 3.04).



nyy.gifYANKEES (27-20):
SS Derek Jeter, LF Johnny Damon, 1B Mark Teixeira, 3B Alex Rodriguez, 2B Robinson Cano, C Jorge Posada, DH Hideki Matsui, RF Nick Swisher, CF Brett Gardner. LHP Andy Pettitte (4-1, 4.30).

Perez returns, Dellucci designated

The David Dellucci era is over.

Dellucci, signed to a three-year contract before the 2007 season to be a platoon outfielder, was designated by assignment by the Indians on Friday, as the club recalled left-handed reliever Rafael Perez from Triple-A Columbus.

Perez, once a dominant setup man, struggled at the outset of the season and had to go to Columbus to refine his slider and regain his confidence. If the numbers are any indication, he’s done so. Perez threw nine scoreless innings for the Clippers, going 1-0 with a pair of saves.

"I am so smart! S-M-R-T!"

Former and associate reporter Andrew Gribble asked if there’s some rule stating that the Tribe must have at least one instance a year in which the night game before a noon game ends after midnight.

And the answer, of course, is yes. It’s on page 528 of the media guide, right underneath the note about the free pretzels and popcorn served in the press dining room.

But it’s not the quick turnaround that bothers me today. What bothers me is that I’m currently missing the semifinals of the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee.

And that, my friends, is why the good Lord created DVR.


  • Here’s pitching coach Carl Willis on the Tomo Ohka callup: “We just needed somebody who can give us some length. Having used Sowers [for five innings] three days ago, he still needs another day [off].”
  • Ohka is the 22nd pitcher on the staff this season, and we’re only at game No. 49. The club record is 32, in 2000. Last year, the Indians used 28 pitchers.
  • Sowers is probably the favorite for Monday’s start against the Yankees, at the moment, but things can change in a hurry around here. The Indians just have to see how the next few days go with their bullpen.
  • The Rays’ 16-game losing streak in Cleveland is the second-longest active losing streak by one club against one team in one city. The longest is the Pirates’ 18-game drought in Milwaukee.
  • The Indians have given up seven runs to the Rays in three games this year and won all three of them. The Rays are 15-0 in all other games in which they’ve scored seven runs.
  • The Rays (209) and Indians (198) rank first and second in the AL in walks.
  • Over the last 11 games, since May 16, the Indians’ bullpen has an ERA of 2.86. The relief ERA for the season is 5.05, which ranks 11th in the American League.
  • Ryan Garko is in the lineup for the fourth straight day, and, in no coincidence, he’s starting to heat up. Garko has three homers in the last three games and four homers in the last eight games in which he’s had an at-bat. He has 10 RBIs in that eight-game stretch. Garko has hit safely in 15 of his last 19 starts, batting .278 with four homers and 14 RBIs.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera is batting .325 (13-for-40) with five runs scored, three doubles, a homer and eight RBIs in nine games since being inserted into the leadoff spot.
  • I don’t know what this means, but the Indians are 5-2 when Jamey Carroll starts.
  • The last time the Tribe swept a four-game series was last July 10-13 — against the Rays, no less.
  • Don’t forget that Sunday’s game against the Yankees is a 12:40 p.m. ET start, rather than the usual 1:05 p.m. start, because the game is on TBS.


5/28: Indians vs. Rays

Today’s 12:05 p.m. ET game will be broadcast on WTAM and STO.

cle.gifINDIANS (20-28):
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, DH Grady Sizemore, 1B Victor Martinez, RF Shin-Soo Choo, 3B Jhonny Peralta, LF Ryan Garko, CF Ben Francisco, 2B Luis Valbuena, C Kelly Shoppach. LHP David Huff (0-1, 17.55).



tb.gifRAYS (23-26):
CF B.J. Upton, LF Carl Crawford, 3B Evan Longoria, 1B Carlos Pena, 2B Willy Aybar, SS Ben Zobrist, DH Joe Dillon, RF Gabe Kapler, C Dioner Navarro. RHP Jeff Niemann (4-3, 4.53).