"Fine, then. Get me current players. Living players!"
There was an episode of “The Simpsons” once in which Mr. Burns assembled a softball team of Major League All-Stars (after he came to realize the likes of Cap Anson and Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown had passed on and the Negro Leagues were defunct).
At a pivotal point one game, Burns pointed to Darryl Strawberry and said, “You, Strawberry, hit a home run!”
So Strawberry, of course, hit a home run.
“I told him to do that,” Burns said proudly to his effeminate assistant, Waylon Smithers.
“Brilliant strategy, sir,” Smithers replied.
I bring up this anecdote with a purpose. Because as I continue to read the comments in the Internet stratosphere about Eric Wedge’s job security, it’s come to my attention that some of you out there really believe this is how managers operate.
Actually, maybe Burns is on to something. Wedge has tried everything else, so perhaps tonight he’ll just point at Rafael Perez and yell, “You, Perez! Throw a strike!”
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- General manager Mark Shapiro spoke to reporters about Wedge and the Tribe’s bullpen. The story on Wedge can be found right here. As for the bullpen, Shapiro said, “With an average bullpen, we’d still be in the mix right now. That’s why we’ve got to continue to look at things and examine how we do everything. From bullpen usage to how we acquire and build a bullpen to the way we develop relievers.”
- Asdrubal Cabrera took part in pregame activities today. He’s taking batting practice from both sides of the plate. Still dealing with some mild soreness in his sprained left shoulder, Cabrera wasn’t yet sure when he’ll be activated. It could be in time for Saturday’s game against the Reds, or the Indians might send Cabrera back to Double-A Akron for a couple more days.
- Aaron Laffey’s next rehab start will take place Sunday for Akron. He is scheduled to throw about 80 pitches. Laffey said he believes this will be his last rehab start, and then he’s expecting to join the rotation. Stay tuned on that, too.
- A lineup that includes Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner? You don’t see that every day.
- Matt LaPorta, getting consistent time at first base in Columbus, is on a tear of late. He is 7-for-13 with five runs scored, two doubles, a homer and five RBI. He’s batting .330 with seven homers and 16 RBIs in 23 games in June.
- Some fans and media were frustrated with LaPorta playing sporadically and getting just 42 at-bats from the time he was promoted to the big leagues on May 2 to the time he was optioned out on May 26. Shapiro talked a little bit about the use of LaPorta. He said when LaPorta was added in the wake of Travis Hafner going on the disabled list, Wedge was told to put what he felt was the best lineup on the field each day. There are times, Shapiro said, when prospects are called up and the manager is instructed to play them regularly, but this wasn’t one of those times.
- Right-hander Kyle Smith, the Tribe’s 20th round Draft pick out of Kent State, was on the field taking in batting practice today. It’s believed Smith and the Indians have agreed to terms.
- The Indians are 6-12 in games decided in the last at-bat.
- Infielder Eric Perlozzo was signed to a Minor League deal and assigned to Class A Kinston. Perlozzo is the son of former Orioles manager and current Phillies coach Sam Perlozzo. He was a 25thr-round choice by the Orioles in 2007.
- The Tribe’s Major League-leading 302 walks are 29 more than the number logged by the Tigers, who are second in the AL.