The damaged goods acquired in the Cliff Lee trade were more damaged than the Indians realized.
Class A right-hander Jason Knapp, viewed by some as the key acquisition in the trade, has loose bodies in his right shoulder that will be removed through arthroscopic surgery. The procedure will take place in New York City on Tuesday.
At the time of the trade, according to head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff, the Indians reviewed Knapp’s medical records handed over by the Phillies and saw nothing that would indicate Knapp would require surgery. They did, of course, know that he was injured, as he was on the disabled list at Class A Lakewood. But the Phillies had not subjected Knapp to an MRI, which would have revealed the need for surgical intervention.
The Indians still like Knapp, who, Soloff said, should be fully recovered from the surgery in time for a normal Spring Training. They will not file a grievance against the Phillies, general manager Mark Shapiro said.
More on Indians.com a little later.
Tonight’s 8:10 p.m. ET game at the Metrodome is on WTAM and STO.
UPDATE: Huber scratched and replaced by Tolbert.
INDIANS (61-81): CF Michael Brantley, 3B Jamey Carroll, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, RF Shin-Soo Choo, DH Jhonny Peralta, 2B Luis Valbuena, 1B Matt LaPorta, C Lou Marson, LF Trevor Crowe. LHP Jeremy Sowers (6-9, 4.78).
TWINS (71-72): RF Denard Span, SS Orlando Cabrera, C Joe Mauer, 1B Michael Cuddyer,
3B DH Brendan Harris, LF Delmon Young, DH Justin Huber 3B Matt Tolbert, CF Carlos Gomez, 2B Nick Punto. RHP Carl Pavano (12-11, 4.92).
Joe Smith had hoped to throw off a mound in the Metrodome on Monday as a significant step toward returning from a left knee injury.
Instead, Smith remains back in Cleveland, as the Indians placed him on the 15-day disabled list.
Smith, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 29 because of the knee problem, is on the DL for the second time this season. The active roster now stands at 31.
UPDATE: If you were wondering, as I was, why Smith was placed on the DL and Grady Sizemore wasn’t, wonder no more. I’m told Sizemore was, in fact, placed on the DL, but, due to some miscommunication, that move wasn’t officially announced by the club. So the Indians now have four guys on the DL — Smith, Sizemore, Jake Westbrook and Anthony Reyes.
Today is a banner day, as the Marinara Mudslingers begin in earnest their charge to a Euclid Fantasy Football League title after a decade of ineptitude.
But it’s also the Tribe-Royals rubber match. It doesn’t get any bigger than this.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- Michael Brantley finds hits between his couch cushions. All this guy has done since he’s been up here is hit. He’s reached base safely in all 10 games and hit safely in nine of them. Last night, he had a four-hit game against the Royals, becoming the first Tribe player to have a four-hit effort in his first 10 games since… brace yourself… the immortal Andy Allanson. Rocky Colavito achieved the feat in his fourth game, so Brantley is a little behind, in that regard.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one other Tribe player in history has had a four-hit game at a younger age (22 years, 120 days old). That was Carlos Baerga, who recorded four hits against the Yankees on Sept. 20, 1990, at the age of 21 years, 320 days old.
- David Huff currently has the team lead with nine wins. Only Aaron Laffey, who is 7-5, has a chance of catching him for that team lead, so Huff is in prime position to become the first Tribe rookie to lead the team in wins since CC Sabathia did so in 2001, with 17 wins. The last Indians rookie to win 10 games was Ryan Drese in 2002.
- The Double-A Akron juggernaut rolls on. The Aeros finished off a three-game sweep of Reading in the first round of the Eastern League playoffs last night with a 9-3 win. Beau Mills carried the offense with a double, a homer and three RBIs, and Eric Berger turned in five innings in which he allowed just a run on four hits with eight strikeouts. Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall reached base safely in eight of 12 plate appearances.
- Akron’s opponent in the Eastern League finals is yet to be determined.
- Short-season Mahoning Valley has advanced to the finals of the New York-Penn League playoffs. The Scrappers will face Staten Island in a best-of-three series that begins Monday.
- Jhonny Peralta had a four-RBIs night against the Royals on Saturday and is now tied with Shin-Soo Choo for the team lead, with 77. He was asked if it would mean anything to him to lead the team in RBIs. “I have 77,” Peralta said. “Pretty good. It would be nice to do. Choo and me are tied in RBIs. But I don’t pay any attention to that.” Yes, he knows he has 77 and Choo has 77, but he’s not paying any attention to it.
- Speaking of Choo, he homered last night for the first time in 23 games. His homer on Aug. 15 in Minnesota was his first in 31 games. Choo hit 13 homers in the first half and has two in the second. Hitting coach Derek Shelton has told Choo not to get caught up in the homer totals, because he’s been hitting for average and driving the ball all year. Choo had 18 doubles and a triple in 87 games before the All-Star break, and he has 15 doubles and five triples in 49 games since the break.
- How about the mighty Ohio Bobcats bumping off North Texas on its home turf in double-OT last night? That’s a big win, as the Bobcats continue to gear up for their stunning upset of Tennessee on Sept. 26.
Today’s 1:05 p.m. ET game at Progressive Field will be on WTAM and WKYC Channel 3.
INDIANS (61-80): CF Michael Brantley, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, RF Shin-Soo Choo, 3B Jhonny Peralta, DH Travis Hafner, 2B Luis Valbuena, LF Matt LaPorta, 1B Andy Marte, C Wyatt Toregas. RHP Carlos Carrasco (0-1, 12.38).
ROYALS (56-86): LF David DeJesus, 2B Willie Bloomquist, 1B Billy Butler, DH Mike Jacobs, 3B Alberto Callaspo, RF Mitch Maier, C John Buck, SS Luis Hernandez, CF Josh Anderson. RHP Kyle Davies (7-9, 5.54).
To the genius who first combined peanut butter with chocolate, I offer a teary-eyed thank you. You, my friend (and I do consider you a friend, though we’ve never met) made Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups possible, so your prodigious role in American culture has long been cemented.
But the good people at Pierre’s have added to your legacy with their Nuts About Buckeyes ice cream. They’ve taken those Buckeye candies (again, peanut butter covered with chocolate… the most important pairing since Adam and Eve), placed them in vanilla ice cream, tossed in a peanut butter-flavored swirl and created, possibly, The Greatest Ice Cream Known To Man.
This ice cream was available in the press box last night, and I ate roughly half a gallon of it. It’s an edible work of art, and a perfect use for a set of Buckeyes who, unlike their Columbus counterparts, don’t run the risk of getting trounced by USC tonight.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- David Huff is going for his 10th win tonight. If he gets it, he’ll be the Tribe’s first 10-game winner this season. The Indians are rooting for him, because they haven’t faced the ignominy of not having a 10-game winner since way back in 1987, when Scott Bailes, Phil Neikro and Tom Candiotti all shared the team lead with seven wins.
- Last night, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Royals left fielder David DeJesus became the first outfielder in 17 years to throw out the potential winning run at home plate in the bottom of the ninth inning or later twice in one game. The last was the Cardinals’ Bernard Gilkey at Houston on Aug. 25, 1992.
- The issue of third-base coach Joel Skinner sending the runner twice (with one out in the ninth and with two out in the 11th) was already addressed in my game story from last night. But Eric Wedge was asked about it again today, and he said essentially the same thing. “You try to win the ballgame [in those situations],” Wedge said. “If you look at the norm, that’s not the norm, to throw him out twice. So many things can go wrong [with the throw and the catch] and so many things have to go right.” Michael Brantley tried to jar the ball loose when he collided with Miguel Olivo in the 11th, and the ball snow-coned in Olivo’s glove but did not pop out.
- Joe Smith, recovering from a tweaked left knee, was on a mound Friday, but he didn’t have a ball with him. He did what was called “dry work,” getting accustomed to making his pitching motions off the mound. “I got a little bit sore,” he said, “but that’s to be expected.” Smith expects to throw off a mound for the first time since Aug. 29 when the Indians get to Minnesota on Monday. He’ll probably have to throw off a mound a couple times before the Indians consider bringing him into a game.
- Wedge reiterated that his decision not to use Kerry Wood in a tie game at home had nothing to do with Wood’s health. He said Wood would have pitched the ninth if the Indians took the lead in the eighth.
- It’s been suggested by some that Travis Hafner might as well be shut down to open up at-bats for others. But Hafner has already had a limited number of at-bats this season, as it is, and Wedge sees no point in him not finishing the season. “His at-bats [lately] have been as good as he’s had all year,” Wedge said. Pronk is 19-for-his-last-56 (.339) with four homers and 11 RBIs in his last 15 games. He’s still playing no more than three games in three days. He only played four games in four days once this season.
- Andy Marte is 3-for-29 with a homer. What happened here? “He wasn’t missing pitches for a short period of time,” Wedge said. “He’s strayed from that. He needs to be in a better position to square up the baseball.”
- Michael Brantley’s career-opening eight-game hitting streak came to a close Friday night. As reported previously, he was just the second Tribe player in the last 50 years to hit safely in the first eight games of his career (Josh Bard, who hit in nine straight in 2002, was the other), according to Elias.
- At the Cleveland Indians Charities Golf Outing last month, a fan by the name of Gary Taylor bought a package at the live auction that included four tickets and a limo ride with Slider to the game. Taylor generously donated the package back to the Indians, who offered it up to the Boys and Girls Club. The West family of Cleveland was awarded the package, and they were here tonight, taking in batting practice pregame and loving every minute of it. Congrats to them.
- Progressive pitchwoman Flo threw out the ceremonial first pitch again tonight. She’s a lefty, and she can work on short rest. Sign her up.
Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game will be broadcast on WTAM and WKYC Channel 3.
UPDATE: Mark Teahen scratched with back spasms.
INDIANS (60-80): CF Michael Brantley, 2B Jamey Carroll, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, RF Shin-Soo Choo, 3B Jhonny Peralta, DH Travis Hafner, 1B Andy Marte, LF Trevor Crowe, C Chris Gimenez. LHP David Huff (9-7, 6.23).
ROYALS (56-85): LF David DeJesus, RF Willie Bloomquist, 1B Billy Butler, DH Mike Jacobs, 2B Alberto Callaspo,
3B Mark Teahen, C Miguel Olivo, CF Mitch Maier, 3B Alex Gordon, SS Yuniesky Betancourt. RHP Luke Hochevar (6-9, 6.10).
This about sums it up.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- The Indians and Royals are once again wearing those commemorative stars and stripes hats tonight. They wore them on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, as well.
- The Tribe’s rotation continues to get jumbled as the Indians give guys rest where they can. Tonight would have been Jeremy Sowers’ normal turn in the rotation, but he’ll get an extra few days of rest and get the ball Monday in Minnesota, followed by Fausto Carmona on Tuesday and Aaron Laffey on Wednesday.
- Joe Smith, nursing that tweaked left knee, continues to play catch. Still no word on when he’ll start throwing off a mound, but he’ll obviously have to do so a few times before the Indians consider using him in a game. He hasn’t pitched since Aug. 29.
- Eric Wedge said he is “just starting to give some thought” to which guys on this club will be asked to play winter ball this year.
- Rafael Perez has given up five earned runs in his last seven innings of work. He has a 6.28 ERA since his latest recall from Triple-A Columbus. In other words, he has shown no progress whatsoever this season. Wedge said the problem with Perez now is “similar” to what we saw in April, when Perez had trouble getting his once-trusty slider over. Chalk it up as a lost year for Perez, though the inability to get him back on track is troubling.
- The Indians have 12 rookies on their 32-man roster, which is tied for the most in the Majors with the Orioles, Diamondbacks, Reds, Pirates and Padres.
- Speaking of the Padres, Ed Mujica is their starting pitcher tonight. In a related note, the Padres are not in playoff contention.
- Double-A Akron has a commanding 2-0 lead in its best-of-five, opening-round playoff series against Reading. Right-hander Josh Tomlin allowed a pair of runs on three hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in a 9-4 win on Wednesday, and right-hander Jeanmar Gomez gave up just a run on six hits over seven innings for a 6-2 win in Game 2 on Thursday. Eastern League MVP Carlos Santana homered in Game 2. Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall is 3-for-3 with a run scored in the series, which continues tonight at Reading.
- The Tribe has dropped eight of 10 and nine of 12.
- The Elias Sports Bureau pointed out that, on Wednesday, the Indians became the first American League team to lose a game by giving up 10 runs, with five of those runs coming in the first and the other five in the ninth. Other than the Rangers, only two other teams had ever won that way – Cincinnati in 1889 in the American Association and the Mets in 2007.
- You know that Flo girl, from the Progressive advertisements? She just threw out a ceremonial first pitch. Yep. Big night.
Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game at Progressive Field will be on STO and WTAM.
INDIANS (60-79): CF Michael Brantley, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, RF Shin-Soo Choo, 3B Jhonny Peralta, DH Travis Hafner, 2B Luis Valbuena, LF Matt LaPorta, 1B Andy Marte, C Lou Marson. RHP Justin Masterson (4-7, 4.40).
ROYALS (55-85): LF David DeJesus, CF Mitch Maier, 1B Billy Butler, DH Mike Jacobs, 2B Alberto Callaspo, RF Mark Teahen, C Miguel Olivo, 3B Alex Gordon, SS Yuniesky Betancourt. RHP Zack Greinke (13-8, 2.22).
Am I the only one mildly amused that, at some point today, Feldman (aka, “Bizarro Kramer”) will be pitching to Niuman?
Just me? OK, let’s move on.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- Grady Sizemore underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow this morning at the Cleveland Clinic. Team medical director Dr. Mark Schickendantz performed the 30-minute procedure, which addressed the inflammation in the elbow. Sizemore will have the second surgery to address his instable left abdominal wall in Philadelphia a week from today. Dr. Bill Meyers will perform that procedure.
- Jamey Carroll is in the leadoff spot for the 16th time this season. He’s batting .367 (10-for-28) over his last eight games.
- Carlos Carrasco, clearly, is still a work in progress. His fastball has consistently been up, and he’s not getting his secondary stuff over for strikes. The Indians hope his rapport with Lou Marson will help him in the long run. The two have a brotherly relationship. They got into a little bit of a tiff on the mound at Columbus last month, when Marson made a visit to the mound to rather emphatically tell Carrasco what pitch to throw. Marson told reporters earlier this week that he is tough on Carrasco, because he believes in his stuff and ability to succeed.
- On the bright side, Carrasco did pick off two Rangers runners in the first two innings of Game 1 yesterday. “I saw them getting too far from the bag,” Carrasco said, “and Luis [Rivera] gave me the sign to throw over.”
- Niuman Romero, called up to add depth to the middle infield, makes his first Major League start today… at first base? Romero played seven games at first with Columbus this season. He said he’s most comfortable at shortstop and third.
- Andy Marte, in a 3-for-24 funk, is out of the lineup for the second straight game.
- Switch-hitting Trevor Crowe, who has been limited in swinging from the left side in the wake of his right oblique strain, is in the starting lineup against a right-hander today. It’s his first start since his activation from the DL last week. UPDATE: Crowe batted from the right-hand side against Feldman today.
- The Tribe is 1-7 against the Rangers this season. If Texas finishes off the three-game sweep today, it will mark the first time the Rangers have swept a three-game set in Cleveland since May 1992.
- Ian Kinsler has hit safely in 21 of 23 career games against the Tribe, batting .364 (36-for-99).
- The Pirates have clinched their 17th consecutive losing season since 1993. In that same span, the Indians have had 11 seasons in which they’ve finished with a .500 record or better. For that timeframe, the Indians’ total number of seasons at .500 or better equals that of the Tigers, Orioles, Brewers and Rays combined.
- Right-hander Chen Chang Lee has been promoted to Double-A Akron from Class A Kinston for the Eastern League playoffs. Lee was signed out of Chinese Taipei last year and went 4-6 with two saves and a 3.35 ERA in 45 games out of the Kinston ‘pen this season. He struck out 97 batters in 83 1/3 innings pitched.
UPDATE: Here’s a great note from the Elias Sports Bureau: “You could have seen all 16,963 Indians games prior to Tuesday’s doubleheader with the Rangers and never seen what occurred in the opener. Cleveland scored in each of the last six innings but lost the game. It was the first such loss by an American League team since the Red Sox suffered a 22-13 loss to the White Sox in 1970.”
UPDATE No. 2: Asdrubal Cabrera was out of today’s lineup in part because Wedge felt he needed a couple days off (today combined with Thursday’s off day) and in part because he got spiked in the leg Tuesday night.