Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

"Pay me my money down"

By Anthony Castrovince/

arod.jpgIf you’re sitting in Section 181, Row J, in the aisle seat between Section 180 and 181 tonight, I hope you brought your glove.

The folks at SeatGeek have determined that your seat is “The Money Seat” – i.e., the spot where Alex Rodriguez’s 600th career home run is most likely to land. It’s going to land in the aisle, so be nimble enough to catch it on the stairs.

Of course, a similar calculation was made for Yankee Stadium last week and nothing happened, so A-Rod has to hold up his end of the bargain, too.

But should Rodriguez hit No. 600 in Cleveland, that’s the spot where it is most likely headed. SeatGeak calculated that there is a 15.9 percent chance of the ball going to Section 182, a 12.5 percent chance of it going to Sectoin 181, a 12 percent chance of it landing in the seatless center field area and a 10.2 percent chance of it landing in Section 183.

If you’re in Section 108, sorry, but there’s only a 0.2 percent chance of it coming to you.

And if you’re behind the plate, you’re really out of luck.


  • Does 600 carry the same panache it once did? A-Rod, after all, will be the first admitted PED user to reach 600. But Tribe closer Chris Perez doesn’t think that takes anything away from the mark. “There are a lot of guys who used steroids who didn’t reach that number,” Perez said. Asked if Indians pitcher will approach A-Rod any differently this week, Perez said absolutely not. “You have to take care of the guys in front of him, so there’s nobody on base,” Perez said. “It’s hard to pitch around anybody in that lineup. I know I’m not going to shy away from him. If he hits it, so be it.”
  • Cleveland is no stranger to milestone home runs. As loyal reader Jim Dancik pointed out, Babe Ruth hit No. 500 in League Park, and Ted Williams hit No. 500 in Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Press box attendant John “Popper” Krepop noted that Williams hit his 500th off Wynn Hawkins, who went on to become the Indians’ traveling secretary. Now that’s minutiae.
  • Josh Tomlin will be thrown to the wolves tomorrow night, making his Major League debut against the Yankees. A somewhat surprising announcement, considering the Indians have made it clear they want to get a good look at Carlos Carrasco this year and Tomlin is not on the 40-man roster. Then again, Tomlin, despite getting little to no publicity throughout his Minor League career, has done nothing but prove he deserves a look, too.
  • In Columbus this season, Tomlin is 8-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 20 appearances (17 starts), has struck out 80 and walked 33 in 107 1/3 innings and has a .212 average against and 1.08 WHIP. That last number really stands out to manager Manny Acta. “WHIP stands for traffic,” Acta said, “and traffic stands for disaster.” Tomlin has avoided both. “He hasn’t been high-profile, but he’s proved himself at every level and his record speaks for itself,” Acta said. “His numbers need to be challenged at this level … I don’t think his name was at the top of our board [in Spring Training, when Tomlin wasn’t in Major League camp], but he’s worked himself to the top of our board.”
  • Tomlin was one of three Minor Leaguers (Beau Mills and Jerad Head being the others) in the Tribe system arrested and charged with felonious assault after a June 3 altercation in Akron. The charges were reduced last week to disorderly conduct. Acta said he has spoken with several people in the organization who know all three players well, and he is not at all concerned about the incident that led to the charges. He said Tomlin has a reputation as a “good kid.” “There are things that happen that are sometimes out of our control,” Acta said.
  • So, what about Carrasco? The elbow cramp that pulled him out of his July 20 start was obviously not all that serious, as he worked four innings against Pawtucket on Sunday (allowing two runs on three hits over four innings). Acta said the Indians do still intend to get Carrasco a meaningful opportunity this year.
  • Austin Kearns has missed five of the last six games. He dealt with right knee soreness last week and returned Saturday, only to be spiked in the leg on the basepaths. He’s out again tonight, but Acta said Kearns was tested out and should be ready to play again Tuesday.
  • Kerry Wood (blister on right index finger) will throw a bullpen session  Tuesday, and then the Indians will determine the next course of action with regards to his rehab. No word on whether he’ll have to head to the Minors. When he comes back, he likely won’t be in the closer’s role immediately (similar to his last activation from the DL), but Acta has no plans to leave Perez in the closer’s role permanently and use Wood as a setup man down the stretch. “Whenever Kerry’s ready, he’ll close,” Acta said.
  • Anthony Reyes, recovering from Tommy John surgery, is here. He’s starting for Double-A Akron tomorrow night.
  • Acta has been pleased with the defensive improvement he’s seen from Matt LaPorta, who turned a 3-6-3 after looking the runner back at third in Sunday’s loss. “A lot has to do with him not bouncing around [between positions],” Acta said. “Not having to work on stuff in the outfield has helped. You can tell he’s made progress because we’re not substituting for him in the late innings. He’s earned that right.”
  • Michael Brantley remains in the leadoff spot, despite his .162 average and .229 on-base percentage. Acta said the Indians are still trying to get a read on Brantley at this level, and they believe in his OBP track record in the Minors. They also want to see OBP improvement from Trevor Crowe (.318).
  • The Indians will have to make two roster moves after tonight’s game to get Tomlin on the active and 40-man rosters. Not sure what to expect on either front, to be honest. Obviously, a position player has to go. Shelley Duncan has played well, so perhaps Andy Marte gets the boot. Unless, of course, the Indians decide to send Brantley down again to ensure him everyday at-bats.
  • Right-hander Alex White was 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA for Double-A Akron in two starts last week, allowing just two runs on 14 hits while striking out 14 with no walks in 14 innings.
  • A special congrats to former intern Andrew Gribble, who got engaged over the weekend. Save the money, Scribble.


UPDATE: CC Sabathia had more to say about the way the 2007 Indians were broken up, specifically that he never received a contract extension offer from the Indians.

My rant on CC stands.

7/26: Indians vs. Yankees

Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game is on STO and WTAM. Yankees cleanup hitter Alex Rodriguez is looking for home run No. 600. Tribe cleanup hitter Carlos Santana is looking for home run No. 7.

The last time Westbrook and Vazquez faced each other, the Indians beat the Yankees 22-0.

cle.gifINDIANS (41-57):
CF Brantley, SS Cabrera, RF Choo, C Santana, DH Hafner, 3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, LF Crowe, 2B Donald. RHP Jake Westbrook (6-6, 4.74).




nyy.gifYANKEES (62-35):
SS Jeter, RF Swisher, 1B Teixeira, 3B Rodriguez, 2B Cano, DH Posada, CF Granderson, C Cervelli, LF Gardner. RHP Javier Vazquez (8-7, 4.68).

Kids run the bases, with special guests

By Anthony Castrovince/

DAN37526.jpgIf you thought the Indians’ lineup looked young, you should see the kids running the bases after Sunday home games.

But the kids who ran the bases after yesterday’s game had a special treat waiting for them… and not just the free ice cream sandwiches and popsicles provided by Pierre’s.

Several members of the Tribe were on the basepaths to greet the kids as they darted from base to base. Participants on Sunday were manager Manny Acta, first-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Jake Westbrook, Carlos Santana, Chris Gimenez, Frank Herrmann and owner Larry Dolan and his wife, Eva. They cheered the youngsters on and doled out high fives to each of them.

This was only the beginning, as the Indians plan to do this at each Sunday home game from here on out this season.

For a small-market team trying to win games and win over fans, this was really a nice touch – a few extra minutes at the ballpark that go a long way. Many of those kids will remember that experience for the rest of their lives.

And those that won’t probably appreciated the ice cream, all the same.


"Aren't we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas? You know, the birth of Santa."

By Anthony Castrovince/

santa.jpgIt’s 95 degrees with 95 percent humidity (at least, that’s how it feels) at Progressive Field, just in time for the Indians’ “Christmas in July” celebration. It’s difficult to dig Ashley Tisdale singing “Last Christmas” on a normal day, let alone one where your shirt is sticking to your back.

I like Christmas. Heck, I’ll go so far as to say I love Christmas. But I’m no fan of Christmas in July. Where does it end? Halloween in March? Arbor Day in February? Martin Luther King Jr. Day on some day other than the day that happens to be Martin Lurther King Jr.’s birthday? (Wait, we already do that one. But you get the point.)

If somebody decides we can have multiple Thanksgivings, I won’t complain. And judging by the girth of some of my fellow press box inhabitants, I’m not alone. But let’s leave Christmas alone. Or at least, go easy on the Christmas tunes.


  • The Indians’ Christmas in July present came in the form of Shin-Soo Choo returning from the DL. Choo said he was a little cautious swinging the bat in his first at-bat for Akron, but he quickly realized the thumb was fine and there was no reason to hold back. Alas, that first at-bat was the only one that resulted in a hit for Choo. But the point of the rehab assignment was to see live pitching, not necessarily to hit it.
  • As expected, Choo slides right into the No. 3 spot of the lineup, with Carlos Santana batting cleanup. As discussed in this story, this should/could generate more opportunities for Santana, but the Indians still need to see improvement from Travis Hafner in the No. 5 spot if Santana is going to get better pitches to hit. Santana had little to work with the last few weeks, as the scouting reports have made it clear he’s a guy to avoid.
  • Choo took Aaron Laffey’s roster spot, which was not much of a surprise once Laffey told reporters he’s dealing with a “dead arm” after his last start in Minnesota. The Indians were not pleased that Laffey chose to go that route in making the information public (hey, at least he didn’t tweet it).
  • Laffey had an MRI yesterday that did not reveal structural damage. The Indians feel rest is the only remedy. How long will Laffey rest? They didn’t say for certain. But we do know that this will be more than just a spot start opportunity for the guy who comes up to replace Laffey in the rotation.
  • Who will that guy be? The Indians will need to add a starter for Tuesday’s game against the Yankees. That happens to be Josh Tomlin’s day to throw for Columbus, and Tomlin is one of three candidates for the job. The Indians could also go with Carlos Carrasco or David Huff, who are scheduled to throw this weekend but could obviously be scratched at a moment’s notice.
  • You’d have to assume Carrasco would be the odds-on favorite to get the opportunity, given that Acta has made it clear for weeks that he intends to get Carrasco a meaningful look in the rotation. Carrasco left his start Tuesday with a stiff elbow and is still being evaluated. But pitching coach Tim Belcher said the issue was just cramping and is not considered serious. So I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Carrasco (8-4, 3.98 ERA in 19 starts) is the guy on Tuesday. But we’ll see.
  • Justin Masterson takes Laffey’s originally scheduled Sunday start on regular rest, with Jake Westbrook on Monday.
  • The felony assault charges against Tomlin, Beau Mills and Jerad Head have been reduced to disorderly conduct by a Summit County grand jury, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. The max sentence is 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
  • Here’s the latest Indians Inbox, in case you missed it.
  • A couple other notes on Choo: 1. He changed lockers. He is now in the spot next to the door that leads to the showers, a spot formerly occupied by the likes of Jim Thome, Sandy Alomar Jr., Aaron Boone and, most recently, Mike Redmond. 2. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said he tried to get Choo on last year’s All-Star team but simply didn’t have enough spots. Maddon is a huge Choo fan. “He’s one of the best players in the American League,” Maddon said. “There’s not a thing he can’t do.”
  • Maddon is also a Mitch Talbot fan, and he said he’s not overly surprised with Talbot’s effectiveness here in his rookie season. As you know, Talbot is here via the trade that sent Kelly Shoppach to the Rays. Talbot was out of options, and the Rays didn’t have a place for him in their rotation. “He has a nice arm, a really good changeup, a really good cutter,” Maddon said. “I always thought his delivery was as sturdy as you can be. A guy with a delivery like that has a good chance of avoiding injuries.”
  • Speaking of Shoppach, Maddon said he’ll get the start here tomorrow for his big Cleveland homecoming. Shoppach joked that he’ll probably be carted around the field in a convertible to be paraded before his adoring fans.
  • Shoppach also said he was going to get on Hafner about the decrease in the number of “Pronkville” promotion in Progressive Field these days. It’s down to one faded sign that hangs in the back of the “Pronkville” mezzanine. “They’re going to call it ‘Travis Town,'” Shoppach joked. “When you stop hitting as many homers, they start calling you by your first name.”
  • The Indians are 9-2 in their last 11 games in the home of “Travis Town.” In that span, the pitching staff has a 1.76 ERA. The pitchers have allowed just one homer in their last 120 innings here.
  • Amazingly, the Rays haven’t won here since Sept. 28, 2005. Granted, only 17 games have been played between these two clubs here in that span (and granted, that was a pretty big loss for the Tribe at the time), but that’s still hard to pull off. It’s the longest current winning streak vs. an opponent in a home ballpark in the big leagues and the most since Milwaukee took 22 straight from the Pirates at Miller Park from 2007-10.
  • Acta believes the key to the bullpen’s surge has been Joe Smith, and it’s a difficult point to argue against. Smith has not allowed a run in 12 straight appearances, covering eight innings. He’s yielded just two hits in that span and has dropped his ERA from 8.10 to 4.50.  Smith has allowed just 13 percent (3 of 23) of inherited runners to score this season, the second-best mark in the AL.
  • Anthony Reyes made his second rehab start in the Arizona Rookie League on Thursday and allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits with a walk and a pair of strikeouts. He’ll begin to progress up the Minor League ladder.
  • Nick Weglarz is hot at Columbus, having homered in three straight and batting .425 with four doubles, four homers and six RBIs over his last 10 games.
  • Left-hander Nick Hagadone returned from the DL in Akron and allowed a run on two hits with no walks and two strikeouts in three innings of a 4-1 loss to Reading last night. Hagadone could be bullpen bait before all is said and done.
  • A big welcome to Mentor native Caleb Potter, who is in the house tonight. Caleb was Ohio’s participant in the Pitch, Hit and Run national competition that took place at this year’s All-Star Game. He finished first in the 13-14 age group in the national finals of the competition.
  • Whoever said painting can be therapeutic didn’t paint my living room yesterday.


7/23: Indians vs. Rays

Shin-Soo Choo is back (in the No. 3 spot, no less), and Aaron Laffey is headed to the DL with left shoulder fatigue.

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

cle3.gifINDIANS (40-55):
CF Brantley, SS Cabrera, RF Choo, C Santana, DH Hafner, 3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, LF Crowe, 2B Donald. RHP Fausto Carmona (9-7, 3.65).




tb.gifRAYS (57-37): 
RF Ben Zobrist, LF Carl Crawford, 3B Evan Longoria, 1B Carlos Pena, DH Matt Joyce, C John Jaso, CF B.J. Upton, 2B Reid Brignac, SS Jason Bartlett. RHP Jeff Niemann (8-2, 2.92).

7/21: Indians at Twins

Today’s 1:10 p.m. ET game at Target Field is not on TV in Cleveland, but you can listen along on WTAM, watch on MLB.TV or follow along on my Twitter account (@castrovince).

Austin Kearns still out with knee soreness, while Travis Hafner and Michael Brantley are getting rested against a tough lefty in Liriano.

cle8.gifINDIANS (40-54):
SS Cabrera, LF Nix, DH Santana, 3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, RF Duncan, CF Crowe, 2B Donald, C Gimenez. RHP Jake Westbrook (6-5, 4.67).




min4.gifTWINS (49-45):
CF Span, 2B Hudson, LF Young, RF Kubel, 1B Cuddyer, DH Thome, SS Hardy, 3B Punto, C Butera. LHP Francisco Liriano (7-7, 3.76).

7/20: Indians at Twins

Tonight’s 8:10 p.m. ET game at Target Field is on WTAM and STO.

Austin Kearns (right knee soreness) and Michael Brantley (injured right shoulder) are both day-to-day. Brantley hurt his shoulder diving for a ball in the outfield last night.

Here’s the full story on Asdrubal Cabrera’s return. And here are tonight’s notes.

cle.gifINDIANS (39-54):
SS Cabrera, LF Nix, C Santana, DH Hafner, 3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, RF Duncan, CF Crowe, 2B Donald. RHP Justin Masterson (3-8, 5.31).




min.gifTWINS (49-44):
CF Span, 2B Hudson, C Mauer, RF Kubel, 1B Cuddyer, DH Thome, LF Young, SS Hardy, 3B Punto. RHP Kevin Slowey (8-5, 4.95).

Cabrera returns to Tribe, Lewis to return to Columbus

By Anthony Castrovince/

Asdrubal Cabrera is back, ahead of schedule.

Cabrera was activated off the disabled list in advance of Tuesday’s game with the Twins and immediately slotted back into the leadoff spot of manager Manny Acta’s order. To make room for Cabrera, reliever Jensen Lewis was designated for assignment and is expected to be assigned to Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday.

A 2-for-4 night in which he belted a solo shot for Double-A Akron on Monday proved to be the final test in his Minor League rehab assignment. Cabrera was working his way back from the right forearm fracture he suffered May 17 in Tampa Bay, when he collided with teammate Jhonny Peralta near second base. He showed no signs of rust during the rehab. In six games at Akron and Class A Mahoning Valley, Cabrera went 7-for-20 (.350) with three doubles, a homer and three RBIs.

“I hit pretty good down there,” he said.

With Cabrera back, the Indians have to decide what to do with Jason Donald, who had been filling in at short, and Jayson Nix, who had taken over at second base. Acta said Monday that the Indians will either keep Donald as their regular second baseman and make Nix a utilityman, or use Nix at second and option out Donald to play every day in Columbus.

Perhaps providing a clue, Acta penciled Donald in at second base Tuesday night and had Nix in left field.

UPDATE: Donald is now the starting second baseman. Nix is going into a utility role.

Cabrera is here because of the Austin Kearns knee injury and a Michael Brantley shoulder injury last night. Neither injury appears serious. Both players are day to day. But the Indians needed a position player, and Cabrera was deemed ahead of Choo, in terms of readiness to be activated.

Regarding Jensen Lewis, I’m told the designation for assignment is a technicality that the Indians had to perform because he was only with the Major League club for a few days. He is on optional waivers (not outright waivers) and will probably be back on the 40-man shortly. The Indians said he is expected to be optioned to Columbus tomorrow.

Here’s the full story on Cabrera coming back

"An ice cream truck on a deserted street"

By Anthony Castrovince/

Upon arrival to the press box at Target Field today, media members were greeted by three items — a Mr. Potato Head doll, an invitation to try some free Blue Bunny ice cream and a Tonic Sol-fa CD.tonicsolfa.jpg

What do these three things have in common, you might ask?

Well, according to a press release that accompanied the ice cream invite, Blue Bunny and Tonic Sol-fa are “proud corporate partners.” Those must have been some intense meetings.

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but they didn’t say anything about Tonic Sol-fa’s CD cover. I’ve posted it here. And, well… you know.

I hope this is not the case, but it is altogether possible that Mr. Potato Head is here to symbolize what happens when you, the consumer, combine the music of Tonic Sol-fa with the irresistible tastiness of Blue Bunny: You will be chubby, and you will wish to possess the ability to rip the ears out of your head.

potatohead.jpgAgain, though, I’m merely judging Tonic Sol-fa by their cover. This release says they have sold more than a million albums, been nominated for two Emmy Awards and shared a stage with, among others, Jerry Springer and Bobcat Goldthwait. That’s big-time.  All I know is that if they are half as good as the Bases Loaded Butter Brickle flavor of Blue Bunny that I just tried, then the disc is worth a spin.

And Mr. Potato Head is still awesome, after all these years.


  • Here are tonight’s notes from
  • As reported yesterday, Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo are both coming back Friday. What does that mean for the construction of the roster and the construction of the lineup?
  • Well, on the roster front, the Indians will probably go back to a seven-man bullpen. Could be a short stint for Jess Todd, unless somebody really stumbles this week. That takes care of one spot. It’s anybody’s guess what will happen to clear the other spot. For starters, the Indians must decide whether to make Jayson Nix a utility guy and give second base to Jason Donald, or send Donald back down to Columbus to play at second every day. Either way, Donald will remain a regular. The Indians don’t want to use him in a utility role.
  • If Donald sticks, the Indians could option out Michael Brantley, who has been quiet since his callup, and move Trevor Crowe back to center and Austin Kearns back to left. Or they could get rid of Andy Marte or Shelley Duncan. Or they could pull the trigger on a Kearns trade, if there’s a taker to be had. Again, it all stems from the Donald decision. We’ll see.
  • What we do know for sure is that Cabrera and Choo will both return to prominent spots of the lineup. But it doesn’t appear Cabrera will return to the leadoff spot. Acta said he’s leaning toward having Cabrera at No. 2 and Carlos Santana at cleanup, which means Choo would slot in at No. 3. Suddenly, that’s a much more potent punch early in the order, and Santana (9-for-his-last-48, coming into tonight) might begin to see some more pitches to hit than he’s been getting the last couple weeks.
  • Brantley has been locked in as the leadoff guy lately, which an indication of Acta’s faith in Brantley finding his rhythm at this level. So it would be a surprise to see him demoted again. But you never know.
  • Should something happen to Donald or Nix during this series, Jhonny Peralta would slide over to shortstop.
  • This is the third time an Indians team has started out 4-0 after the All-Star break, according to Elias. The others were 1970 and 1995. The Indians had never started out 5-0 in the second half.
  • What’s gotten into the bullpen? The relief corps tossed 13 1/3 scoreless innings in the four-game sweep of the Tigers. Entering tonight, it had allowed just 10 earned runs in the last 53 innings of work (good for a 1.70 ERA). “They’ve been more consistent,” Acta said. “With the way they’re going right now, I can plan out two innings ahead, if I want to.” Much better, Acta said, than flipping a coin. We’ve seen that situation here before.
  • Acta views Anthony Reyes as a rotation option later this year. Reyes, more than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, began a 30-day Minor League rehab assignment in the rookie-level Arizona League on Saturday. He’ll make another start in Arizona on Friday and is expected to move up the organizational ladder from there. At some point, the Indians will have to watch the innings of Justin Masterson and Mitch Talbot, so Reyes could be in the rotation in September.
  • Todd became the seventh rookie on this active roster.
  • Akron second baseman Jason Kipnis is batting .320 with 10 doubles, four homers and 12 RBIs in 32 games with the Aeros.
  • Overheard by the indoor cages before BP today... Player A: "I've got [Francisco] Liriano's number." Player B: "Maybe his phone number."

  • That Blue Bunny release also noted that July is National Ice Cream Month. What? You were expecting January?


7/19: Indians at Twins

Tonight’s 8:10 p.m. ET game at Target Field is on WTAM and STO.

The Indians are looking to begin the second half of a season at 5-0 for the first time ever.

cle2.gifINDIANS (38-54):
CF Brantley, 2B Nix, C Santana, RF Kearns, DH Hafner, 3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, LF Crowe, SS Donald. LHP Aaron Laffey (1-3, 5.12).




min5.gifTWINS (49-43):
CF Span, 2B Hudson, C Mauer, 1B Cuddyer, RF Kubel, LF Young, DH Thome, 3B Valencia, SS Hardy. RHP Scott Baker (7-8, 4.87).