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Huff making halting progress

By Sheldon Published: July 17, 2009

CLEVELAND: David Huff has been on a rookie roller coaster ride since joining the Indians' rotation on May 17. ¶
   Maybe that's the way it should be for a 24-year-old who earns his first promotion from Triple-A 11/2 months into the season. Far too often, talented pitchers who have unbridled early success run into serious trouble their second year and beyond. ¶
   That's what happened with Jaret Wright and Jeremy Sowers, pitchers to whom Tribe fans can relate. ¶
   ""At some point in time, it (disappointment) is going to happen,'' manager Eric Wedge said Friday, before Huff faced the Mariners. ""There are going to be failures at some point. If a player has to deal with failure early, it's easier to handle. If he comes out like gangbusters and then something happens, well, then it's tougher to deal with.'' ¶
   It didn't take long for Huff to run smack into hard times. In his first two starts, he gave up 13 runs in 62/3 innings. After his second outing, it took Wedge awhile to commit to a third start for Huff, but he did, and Huff legitimized the manager's decision by holding the Rays scoreless for four innings, allowing four hits and one walk. ¶
  Huff knew that making a third big-league start was not assured. ¶
  ""I was just going to get ready to face some team,'' he said, acknowledging that his next outing might be at Triple-A. ""Coming up here is a transition that you have to make; I'm still making it.'' ¶
  In starts three through eight, Huff settled in to compile a 3.41 earned-run average and 3-1 record. He ran into trouble in his next tZ""He thhree outings, giving up 16 earned runs in 151/3 innings. But even then, Huff mixed in a six-inning, three-run start against the Athletics. ¶
   So far, Tribe officials have reason to be pleased with Huff, who has delivered more good pitches than bad ones. ¶
   ""Every time I go out there, I get more confidence,'' Huff said. ""There's a huge difference now from when I started.'' ¶
   Not surprisingly, Huff can recall vividly what it felt like to make his major-league debut. ¶
   ""I'll probably never forget,'' he said. ""I tried not to think about it. But I could feel the adrenaline really flowing through my body, and I tried to calm myself down. Now every time I go out there, I'm more comfortable.'' ¶
   Huff already can recite the formula for success, understanding that it's easier said than done. ¶
   ""If I can throw the first pitch for a strike,'' he said, ""you make hitters work.'' ¶
   THE CARMONA FILE -- With GM Mark Shapiro looking on in Columbus, Fausto Carmona pitched seven strong innings, allowing two runs, seven hits, walking none and striking out seven. ¶
   That does not mean he is headed back to Cleveland to rejoin the Indians. ¶
   ""Fausto thrtew a good game last night,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ""I'm pleased to see him making progress.'' ¶
   But not everything was positive about the outing. What Tribe officials are waiting to see is for Carmona to maintain the proper mechanics in his delivery pitch after pitch after pitch. ¶
   ""A couple of times, he came out of his delivery, according to Mark,'' Wedge said. ¶
   Wedge does not want Carmona worrying about how much longer he has to stay at Triple-A. ¶
   ""We don't want him thinking about that,'' ther manager said. ""We want him to be concerned with his five-day routine, not where he's going to be next week.'' ¶
   PERFECT FIT -- Grady Sizemore is not one to complain about where he bats in the order, but it seemed obvious that he likes returning to the leadoff spot. ¶
   ""It doesn't matter where I hit,'' he said. ""But I am more comfortable leading off. It's where I've been most of my career. Still, I just want to be in the lineup.'' ¶
   NO CHANGES YET -- Wedge is not ready to go back to a seven-man bullpen. ¶
   ""I'd like to get a feel of how we're going to get off in the second half,'' he said. ""Right now, it makes more sense to keep an extra pitcher (than another position player).'' ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Michael Brantley had three hits, including two doubles, plus two RBI in Columbus' 7-2 win over Syracuse. Andy Marte had three hits, including his 12th homer of the season. *elip Ole Sheldon homered, doubled, singled and drove in four runs, as Kinston beat Frederick 9-1. Lonnie Chisenhall doubled, singled and had two RBI. Paolo Espino (2-5, 3.50 ERA) gave up one run and three hits in eight innings. *elip Chris Nash doubled, singled and had three RBI in Lake County's 7-2 win over Asheville. ¶

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