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Cleveland Indians

Huff needs better command

By Sheldon Published: May 18, 2009

   With lineup snafus and a bench-clearing episode dominating Sunday's game, David Huff's major-league debut was practically forgotten. [ep
   The left-hander showed a few flashes of why the Indians think he will be a productive starter, but overall his outing left lots to be desired, not surprising in light of the numbers. He lasted only 31/3 innings and gave up seven runs. [ep
   However, there were mitigating circumstances. Huff was pithing on the road against a tough lineup, and he had to wait an extra 13 minutes before throwing his first pitch while umpires sorted through their options after Rays manager Joe Maddon filled out his lineup card incorrectly and ended up losing his designated hitter. [ep
   Huff was throwing extra warm,-up pitches throughout most of the delay and had no idea what was being discussed. However, he feared the worst. [ep
   ""To be honest, I thought they were going to say I wasn't on the roster,'' Huff said.""I thought there was a problem with me. I was just hoping that everything would be OK. I didn't have a clue what was going on.'' [ep
   The inability to command his fastball was Huff''s primary problem. [ep
   ""I just really struggled with my location,'' he said. ""With these guys, they're hear for a reason. If they see a good pitch, they crush it.'' [ep
   Added manager Eric Wedge, ""I think he was just fighting to control the baseball.'' [ep
   HARD FEELINGS,CONTINUED -- According to Victor Martinez, the Rays were showing up the Tribe by stealing bases when they were behind 9-0 Thursday night in a game that ended in an 11-7 Cleveland win. [ep
   In addition, there might have been residual anger over J.P. Howell throwing a pitch close to Martinez's head Friday night, a theory denied by Martinez and Kerry Wood, who on Sunday threw one pitch behind B.J. Upton and another that bored in on his knees in the eighth inning. [ep
   According to Maddon, ""It's obvious that Wood came into the game to try to hit B.J. It's all based on B.J. running (stealing third) in Thursday's game. They wait until the very end, and they bring in a guy throwing 96. It's one thing to make a statement and another to throw behind a guy.'' [ep
   Wood denied he threw purposely at Upton, and Wedge's explanation of why he brought in Wood for the final out of the eighth made sense. [ep
   Wood hadn't pitched in three days and would have had to wait until at least tonight in Kansas City to get into a game. But Wedge did not want to use Wood for the entire eighth inning in case the Tribe rallied to take the lead in the ninth, and Wood was needed to close out the game. [ep
   Matt Herges, who preceded Wood to the mound, doesn't throw 96, but he just as easily could have thrown a pitch behind (or at) Upton. [ep
   Then again, maybe Wedge summoned Wood to keep the rust from builind on his arm and to throw at Upton. [ep
   AND MORE HARD FEELINGS -- When Mark DeRosa came to the plate in the ninth, he was hit by Troy Percival. [ep
   Another coincidence? ""I get two quick strikes, and I wanted to come in,'' Percival said. ""I was not trying to hit him. I respect the way he plays the game. He has a good reputation.'' [ep
   WHO KNEW? -- Long after Sunday's game was over, it was finally revealed that pitching coch Carl Willis was thrown for arguing the disputed catch of Ryan Garko's fly to the fence, a ball that clearly was not caught. [ep
   FOLLOW THE MONEY -- Indians fans love to complain about the team's relatively low payroll of $81 million. [ep
   But how about Columbus? The Tribe's Triple-A affiliate has been taking on payroll as the season progresses. When Travis Hafner showed up for a rehab assignment last Friday, the Clippers' roster suddenly included a player whose salary was $11.5 million. [ep
   Then again, when Luis Vizcaino was summoned to Cleveland, Columbus lost a $3.5 million man. Two days ago, Masa Kobayashi decided to accept an assignment to Triple-A, which added $3 million to the Columbus salary structure. [ep
   Of course, all of the money is paid by the Indians, who are responsible for every player's salary in their organization. [ep
   The range of salaries on a Triple-A team can be enormous. Hafner leads the Clippers' earners, but others on the club -- Tony Sipp and Wyatt Toregas, for example -- are working on minor-league contracts worth $65,000. [ep
   In all, the Columbus payroll probably is close to $17 million. It would jump to $27 million when Jake Westbrook is ready to go on a rehab assignment, but by that time Hafner is expected to be back with the big-league club. [ep

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