Randy Newsom didn’t have much time to celebrate being one of four Aeros players named Wednesday to the Eastern League All-Star Game. Not long after hearing the All-Star news, Newsom (5-0, 1.75 ERA) also learned he had been promoted to Triple-A Buffalo.
Between the two bits of exciting news, Wednesday quickly turned into a cause for celebration for the underdog Newsom. He was once a relatively unknown side-armer who was acquired by the Indians as the player to be named later in the 2006 trade that sent outfielder Coco Crisp and pitcher David Riske to Boston and brought third baseman Andy Marte and catcher Kelly Shoppach to Cleveland.
Two years later, Newsom has become an Aeros fan favorite, always the last guy to always to leave the home dugout after signing every autograph request following games at Canal Park. If not for the “untimely” call up, Newsom would have been making his second appearance on the Southern Division team in as many years - and rightfully so.
The Aeros closer recorded 24 saves in 26 opportunities, including converting his last nine chances. A dominating and lengthy stretch came April 8th through June 26th when the Tufts University graduate allowed just two earned runs spanning 33 innings, including 15 consecutive scoreless appearances from April 23rd to May 25th.
In addition to Newsom, Aeros third baseman Wes Hodges, right-handed reliever J.D. Martin and rookie shortstop Josh Rodriguez were also tabbed to play in the All-Star Game that will be held Manchester, N.H., July 16th. Joining the players on the team will be Sarbaugh and the rest of the Aeros staff courtesy of being the defending Southern Division champions.
The E.L. All-Star nod marks the second consecutive for Hodges, who played in the Class-A Carolina League post-season All-Star team last year. This season - just his second full professional year after being drafted by the Tribe with their second pick in the 2006 draft out of Georgia Tech – he has been Akron’s most consistent hitter - batting clean-up, no less.
Through 81 games, Hodges is batting .307 (93-for-303) and leads the league with 64 RBI. If he stays in Akron a full season as the Indians brass initially planned, Hodges is on pace to drive in 112 RBI - which would shatter the single-season franchise record.
The injury-tested Martin will be making his first All-Star appearance since the 2001 season when he appeared on the short-season Appalachian League post-season All-Star team. Having pitched primarily in relief for the Aeros in this, his third stint with the team while battling arm injuries over the years, Martin is 7-3 with a 3.26 ERA in 21 appearances (including three spot starts).
In Martin’s last seven appearances, the Tribe’s sandwich selection (35th overall) in the 2001 draft has not allowed an earned run spanning 15.1 innings. Over that span he is 3-0 and has allowed just eight hits and four walks.
Rodriguez’s selection also marks his second All-Star nod, as he joined Hodges on the Carolina League post-season All-Star team last year. Batting second for the Aeros this season, the Indians second–round pick out Rice University is hitting .269 (83-for-309) with 13 doubles, five triples, four home runs, 37 RBI and seven stolen bases. Additionally, his 53 walks rank second in the league and his 51 runs scored are fourth.
MORE ON HODGES: In addition to being named to Eastern League All-Star Team, third baseman Wes Hodges is also scheduled to participate in the prestigious Futures Game as part of major league baseball's All-Star Game festivities July 13 at Yankee Stadium.
Selected to play for Team USA, Hodges is also one of 60 players currently being considered for the 24-man United States Olympic Team that will be selected on July 16th to participate in China's Beijing Olympics beginning August 9th.
In 82 games with the Aeros this season, Hoges is batting .307 (94-for-306) with 15 doubles, nine home runs and a league-leading 64 RBI.
ROSTER MOVES - With Newsom's promotion to Buffalo Wednesday, right-handed reliever Scott Roehl has been selected to take Newsom's place on the Southern Division team. In 22 appearances this season with Akron, Roehl is 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA and 32 strikeouts over 33 innings.
In other team news, outfielder Jose Costanza was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a strained left shoulder. In 74 games with the Aeros he's battting .293 (77-for-263) with four triples, nine doubles, 15 stolen bases, 23 walks, 27 RBI and 36 runs scored. The Aeros have not made a corresponding move to replace Costanza, but outfielder Nate Panther (strained left calf) is able to be activated from the DL today. Newsom's spot on the team's 24-man roster has yet to be filled as well, leaving the team two players under the limit.