When your foot of pride come down, ain't no goin' back
We’ve talked quite a bit about music in the blog this homestand, because, well, that’s the kind of thing that happens in a blog about a last-place ballclub.
Indians iTrac vision coordinator Jason Stein, who is known in this and many circles as the “Master of Self-Promotion,” doesn’t know a thing about music. Well, unless it originates from his native land — a foreign country by the name of Texas. You might remember that during Spring Training, Stein offered up a blasphemous take on Clarence Clemons’ transcendent saxophone solo in “Jungleland,” so his abhorrent musical acumen is well-established.
Stein and I are in the midst of an ongoing argument regarding Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. The debate basically comes down to “legend status.” Which of these icons possesses more of it?
You can weigh this on many fronts — chart success, national and international acclaim, respect and clout within the industry, etc. – but everything and anything must be taken into consideration.
I want to open the floor for your take on this matter, and I won’t reveal which of us is arguing for Dylan and which is arguing for Nelson. (But I would like to point out that when Dylan and Nelson take the stage at Classic Park in Eastlake next month, a certain genius wordsmith from Minnesota will be the headliner, while a certain pot-promoting Texan will be his opening act… and I think that speaks for itself.)
Anyway, chew on that debate, if you feel up to it. And we have plenty of Indians info to chew on during tonight’s rain delay.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- Carl Pavano has been skipped in the rotation. He said he’s not injured, but Eric Wedge said he’s dealing with mild right shoulder soreness. Tomo Ohka will take Pavano’s start Saturday in Chicago, and Pavano said he will start Wednesday in Pittsburgh. “This will allow me to catch up on some things,” Pavano said. As Pavano put it, this doesn’t make much of a difference for him, in terms of number of starts, because either way he will get four more starts before the All-Star break.
- It’s only two rough starts in a row, but you can’t help but wonder if Pavano might be dealing with a tired arm, in addition to the sore shoulder (which may or may not be related to the neck stiffness he felt two starts back). After all, he only threw 53 1/3 innings between the Minors and Majors last season and just 93 1/3 innings over the last three years. He’s already thrown 81 2/3 innings this year. Definitely something to track going forward.
- Jake Westbrook is still dealing with elbow soreness, so his setback has set him back even further. He did not throw his bullpen session today, and it’s been postponed indefinitely. Wedge guessed that it will be at least a few days before the Indians consider having Westbrook throw again. Westbrook has had an MRI that revealed no structural damage, so that’s encouraging. But until the soreness dies down, don’t look for him to boosting the rotation any time soon.
- Wedge remains upset with Jhonny Peralta’s approach, both offensive and defensively, but he said he basically had to start Peralta today because Travis Hafner needed a day off and Ben Francisco, who is clearly lost at the plate right now, needed a day, as well. As for Peralta… “He knows how I feel, and I know how he feels,” Wedge said. “The ball’s in his court. He’s a good player when he really commits.”
- Wedge implied that Peralta hasn’t seriously committed to becoming “a very good third baseman.” And though Wedge didn’t say so, I can’t help but wonder if the move to third has had a negative impact on Peralta’s mindset on both sides of the ball.
- Wedge also had some pointed words for catcher Kelly Shoppach. When a guy is striking out at a rate of about once every three plate appearances, it becomes difficult to justify having him in the lineup regularly, no matter what he brings to the table defensively. That’s what Wedge is dealing with regarding Shoppach, who has become the regular catcher not just for Cliff Lee but also Pavano and David Huff. “Kelly makes it tough when he gives away at-bats like that,” Wedge said. “He knows that.”
- On the flip side, Wedge had more glowing things to say about Luis Valbuena. The gist is that if another rookie had the same exact numbers as Valbuena but looked over matched, Wedge would have had him sent down by now. But he feels Valbuena is putting up good at-bats and has shown some “moxie,” so he’s sticking with him.
- The Indians announced the signing of five more Draft picks today, bringing the total number of players signed to nine, including eight from the first 16 rounds. Fifth-round pick Austin Adams (Faulkner University), eighth-round pick Cory Burns (Arizona), ninth-round pick Preston Guilmet (Arizona), 16th-round pick Dale Dickerson (Nicholls State) and 27th-round pick Tyler Sturdevant (New Mexico State) were all inked.
- Travis Hafner is batting .310 (9-for-29) with two doubles, three homers and eight RBIs in eight games since returning from the DL. He feels the rest about every third day and the decrease in the number of swings he takes pregame has helped his right shoulder remain strong. “It’s progressing better than it was two weeks ago,” Hafner said of his shoulder. “Soon, I’ll be able to play three days in a row, and hopefully I’ll build up from there.”
- “Chulkamania” is running wild at Triple-A Columbus. After two scoreless innings in last night’s 10-3 win over Rochester, Vinnie Chulk now has a 0.66 ERA in 12 total appearances covering 13 2/3 innings with the Clippers this season. He’s walked three and struck out 11. He has five straight scoreless outings and hasn’t allowed an earned run in 11 of 12 appearances.
- Left-hander Chuck Lofgren got the start in that win over Rochester, allowing three runs on seven hits over seven innings. It was his fourth start at the Triple-A level.
- Jordan Brown went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs. He’s batting .307 with an .859 OPS for the season.
- At Double-A Akron, first baseman Beau Mills has a seven-game hitting streak in which he’s hit .423 (11-for-26) with three doubles, a homer and six RBIs. He’s batting .352 in June to raise his average from .247 to .271.
- Right-hander Trey Haley, the Tribe’s second-round pick in last year’s Draft, is just 18 years old but pitching in a full-season league at Class A Lake County. Over his last three starts, he is 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA. For the season, he is 2-3 with a 5.47 ERA.