Bad back to hold Branyan back

By Anthony Castrovince/


branyan.jpgYou might not be shocked to learn that Russell Branyan's bum back will force him to open the season on the 15-day disabled list.


Branyan was informed of the Indians' decision this morning.


The Indians signed Branyan to a one-year, $2 million contract near the beginning of spring camp to be their starting first baseman this season. However, the herniated disc in Branyan's lower back, which kept him off the field for the final month of his '09 season with the Mariners, has not cooperated and responded to rehab as much as either side hoped. Branyan has yet to appear in an exhibition game, and he took batting practice for the first time Saturday.


If Branyan doesn't appear in a Cactus League game this week (and he might), the Indians can back-date his placement on the DL to March 27. GM Mark Shapiro said the expectation is that Branyan will be ready to join the team "sometime in the first two weeks of the season," provided he continues to progress in rehab.


Matt LaPorta will remain at first base. Michael Brantley (whose arbitration clock is an issue), Austin Kearns (whose out clause is an issue) and Trevor Crowe are in competition for the starting left field job.


More info to come soon at


The FO can’t be thrilled with this. Selling fans on the Branyan signing was probably hard enough to begin with, but having him start the year on the DL makes it just that much worse.
I mean, aside from the money issue, there’s the simple fact that Matt LaPorta is going to be our opening day first baseman. He’s actually going to start the year at the position he’s expected to play for most of his career with the Tribe. And then, a few weeks in, they’re going to move him? For what — potential trade value in Branyan? What if he’s awful when he comes back?
Given Branyan’s health problem, you have to wonder why the Indians didn’t just decide to play LaPorta at first from the start and use one of their many outfield options in left until mid-season when they call Brantley up. Branyan was a $2M gamble for an organization that can’t afford $2M.

Now, I think Huff has better stuff than Sowers…and his last five starts (4-1 with a 2.18 ERA) are a good reason to be optimistic. And I still think it would be nice to find a way to get Sowers in the pen…but I just can’t see that happening, despite some statistics that point to him possibly being effective in that role (opposition hitting .205 off him the first time through).

In 2005 the Indians were well respected for their medical staff. Based on what has happened the last 2-3 years, they have fallen very far.

This is just another area of the team that has gone backwards under Shapiro.

LACF, that is a good point about what you do with LaPorta when Branyan comes back. Since they promised Branyan being the regular 1B, this is just going to screw up the future of the team to gain maybe 1-2 wins in a development year.

Very dumb signing.

well, I guess it will be Huff for that final rotation spot after Carrasco choked. Carrasco still reminds me of Jason Davis, good stuff, but no control. Huff, unfortunately, reminds me of Jeremy Sowers, not very good stuff and not very good control

Yeah, Carrasco’s making it a flight, that’s for sure. His ERA is still lower, though, although Huff’s MLB experience might push him over the top — and the fact that we’d have a rotation entirely made up of righties if Carrasco gets it.
Given Carrasco’s numbers (I didn’t see it), I’m guessing he was overthrowing, which might have given him more zip on his fastball, but probably threw off his control.
Carrasco’s meltdown does make me question the decision to move Laffey to the ‘pen, though, since I think he’s the 5th best starter we have.
Sadly, I can’t even make the suggestion that perhaps Laffey will come in after 4 innings of Huff, before Huff starts getting hit — which IS a suggestion I could make with Sowers. But Huff’s BAA is right around .300 from pitches 1-60 (although it drops to .150 after that!), so keep him on a short leash isn’t even an option. Then again, if Huff gets the last spot, perhaps there won’t be so much outrage if/when Sowers replaces him.

yep, it doesn’t make much sense to have Laffey in the bullpen if he ends up replacing Huff after 3 innings. I guess Huff deserves a shot, and if he doesn’t do well someone will replace him. I was hoping Carrasco could hold it together, he looked good for 3 innings and then just lost it completely, I don’t think there’s any chance they go with him after issuing 6 walks. But when Carrasco’s going good, he is a much tougher pitcher than Huff will ever be.

You know, it’s too bad this team doesn’t have any offense…
I think Kearns probably answered the other lingering question with today’s performance. As much as I would probably prefer Crowe to start, I think it will be Kearns, with Crowe heading back to the 4th outfielder position.
I wonder if Grudz injury is going to send any kind of message to the FO about his ability to handle a full season.

What I really don’t understand is if the orginization is so concerned about Brantley being braught up and his pay raise in two or three years, then why fork out 2 million to a guy who is on the 15 day disable list???
Is the orginization more concerned about putting together the best team possible or not???
Brantley has done everything they asked of him and this is how they reward him???
This tells me alot about the orginization, sadly to say…

kuiper – how does this screw up the future of this team? Even if Brantley doesn’t need more developing, and he may still need some, letting him play everyday in AAA instead of the majors won’t screw him up, much less the entire team. Maybe he’s a little behind at the beginning of next year, but he’ll still play in the majors this year, so he won’t be far behind

Hernandez’s ability to play SS in particular will make him a viable UT guy if he somehow trumps Grudz. He and Grudz can both play 3B and 2B but the latter hasn’t seen a lot of time at SS if I remember correctly.

Why was Huff’s spot in the rotation even a question? He might not have the dominate stuff, but he’s a worker and this team isn’t a finesse squad by any stretch of the imagination. I have a feeling the list of starters for this team will reach up to 15 by the end of the season, through injury or just trying to find something that clicks.

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