"I saw a provocative movie on cable TV. It was called 'The Net,' with that girl from 'The Bus.'"
The day it becomes possible to write for an Internet site without using a computer, sign me up. I’m sure to most the days of telegraph or Pony Express are not at all missed in this age of typing, texting and tweeting. But my lack of luck with computers has skewed all rational opinion on this front.
Yes, in an annual tradition, my company-issued laptop has decided to giga-byte the dust. This happens every year, and it often happens on deadline.
Baseball, though, is a game of adjustments, as is baseball writing. So I’ve adjusted well enough to provide you, better late than never, tonight’s news and notes. And if you’re scoring at home, credit Dan Mendlik of the Indians’ information systems department with the save, as he provided me with the loaner laptop on which I’m typing this entry. Thanks, Dan.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- I think we can safely call the Josh Barfield era, in the wake of his removal from the 40-man yesterday, a rousing disappointment. Barfield was a hyped acquisition in the winter of ’06. But when he was the Tribe’s everyday second baseman in 2007, he started poorly at the plate, and his troubles were exacerbated by Eric Wedge’s penchant for pulling him out of clutch situations. By mid-August, he had lost his job to Asdrubal Cabrera, and he never got on track. For some strange reason, the Indians spent all winter hyping Barfield as a utilityman in the making, and myself and the other scribes on this beat wasted thousands of precious words about his Spring Training progress in adapting to the outfield and third base. All this, just to see Barfield demoted to Triple-A a week into the season. And in a part-time role down there (with a couple big-league callus mixed in, for good measure), his numbers have been atrocious. Barfield has a .252 on-base percentage. He’s walked five times in 205 at-bats.
- Here’s what Wedge had to say about Barfield: “He’s a good kid and a hard worker, but he just struggled to put it all together. There’s always a period of time with a player, then you’ve got to move forward. He’s still young. Hopefully he figures it out and good things happen for him.”
- The Tribe took its team photo pregame today. It’s just too bad there wasn’t time to take one before each game this season. You could organize the photos in order from Opening Day on and make a flip book.
- If you had to plot out the Tribe’s 2010 rotation right now, the only guys guaranteed a spot would be a healthy Jake Westbrook, Fausto Carmona and Justin Masterson. But Aaron Laffey is looking more and more like a favorite for the fourth spot, as he’s 5-2 with a 3.17 ERA in 10 starts this season and 3-1 with a 1.40 ERA in his last four starts. His season ERA of 3.25 would rank eighth in the AL, if he weren’t 40 innings short of qualifying.
- Don’t throw out your Jose Veras jersey just yet. He accepted his assignment to Triple-A Columbus after clearing waivers.
- Speaking of 2010 rotation candidates, how about the start turned in by right-hander Carlos Carrasco last night for Columbus? Carrasco went eight innings in the Clippers’ 4-2 win at Indianapolis, allowing a run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He’s now 3-0 with a 4.29 ERA since coming over in the Cilff Lee trade. You’re likely to see him in September.
- Speaking of acquisitions in the Lee trade, right-hander Jason Knapp made his organizational debut at Class A Lake County last night. After missing about a month with arm fatigue, Knapp was limited to two innings in which he gave up two runs (one earned) on one hit with two walks and two strikeouts. The Indians are impressed with the 18-year-old Knapp’s maturity.
- While we’re on the subject of the Minors, Baseball America released its 2009 Midseason Best Tools lists, and the Indians are well-represented. According to BA, Triple-A outfielder Michael Brantley has the best strike zone judgment (43 strikeouts in 477 plate appearances) in the International League, Jess Todd was the best reliever and Torey Lovullo was the best manager prospect.
- At the Double-A level, BA says Carlos Santana has the best strike zone judgment (68 strikeouts in 432 plate appearances ) in the Eastern League, Jose “Can’t Stand Ya” Costanza is the fastest baserunner, Vinnie Pestano is the best reliever and Mike Sarbaugh is the best manager prospect.
- And finally, in the Class A Carolina League, BA says Lonnie Chisenhall, freshly promoted to Akron, was the best batting prospect, Cord Phelps had the best strike zone judgment and Phelps was the best defensive second baseman, while, in the South Atlantic League, Knapp has the best fastball.
- Speaking of “bests,” Huntington Park has been named Ballpark of the Year by baseballparks.com. The parks in the running for this honor were all those in professional baseball that were either newly built or essentially rebuilt this year. So Huntington Park beat out the likes of Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.
- I sat here in the press box without a laptop for about an hour. I felt naked. Then Matt Whewell of the Indians media relations department struck up a conversation with me. I learned that Matt has lived in 15 cities in his young life, including stops in Greece and England. And he has a Hungarian girlfriend. This conversation might not have happened, had I been distracted by the computer. So consider this a modest victory over modern technology.