May 2010

"Hear the sound of the battle call"

southpaw.jpgThe first piece of news I have for you is that the White Sox have a mascot. His name is Southpaw, and he appears to be some sort of green dinosaur. I’m at U.S. Cellular Field about nine times a year, and I’ve never even noticed Southpaw. Shows how much I know.

The second piece of news is that Southpaw (@Southpaw) and the Tribe’s mascot, Slider (@SliderTheMascot), are about to have a Twitter battle during Wednesday’s 12:05 p.m. ET series finale between their respective clubs. Fans are asked to add the hashtag #GoTribe or #GoWhiteSox to their tweets during that day’s game. The team with the most tweets wins, and the losing team’s mascot will have to pay tribute to the winner before a future Tribe-Sox game. The fan who submits the deciding hashtag tweet and three friends will be treated to a pregame meal with either a Cleveland or Chicago theme, depending on the outcome.

Most importantly, for each #GoTribe and #GoWhiteSox hashtag that is tweeted during the game, each team will donate $1, up to a total of $1,000 per club, to Stand Up To Cancer, a non-profit organization that raises funds for research and the delivery of new therapies to cancer patients.

The contest will begin with Wednesday’s first pitch and conclude with the last out. For more information, visit this site.

5/20: Indians vs. Royals

It’s Weather Education Day at Progressive Field, which means we’ve got thousands of screeching kids in the stands for the nooner with the Royals. Always nice to feel surrounded by fellow Justin Bieber fans.

Today’s game is on STO and WTAM. 

Here’s the link to today’s notes.

cle5.gifINDIANS (15-23): CF Crowe, SS Donald, RF Choo, DH Hafner, 3B Peralta, 1B Branyan, LF LaPorta, 2B Valbuena, C Marson. RHP Mitch Talbot (5-2, 3.23).




kc6.gifROYALS (16-25): LF Podsednik, 2B Aviles, RF DeJesus, 1B Butler, DH Guillen, 3B Callaspo, CF Maier, SS Betancourt, C Kendall. RHP Luke Hochever (3-2, 5.86).


5/19: Indians vs. Royals

Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game at Progressive Field is on WTAM and STO.

 cle8.gifINDIANS (15-22):
CF Crowe, 2B Grudzielanek, RF Choo, DH Hafner, LF Kearns, 1B Branyan, 3B Peralta, SS Donald, C Marson. RHP Justin Masterson (0-4, 5.92).




kc5.gifROYALS (15-25):
LF Podsednik, 2B Aviles, RF DeJesus, 1B Butler, DH Guillen, 3B Callaspo, CF Maier, SS Betancourt, C Kendall. RHP Gil Meche (0-4, 7.17).

Cabrera has surgery, Sizemore might be next

You might have seen this coming, based on his comments yesterday, but Grady Sizemore has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a deep bone bruise on his left knee.

Asdrubal Cabrera had surgery to repair his fractured left forearm, and Sizemore might be the next one under the knife. Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said the Indians are still evaluating treatment options for Sizemore’s condition.

For now, Shelley Duncan is coming up to take Sizemore’s roster spot. The Indians want to continue to get a look at Trevor Crowe, and they don’t know how long, exactly, they’ll be without Sizemore’s services. That’s why Michael Brantley didn’t get the call today, according to manager Manny Acta.

Duncan took Cabrera’s 40-man spot (Cabrera moved to 60-day DL) and Sizemore’s active roster spot.

More to come on

"We lit out down to Florida and we got along all right"

By Anthony Castrovince/

central-florida-map.jpgWhile driving home from last night’s game at The Trop, I calculated that, between four Spring Training camps, several Tribe-Rays series and, of course, that brief and ill-fated stint playing Donald Duck at Disney World, I have spent roughly half a year of my life in Central Florida.

And yet I still have to Mapquest directions from here to the airport.


  • The Indians have not announced a timetable for Asdrubal Cabrera’s return. But he’ll have surgery on his broken left forearm in Baltimore on Wednesday, and it’s reasonable to expect him to miss somewhere in the six-to-eight week range. Again, that’s my approximation, not that of the Indians’ medical training staff. They’ll provide an update Wednesday.
  • With Cabrera out, Jason Donald will get a decent look at short, and I’m sure Luis Valbuena will fill in there, as well. Mark Grudzielanek is hot (.444 average over a seven-game hitting streak) and will seem ample time at second. One thing Manny Acta won’t do is move Jhonny Peralta from third to short, even for a day.
  • This Grady Sizemore left knee injury is lingering, and he’ll undergo an MRI exam Wednesday. It’s not looking particularly promising for Sizemore to return to the lineup anytime soon, as he’s not able to participate in pregame drills or even test out the knee.
  • Last week, when asked whether it’s tough to get Rafael Perez some work in non-pressure situations, Acta said, “Life is tough. Get a helmet.” Acta updated that quote today when asked about losing his Nos. 1 and 2 hitters in consecutive games. “Life is tough,” he said. “Get a double-flap helmet. It provides more protection from both sides.” Obviously, this is a motto Shin-Soo Choo already lives by.
  • Naturally, Sizemore’s injury came a day after Trevor Crowe got the call up from Triple-A Columbus. Now, Crowe is the guy filling in for Sizemore in center field. Crowe got the call over Michael Brantley because, at the time, the Indians didn’t expect to have many at-bats available, and they want Brantley playing every day. But if the Sizemore injury becomes a more long-term situation, then you’d have to imagine Brantley gets consideration for a promotion. He is batting .329 with a .764 OPS down at Columbus.
  • It was a Crowe text message that alerted Donald to the fact that he’s starting today. He was in the Columbus airport when he received it and immediately started stretching. His parents, Tom and Debbie, arrived here from Clovis, Calif., via red-eye flight from San Francisco.  
  • The Indians have played 36 games this season and lost two of them on walkoff bunts by the opposition. That strikes me as an unusually high percentage.
  • What frustrated Acta about Jason Bartlett’s game-winning bunt (it was ruled a sacrifice and fielder’s choice though just as easily could have been ruled a hit) last night was that Jamey Wright wasn’t able to scare Bartlett off with some high-and-inside heat beforehand. Acta visited the mound and instructed Wright to deliver just that to give Bartlett “something to think about,” But Wright’s pitches were lower in the zone. “Thirty teams are telling their pitchers to throw strikes, and it doesn’t always happen,” Acta said. “If they’re unable to do it, that’s human nature. It’s a disappointment [that Wright didn’t execute], but there’s only so many things you can do. You want every pitch on the black and can’t do it. I want to eagle every hole, and I can’t.”
  • But Acta seemed amused with Wright’s statement that he’s been groomed from the time he was 12 years old to throw low in the zone and that it’s difficult to throw high and tight when instructed. “That’s his opinion,” Acta said. “When a manager calls for a pitchout, don’t you have to throw up and away?”
  • Carlos Santana is unreal. He homered twice in Columbus’ 5-1 win over Durham on Monday, driving in five runs along the way. He now has a .333 average, nine homers, nine doubles and 37 RBIs in 37 games. He’s ringing in with a 1.087 OPS. The clock is ticking toward June, and Lou Marson is batting .215 with no homers and one RBI to his name. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
  • Veteran lefty Mike Gosling announced his retirement Monday, and he went out with a bang. He tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings in an emergency start for Columbus, getting the win to improve to 3-0 with a 2.96 ERA. He wants to spend more time with his family. Gosling made 58 career Major League appearances from 2004-09, including 15 with the Tribe last year.
  • Lonnie Chisenhall is sidelined at Double-A Akron with a right shoulder impingement and will probably be out another week or so. Chisenhall got off to a nice start this season but quickly cooled. He’s batting .261 with no homers and a .641 OPS.
  • The Indians’ 49 double plays turned this year are the most in the Majors.


5/18: Indians at Rays

Jason Donald is coming up to replace Asdrubal Cabrera, who has a fractured left forearm. More on Cabrera’s prognosis later, but for now the prognosis on Donald is that he’s scheduled to land right now (10:30 a.m.) and then be in the Tribe’s lineup for the 1:10 p.m. game against the Rays.

Grady Sizemore remains out of action with a bruised left knee.

cle2.gifINDIANS (15-21):
CF Crowe, 2B Grudzielanek, RF Choo, LF Kearns, 3B Peralta, DH Hafner, 1B LaPorta, C Marson, SS Donald. LHP David Huff (1-5, 5.35).




tb.gifRAYS (27-11):
SS Bartlett, RF Zobrist, 3B Longoria, 1B Pena, DH Aybar, CF Upton, LF Kapler, C Navarro, 2B Rodriguez. LHP David Price (5-1, 2.03).

5/17: Indians at Rays

It’s a cloudless (well, skyless) day at Tropicana Field, where the Indians and Rays will kick off a long, grueling two-game set tonight. You can catch the action on WTAM and STO.

cle.gifINDIANS (15-20):
SS Cabrera, 2B Grudzielanek, RF Choo, DH Hafner, LF Kearns, 1B Branyan, 3B Peralta, C Redmond, CF Crowe. RHP Fausto Carmona (4-1, 3.43).




tb.gifRAYS (26-11):
RF Zobrist, LF Crawford, 3B Longoria, 1B Pena, DH Blalock, CF Upton, C Jaso, SS Brignac, 2B Rodriguez. RHP Jeff Niemann (3-0, 2.27).

5/13: Indians at Royals

Today’s 2:10 p.m. ET game is on WTAM and is not on TV in Cleveland.

cle3.gifINDIANS (13-18):
SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, DH Hafner, LF Kearns, 3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, 2B Valbuena, C Marson. LHP David Huff (1-4, 4.60).




kc4.gifROYALS (11-23):
LF Podsednik, 2B Aviles, RF DeJesus, 1B Butler, DH Guillen, 3B Callaspo, C Pena, CF Maier, SS Betancourt. RHP Zack Greinke (0-4, 2.50).

5/12: Indians at Royals

Tonight’s 8:10 p.m. ET game is threatened by the rain in the forecast in this area. The tarp is currently on the field (as of 5:30 ET), so BP is being conducted indoors.

As is the case each Wednesday, you can catch me on the SportsTime Ohio pregame show tonight.

cle4.gifINDIANS (12-18):
SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, DH Hafner, LF Kearns, 1B Branyan, 3B Peralta, 2B Grudzielanek, C Redmond. RHP Fausto Carmona (3-1, 3.86).




kc3.gifROYALS (11-22):
LF Podsednik, 2B Aviles, RF DeJesus, 1B Butler, DH Guillen, 3B Callaspo, C Kendall, CF Maier, SS Betancourt. RHP Kyle Davies (2-1, 5.45).

"I finally found a way to sleep in my office. Under the desk. I lie on my back. I tuck in the chair. I'm invisible."

By Anthony Castrovince/

massagechair.jpgSleeping on the job (or, at least, talk of it) is all the rage in Major League Baseball these days, whether you’re Ken Griffey Jr. (allegedly) or Keith Hernandez.

Frankly, I’m feeling a bit peaked myself after an early morning wakeup call for the flight to K.C. But I’m supremely confident I can get through tonight’s activity without dozing off.

I am, however, a little worried about the Indians this week, only because the visitor’s clubhouse here at Kauffman Stadium has one of those Sharper Image/Brookstone/whatever electric massage chairs, and it looks overly inviting.


  • Manny Acta said not to read anything into Luis Valbuena not starting again tonight. He said the plan was to get Valbuena a few days off last week to clear his head. But when Asdrubal Cabrera went down, Valbuena was needed at short. Still, Valbuena’s performance in those games didn’t improve his stock any, and Mark Grudzielanek is batting .326 with seven RBIs in his last 12 games. This is one of two spots in the lineup where the Indians must weigh the importance of the development of youth vs. the benefit of playing the hotter hand.
  • The other is left field. Thanks to the unexpected Austin Kearns effect and his own struggles, Matt LaPorta’s playing time is trending in the wrong direction. He’s out of the lineup again tonight and has started just four of the nine games this month. LaPorta is 8-for-his-last-48 and has zero RBIs in his last 19 games (his only RBI came in the second game of the season).
  • How about Russell the Muscle putting down a sac bunt Sunday? Branyan has only done that four times in his career. And then in the second inning tonight, he went out and hit his first homer of the season. Before the game, Acta said he wasn’t worried about Branyan’s slow start. “It’s a small sample,” Acta said. “He needs to get in a rhythm and have more games and at-bats before we make an assessment, because the power is still there.” Branyan proved him right soon thereafter.
  • Before Branyan’s blast, the Indians were one of only three teams without a homer from the first base position this season. Baltimore and Colorado were the others.
  • As you might have heard, the Blue Jays will have three home games against the Phillies moved to Philadelphia next month because of the G20 summit in Toronto. Apparently, Progressive Field was, at one point, discussed as a possible location for the games, because the Jays are also in Cleveland on that road trip. That’s a scenario that did not appeal to Vernon Wells. Wells summoned his inner Joakim Noah when he said, “But then we’d be in Cleveland for a week, and that’d be interesting.” Whatever, Vernon.
  • Acta talked about the spin Mitch Talbot puts on his changeup, which makes it an effective pitch. “When he gets in a rhythm,” Acta said, “he can throw that pitch at any time.” Talbot survived on his changeup in Sunday’s win, and he’s now tied for second in the AL with four victories on the season. He’s second among AL rookies in innings (39 1/3) and third in ERA (3.43).
  • The Indians’ 18 errors are tied for the third-fewest in the league.
  • Left-hander Kelvin De La Cruz made his Double-A Akron debut Monday and gave up two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in six innings. He took the loss. De La Cruz allowed just three hits to left-handers in 33 at-bats in Kinston, and his WHIP in Class A was 0.88.
  • Right-hander Joe Gardner is a name to watch in the lower levels. He moved up to Kinston and made his debut Sunday, going five scoreless innings in a win over Potomac. Gardner gave up two hits, walked two and struck out four. He’s struck out 42 batters in 30 innings combined this season between Lake County and Kinston.
  • Chris Gimenez has a 10-game hitting streak for Columbus. He’s batting .421 (16-for-38) during the stretch. Shelley Duncan is batting .396 over his last 11 games.
  • Michael Brantley has hit in eight straight games and 12 of 13 since getting sent down to the Clippers.
  • Finally, my review of Sunday’s Pearl Jam show, since several of you asked: Strong, but not transcendent. Believe me, I have the utmost respect for PJ and their policy on shaking up the setlist and packing it with rarities night after night after night. However, in my opinion, this leaves the show without any discernible flow or theme or structure. Some, I’m sure, love this about Pearl Jam shows. But as much as I appreciate the element of surprise, I didn’t come out feeling as though the band had taken me to another place at any point. And while it might not be fair to PJ, their reputation precedes them and thus holds them to a higher standard than most. The band was tight, and Ed Vedder’s voice was as crisp as can be. So, again, believe me when I say it was a strong performance. But it was just not transcendent, and that’s the result on which all rock shows shall be judged. I give it a B+, thanks to extra credit points for “Leash,” “Smile” and “In Hiding,” in addition to two of my aforementioned Top Five (“Hail Hail” and “Given to Fly”).