Rolling off your tongue like dirt
It’s Aug. 1, and not a moment too soon.
The Trade Deadline season has long brought about its share of bogus rumors. That is, for better or worse, part of the game and part of the fun for fans of contending teams who are salivating for some information.
But the age of instantaneous news and so-called “analysis” has made the trading season a ridiculous spectacle of flimsy reporting and irresponsible journalism — and that’s making the bold assumption that everyone involved in the rumor mill is, in fact, a journalist. Sadly, that’s not the case.
It can be frustrating to be an active participant in this circus. I’ve voiced these frustrations on this blog before, and pardon me for doing so again, but consider it a pet peeve.
In the past week alone, we saw a noted national insider post a major trade rumor regarding the Indians, only to refute his own report an hour or so later. Had he not jumped the gun to report this information (which other reporters then had to scramble to confirm) and get a precious scoop (these scoops, for the record, last all of about 15 seconds), he wouldn’t have had to backtrack in the first place.
And even more frustrating was the trouble we saw with the Twitter fad, as some individual with too much time on his or her hands created a fake account and pretended to be a Boston radio station reporter, simply to spread erroneous information about Cliff Lee going to the Red Sox. An Internet community hungry for trade updates bought it hook, line and sinker.
The lesson, as always, is don’t believe everything you read, and try not to get too emotionally invested in anything you read in July. But if things are this bad now, I’d hate to see it, say, 10 years from now.
Anyway, the good news is that I can vouch for the accuracy of everything below, so, by all means, proceed without hesitation.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- No way he’s reading this, but congrats to Sandy Alomar Jr. on his induction into the Indians Hall of Fame tonight. He enters with Wes Ferrell, Dick Jacobs and Bill Veeck, who are inducted posthumously. It’s a well-deserved honor for Alomar, who was the heart and soul of the Tribe in those 1990s glory days. Matt O’Donnell will profile Alomar in a story for Indians.com tonight.
- A couple transactions today. There was the expected addition of Justin Masterson to the active roster, but the Indians also called up Jensen Lewis from Triple-A Columbus, where he didn’t allow a run over 12 appearances covering 18 2/3 innings since June 26. Lewis struck out 28 batters and walked seven. Eric Wedge said Lewis is “still not where he needs to be,” but the Indians felt it was time to call him back up.
- To make room for this pair in the ‘pen, the Tribe designated Winston Abreu and Mike Gosling for assignment. The Abreu pickup was puzzling. John Meloan was having a rough year at Triple-A Columbus, but it’s simply not like the Indians to ditch the guy with upside for the guy who hasn’t panned out with 10 other organizations. Especially not in a lost season. Anyway, Abreu ended up suspended for as many games (three), as he appeared in. And had he been suspended for the others, it would have been an improvement.
- Meloan, in case you’re wondering, has a 3.18 ERA in eight appearances for Triple-A Durham. He’s given up four runs on 12 hits with two homers, seven walks and 13 strikeouts over 11 1/3 innings.
- The plan with Jake Westbrook, who threw a simulated session here Thursday, is to get him three innings or 50 pitches at Double-A Akron on Tuesday. That would initiate the second rehab stint for Westbrook, who had a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery in June.
- With Victor Martinez gone, the Indians basically don’t have a No. 1 catcher, in Wedge’s eyes. That was evident when Chris Gimenez started last night and Wyatt Toregas was penciled in tonight. Kelly Shoppach, who may or may not fit in with the Tribe’s plans next year because of his salary, isn’t sliding right into the starting role. Wedge said he was “anxious” to get a look at Toregas, who impressed him in spring camp and has made strides offensively this season.
- From a media standpoint, you want your team to have guys who are pleasant to deal with. And when I covered the ALDS between the Red Sox and Angels last October, Justin Masterson really stood out, in that department. So, it’s good to have him aboard. He met with the Cleveland media today and said he doesn’t have a preference between starting and relief work, but he’s ready for the challenge of starting. “They’re two different things,” he said. “There are a lot of great things about both. Whatever the opportunity is, I just want to pitch well.”
- Pitching coach Carl Willis said Masterson’s transition to starting work will be done with a rotation of appearances out of the ‘pen and work on the side. Masterson got up to about 35 pitches in his last outing with Boston on Wednesday, and he was stretched out as a starter early this season. So Willis doesn’t anticipate the transition to take long. He said he could get up to 80 pitches within two weeks.
- Regarding Fausto Carmona last night, his line wasn’t dazzling (101 pitches, 57 strikes, two runs on four hits with one strikeout and four walks in five innings). But Willis felt Carmona did a good job controlling his emotions on a day that, between the Martinez trade and his own return, was an certainly an emotional one.
- There has been talk about Carmona reinventing himself as a pitcher and no longer relying on that sinking, 97 mph fastball. And that certainly appeared to be true last night. Though Carmona did hit 97 on occasion, he more frequently sat at 93-95, which is still a quality Major League fastball but is not the dominating pitch he used so frequently in 2007. The Indians are making more of a pitcher out of Carmona. They want him using his four-seamer to lefties, throwing his slider for strikes and basically working both sides of the plate, rather than relying almost entirely on the power sink.
- Infielder/outfielder Matt McBride went 3-for-4 with a double, two homers and eight RBIs in Akron’s 16-3 win over Binghamton last night. He now has 82 RBIs on the season between Class A Kinston and Akron, which are the seventh-most in the Minors.