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Toregas getting noticed

By Sheldon Published: August 28, 2009

BALTIMORE: It was the kind of play that puts a young, inexperienced, relatively anonymous player named Wyatt in the spotlight.

Wyatt Toregas was behind the plate with two outs in the ninth, the Indians trying to close out a 5-4 win against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night. With two strikes on Nick Markakis but runners on third and first, Kerry Wood unleashed a monster breaking pitch that headed for the dirt and was on track to kick back to the screen.

But Toregas, anticipating the path of the ball, smothered it then realized the umpire called strike three on a checked swing. [ep
""I called the pitch,'' Toregas said Friday. ""We needed a strikeout, and that was a strikeout pitch. I knew it, Kerry knew it. It was nasty. It was tight. It came in and it was gone.'' [ep
Toregas wasn't watching the batter, so he didn't know whether Markakis swung. [ep
""I heard the umpire say, ""Yeah, you went,' '' the catcher said. ""So I grabbed the ball and tagged him before he could start running.'' [ep
Manager Eric Wedge was impressed by Toregas' athleticism in making the play and his poise under fire. [ep
""Wyatt did a great job,'' he said. ""The way he squared it off and blocked it -- that's not an easy play for anybody much less a young kid. He's done a very good job for us. I've also been impressed with his improvement offensively. Even his batting practice is better.''  [ep
Toregas has played in only 10 big-league games, but he already has a couple of highlights. [ep
""Last night was one of them,'' he said. ""And getting my first major-league hit in my first at-bat is another for sure. [ep
""When I stopped the ball last night and the game was over, I was all fired up. I wanted to go another nine innings. I also got a rush from that hit. The adrenalin was really going, and everybody was cheering.'' [ep
Toregas has the ball he hit for his first single. He gave it to his father to add to his other memorabilia until he gets settled in a house. [ep
It's too early to forecast where Toregas will be playing next year, but in his first 31/2 weeks as a  big-league catcher, he has done nothing to discourage thoughts of him making next year's team. [ep
""My first couple of days here I was pretty nervous, and I think it showed a little,'' Toregas said. ""Lately, I've been getting more comfortable. I think I'm calling a better game and blocking balls better. [ep
""It's kind of tough at the plate when you don't play every day, but everyone is helping me.'' [ep
Toregas might have added that he is reciprocating. [ep
WANTED: FIRST BASEMEN -- When the Indians traded Ryan Garko to the Giants, they traded their only legitimate first baseman, creating a vacuum that will stretch into spring training 2010. [ep
""We're wide open there,'' manager Eric Wedge said Friday. ""There are going to be some holes we have to fill over the winter. But first we'll look at the people who are here and who might come up in September.'' [ep
That includes super utility player Chris Gimenez, Andy Marte and Matt LaPorta, who has played the position once (May 12). [ep
""For now, we just want to keep working him there (before games),'' Wedge said. ""He's doing a good job in the outfield right now, so let him keep doing that. First base will be an option for the future, but it doesn't have to be right now.'' [ep
TURNAROUND? -- Andy Marte has been on first for the past week, culminating with his game-winning home run Thursday night. [ep
What has gotten into him? [ep
""Andy has made a few minor adjustments,'' Wedge said. ""That and getting regular playing time has helped. Confidence is a real part of it, too. He's the one doing it.'' [ep
Marte doesn't wear his emotions on his sleeve, but Wedge believes he feels the pain of struggling to make it in the majors. [ep
""He's a quiet guy,'' the manager said. ""But he probably wears it more than you think. That's why you love to see something like that (his game winner) happen, not just for the team but for him.'' [ep
DONE DEAL -- The Indians acquired right-hander Yohan Pino to complete the Aug. 7 trade that sent Carl Pavano to the Twins. [ep
Pino, 25, who has been assigned to Columbus, split the season between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester. At Double-A, he was 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA in 32 appearances, including four starts. After being promoted to Triple-A July 20, Pino compiled a 2-2 record and 2.82 ERA in eight starts. [ep
The Tribe picked Pino from a list of three minor-league pitchers. [ep
ALL-STARS -- Akron catcher Carlos Santana and starter Jeanmar Gomez have been named to the Eastern League’s season ending All-Star Team. [ep
Heading into Friday night's action, Santana was batting .285 with 21 home runs and 89 RBI. That puts him second in the lead in homers and RBI. He is third in the league with a .410 on-base percentage. Gomez is tied for fourth in wins (10) and is second in ERA (3.09). [ep
He also threw as perfect game against Trenton on May 21. [ep
Gomez began the season at ""high'' Class A Kinston and was promoted to Double-A on April 29. [ep
FARM FACTS -- Michael Brantley had three hits, including a double, and three RBI, as Columbus defeated Louisville 7-2. Carlos Carrasco (11-10, 4.64 ERA) gave up one earned run (two total) and four hits in seven innings. Jordan Brown had four hits, including a double. [ep

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