June 2009

6/10: Indians vs. Royals

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

cle5.gifINDIANS (26-34):
CF Ben Francisco, 2B Jamey Carroll, 1B Victor Martinez, RF Shin-Soo Choo, LF Mark DeRosa, DH Travis Hafner, 3B Jhonny Peralta, SS Luis Valbuena, C Kelly Shoppach. RHP Carl Pavano (6-4, 4.63).



kc.gifROYALS (24-33):
LF David DeJesus, CF Willie Bloomquist, 1B Billy Butler, RF Jose Guillen, 3B Mark Teahen, 2B Alberto Callaspo, DH Brayan Pena, C Miguel Olivo, SS Tony Pena. RHP Gil Meche (2-5, 4.08).

Indians take White at No. 15 overall

With the 15th overall selection in the First-Year Player Draft, the Indians selected North Carolina right-hander Alex White.

alexwhite.jpgThis is what the MLB.com scouting report had to say about White:

“White was a top high school prospect in 2006, but went to UNC instead. He’s still one of the better arms now, though his performance in the spring has been a little uneven. He does have plus stuff with a fastball-slider combination along with the makings of two other pitches. He doesn’t always command his fastball that well, but that could be corrected with some mechanical tweaks. With his stuff and his track record, he’s likely to go pretty early on Draft.”

White’s team is still active in the College World Series.

More to come on White and tonight’s other two selections at Indians.com.

UPDATE: The Indians plan to turn White into a bullpen guy. Scouting director Brad Grant said he views White as a back-end, power arm.

They point the cannon at you

I knew my “Top 5 Rock Songs” list would lead to its share of second-guessing, and count me among the second-guessers.

The list was written without an appearance by The Beatles, and I felt guilty about that even as I wrote it. Certainly, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was under consideration because of the influence it had on the genre and the thousands upon thousands of bands that were formed in the wake of its performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

But in my opinion, there’s a difference between a list of the greatest songs and a list of the most influential songs. That latter list — which, for the record, is much more difficult to concoct — might look something like this:

1. “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley
2. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles
3. “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan
4. “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones
5. “Respect” by Aretha Franklin

That’s an impossible list, though. You can make a strong argument for the inclusion of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” John Lennon’s “Imagine,” among many others. I mean, there’s no way to make that list and make it accurate.

Now, as far as the list of greatest songs is concerned, my hope was to pick out five that best illustrated some of rock’s most archetypal themes. I went with the desperate push for escape in “Born to Run,” the biting vitriol of “Like A Rolling Stone,” the sexual tension of “Satisfaction,” the visions of grandeur in “Johnny B. Goode” and the social consciousness of “Pride (In the Name of Love).”

But here’s where I whiffed. “Pride” was not the right choice for No. 5. Heck, it wasn’t even the right U2 selection for that theme. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” would have been a better selection. But the song that really belongs in that spot (and, actually, a notch higher) is Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son.” It is three minutes of raw, passionate rebellion and anti-war venom, and it deserves my meager recognition. My apologies to John Fogerty and his entire family.

So, the list has been edited below. I feel much better about it now.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled baseball season.


  • Track the First-Year Player Draft here. Today’s action will consist of three rounds. The Indians have the 15th, 63rd and 94th selections overall. MLB.com and Indians.com will be your source for more Draft info than you can handle.
  • Eric Wedge said Joe Smith will probably work the sixth and seventh innings, initially. It is the Indians’ belief that they haven’t really seen the real Joe Smith yet this season, because of all the medical drama he’s endured since early in Spring Training camp.
  • As mentioned below, Jhonny Peralta’s out of the lineup tonight because of his poor numbers against Bannister. But the Indians knew Bannister was coming before today. Peralta, 0-for-his-last-11, is getting his second multiple-game benching of the season.
  • Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff will update the media on the Indians’ various medical issues on Wednesday. That’s expected to include an update as to whether or not Anthony Reyes will have the season-ending ulnar transposition surgery the Indians are recommending.
  • Soloff’s update will also include mention of the status of Grady Sizemore, who continues to get treatment while staying away from any and all baseball activities, with the hope that his elbow inflammation will calm down. Sizemore has another week of inactivity to go before the Indians decide if he’ll need arthroscopic surgery that would cost him another four to six weeks of the season.
  • Wedge said Sizemore is feeling better, but… “We’re not going to know anything until he picks up a ball and starts swinging a bat.”
  • The Indians’ 40 players used at the big league level this season are the most in the Majors, according to STATS LLC. The Nationals are second, with 39. The 22 pitchers used are also first, and the nine starting pitchers used ranks tied for fourth.
  • Jake Westbrook was in the clubhouse today. He said he’s progressing well in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. His next start for Double-A Akron will take place Thursday. He’s scheduled to go four innings.
  • The South Atlantic League announced its All-Star selections, and a pair of Captains made the list. Left-hander Alexander Perez (4-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 10 starts) and infielder Karexon Sanchez (.274 with seven homers, seven doubles and 31 RBIs in 52 games) made the cut. They are both products of the club’s Latin American operations.


6/9: Indians vs. Royals

Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game will be broadcast on WTAM and STO. Eric Wedge said Jhonny Peralta is out of the lineup for a second straight game because of his poor career numbers (2-for-17) against Brian Bannister.

cle.gifINDIANS (25-34):
CF Ben Francisco, 3B Jamey Carroll, 1B Victor Martinez, RF Shin-Soo Choo, LF Mark DeRosa, DH Travis Hafner, C Kelly Shoppach, SS Luis Valbuena, 2B Josh Barfield. LHP Cliff Lee (3-6, 2.96).



kc.gifROYALS (24-32):
CF Coco Crisp, LF David DeJesus, 1B Billy Butler, RF Jose Guillen, DH Mike Jacobs, 2B Alberto Callaspo, 3B Mark Teahen, C Miguel Olivo, SS Willie Bloomquist. RHP Brian Bannister (4-3, 4.97).

Smith activated, Sipp demoted

It’s been an eventful year for Indians right-hander Joe Smith, for all the wrong reasons. But Smith had good news Tuesday.

The Indians activated Smith from the 15-day disabled list after a brief Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus. Smith, recovering from a strained right rotator cuff, threw five scoreless innings for the Clippers. He gave up just four hits and a walk with six strikeouts.

To make room for Smith on the active roster and in the ‘pen, the Indians optioned left-hander Tony Sipp back down to Columbus for the second time in the past month. In two stints with the Tribe, Sipp went 0-0 with a 3.12 ERA in 10 games, walking 10 and striking out 10 in 8 2/3 innings.

When the Indians acquired Smith from the Mets as part of a three-team, 12-player trade during the Winter Meetings, they had hoped he’d become a key setup man in the back end of their ‘pen. But early in Spring Training camp, he was held back because of a viral infection. He never really got on track after that. Once the regular season began, he went 0-0 with a 7.11 ERA in eight games.

Smith went on the DL on April 29, and it was expected to be a short stay. The Indians figured to use the DL move as a way to give Smith time in the Minors to make up for the time he missed in spring camp. But a setback with the shoulder lengthened his stay.

Maybe someday your name will be in lights

Not that you asked, but…

Top 5 Rock Songs of All-Time:

1. “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen
2. “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan
3. “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones
4. “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
5. “Pride (In the Name of Love)” by U2 “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry

Open to your comments, certainly, but not exactly negotiable.


  • The rotation coming out of Monday’s off day will look like this: Cliff Lee, Carl Pavano and Jeremy Sowers will pitch Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, against the Royals, and Tomo Ohka, David Huff and Lee will pitch Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively, against the Cardinals.
  • Jake Westbrook tossed three scoreless innings for Akron in his first Minor League rehab start Saturday. He gave up a hit and a walk with a strikeout. He’s slated to throw four innings in his next start.
  • Anthony Reyes had his visit with Dr. Lewis Yocum in California last week but no final determination was made on whether he’ll have the season-ending ulnar nerve transposition surgery the Indians are recommending. Yocum ordered more tests on the elbow. The Indians should know more by the middle of the week.
  • Carl Pavano has now pitched a shutout for four different teams in his career – the Expos, Marlins, Yankees and Indians. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Mike Hampton is the only other active pitcher to toss a shutout in four different uniforms. Hampton did it for the Astros, Mets, Rockies and Braves.
  • Today ends a stretch of 20 games in 20 days and 37 games in 38 days for the Tribe.
  • Triple-A Columbus won, 12-0, at Gwinnett on Saturday, with top outfield prospects Michael Brantley (4-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs and two walks) and Matt LaPorta (2-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs) having particularly big days.
  • Class A Kinston will have three representatives at the Carolina League All-Star Game on June 23, and all three were members of the Tribe’s 2008 amateur Draft class. Infielders Lonnie Chisenhall and Cord Phelps and left-hander Eric Berger will play for the Carolina League against the California League in Lake Elsinore, Calif.
  • This was a family trip for the Tribe, meaning several players’ wives were on the charter. That included Shin-Soo Choo’s wife, Woon Mi, who had never previously made such a trip with her husband. What was her take on Chicago? “She looks around and says, ‘Ooh!'” Choo said. “The only big city she’s used to is Cleveland. She says this looks so different.”


6/7: Indians at White Sox

Today’s 2:10 p.m. ET game, weather-permitting, will be broadcast on WTAM and STO.

cle4.gifINDIANS (24-34):
RF Ben Francisco, 2B Jamey Carroll, DH Victor Martinez, LF Shin-Soo Choo, 3B Mark DeRosa, C Kelly Shoppach, 1B Chris Gimenez, SS Luis Valbuena, CF Trevor Crowe. LHP David Huff (0-2, 9.77).



cws3.gifWHITE SOX (25-29): LF Scott Podsednik, SS Alexei Ramirez, RF Jermaine Dye, 1B Paul Konerko, DH Josh Fields, C Ramon Castro, CF Brian Anderson, 2B Chris Getz, 3B Gordon Beckham. RHP Bartolo Colon (3-5, 3.75).

"These go to 11."

The Chicago regional of the 2009 U.S. Air Guitar Championships takes place tonight in Wrigleyville. Not that I’m telling you anything you didn’t already know.

airguitar.jpgApparently, unbeknownst to me, the Cleveland regional took place earlier this week. Congrats to Dave Weissman (whose Spinal Tap spinoff stage name is “Derek Not So Smalls”) for winning that event for the third year straight.

Unfortunately, the reigning Chicago region champ, Justin Howard (stage name: Nordic Thunder) is unable to perform tonight, due to an air guitar-related back injury.

The regionals are held in 25 cities, with the winners of each region advancing to the U.S. finals (location yet to be announced) in August. And the winner there moves on to the world championship in Finland.

All this goes to show we’ve really come a long way as human beings, haven’t we?


  • Whoever predicted Josh Barfield would be out of the lineup after going 2-for-4 last night was spot-on. Congrats. You’ve been paying attention this season.
  • Eric Wedge said Barfield was in there Friday because Wedge didn’t want to have Jamey Carroll playing five straight days with a fractured right middle finger. But Carroll has past numbers against Gavin Floyd (4-for-9 with two doubles), so he’s back in there today. Still not exactly sure why Luis Valbuena gets the starting nod over Carroll Barfield.
  • Jake Westbrook is making his first rehab start for Double-A Akron today, getting the nod in the first game of a doubleheader at Altoona.
  • Rotation-wise, the Indians are hoping to hold on for dear life this month until Westbrook (who will need probably four to six starts in the Minors) and Aaron Laffey are ready to come off the DL. With three off days in a 15-day span, beginning Monday, the Tribe can get a little creative with the rotation and perhaps skip a guy along the way.
  • Still no determination as to when Tomo Ohka will get a start. The Indians’ spot for Thursday against the Royals is TBD.
  • Right-handed reliever Joe Smith will be back with the Tribe any day now. If I had to guess, I’d say Tuesday. Smith threw a perfect inning against Charlotte yesterday, striking out all three batters he faced. He has worked four scoreless innings in four appearances on his rehab from a strained right rotator cuff. “It’s been good for him to be down there to get the appearances he needs to get comfortable,” Wedge said.
  • Regarding a comment I read from yesterday’s post, Carl Pavano, at his current rate, is projected to go 17-11 with a 4.63 ERA in 205 innings over 34 starts this season. If that were to happen, Pavano would make an additional $3.5 million in performance incentives, on top of the $1.5 million he is guaranteed this season. So, $5 million total. Obviously, this is just a projection, so take it for what it’s worth, but it gives you a pretty good idea of how Pavano’s contract is structured.
  • If you could somehow take away Pavano’s disastrous Tribe debut in Texas on April 9 (nine runs on six hits in one inning), he would be 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA right now.
  • Akron manager Mike Sarbaugh earned his 400th career managerial win with last night’s 12-5 victory at Altoona.
  • Finally, condolences go out to SportsTime Ohio broadcaster Matt Underwood after the death of his mother, Sophia, this week. Al Pawlowski is filling in on the STO broadcasts.


6/6: Indians at White Sox

Today’s 4:05 p.m. ET game at U.S. Cellular Field will be broadcast by FOX and WTAM.

cle3.gifINDIANS (24-33):
CF Ben Francisco, 3B Jamey Carroll, C Victor Martinez, LF Shin-Soo Choo, SS Jhonny Peralta, DH Travis Hafner, RF Mark DeRosa, 1B Ryan Garko, 2B Luis Valbuena. LHP Jeremy Sowers (1-2, 6.16).



cws2.gifWHITE SOX (25-29):
LF Scott Podsednik, SS Alexei Ramirez, DH Jim Thome, 1B Paul Konerko, C A.J. Pierzynski, 3B Josh Fields, RF Jayson NIx, 2B Chris Getz, CF Brian Anderson. RHP Gavin Floyd (3-5, 5.75).

If you want to, you can feed on me

Those of us in the media get treated pretty well. We are given pre- and postgame access to the clubhouse. We are fed. We are often placed in premium seats above and behind home plate. And when we arrive to work, we have, at our disposal, more notes and statistics than you could fit in this or any blog.

Except at U.S. Cellular Field, that US_Cellular_Field.jpgis.

Here in Chicago, the press box was recently moved up a level and down the first-base line. This was done so that the former press box could be turned into the Jim Beam Club, where the Sox’s more sophisticated fans can dissect the game’s finer points while slamming shots of Kentucky’s finest straight bourbon.

This year, the powers that be decided to “go green” and stop printing out notes and stats for the media. It’s an effort to help the environment (I’m sure it has nothing to do with saving money), and I applaud it.

In fact, I humbly submit a few other suggestions for the White Sox to further enhance the experience of covering a ballgame in U.S. Cellular Field in an environmentally sound manner.

1. Take away our chairs. Just imagine how much more attentive the media will be when it’s a standing-room-only environment. The chair I’m currently sitting in is rather comfortable. I’m sure it would bring the Sox a few bucks on eBay, and that’s money that could be used to support any number of environmental causes.

2. No more electricity. Those billion-gigawatt lights that illuminate the field for night games should adequately support the press box, as well. And have you seen the battery life of the modern laptop? We don’t need plugs.

3. Eliminate all restrooms. Think of all the plumbing hassles and wasted water that will be avoided when media members are no longer permitted to go to the bathroom. And to those who question this new policy, just repeat what Elaine said to George when he was caught urinating in his gym’s shower: “Did you ever hear of … holding it in?”

4. Cancel the food service. Sure, a few sportswriters will go hungry. But let’s face it, most of us are overweight, anyway. And if you take away the food and water, you’ll be that much closer to a solution to the bathroom predicament. That’s called killing two birds with one stone, people.

Yes, the key to reducing U.S. Cellular Field’s carbon footprint is obvious. Mess with the press, and all your problems are solved.


  • The Indians are, as you might imagine, bracing themselves for the possibility that this season simply isn’t going anywhere. As much as the Indians have been through this season, they entered tonight a reasonable seven games back in the AL Central. But when you factor in the injuries, the inconsistencies and the general snake-bitten nature of this club, it’s hard to imagine a comeback.
  • In talking with general manager Mark Shapiro today, I got the sense that he’s coming around to that concept, too. He didn’t repeat the mantra that the Indians are “one good week away” from being back in contention. Rather, with regard to the still-developing trade market, he said the Tribe is “on the sideline” right now, “keeping a pulse” of what’s going on. Stay tuned.
  • Double-A Akron right-hander Hector Rondon, one of the top pitching prospects in the system, left his start Thursday at Reading in the middle of the fourth inning with right biceps soreness. He is listed as day to day. You’ll remember that the Indians briefly moved Rondon into relief last month before going back to starting. 
  • Travis Hafner is going to reduce the number of swings he takes pregame in an effort to prevent further setbacks with his surgically repaired right shoulder. He’ll take BP on the road, where the visiting team hits fairly close to game time. At home, however, he’ll probably take some days off from the Indians’ team BP work.
  • Look for Pronk to start again Saturday and get a day off Sunday. That sounds like the plan, anyway (these things have a way of changing with Hafner, as you’ve no doubt learned). The basic gist is that Hafner can’t play three or four days in a row right now.
  • Jamey Carroll had X-rays today on his ugly right middle finger. He injured it Tuesday in Minnesota, fielding a Carlos Gomez grounder. He put his hand in the glove a little too quickly, and the ball struck the tip of the finger. It is now a swollen, purple eyesore with a black nail. It looks like the tip of an ogre’s finger (not that I’ve ever seen an ogre, but I’m just imagining).
  • Anyway, as expected, the X-rays revealed a fracture of the joint at the tip of the finger, but it’s not anything that affects Carroll on throws, and, therefore, it’s nothing he can’t play through. “The doctor looked at me like I should be hurting worse than I am,” Caroll said. The finger is on the same hand Carroll broke earlier this year.
  • Tomo Ohka will fill Fausto Carmona’s rotation spot, but the Indians haven’t decided when that spot will come up. They have an off day Monday, so they can rearrange their rotation. For now, it’s expected that Cliff Lee will pitch Tuesday against Kansas City, and Carl Pavano will pitch Wednesday. Nothing else is determined, but the right-handed Ohka might be used to separate left-handers Jeremy Sowers and David Huff.
  • The Indians announced a pair of Minor League signings today. Left-hander Michael Gosling and outfielder Rob Mackowiak are both Columbus-bound.
  • Gosling was 7-1 with a save and a 4.37 ERA in 21 appearances for the Twins’ Triple-A club in Rochester before being released on June 2. He owns a career Major League record of 3-4 with a 4.79 ERA in 43 appearances, including nine starts, and last reached the bigs with the Reds in 2007.
  • Mackowiak played two games at Buffalo before his April 2 release. In parts of eight Major League seasons from 2001-08, he hit .259 with 64 homers and 286 RBIs in 256 games with the Pirates, White Sox, Padres and Nationals.
  • The latest Baseball Prospectus postseason odds report gives the Indians an 11.4 percent chance of winning the division and a 1.16 chance of winning the Wild Card.
  • As the Indians walked out of the locker room and hit the field for pregame stretching today, Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” was playing on the clubhouse speakers. If that’s not a perfect theme song for a team that has eight players on the DL and just sent its No. 2 starter to rookie ball, I don’t know what is.