- Mitch Talbot tossed three innings for short-season Mahoning Valley against Aberdeen last night and is expected back in the rotation Saturday.
- Who goes, when Talbot comes back? Well, David Huff’s alarming fifth inning Sunday didn’t do him any favors. Manny Acta wasn’t pleased with Huff’s fastball command the entire outing (Huff, meanwhile, thought his command was just fine until the fifth). Huff would seem to be a candidate to get dropped from the rotation.
- But at some point soon, Acta said the Indians might use some semblance of a six-man rotation. “What we’re thinking about is we could have a swing man, a type of guy where if someone like [Mitch] Talbot or [Justin] Masterson needs to be shut down, this guy can step in for one of those guys each week,” Acta said. “That way, everybody will pitch, but not necessarily in a six-man rotation.” The Indians don’t want to shut Talbot or Masterson down completely before season’s end, the way Jeremy Sowers, as an example, was shut down a few years ago. They see the value in having those guys reach the finish line, but their innings will likely be limited and their time between starts increased down the stretch.
- Anthony Reyes’ return could come into play in September. But for now, he’s just trying to get through his Minor League rehab, which resumes Wednesday at Double-A Akron. Reyes had a back issue that halted his rehab for a few days.
- Aaron Laffey threw a bullpen session today, his first step toward coming back from the left shoulder fatigue the lowered his velocity. It sounds as though the Indians are leaning toward placing Laffey in the bullpen when he comes back. “At this point, I think the best thing would be for us to get together with him and see how he feels about it,” Acta said, “instead of trying to ramp him up, stretch him out and bring him back as a starter.”
- Travis Hafner (right shoulder soreness) is getting close to picking up a bat again. The Indians will want to see two good BP sessions from Hafner before they determine whether he’ll need to go out on a rehab assignment.
- A few of you have asked for a Grady Sizemore update, but there’s not much to tell. He continues to get regular treatment following knee surgery but isn’t close to baseball activity. The next substantive update will probably come this winter.
- Also on the injury front, assistant to the Major League staff Ruben Niebla is on the mend after knee surgery and off crutches. Niebla blew out his knee while shagging fly balls at PNC Park in June. He said he’ll be heading to Arizona soon. The joke in the organization is that Niebla is on a “return-to-coach” program.
- Matt LaPorta is batting .297 with eight doubles, six homers and 20 RBIs in 36 games since the Russell Branyan trade.
- The Indians signed fifth-round Draft pick Cole Cook, a right-hander from Pepperdine. They also signed 22nd-rounder Nate Striz, a right-hander from UNC. Still sounds like negotiations with No. 1 pick Drew Pomeranz will come down to the wire. The deadline is Monday night/Tuesday morning at midnight ET.
- Went and saw Giovanni Soto, the lefty acquired in the Jhonny Peralta trade, at Class A County last week. A stiff breeze might blow him over. He’s as thin as the pen I stole from my Marriott hotel. But he’s 6-foot-3 with wide shoulders and has potential to throw harder once he fills out. He’s only 19, after all. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway said Soto’s pretty advanced for his age. “He’s got four pretty decent pitches that he knows how to use already,” Callaway said. “He has a real fluid delivery, and he throws strikes.” Soto has allowed two runs in 11 innings in his first two games with the Captains, walking five, striking out 11 and picking up a pair of wins. He’s pitching tonight at South Bend.
- Roving player development advisor Johnny Goryl says to keep an eye on Mahoning Valley third baseman Giovanny Urshela, an 18-year-old kid the Indians signed out of Colombia two years ago. Urshela is batting .450 with three homers, three doubles and 10 RBIs over his last 10 games. He has no strikeouts in that span.
- Jason Knapp, one of the key acquisitions in the Cliff Lee trade, starts tonight for the rookie-level Arizona League club. It’s his fourth start since coming back from shoulder surgery performed last September. As noted in this week’s Indians Inbox, Knapp is getting stretched back out and is expected to join either Lake County or Kinston in the next week to 10 days.
- The Akron Aeros, the defending Eastern League champs, are giving away playoff tickets, so snatch them up.
- My MLB.com bosses had me make some playoff predictions. I could do this several and probably have several different results. Five of the six divisions are too close to call.
Today’s 1:05 p.m. ET game at Progressive Field will be on WTAM and WKYC Channel 3.
INDIANS (47-64): CF Brantley, SS Cabrera, RF Choo, DH Duncan, 1B LaPorta, 3B Marte, LF Crowe, 2B Donald, C Marson. LHP David Huff (2-10, 5.97).
TWINS (62-49): CF Repko, 2B Hudson, C Mauer, LF Young, RF Kubel, 1B Cuddyer, DH Thome, 3B Valencia, SS Hardy. LHP Brian Duensing (4-1, 2.10).
Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game at Progressive Field is on WTAM and STO.
Michael Brantley is back and batting leadoff. That’s where he figures to be the rest of the season.
UPDATE: Here are tonight’s notes.
INDIANS (46-63): CF Brantley, SS Cabrera, RF Choo, DH Duncan, 1B LaPorta, 3B Nix, LF Crowe, 2B Donald, C Marson. RHP Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 1.50).
TWINS (61-48): CF Span, 2B Casilla, DH Mauer, LF Young, RF Kubel, 1B Cuddyer, 3B Valencia, SS Hardy, C Butera. LHP Francisco Liriano (10-7, 3.18).
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
The LeBron Jersey Guy, as he shall now be known, can scratch last night’s heckling at Progressive Field off his personal bucket list.
Other items on his “to-do” agenda include…
- Play Michigan fight song outside Jack Tatum’s funeral.
- Take swigs from a bottle of Crown at AA meeting.
- Wear hilarious “Where’s the Beef?” T-shirt to PETA rally.
- Take non-neutered dog for a walk… to Bob Barker’s house.
- Wear hooded sweatshirt, bad mustache and big sunglasses while mailing a package at the post office.
- Move to Miami.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- Jhonny Peralta has left the building, and Jayson Nix is now the starting third baseman for your Cleveland Indians. Nix earned the first crack at the position with his solid play as the regular at second before Asdrubal Cabrera returned from the DL and bumped Jason Donald to second. Andy Marte will back him up. Luis Valbuena is here in a utility role.
- Many of you are wondering why Jared Goedert isn’t here. The Indians want to get a good look at what they have in Nix, for one. They also want to see defensive improvement from Goedert, whose error total in 46 games (11) is only slightly less eye-catching than his home run total (17). Sounds like Goedert will be a September callup.
- Travis Hafner was scratched from tonight’s lineup with … say it with me… right shoulder soreness. This is the first time this season that the Indians have announced that the shoulder is bothering Hafner. It’s doubtful that it’s actually the first time it’s bothered him, though. We’ve already seen how much Hafner has altered his swing to account for the shoulder. Apparently, last Friday’s game against the Rays, twice delayed and then restarted because of rain, exacerbated the issue. Does not look like this shoulder thing is going away, and that, of course, only makes a bad contract look worse.
- Not sensing that the Indians are close to making any other trades before Saturday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver deadline. As I tweeted last night, I was told flatly last month that they have no urge to move Fausto Carmona, despite any rumors you’ve read. Things can change and evolve in a month, but trading Carmona doesn’t make any more sense now than it did then. When asked about trading starting pitching, this was what Mark Shapiro had to say last night: “I would say that, compared to the past two years, there’s no sense of urgency that we have to move anyone, there’s no financial motivation or the need to create opportunities for anyone. We’ll take a look at each individual case and the value we can get back, as well as alternatives that would get the playing time. Those things enter into the equation.”
- None of the above applies to Kerry Wood, who has no future here and, in fact, barely has much of a present here. The Indians would move him in a heartbeat, if they could. He could certainly clear waivers and be dealt in August. First, he has to get activated, and that’s coming soon. Wood worked a perfect inning for Double-A Akron tonight — eight pitches, eight strikes. He’s expected to be activated this weekend in Toronto and will likely see one or two appearances in the seventh or eighth inning before returning to the closer’s role.
- Until then, that role belongs to Chris Perez, who showed, in catcher Chris Gimenez’s description, pure rage with runners on the corners and none out Tuesday night against the Yankees. Gimenez said Perez is fearless. He let out a primal scream when he struck out Mark Teixeira for the second out of that inning and did what Gimenez called “Jeter fist pump” when he got A-Rod to ground into a force out to end it. “I get fired up watching Perez,” Gimenez said.
- Marte was not happy to see Peralta go. “He was like a brother to me,” Marte said. Peralta was informed of the trade around 6:20 p.m. last night. Marte said Peralta was “ready” for that kind of news. “He signed here when he was 17, and he had his house and his family here,” Marte said. “It’s hard to get used to. But it’s good for him. He was excited about having a chance to play short there.”
- For some reason, there was an aluminum bat sitting in Marte’s locker. “Maybe that’ll do it,” one observer wryly noted.
- What did Luis Valbuena do to get his season back on track at Triple-A Columbus? “He hit,” Manny Acta said. Well, certainly it’s more complicated than that. Valbuena, who hit .313 with a 1.032 OPS and batted cleanup for the Clippers, said he had better footing and use of his legs to pull the ball more consistently. Defensively, he played 10 games at short, seven at third and six at second.
- Valbuena took over Shin-Soo Choo’s old locker (Choo moved to the “Jim Thome locker” near the entrance to the showers last week). “A lot of hits in that locker,” Choo said, pointing to Valbuena’s new home. “That locker, .300. This locker (gesturing to the Thome locker), .320.”
- Big League Choo, by the way, entered tonight batting .455 (10-for-22) with five doubles since his activation from the DL.
- Ezequiel Carrera, the Triple-A outfielder acquired in last month’s Russell Branyan trade, was placed on the Columbus DL with a right hamstring injury. He had been batting .318 since coming over.
- Acta shaved media relations director Bart Swain’s head. So… now you know that.
UPDATE: This four-game series against the Yankees attracted 112,060. That’s a 15 percent increase to total season attendance at Progressive Field.
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
UPDATED: Here’s the full story on the Peralta trade.
The Indians have dealt veteran third baseman Jhonny Peralta and cash to the Tigers for Class A left-hander Giovanni Soto.
Peralta joins an injury depleted Tigers team looking to get back into the thick of the AL Central race. The Tigers lost Brandon Inge to a broken bone in his hand.
Peralta is making $4.6 million this season. No word yet on how much of his remaining contract the Indians are picking up.
Peralta batted .246 with 23 doubles, seven homers and 43 RBIs for the Tribe this year. He is a career .264 hitter over eight seasons with the Tribe. He made the move from shortstop to third base last year.
Soto, 19, has spent this season with Class A West Michigan, going 6-6 with a 2.61 ERA in 16 starts. He has struck out 76 and walked 25 in 82 2/3 innings and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 16 starts.
Soto is headed to Class A Lake County.
Luis Valbuena has been called up from Triple-A Columbus to take Peralta’s active roster spot.
Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game is on WTAM and SportsTime Ohio. I’ll be on the STO pregame show tonight.
INDIANS (42-58): CF Crowe, SS Cabrera, RF Choo, C Santana, DH Hafner, LF Kearns,
3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, 3B Andy Marte, 2B Donald. RHP Fausto Carmona (10-7, 3.51).
YANKEES (63-36): SS Jeter, RF Swisher, 1B Teixeira, 3B Rodriguez, 2B Cano, DH Posada, CF Granderson, C Cervelli, LF Gardner. RHP A.J. Burnett (8-8, 4.77).
Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game at Progressive Field is on WTAM and STO. Josh Tomlin will be making his debut and hoping to avoid serving up No. 600 to Alex Rodriguez.
Here’s a story on CC Sabathia returning to Cleveland and again sharing his revisionist view of history.
INDIANS (41-58): CF Crowe, SS Cabrera, RF Choo, LF Kearns, DH Duncan, 3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, 2B Donald, C Gimenez. RHP Josh Tomlin (0-0, 0.00).
YANKEES (63-35): SS Jeter, RF Swisher, DH Teixeira, 3B Rodriguez, 2B Cano, CF Granderson, 1B Miranda, C Francisco Cervelli*, LF Gardner. LHP C.C. Sabathia (13-3, 3.18).
*Jorge Posada was a late scratch with left knee soreness.