Doctor, doctor, give me the news
We’ll begin with a cautionary tale. In this space, I provide you with plenty of injury updates over the course of a season — a product of my access to the clubhouse and the dugout (indigestion updates are a product of my access to the media dining room).
But I don’t have access to the trainer’s room, which is why I, as a reporter, get duped time and again by a team protecting its competitive integrity by misleading the press every so often.
Case in point: I’ve spent all season occasionally inquiring about the condition of Grady Sizemore’s left groin and been told each time that it’s fine and that the problem that kept him out of the World Baseball Classic was healed in Spring Training. Still, the stolen-base numbers didn’t lie, and today we find out that Sizemore will have surgery to address the issue in a couple weeks.
As a reporter, you get upset when you discover you’ve been misled in such a manner. But as a rational-thinking human being, you understand that the Indians gain nothing by telling the dude from MLB.com that their leadoff man isn’t up to full speed on the basepaths. It’s a similar scenario to last season, when Victor Martinez’s elbow issue was kept a secret. It’s part of the game, and I get it.
I suppose I could offer up more bold assertions in my reports from this point forward, such as, “The Indians insist Sizemore is not still dealing with the groin strain, but it’s obviously affecting him on the basepaths.” But such speculation (while not exactly empty in this instance, given Sizemore’s stolen-base total this season) would be speculation and nothing more. And I would hope regular readers of this blog and of Indians.com realize that speculation not based on legitimate conversations with people proven to have accurate information about the goings-on of this ballclub is not my specialty (there’s plenty of other places on the Internet for that kind of stuff).
So, we’ll just go with what we know when we know it. And sometimes we won’t know it until a player is officially scheduled to go under the knife.
On the other hand, one thing I don’t understand was the Indians’ decision to mislead reporters in Detroit earlier this week, when we were told that the Sizemore situation was still being discussed and that no decisions had been made as to whether or not he’d be shut down. Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff made it clear that it was decided in Baltimore last week that Sizemore’s season would come to an end after the road trip. Maybe I’m not thinking about this hard enough, but I don’t see what the Indians gained by hiding that information from us.
And with that said, we move on to the minutiae.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- Double-A Akron catcher Carlos Santana has been named the Eastern League MVP. He’s batting .289 with 21 homers and 94 RBIs in 127 games. He leads the league with a .518 slugging percentage, a .930 OPS and 89 walks. He’s also thrown out 30 percent of would-be base stealers. “Carlos has had an extremely consistent and productive year and has not taken for granted that he’s exceptionally talented as a baseball player,” farm director Ross Atkins said in a release. “He has worked to improve upon what is already good enough to afford him Major League opportunity, and he clearly has the opportunity to be one of the best at what he does.”
- This is the second straight season Santana has won his league’s MVP honor. He was named MVP of the California League last year, despite playing the final month of the season in the Carolina League after his trade from the Dodgers.
- In just his fourth Major League game, Michael Brantley is batting leadoff. He’s excited about the opportunity. “You can hope and dream that it’s going to happen,” he said, “but now that it’s actually here, it’s even more exciting.”
- Brantley, who drew 59 walks against 48 strikeouts and stole 46 bases at Columbus this season, profiles for the role. “This is a good opportunity for him at this level,” Eric Wedge said.
- But this opportunity doesn’t solely belong to Brantley. Wedge said the newly activated Trevor Crowe will see time in center field and possibly at leadoff, and Asdrubal Cabrera might see some more time at leadoff, as well. “We’ve got options,” Wedge said.
- Mike Gosling is back. And that begs the question: What is Mike Gosling doing here? The Indians already had an eight-man bullpen, including a long man in the form of Tomo Ohka. And since being designated for assignment a month ago, Gosling had transitioned to starting work and posted a 6.66 ERA at Triple-A Columbus. Wedge said Gosling is here as a precaution, should some game get out of control. “We don’t want to walk that line, in case we have a tough couple of days,” Wedge said. “[Gosling] can pitch in multiple roles.”
- Tony Sipp has allowed just one run over his last 14 appearances, covering 12 2/3 innings. He’s struck out 13 batters in that span.
- Infielder Lonnie Chisenhall and Cord Phelps and outfielder Tim Fedroff are Carolina League end-of-season All-Stars. Chisenhall hit .276 with 18 homers and 79 RBIs in 99 games for Kinston before getting promoted to Akron, Phelps leads the Carolina League with 91 walks, and Fedroff is currently 10th in the league with a .277 average.
- Don’t forget about the Indians Wives Association’s “Shirts off the Players’ Backs” silent auction, which will be taking place at Section 153 of Progressive Field during tomorrow afternoon’s game. The auction, which will conclude at the top of the seventh inning, will feature game-worn jerseys from Indians players such as Sizemore, Peralta, Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera and Travis Hafner. More than a dozen game-worn and autographed jerseys will be available, and proceeds benefit the Domestic Violence Center.
- Finally, from the “Old Habits Die Hard” department, Carl Pavano is listed on both the Twins and Indians rosters on the scoresheets handed out to the media tonight.