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Aeros' McBride ties club RBI record in win

By sstorm Published: July 31, 2009

Aeros 1B/OF Matt McBride tied a franchise record with eight RBI Friday night, hitting two home runs as Akron crushed host Binghamton 16-3 in the opener of a three-game weekend series at NYSEG Stadium in New York.

McBride became just the second Aeros player to ever drive in eight runs in a game, Scott Morgan, who accomplished the feat May 25th, 1999 against New Britain at Canal Park.

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Shapiro emotional over Martinez trade

By sstorm Published: July 31, 2009

When Indians general manager Mark Shapiro went to bed late Thursday night, he had no intention of trading Tribe All-Star catcher Victor Martinez before baseball's trading deadline the next day.

But as Friday progressed, it became clear that trading Martinez was indeed the direction the Indians were headed. The deal was finally reached in the late afternoon just before the 4 p.m. deadline as Martinez was swapped for a trio of Boston pitchers, including major league right-hander Justin Masterson.

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Roster moves R' us

By Sheldon Published: July 31, 2009

CLEVELAND: The Indians' roster will undergo more changes in the wake of the trades of Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez.

Wyatt Toregas will report to Progressive Field today from Columbus and join Kelly Shoppach to form the Tribe's tandem of catchers. He will take Martinez's place on the roster.

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Martinez traded to Red Sox

By jcfortun Published: July 31, 2009

The Cleveland Indians have traded starting catcher Victor Martinez to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for starting pitcher Justin Masterson, left-handed prospect Nick Hagadone and right-handed prospect Bryan Price.

The Indians have scheduled a press conference for 4:45 p.m.

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Twins acquire Orlando Cabrera

By jcfortun Published: July 31, 2009

The AL central already has two trades reported, and none of them involve the Indians.

Oakland has traded veteran shortstop Orlando Cabrera to the Minnesota Twins for minor league shortstop Tyler Ladendorf, according to CBSSports.com

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Washburn traded to Tigers

By jcfortun Published: July 31, 2009

The first notable trade of the day has just arrived.

Mike Salk of ESPN Radio Seattle and foxsports.com is reporting Seattle Mariners left-handed pitcher Jarrod Washburn has been traded to the Detroit Tigers for left-handed pitcher Luke French and Class A left-hander Mauricio Robles.

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7-31-09 AL Central roundup

By jcfortun Published: July 31, 2009

INDIANS -- off last night. Will host Detroit today.

ORIOLES 7, ROYALS 3 -- Orioles starter Brad Bergesen limited the Royals to one run over seven innings, striking out six. Aubrey Huff drove in three with a base-clearing double in the fifth inning. Kansas City catcher John Buck drove in two with an eighth inning home run, his fourth of the season. BOX SCORE

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Aeros sweep second-place SeaWolves

By sstorm Published: July 30, 2009

AKRON AEROS 13, ERIE SEAWOLVES 4

KEY STATS: With the win, the Aeros completed a four-game sweep of the SeaWolves - an event that marks quite a reversal of their fortunes against the pesky SeaWolves. Akron entered the home series with just three wins in the previous 15 meetings this season.

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7-30-09 Morning Highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 30, 2009

ANGELS 8, INDIANS 3 -- Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick drove in five runs as the Angels buried the Indians in the series finale. Kelly Shoppach was 2-3 with two RBI for the Indians. The Indians are off today, but return home tomorrow to play the AL Central leader, Detroit. Jeremy Sowers and Edwin Jackson are the scheduled pitchers. BOX SCORE

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the latest on the Lee trade

By jcfortun Published: July 30, 2009

Sheldon Ocker has the story with the Indian's reasoning for the trade. Indians General manager Mark Shapiro says the moves are not a salary dump and the Dolan family did not give him any directive that such a move needed to be made. Shapiro did say that there is a financial freeze for next year and he would not be able to add any pieces.

Trevor Crowe and Fausto Carmona will assume the open roster spots.

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More on Graham's Akron debut

By jcfortun Published: July 30, 2009

Connor Graham, the pitcher the Indians acquired for Rafael Betancourt, made his debut last night and I covered it in the paper. Due to deadline issues I was unable to get his thoughts into the paper. Here is the story that ran in the Beacon Journal. Thoughts from Graham and Aeros manager Mike Sarbaugh are below.

The Akron debut of newly acquired pitcher Connor Graham didn’t last long Wednesday night at Canal Park. In just 3 1/3 innings of work Graham was still able to make a good impression.

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Aeros beat Erie 5-1

By jcfortun Published: July 29, 2009

Key Stats: The Aeros have outscored the SeaWolves 21-5 heading into today’s series finale.

Key Moment: The Aeros sent eight hitters to the plate in the third inning. Singles by Cristo Arnal and Jose Constanza and a two-run double by Carlos Santana highlighted the four-run inning.

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Martinez next on trading block, Olney says

By jcfortun Published: July 29, 2009

The trade of Cliff Lee may not be the last of Cleveland's deadline dealings this season. ESPN senior baseball writer Buster Olney fully expects Victor Martinez to be dealt as well.

Here is the story Via MLBTraderumors.com

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Lee, Francisco traded to Phillies for four prospects

By jcfortun Published: July 29, 2009

MAJOR UPDATE (2 p.m.): The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a trade that will send left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco to the Philadelphia Phillies according to Foxsports reporter Ken Rosenthal.

In return the Indians will receive Class A right-hander Jason Knapp, Class AAA right-hander Carlos Carrasco, shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson.

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7-29-09 Morning highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 29, 2009

INDIANS 6, ANGELS 7 -- The Indians loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the ninth to force Angels closer Brian Fuentes out of the game, but reliever Jason Bulger saved the day. Bulger got Indians catcher Victor Martinez to ground into a double play before getting Jhonny Peralta to ground out to end the game and preserve the win. The hot-hitting Peralta had homered earlier in the game, as did Ben Francisco. Indians pitcher Aaron Laffey and Angels starter John Lackey will take the mound in the series finale at 3:35 p.m. this afternoon. BOX SCORE

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Aeros beat Erie 7-4

By jcfortun Published: July 28, 2009

Key Stats: Aeros starter Jeanmar Gomez struck out eight in seven innings. He allowed two earned runs, both solo home runs, and four hits. He walked none. Offensively, Mickey Hall drove in two runs and Jerad Head had a triple and a home run, his fifth of the season.

Key Moment: With the game tied at two in the sixth inning the Aeros caught a lucky break. After a walk to Nick Weglarz and a single by Carlos Santana, Beau Mills sent a ball

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Mills talks about power surge

By jcfortun Published: July 28, 2009

Akron Aeros first baseman Beau Mills has been able to tap into his power potential a bit lately. Entering tonight’s game against Erie, Mills is hitting .385 (5-13) on the home stand with three home runs.

Mills deposited a ball into the right field stands Sunday against Altoona. He hit two more home runs yesterday, one in the fourth inning and one in the sixth inning. The blast gave him three home runs in a span of five at bats.

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7-28-09 Morning Highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 28, 2009

INDIANS 8, ANGELS 6 -- Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta hit back-to-back home runs in a four-run ninth inning to earn the com-from-behind win. The Indians had to overcome back-to-back-to-back home runs by Angels hitters Juan Rivera, Kendry Morales and Mike Napoli in the second inning off of Indians starting pitcher Carl Pavano. Morales added another home run in the sixth inning. The Indians have now won five straight games and six of its last seven. David Huff takes the mound tonight against Angels starter Jered Weaver, 10:05 start time.

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Garko traded to Giants

By jcfortun Published: July 27, 2009

MLB.com beat writer Anthony Castrovince thought something may be up when Ryan Garko wasin the lineup tonight and removed before the game even started.

AOL Fanhouse confirmed it:

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Aeros blank SeaWolves 9-0

By jcfortun Published: July 27, 2009

AEROS 9, SEAWOLVES 0

Key Stats: Akron starting pitcher Ryan Edell, a left-hander went seven innings, his longest start of the season, blanking the SeaWolves in the process. He struck out seven and scattered four hits.

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Aeros play first of four with Erie

By jcfortun Published: July 27, 2009

Abreu/Wedge suspended

By jcfortun Published: July 27, 2009

Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Winston Abreu has been suspended for three games and fined an unspecified amount by Major league Baseball for intentionally throwing at Jack Hannahan of the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning of Saturday's game.

Indians manager Eric Wedge received a one game suspension, effective tonight, for Abreu's actions after warnings had been issued to both benches.

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7-27-09 Morning Highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 27, 2009

INDIANS 12, MARINERS 3 -- Travis Hafner, Jhonny Peralta, Grady Sizemore and Ben Francisco all hit home runs, Peralta's of the grand slam variety, and Cliff Lee pitched seven strong innings to finish the three-game sweep of the Mariners. The Indians are now on a four-game winning streak and have won five of their last six. Cleveland will begin a three-game set against the AL West leading Angels tonight at 10:10 p.m. in Anaheim.

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Tribe completes DeRosa deal, gets closer Todd

By Sheldon Published: July 26, 2009

The Indians completed the June 27 deal with the Cardinals Sunday by acquring a right-handed closer who has spent most of the season at Triple-A.

Added to the 40-man roster and assigned to Columbus is 23-year-old Jess Todd, 4-2 with 24 saves and a 2.20 earend-run average at Memphis of the Pacific Coast League. In 49 innings, Todd has allowed 39 hits, 13 walks, 59 strikeouts and a .214 batting average against.

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Aeros lose to Curve again, 7-3

By sstorm Published: July 26, 2009

ALTOONA CURVE 7, AKRON AEROS 3

KEY STATS: Aeros starting pitcher Bobby Livingston spotted the Curve a five-run first inning before settling in and retiring 15 consecutive batters while holding Altoona to just one more hit over the next five innings...The Aeros offense went 0-for-9 with men on base - including eight with runners in scoring position after including leaving the bases loaded twice in the sixth and seventh innings.

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Catching up with Pedro Alvarez

By jcfortun Published: July 26, 2009

The Pittsburgh Pirates may be going on its 17th season of losing baseball, but some of its minor league prospects offer a glimmer of hope to end that streak soon. With Pittsburgh's Double A affiliate Altoona in Akron to play the Aeros this weekend, I sought out its most heralded prospect, third baseman Pedro Alvarez for a quick Q and A. The former Vanderbilt standout would have been the first overall pick in the 2008 draft if The Tampa Bay Rays didn't already have some guy named Evan Longoria as its third baseman of the future. Instead, the Pirates drafted Alvarez with the second overall pick.  Alvarez, a client of high profile sports agent Scott Boras, made headlines shortly after being drafted because of a bizarre contract situation. Now a days he is letting his play do all the talking. Since being promoted to Double A on June 23, Alvarez is hitting .298 with six home runs. he is hitting .362 with four home runs in the month of July.

Here is the Q and A:

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7-26-09 Morning highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 26, 2009

Aeros lose 9-3 to visiting Altoona

By sstorm Published: July 25, 2009

ALTOONA CURVE 9, AKRON AEROS 3 KEY STATS: Aeros catcher Carlos Santana and left fielder Nick Weglarz combined for five of the Aeros seven hits...Aeros center fielder Jose Constanza walked three times to notch his sixth multi-walk effort in his last 13 games. KEY MOMENTS: Santana hit his second home run in as many games Saturday, his three-run blast giving the host an early 3-0 lead...Altoona responded with a pair of runs in the third and fifth innings against Akron starter Josh Tomlin to take a 4-3 lead...The Curve blew open the game with a five-run eighth inning against Aeros relievers Carlton Smith and Matt Meyer. STORM'S STARS: Santana went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and posted his first multi-hit game since July 4th...Altoona third baseman Pedro Alvarez went 2-for-4 with a walk and a two-run home run in the fifth inning. UP NEXT: The Aeros continue their seven-game home stand with the final game of this weekend series against visiting Altoona (Pittsburgh Pirates) today at 1:35 p.m. at Canal Park. Aeros left-hander Bobby Livingston (7-5, 4.72 ERA) and Curve right-hander Yoslan Herrera (6-0, 3.34 ERA) are the scheduled pitchers. RADIO: WARF (1350 am).
NOTES: New Aeros pitcher Connor Graham was a no show the second day Saturday, still not having arrived from California after being traded from the Colorado Rockies for Indians reliever Rafael Betancourt Thursday.

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Aeros top Altoona; Graham to arrive Saturday

By sstorm Published: July 24, 2009

AKRON AEROS 2, ALTOONA CURVE 1 KEY STATS: Aeros catcher Carlos Santana hit the game-winning and his team-leading 16th home run in the sixth inning...With Friday's victory, the Aeros recorded their 14th win in 19 meetings with the Curve so far this season. KEY MOMENTS: The Aeros took an early lead with a run-scoring fielder's choice by Kyle Haines in the fifth inning...The Curve tied the score 1-1 in the sixth on a Brian Friday sacrifice fly...But the Aeros answered in the bottom of the frame with a solo home run by Carlos Santana that proved the game winner. STORM'S STARS: In his fourth start with Akron since being signed as a minor league free agent July 7, left-handed pitcher Michael Tejera allowed just one run while scattering seven hits, tossing a season-high seven innings to earn the win.
NOTES: Indians right-hander Jake Westbrook threw a simulated game at Canal Park early Friday afternoon...Connor Graham, the minor league right-hander whom the Indians traded Rafael Betancourt to Colorado for Thursday, is expected to arrive in Akron Saturday evening. He has spent the season with the high Class-A Modesto Nuts in the California League, going 7-4 with a 3.14 ERA in 16 starts. Standing 6-foot-7, Graham currently owns the 6th best ERA (3.14) in the California League and has limited hitters to a .225 (68-302) average against with just two home runs allowed. In his last 3 starts with the Nuts, Graham went 3-0 with a 0.59 ERA - walking just four batters while striking out 24.
UP NEXT: The Aeros continue this seven-game home stand with second game of this weekend series against visiting Altoona (Pittsburgh Pirates) tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Canal Park. Aeros right-hander Josh Tomlin (9-7, 4.18 ERA) and Curve left-hander Kyle Bloom (3-5, 3.39 ERA) are the scheduled pitchers. RADIO: WARF (1350 am). For more Aeros game info: http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/aeros/.

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6-24-09 Morning Highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 24, 2009

Betancourt dealt for BG native

By Sheldon Published: July 23, 2009

TORONTO: The Indians plunged into the annual mid-summer deal derby Thursday by trading Rafael Betancourt to the Rockies for a Class A starter from Bowling Green.

The target of General Manager Mark Shapiro was 24-year-old Connor Graham, currently 7-4 with a 3.14 earned-run average in the California League, where hitters usually outshine pitchers.

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Indians trade Betancourt

By jcfortun Published: July 23, 2009

The Indians have traded setup man Rafael Betancourt to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Class A right-hander Connor Graham.

Press conference is scheduled for 4 p.m. Check back for more details.

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The latest on Lee and Martinez rumors

By jcfortun Published: July 23, 2009

As of this morning, ESPN's Jayson Stark is calling Cliff Lee "quasi-available." The Indians don't exactly want to trade him, but they still may if the return is strong enough.

Tampa Bay is the latest team to me mixed in with the Lee rumors, according to John Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.

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7-23-09 morning highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 23, 2009

Sowers back in Tribe rotation

By Sheldon Published: July 22, 2009

TORONTO: Jeremy Sowers is back in the Indians' rotation, beginning Saturday in Seattle. ¶
   It didn't take much. One start in Columbus and the realization that the Tribe doesn't have a lot of options. ¶
   ""There is such a shortage of starters in the game and a shortage in our organization, if a guy has he capability to be a starter, we want to give him the opportunity,'' manager Eric Wedge said Wednesday. ¶
   Sowers was optioned to Triple-A on July 9 to make room for Rafael Betancourt, who was returning from the disabled list. ¶
   In Sowers' last start for the Tribe, July 7 against the White Sox, he gave up four runs in 51/3 innings, demonstrating again why he has had such a fitful season. For five innings, he yielded just one run and three hits, but things fell apart in the sixth, when he faced four batters and retired only one. ¶
  Through much of the season, Sowers has pitched four or five clean innings, giving up few hits or runs. But he seems to hit a wall in the fifth or sixth, and with the suddeness of a summer storm, he ends up back in the clubhouse. ¶
   ""A lot of times with Jeremy, things become bigger than they should be,'' Wedge said of Sowers' vulnerability in the fifth and sixth innings. ""His stuff is not an issue. He just has to stay on line with what he did for four or five innings. ¶
   ""Jeremy has shown signs in the past of being consistent up here. We want to give him an opportunity again.'' ¶
   There was a time when Sowers had trouble getting out of the first inning without giving up a run or two. ¶
   ""He's had stretches where he's overcome this kind of thing before,'' Wedge said. ¶
   After being sent back to Columbus two weeks ago, Sowers started only one game, giving up five runs, seven hits and two walks in 61/3 innings. ¶
   Obviously that outing didn't demontrate that his troubles are over, but it didn't indicate that they were worse than suspected, either. ¶
   Installing Sowers in the rotation is only the beginning of a series of upcoming moves. ¶
   ""Toms Ohka will go into the bullpen when Sowers starts, and we'll have to make a roster move after the game Friday night,'' Wedge said. ""At some point, we'll have to make a decision on (bringing up) Fausto Carmona, and then we'll have to make another decision about (activating) Jake Westbrook.'' ¶
   All of these moves could take place in early August or before. ¶
   CARMONA IMPRESSES -- Fausto Carmona seems to have taken a definite step closer to returning to the Indians' rotation after his start for Columbus Tuesday night. ¶
   ""Fausto was better,'' manager Eric Wedge said after reveiwing the reports. ""We still haven't made any decisions, but it's nice to see him put a couple of good outings together.'' ¶
   Carmona worked seven innings, allowing two runs, seven hits and one walk while striking out eight. In four starts for the Clippers, he has compiled a 3.46 earned-run average, walking four and striking out 22 in 26 innings. ¶
   ""We'll probably know more in a couple of days,'' Wedge said. ¶
  LONG TIME COMING -- Shin-Soo Choo got the night off for the first time since May 29. ¶
   In addition to starting 44 games in a row, Choo actually played May 29 against the Yankees, but entered the game in the seventh inning. ¶
   ""Choo has played in so many games this year, and  we're facing a series of left-handers,'' Wedge said, explaining the outfielder's absence from the lineup. ¶
   ""I figured this would be a good time to give him a day. Travis Hafner probably will get the day off tomorrow, and I don't want them both to be off the same day. Choo needs a day mentally as well as physically.'' ¶
   WILL THEY OR WON'T THEY? -- Wedge had little to offer in terms of information about possible trades by the Tribe. ¶
   ""It's always a possibility,'' he said. ""In this day and age, it's a possibility until the end (July 31). The landscape can change overnight, but I don't think anything is immiment.'' ¶
    FARM FACTS -- Alexander Perez (1-1, 1.42 ERA) gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings, but Kinston lost 2-1 to Winston-Salem. *elip Joseph Colon pitched four scoreless innngs, allowing four hits and one walk, as he Arizona League Indians blanked the Padres 1-0. Argenis Martinez tripled and singled. ¶

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7-22-09 Morning highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 22, 2009

Scouts in Toronto to watch Lee

By jcfortun Published: July 21, 2009

Toronto Sun columnist Bob Elliott tweeted tonight that scouts from at least four teams are in Toronto tonight to watch Indians starter Cliff Lee pitch. Here is what he had to say:

UPDATE (11:41 P.M.): Boston Globe beat writer Nick Cafardo writes that the Boston Red Sox sent one of its top pro scouts to watch Lee. The Dodgers and the Phillies each sent two scouts to the game. They are presumably watching Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta, Travis Hafner and a slew of Blue Jays players, Cafardo writes.

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Dellucci rips Cleveland fans

By Sheldon Published: July 21, 2009

TORONTO:  David Dellucci doesn't understand it, and he doesn't think it was right.

Until he was released by the Indians on June 1, he was a constant target of the fans, though it remains unclear why he became the whipping boy for the sporting public of Northeast Ohio.

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Indians receptive to Lee trade talks, Heyman says

By jcfortun Published: July 21, 2009

The Cleveland indians have been steadfast in their commitment to keep starting pitcher Cliff Lee in a tribe uniform this season, but things may have changed over the last few days, according to Sports Illustrated writer Jon Heyman.

Something apparently happened in recent days to change their thinking and make them slightly more receptive to a trade, though it's unclear exactly what.

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Will Lee end up with the Phillies?

By jcfortun Published: July 21, 2009

Toronto Blue Jays right-handed pitcher Roy Halladay is the obvious headliner in the trade deadline derby this season, but could Indians pitcher Cliff Lee steal his thunder?

Fox Sports senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal writes that it could be a viable possiblility in his latest column.

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7-20-09 Morning highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 20, 2009

Where does Peralta stand? At third base

By Sheldon Published: July 19, 2009

CLEVELAND: On this date last year, Indians shortstop Jhonny Peralta was batting .263 with 16 home runs and 50 RBI.

Today, Indians third baseman Jhonny Peralta is batting .256 with six homers and 39 RBI.

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Should Marte get another chance?

By Sheldon Published: July 18, 2009

Andy Marte continues to mash at Columbus, hitting his 13th homer and  driving in his 54th run Friday night. ¶
   His average, currently .321, has consistently been above .300 and has struck out only once every six at-bats. But what does this mean? ¶
   Has Marte actually figured it out, or has he put in so much time at Triple-A (1,370 at-bats) that he has reached a comfort level? ¶
   ""He has made some fundamental adjustments that could put him in a position to succeed,'' assistant general manager Chris Antonetti said Saturday. ¶
   On the other hand, Antonetti indicated that Marte has not made a 180-degree improvement in his judgment at the plate and in closing a huge hole in his swing, an inability to lay off breaking pitches wide of the strike zone. ¶
   Though there had been indications that Clippers hitting coach Jon Nunally was the key figure in upgrading Marte's swing and approach at the plate, Antonetti was quick to call it a team effort. ¶
    ""It's hard to ascribe it to just one person,'' he said. ""But Jon does a very good job with him. Ultimately, it comes down to the player taking charge of his own development.'' ¶
   Tribe officials aren't saying whether Marte will be called up before September or at all. As a player who is out of options, the Indians more than likely will lose him next year unless he is on the big-league roster, a longshot right now. ¶
   ""The reports I've seen on him are real,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ""What you have to do is see if it translates up here.'' ¶
   WHEEL(S) OF (MIS)FORTUNE -- Jack Efta, the man in charge of the umpires' locker room at Progressive Field, is walking around with his left arm heavily taped, the result of a bicycle accident in which he tore ligaments in his thumb. ¶
    When the swelling goes down, Efta will have to undergo surgey to repair the ligaments. The other bumps and bruises probably will heal by then. ¶
   Efta drove his bike into the side of a truck, whose driver drove him to the hospital. The bicycle was totalled, but Efta is working on getting a new one. ¶
   LEFT LANE CLOSED? -- Luis Valbuena hasn't got much of a chance to bat against left-handed pitchers, but Wedge says his chance probably will come. ¶
   ""He definitely has the potential to be an everyday player and play against left-handers and right-handers,'' the manager said. ""Right now, we pick spots (vs. lefties) for him to get days off, and we want to get Jamey Carroll in there, too.'' ¶
   Valbuena is batting .224 against righties and .100 against lefties but in only 10 at-bats. ¶
   DOWN AND OUT -- Abner Abreu, the rangy outfilielder who was batting .305 at Lake County, probably will miss the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder. Abreu is one of the Tribe's more promising hitting prospects in the low minors. ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Hector Rondon (2-0, 0.75 ERA) gave up one run nd seven hits in six innings, as Columbus defeated Syracuse 5-4. Jordan Brown had three hits and one RBI. *elip Nate Recknagel homered, doubled and drove in three runs, as Lake County beat Greenville 8-1. *elip Jordan Henry had three hits, and Juan Aponte and Kyle Bellows homered in Mahoning Valley's 10-8 win over Oneonta.

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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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Aeros comeback comes up short

By sstorm Published: July 16, 2009

BOWIE BAYSOX 13, AKRON AEROS 11 KEY STATS: Facing his former team for the first time, Aeros starting pitcher Bobby Livingston did not last long against the Baysox. In just 4 2/3 innings, Livingston gave up a team season-high 10 runs on 11 hits...With the loss, the Aeros season-high skid reached six games as they've lost eight of their last nine games. KEY MOMENTS: The Baysox lit up Livingston for five runs in the fifth inning, three more in the third and two in the fifth...But the Aeros did some damage against Baysox starter Brian Matusz as well, getting to him for a season-high six runs on 11 hits...Trailing 8-1, the Aeros battled back to within a run in the eighth inning 12-11. STORM'S STAR: Aeros designated hitter Jared Goedert went 4-for-3 with an Aeros season-high six RBI and two runs scored. UP NEXT: The Aeros continue this four-game series with Bowie (Baltimore Orioles) tonight at Canal Park at 7:05 p.m. Aeros left-hander Ryan Edell (2-1, 2.43 ERA) and right-hander Radhames Liz (3-1, 2.81 ERA) are the scheduled pitchers.

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Sizemore back ""on top''

By Sheldon Published: July 16, 2009

CLEVELAND: Grady Sizemore is back where he belongs, at the top of the Indians' lineup. ¶
   Since being activated from the disabled list June 23, Sizemore has usually batted second, initially behind Jamey Carroll then behind Asdrubal Cabrera. ¶
   Now, manager Eric Wedge thinks it's time for Sizemore to return to the place he's batted virtually his entire career. ¶
   ""Leadoff is where Grady has spent most of his career,'' Wedge said Thursday. ""Grady is more comfortable at the top of the lineup; it's his best position. Asdrubal definitely did OK up there, but his game is probably more suited to the two hole.'' ¶
   Though many fans feel that Sizemore should be moved to the No. 3 slot in the lineup to take advantage of his power, there is no denying Sizemore's effectiveness as a leadoff batter, who primary job is to score runs. ¶
   In the four previous seasons, Sizemore has scored at least 100 runs, and in 2006 he led the American League with 134. Because of inflammation in the lining of his left elbow, Sizemore spent more than three weeks on the disabled list, making it unliekely that he'll reach 100 runs this year (he has 40). ¶
   Sizemore's elbow remains an issue, and it's probable that he will need arthroscopic surgery to fully correct the problem. In the meantime, he must be used carefully by Wedge, especially as an outfielder. ¶
   When Wedge was asked if it was a maintenance issue, he said, ""That's a good way to put it. The rest he got on the DL helped, and so did the three day (All-Star) break. Hopefully that will keep him rolling. But we still have to give him certain days off or use him as the DH.'' ¶
   Since coming off the DL, Sizemore is batting .273 with four home runs, 16 RBI and 11 runs in 66 at-bats. His overall average of .235 probably is an indication that he played hurt almost from the outset of the season. ¶
   ""I know the first week off the DL was ciritical for him, and he handled it well,'' the manager said. ""We'll see how he handles the rest of the season without any more breaks.'' ¶
   Even though Sizemore's elbow remains a concern, he started his 16th consecutive game Thursday night. three of them at DH. ¶
   In the second half, Wedge is hoping to have fewer players in and out of the lineup at ever-shifting positions. ¶
    ""I want to try to be more consistent with the lineup,'' he said, adding that stability is his goal. ¶
   ""That's what I always wanted to do,'' Wedge said. ""But you can't put guys in the lineup who are hurt, and some of our guys have (sat out because they've) struggled.'' ¶
   MYSTERY MAN -- When the Indians need a fifth starter for the July 25 game in Seattle, don't look for Fausto Carmona to be the man. ¶
   Manager Eric Wedge said that a call-up from Columbus of Carmona is not out of the question, but that he probably won't be ready to resume his place in the rotation that quickly. ¶
   ""Everything is wide open, so it's a possibility,'' he said. ""But I don't want there to be any hurry about it. Fausto is headed in the right direction, but he has to show some consistency and he hasn't done that yet.'' ¶
   General Manager Mark Shapiro traveled to Columbus to see Carmona's start Thursday night and planned to watch the Clippers for two or three days. ¶
    LEAVE THEM ALONE -- Wedge seems in no hurry to call Rafael Perez and Jensen Lewis back from Triple-A exile. ¶
   ""I think we want to keep letting them pitch down there for awhile,'' the manager said. ¶
   Asked if their numbers was a true indicator of their performance for the Clippers, Wedge said, ""Yes and no. It's a big leap from Triple-A to the big leagues. But I think they're working in the right direction.'' ¶
   Perez has yet to give up a run in eight games (11 innings); Lewis has not allowed a run in five games (nine innings). ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Paolo Espino (2-5, 3.50 ERA) gave up one run and three hits in eight innings, as Kinston defeated Frederick 9-1. Ole Sheldon homered, doubled and singled, driving in four runs; Ricxhard Martinez homered, singled three times and had one RBI, and Lonnie Chisenhall doubled, singled and drove in two runs. *elip Chris Jones (3-2, 4.75 ERA) gave up one earned run (four total) and six hits in six innings, as Lake County lost 11-3 to Asheville. ¶

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Aeros players figure prominently in Eastern League All-Star Game

By sstorm Published: July 15, 2009

Aeros players figured prominetly in Wednesday night's Eastern League All-Star Game at Trenton's Waterefront Park.

The Southern Division, which boasted five Aeros players, topped the North All-Stars 5-3.

Catcher Carlos Santana scored an early run after being hit by a pitch.

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Indians Farm Facts

By sstorm Published: July 14, 2009

While the parent-club Indians try to right the ship during the second half of the season, many young players in the minor leagues are eager to show their worth. Find out how players from the closest level to Cleveland at Triple-A Columbus down to those who've just been drafted at short-season Mahoning Valley are doing.

At Triple-A Columbus, the Clippers are 38-52 and remain in last place in the International League West Division, 13 games behind division-leader Louisville.

* MARTE HOT - 3B Andy Marte has recorded a hit in 16 of his last 18 games, reaching base in all 18, while batting .397 (27-for-68) with four home runs and 19 RBI. Marte's stretch includes a 10-game hit streak from June 23 through July 2 and eight consecutive at-bats with a hit from June 30 to July 2. Marte was named the International League’s Batter of the Week for the period from June 29-July 5, becoming the league's first back-to-back Player of the Week since May of 2006.

* STREAKING - OF Trevor Crowe extended his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games Sunday. Crowe is batting .342 (25-for-73) during the longest active hitting streak in the International League...IB Jordan Brown had his hitting streak snapped at 11 games, but still has recorded hits in 17 of his last 19 games. During the hitting streak Brown batted .388 (19-for-49).

* BRANTLEY FAST - CF Michael Brantley has swiped a league-high tying 33 stolen bases and owns the best steal percentage in the league (91.6%), having been caught only three times this season.

* ALL-STARS - Three players were selected to represent the Clippers at the International League All-Star Game in Portland, Oregon,. They are: C Wyatt Toregas, Marte and Brown.


At Double-A Akron, the Aeros entered the All-Star break riding a season-worst five-game losing streak, but still lead the Eastern League Southern Division by four games.

* FUTURES RECAP - OF Nick Weglarz started in left field for the World Team in Sunday's Futures Game, which was won by the World squad 7-5. He was hitless in two at-bats…C Carlos Santana entered the game in the third inning and went 0-1 with a walk.

* TEJERA IN FOLD - The Indians signed LHP Mike Tejera to a minor league free agent contract last week out of the Mexican League and assigned the former Cuban defector to Akron. The 32-year-old veteran began his pro career in 1995 after being drafted by the Florida Marlins in the sixth round and later spent the entire 2002-03 seasons with the Marlins. He owns a career Major League record of 11-13 with a 5.14 ERA in 111 games with Florida & Texas.

* RONDON TO COLUMBUS - Aeros ace and RHP Hector Rondon was recently promoted to Triple-A after going 7-5 with a 2.75 ERA to start the season in Akron...Over his last four starts at Akron, Rondon went 1-1 with a 1.32ERA...He limited Eastern League hitters to a .227 average and held left-handed hitters to a minuscule .171 batting average…Rondon was tied for third in wins (seven), was fifth in ERA and is sixth in strikeouts (73).

* ALL-STARS: Five players were selected to represent the Aeros at the Eastern League All-Star Game in Trenton, N.J. They are Rondon (who was promoted and replaced by RHP Jeanmar Gomez), RHP and closer Vinnie Pestano (who is on the disabled list and was replaced by RHP Carlton Smith), 1B Beau Mills, Santana and Weglarz...Both Santana and Weglarz will also compete in the All-Star game's home run derby.


At high Class-A Kinston, the K-Tribe finished the first half of the season in third place in the Carolina League Southern Division. So far in the second half, they are in last place at 8-10.[ep

* CHISENHALL STREAKING - INF Lonnie Chisenhall is riding a season-high 13-game batting streak. Over that stretch he is 15-for-49 with five doubles, a triple, a home run, six RBI and five runs scored…Chisenhall's current hitting streak is his third streak of 10 or more games this year…His 14 home runs are third most in the Carolina League.

* FLEET OF FOOT - OF Lucas Montero owns 25 stolen bases on the season, good for fifth in the Carolina League.

* PROSPECT WATCH - OF Tim Federoff is batting .303 (10-for-33) over his last 10 games with two doubles, two RBI and six runs scored...INF Cord Phelps has reached base safely in 25 of his last 26 games…Phelps' 61 walks lead the league while his .393 on-base percentage ranks third.

* BERGER SOLID - LHP Eric Berger has gone 4-4 with a 2.18 ERA over his last eight starts and has held hitters to a .233 batting average...He has allowed one or fewer earned runs in five of the eight starts…His 2.31ERA on the season ranks second in the league and he is fourth with 76 strikeouts.

At low Class-A Lake County, the Captains finished the first half tied for seventh in the South Atlantic League Southern Division. So far in the second half, they are in fifth place at 31-36.

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Roster overload to stop?

By Sheldon Published: July 13, 2009

    So far, the Tribe has used 44 players, including 26 pitchers. [ep
   ""That's something you never want to have happen,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ""But it had to be done out of necessity. I don't anticipate that continuing in the second half.'' [ep
   Last year, the Indians used 28 pitchers; in 2007 it was 21. The team record -- also the American League mark -- is 32 pitchers. Of the 25 players who broke camp with the club, only 14 remain. [ep
    FUTURES WRAP --  Nick Weglarz and Carlos Santana, the Indians' representatives in the Futures Game failed to get a hit in three at-bats, with Weglarz going 0-for-2. [ep
   Weglarz started in left field and Santana, a catcher, entered the game in the third inning. Both Aeros players will take part in the Eastern League All-Star Game later this week in Trenton, N.J., with Santana participating in the Home Run Derby. [ep
   HERGES GONE -- The Indians released reliever Matt Herges Monday after he went unclaimed on waivers. Herges, designated for assignment on July 4, is now a free agent. [ep
   He made 21 appearances for the Tribe, compiling a 2-1 record and 3.55 earned-run average. [ep
   AND LEST WE FORGET -- Fausto Carmona's next start for Columbus is scheduled for Thursday against Syracuse. Jeremy Sowers will start for the Clippers on Sunday, also against Syracuse. ¶
   Who should the fans care? The Indians will need a fifth starter on July 25. Wedge has indicated that Sowers is a ""candidate'' for that assignment. But if Carmona can get his act together by then, he also might be considered.

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7-13-09 Morning Highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 13, 2009

Wedge optimistic about Francisco

By Sheldon Published: July 12, 2009

DETROIT: Many Indians fans think its time for Matt LaPorta to leave Columbus in the rear view mirror and start patroling left field in the big leagues.

That would leave Ben Francisco on the outside looking in, which is something manager Eric Wedge is not prepared for. At least not yet.

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7-12-09 Morning Highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 12, 2009

Tribe roster on hold?

By Sheldon Published: July 11, 2009

DETROIT: With a roster that includes an inordinate number of pitchers, the Indians can use the All-Star break to rebalance their squad. But will they?

"We have no plan to do that right now,'' manager Eric Wedge said Saturday. ""But Mark (Shapiro) and I haven't had full discussions about that yet.''

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7-11-09 Morning Highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 11, 2009

Now is no time to quit

By Sheldon Published: July 10, 2009

DETROIT: Why not call it a season after the All-Star Game?

Forfeit the rest of the games and tell the guys, "Don't fall in any holes over the winter; eat your granola, and see you in Goodyear next spring.''

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Little help for Cleveland pitching woes in Columbus

By jcfortun Published: July 10, 2009

The Indians pitching problems this year go much deeper than just the major-league organization. Cleveland's Triple A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers, are hurting just as bad for pitching help. The Clippers' pitching staff ranks last in the International League in ERA (4.67),  home runs allowed (77), strikeouts (534). They lead the league in hits allowed (856) and runs (434) as well as earned runs (386). Here is a look at the pitchers on the Clippers roster:

STARTERS:

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Aeros closer Pestano placed on DL

By sstorm Published: July 10, 2009

Aeros closer Vinnie Pestano won't be pitching in the Eastern League All-Star Game after all.

After allowing two runs in the ninth inning of Thursday's 7-4 loss to visiting Reading, Pestano was examined by team doctors and placed on the disabled list Friday with a right elbow strain.

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Indians ink second-round pick Kipnis

By jcfortun Published: July 10, 2009

The Cleveland Indians announced today the signing of second round draft pick Jason Kipnis.

Kipnis, an out fielder, was the PAC-1o conference Player of the Year and a second time All conference first team performer. The 63rd overall pick in the draft batted .384 with 21 doubles, four triples, 16 home runs and 71 RBI in 63 games last season.

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7-10-09 Morning Highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 10, 2009

Wedge challenges relievers

By Sheldon Published: July 9, 2009

CHICAGO: Eric Wedge doesn't get it. The manager of the Indians fails to understand why so few among the 19 pitchers who have tried to find employment in the bullpen have fallen short.

Rafael Betancourt is not one of those. He returned Thursday after spending more than five weeks on the disabled list with a strained groin.

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Catching up with Kyle Drabek

By jcfortun Published: July 9, 2009

With the Reading Phillies in town to play the Akron Aeros this week, I got a chance to talk to Reading starting pitcher Kyle Drabek. Drabek, the son of former Cy Young award winner Doug Drabek, is the No. 5 rated prospect in the Phillies organization, according to Baseball America. He is off to a sizzling start this season with 9-1 record, split between High A Clearwater and Reading, with a 2.58 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 108.1 innings. With Reading he is 5-0 with a 2.70 ERA.

Here is the transcript of our conversation:

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Betancourt recalled; Sowers sent down

By jcfortun Published: July 9, 2009

The Indians started Thursday morning with a roster move. reliever Rafael Betancourt will be returning to the major league squad from the 15-day disabled list. Left-handed starting pitcher Jeremy Sowers will be returning to Triple A Columbus to make room on the roster for him.

Betancourt pitched 3.1 innings of scoreless baseball while on rehab assignment with Columbus. He did not allow a hit, walked one and struck out four in three appearances.

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Rondon impressive in Triple A debut

By jcfortun Published: July 9, 2009

Pitching prospect Hector Rondon knows how to make a good first impression. His first start in Columbus yesterday: six innings of no hit baseball.

Arguably the best pitching prospect in the organization, how soon will it be until he is given a chance to help the pitching desperate major league club?

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7-9-09 Morning Highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 9, 2009

Aeros blank Reading 4-0

By sstorm Published: July 8, 2009

AKRON AEROS 4, READING PHILLIES 0

KEY STATS - Aeros starting pitcher Josh Tomlin pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits, two walks and struck out six batters.

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Sowers headed for bullpen?

By Sheldon Published: July 8, 2009

CHICAGO: Jeremy Sowers has presented the Indians with their latest dilemma.

Sowers has consistently breezed through four innings before running into certain trouble in the fifth or sixth inning. Manager Eric Wedge has watched this happen often enough to believe that Sowers is not merely going through a temporary slump.

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7-8-09 Morning highlights

By jcfortun Published: July 8, 2009

Tejera roughed up in debut; Aeros lose 11-7 to Reading

By sstorm Published: July 7, 2009

READING PHILLIES 11, AKRON AEROS 7

KEY STATS - The Aeros managed 15 hits against Reading but turned those promising hits into just five runs through eight innings after hitting into five double plays and leaving the bases loaded in the fifth inning...The Aeros defense has left a lot to be desired the last two days as four errors Tuesday came on the heels of three miscues Monday.

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Laffey stumbles, comes off DL, anyway

By Sheldon Published: July 7, 2009

CHICAGO: How many pitchers are rewarded with a promotion to the big leagues after giving up 10 runs in 7 1/3 innings during their final two minor-league starts?

At least one: Aaron Laffey.

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DeRosa heads to DL

By jcfortun Published: July 7, 2009

While some Cleveland Indians fans may not be thrilled with the return on the Mark DeRosa trade, especially after that return (reliever Chris Perez), gave up four earned runs in his debut.

It may give some fans consolation to know that DeRosa is not helping his new team, the St. Louis Cardinals,  either.

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Gomez fills Rondon's all-star spot

By jcfortun Published: July 7, 2009

Akron Aeros starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez is said to have many similarities to former Akron Aeros starting pitcher Hector Rondon.

Who better than to replace him in the Eastern League All-Star game?

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Marte is IL's Batter of the Week

By sstorm Published: July 6, 2009

The International League announced today that Columbus Clippers third baseman Andy Marte was named the League’s Batter of the Week for the period from June 29-July 5.

Marte becomes the IL’s first back-to-back Player of the Week since May of 2006 (pitcher Cole Hamels of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre).

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Heyman: Peralta, Wood and Pavano available

By jcfortun Published: July 6, 2009

Third baseman Mark DeRosa may have been the first Indians player dealt this season, but it is likely he won't be the last.

Sports Illustrated writer Jon Heyman reports shortstop/third baseman Jhonny Peralta, closer Kerry Wood and starting pitcher Carl Pavano could all be shipped out before the trade deadline.

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Shapiro fights to maintain normalcy

By Sheldon Published: July 6, 2009

Until this year, General Manager Mark Shapiro had never gone through a season in which the Indians' performance fell so totally below expectations and the heat on his manager, Eric Wedge, was so intense.

These kinds of seasons take a toll on all of the decision makers associated with a club. But maybe it's true that what wasn't doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

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Wedge assured of job through season

By Sheldon Published: July 5, 2009

   CLEVELAND -- As far as General Manager Mark Shapiro is concerned, it's time for the speculation about Eric Wedge's future as manager of the Indians to stop. ¶
   ""Eric and his staff will be managing and coaching this team for the remainder of the season,'' Shapiro announced Sunday. ""As I've said all along, the responsibility for the disapointment of the season doesn't rest on one person. ¶
   ""The responsibility is spread equally among the players, the front office, Eric and his staff. I thought it was important before the second half that I remove a potential distraction.'' ¶
   Shapiro's words were good news to Victor Martinez, the Indians' representative to the All-Star Game. ¶
   ""For me, that is great news,'' he said. ""And not just for me. I think I speak for my teammates. Wedgie always worries about us, and he makes us play the right way. He's a great manager. He's always been there for us.''  ¶
   Shapiro's declaration was not intended as either a long-term endorsement of Wedge's work or as a warning that he has three months to turn the Tribe around or face the consequences. ¶
   ""At the end of the season, talking with Larry and Paul (onwers Larry and Paul Dolan), there will be a more comprehensive evaluation done across the board -- players, front office, the coaching staff, the manager -- and if we feel there are ways to improve the team in any capacity,  we won't be afraid to make a change. Just as if we felt changes would impact the club now, but we don't. ¶
   ""Right now, we have a lot of work to do in terms of wins and losses and the development of our young players. Nothing has changed. But since this (controversy about Wedge) has the ability to be a distraction, I want to stop it.'' ¶
   Shapiro mentioned that he had spoken to Larry Dolan and his son Paul, club president, about making his public declaration. Was he was merely informing them or asking permission? ¶
   ""It wasn't one meeting or one conversation,'' the GM said. ""Discussions about the team with ownership are constantly ongoing. It was a natural progression to say I want to make this public, and are you OK with that?'' ¶
   Shapiro has said more than once that Wedge does not deserved to be fired. ¶
   ""Nothing has changed,'' the GM said. ""The tone of what I'm saying -- that responsibility is totally shared -- has not changed. I just think it's important to do this so there will be no potential distraction and to ensure accountability. ¶
    ""Today is just an accentuation of what I've said before.'' ¶
   BACK IN THE ROTATION -- Even though is last two rehab starts were clinkers, Aaron Laffey will come off the disabled list and start Wednesday against the White Sox. ¶
   ""He was getting his work in and he also was working on some stuff,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ""I think this is his opportunity to be heard.'' ¶
    Laffey has been on the DL since May 23 with a right oblique strain. He has been in the rotation and the bullpen, but Wedge prefers him to as a starter. Laffey's return puts in jeopardy the roster spot of Toma Ohka, who has filled in as a starter three times. ¶
   NO SUCH LUCK -- Starting pitchers with 4-8 records seldom make the All-Star Team, so Cliff Lee wasn't surprised when he was left off the American League squad, despite a 3.45 earned-run average. ¶
   ""All I can do is go out and pitch,'' he said. ""If I get picked, I get picked. if I don't, I don't.'' ¶
   Lee has been victimized by a lack of support from the offense all season. ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Stephen Head had three hits, including a homer, and drove in two runs, but Columbus lost to Toledo 7-3. Matt LaPorta had three hits, including a double. *elip Paolo Espino gave up two earned runs (three total) and seven hits in six innings in Kinston's 4-3 loss to Wilmington. *elip Delvi Cid and Nate Recknagel each had three hits in Lake County's 5-3 win over Greensboro. Mark Thompson and Donnie Webb homered. T.J. McFarland (5-3, 4.19 ERA) gave up two runs and five hits in 52/3 innings. *elip John Allman had two hits and four RBI, and Jason Smit had  three hits and one RBI in Mahoning Valley's 10-2 win over Jamestown. *elip Jesus Brito doubled, tripled and drove in two runs, as the Arizona League Indians defeated the Brewers 8-1. Alexander Morales (2-0, 1.84 ERA) gave up onde run in five innings, striking out eight. ¶

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Rondon promoted to Triple-A; Livingston signed

By sstorm Published: July 5, 2009

Aeros RHP Hector Rondon was promoted to Triple-A Columbus Sunday and LHP Bobby Livingston was signed as a minor league free agent and assigned to Akron in Rondon’s place.

Rondon, the Aeros ace, opened the season by winning his first five starts before going on to a 7-5 mark with a 2.75 ERA. Rondons’ ERA was the fifth-best in the Eastern League, his victories were in a four-way tie for fourth in the league and his 73 strikeouts in 72 innings were tied for fifth in the league with 73 strikeouts in just 72.0 innings.

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Laffey making it tough on self

By Sheldon Published: July 4, 2009

   CLEVELAND -- It was supposed to be Aaron Laffey's last stop on the road to recovery, an 80 to 90-pitch start at Columbus Friday night .¶
   But in his fifth rehabilitation appearance, Laffey was pummeled for seven runs and 10 hits in only four innings. And that was his second clinker in a row. Last Sunday, pitching for Akron, Laffey gave up three runs, five hits and six walks in only 31/3 innings. ¶
   If he had made a stronger showing a week ago, Laffey (right oblique strain) probably would be on the Indians' roster already. Now that he has made two consecutive inferior appearances, his prospective start on Wednesday against the White Sox could be in jeopardy. ¶
   ""His line wasn't good last night, but he actually threw the ball better,'' manager Eric Wedge said Saturday. ""We're trying to decide how he will come back into our rotation. We're talking about it right now.'' ¶
   Part of the discussion might be how much effort Laffey put into has last two rehab starts, possibly believing the results were far less important as getting his work in. ¶
   ""His physical condition is first and foremost in our concerns,'' Wedge said. ""He felt good. Carl (pitching coach Carl Willis) has talked to him, and I've talked to him.'' ¶
   MAKING PROGRESS -- Assistant GM Chris Antonetti believes the Tribe is making progress toward signing its top pick in the draft, right-hander Alex White, and second rounder, outfielder Jason Kipnis.  ¶
   ""I think we'll be able to sign Kipnis pretty soon,'' Antonetti said. ¶
   Antonetti indicated that White was not a sure thing, but he was hopeful that he would agree to a deal before the Aug. 17 deadline. Any draft pick not signed by then goes back into the pool for next year's lottery. ¶
   IT'S OFFICIAL -- The Tribe added its newest reliever Winston Abreu to the roster and designated Matt Herges for assignment. ¶
   Wedge said he didn't know if Herges would be asked to accept an assignment to Triple-A if he cleared waivers or whether Herges would agree to come back. He can opt to become a free agent, if he chooses. ¶
   ""I don't know how that will play out,'' Wedge said. ¶
   Of the 32-year-old Abreu's potential, the manager said, ""His fastball will sit at 92-95, but the slider is probably his best pitch.'' ¶
   When Abreu makes his first Cleveland appearance, he will become the 26th pitcher used by the team this year. ¶
  STATUS QUO -- Wedge has no plans to move Travis Hafner back into the cleanup spot any time soon. ¶
   ""Shin-Soo Choo has done a good job in that role,'' the manager said. ""He's given Victor Martinez (batting third) lots of protection. Victor and Choo have been so good, I don't see any sense in moving anybody right now.''   ¶
   MINOR MOVE -- The Tribe has signed left-hander Bobby Livingston, 26, as s minor-league free agent and assigned him to Akron, where he will start today against Harrisburg. ¶
   He comes from the Orioles organization and has split the season between Double-A Bowie (6-2, 3.62 ERA) and Triple-A Norfolk (1-0, 1.80 ERA). He has appeared in 13 major-league games with the Mariners and Reds, compiling a 3-3 record and 6.31 ERA. ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Rafael Betancourt threw one scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one, as Columbus lost 8-2 to Toledo. *elip Eric Berger (7-5, 2.13 ERA) threw six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk in Kinston's 7-0 win over Wilimington. *elip Jason Smit doubled, singled twice and drove in one run, as Mahoning Valley beat Jametown 10-2. John Allman had two hits and four RBI. *elip Jesus Brito homered and drove in two runs, as the Arizona League Indians tied 2-2 with the Giants. ¶

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Tribe needs to slow down opponents

By Sheldon Published: July 3, 2009

   CLEVELAND: Allowing teams to take liberties on the bases has not been one of the Indians' bigger problems. But it has been a problem. [ep
   Going into Friday night's game against the Athletics, the Tribe had given up more stolen bases (66) than any other team in the American League except the Red Sox (73). [ep
   Moreover, Tribe catchers Victor Martine and Kelly Shoppach have thrown out only 16 percent of would-be baserunners, putting them near the bottom of the league. White Sox catchers have been the least effective, throwing out 13 percent of opposing runners. The Orioles are at 15 percent, and the Red Sox are tied with Cleveland at 16 percent. [ep
   Catchers get the blame for stolen bases, because they deliver the throws, but as often as not, pitchers are responsible for failing to keep runners in check by not paying attention or refusing to take preventive measures. [ep
   ""Controlling the running game is usually a group effort,'' manager Eric Wedge said Friday. ""It's something we got a lot better at the last couple of years, but it's become a problem again this season. We have some younger pitchers who are trying to control the running game, but it's a work in progress.'' [ep
   Wedge is not excusing Martinez and Shoppach. [ep
   ""Victor was one of the best for a year and a half, and I think he has to catch up again after his (elbow) injury last year. Throwing has been Kelly's strength, but he's let it get away from him a little this year.'' [ep
   In 41 games behind the plate, Shoppach has thrown out 19.5 percent (8-of-41) of would-be base stealers, compared to 13 percent (4-of-38) for Martinez in 39 games. [ep
   It's possible that Martinez's elbow has not yet regained full strength after off-season surgery. Shoppach underwent arthroscopic surgery last winter to repair cartilage in his right knee, though nobody has suggested that has affected his throwing. [ep
    ""I think he's starting to get a little better with his throwing,'' Wedge said. ""I'm very comfortable with him back there if he gets going offensively.'' [ep
   Shoppach's 21-homer year in 2008 earned him increased playing time in 2009, but so far he has struggled at the plate, batting .200 with six home runs and19 RBI. [ep
   Wedge does not think Shoppach's difficulties at the plate have affected his defense, but if he continues as he has, this will be his poorest season throwing out runners. [ep
   In 2006, Shoppach had a 37 percent success rate; in 2007, it was 44 percent, and last year it was 21.3 percent. [ep
   WEEKEND OF DECISION -- Aaron Laffey made his fourth rehab start and Rafael Betancourt his first rehab appearance at Columbus Friday night, and Fausto Carmona will move up from Akron to start for the Clippers Sunday. [ep
   If everything goes well for Laffey, he should be activated from the disabled list and return to the rotation around mid-week. [ep
   Betancourt probably will need at least one more rehab outing before he comes off the DL, but Carmona might be ready to join the Tribe, depending on how he is evaluated. [ep
   Asked if Laffey would have to remain on his rehab assignment if he has a successful outing Friday night, manager Eric Wedge said, ""That would be enough.'' [ep
   As for Carmona's status, the manager said, ""He has to get to a point where his entire focus is on one day, the day he pitches.'' [ep
   IN LIMBO -- Toma Ohka'a last start was a week ago, and he is not scheduled to pitch again through the series with the White Sox that ends on Thursday.  [ep
  ""We're going to see how Laffey works out,'' Wedge said. ""And with the off day yesterday and another one Monday, wew have more flexibility.'' [ep
   No starter has been announced for Wednesday, a spot that might be reserved for Laffey.  For now, Ohka is in the bullpen. [ep
    ON THE DOTTED LINE -- The Tribe signed its 28th round pick in last month's amateur draft, right-hander Nick Sarianides from Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City, Ala. The club has signed half of its 50 draftees. [ep
   FARM FACTS -- Matt LaPorta hit his 13th home run of the season, doubled twice and drove in five runs, as Columbus routed Toledo 16-3. Andy Marte hit his 11th homer, doubled and drove in two runs. *elip Russell Young (2-3, 4.50 ERA) threw six shutout innings, giving up one hit, as Kinston beat Wilmington 5-1. *elip Danny Salazar delivered six scoreless innings, giving up three hits, in Lake County's 4-1 win over West Virginia. [ep

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Tribe adds fourth new reliever

By Sheldon Published: July 2, 2009

 The fourth new relief pitcher in less than two weeks is about to join the Indians' bullpen. ¶
   Tampa Bay dealt 32-year-old right-hander Winston Abreu to the Tribe on Thursday in exchange for right-hander John Meloan and cash. ¶
   Abreu is headed for the 25-man roster, so someone will have to be lopped off the club to make room for him, though the team has not specified when Abreu will be activated. ¶
  Signed by the Rays to a minor-league contract in February, Abreu spent spring training in major-league training camp. ¶
   He was assigned to Triple-A Durham, where he compiled a 3-0 record with 10 saves and a 1.41 earned-run average, appearing in 23 games. He limited batters to a .128 average and struck out 49 in 32 innings. ¶
   On June 14, he was called up to Tampa and pitched twice, giving up on run, three hits and two walks in 32/3 innings before being designated for assignment on June 27. 
   In 2008, Abreu pitched for the Chiba Lotte Lions in Japan, posting a 1-2 record and 3.32 ERA in 20 outings before undergoing surgery to remove bone chips in his right elbow in June. Abreu also has pitched for Washington and Baltimorwe. His major-league record: 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in 35 appearances. ¶
   Meloan has pitched in 25 games for Columbus, compiling a 5.52 ERA in 44 innings, including two starts. ¶
   Chris Perez, Jose Veras and Mike Gosling were all acquired to pitch in the Tribe bullpen the past two weeks. ¶
   TEMPORARY SLOWDOWN? -- Eric Wedge thinks the Tribe offense is experiencing only a minor slump, having averaged only 2.6 runs and compiling a .195 batting average the past five games. ¶
   ""I think we're going to be a good offensive club the second half,'' the manager said. ""I don't expect the offense to be clicking right nows, but I do expect it to click soooner than later.'' ¶
   Wedge believes the problem is that Asdrubal Cabrera, Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner are still trying to scrape the rust off their swings after being sidelined with injuries. ¶
  
   OTHER STUFF -- The Tribe has lost eight of its past nine games at Progressive Field and 13 of  its past 15 overall. *elip  Jeremy Sowers, who took the loss against the White Sox Wednesday night, is 0-5 with a 6.23 ERA against Chicago for his career. *elip Victor Martinez snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a double Wednesday night. ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Andy Marte went 4-for-4 with a double and his 10th homer of the season, but Columbus lost to Toledo 12-4. Jordan Brown also his his 10th home run and doubled, raising his average to .326. Marte lifted his average to .319. ¶

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Next! Another trade for bullpen help

By Ron Published: July 2, 2009

The Indians acquired Winston Abreu from the Tampa Bay Rays today for a minor-league pitcher and cash. Abreu, who will wear No. 36, will be added to the roster in the next few days. The Indians sent right-hander John Meloan to the Rays. Abreu, 32, whom the Rays signed to a non-roster invitation to spring training on Feb. 4, has spent most of the 2009 season at Triple-A Durham, where he went 3-0 with 10 saves and a 1.41 ERA. He walked 10 and struck out 49 in 32 innings in 23 appearances. Abreu, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound right-hander, spent the 2008 season pitching for the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Japanese Pacific League. Meloan was 0-0 with a save and a 5.52 ERA at Triple-A Columbus. In the past week, the Indians have added Chris Perez and Jose Veras in trades to bolster what has been a weak bullpen.

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Carmona on verge of breakthrough?

By Sheldon Published: July 1, 2009

  CLEVELAND: The last time Fausto Carmona was seen in Cleveland, he was dragging around a 2-6 record and 7.42 eared-run average. ¶
   That was enough to get him sent to the minors, first in Goodyear, with the Indians' Arizona summer league team, then to Lake County to make a start for the Captains and on to Akron, for whom Carmona started a game at Bowie Tuesday night. ¶
   Tribe officials are looking at his most recent outing as a breakthrough event, because in throwing 74 percent of his pitches for strikes, it meant that Carmona kept his emotions in check and did not overthrow his fastball. ¶
   ""Even at Lake County, he would get two strikes on a batter and come out of his delivery, trying to do more than he needed to do,'' said pitching coach Carl Willis, who has kept in close contact with the Tribe's minor-league operatives who are overseeing Carmona's resurrection. ¶
   Pitching against Double-A hitters with the Aeros, Carmona displayed better control of himself. ¶
   ""He was more aware of his emotions and staying in his delivery,'' Willis said. ""After he gave up a solo homer, he got right back in his delivery.'' ¶
   Carmona's problems have never been caused by inferior stuff or an inability to throw strikes but difficulty in understanding that he doesn't have to exert more than normal effort to retire -- even dominate -- major-league hitters. ¶
   ""It doesn't matter so much if they're A-ball hitters or Double-A hitters,'' Willis said. ""It's that 74 percent strike figure. When he sees that number and that he can keep the ball on the ground, he'll know that he doesn't have to do more.'' ¶
   Manager Eric Wedge listened to the reports about Carmona's start for Akron and concluded, ""There are some intangibles that we're starting to see.'' ¶
   Why did Carmona begin to feel he had to amp up his performance after a 2007 season in which he posted a 19-8 record and 3.06 ERA? ¶
   ""He had such a good year, and he was locked into a routine,'' Willis said. ""But all of a sudden the season ended, and he started to realize what he did. When the next season came around, he put different expectations on himself. I think that affected him. And when things didn't go as he wanted, he tried to do more.'' ¶
   Carmona's slide began last year, when he compiled a 8-7 record and a 5.44 ERA and was forced to make corrections in the minors. ¶
   ""It's tough to learn (to control your emotions) when you're pitching at this level,'' Willis said. ""Everybody is looking at you.'' ¶
    Carmona probably will start for either Akron or Columbus on Sunday. After that, it's unclear what will happen, but conceivably he could be back in the Indians' rotation. ¶
   SHIFTING ASSIGNMENTS -- Kelly Shoppach is ostensibly the Indians' backup catcher, but so far he has started behind the plate 41 times, compared to 39 times for regular catcher Victor Martinez, who also has played 37 games at first base. ¶
   However, Shoppach has not responded to his increased responsibility in a positive way, batting .200 with six home runs and 19 RBI. Moreover, he has struck out 52 times for an average of once every 2.8 at-bats. ¶
  Shoppach was given more playing time this year because he hit 21 home runs as a part-timer iunb 2008. ¶
   ""With the way Kelly has struggled offensively, Victor is going to put in more time behind the plate,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ¶
   That's where Martinez was Wednesday night against the White Sox. ¶
   EASTERN HONORS -- Five Akron Aeros have been chosen for the Eastern League All-Star Game in Trenton N.J. on July 15: first baseman Beau Mills, catcher Carlos Santana, outfielder Nick Weglarz, right-hander Hector Rondon, and closer Vinnie Pestano. ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Jordan Brown doubled, singled twice and had two RBI in Columbus' 9-6 loss to Durham. Wyatt Toregas had two hits and two RBI. *elip Ole Sheldon homered and singled, driving in two runs in Kinston's 6-5 loss to Myrtle Beach in the first game a doubleheader. In the second game, Ryan Morris gave up one run and three his in five innngs, striking out seven, as Kinston earned a 7-2 win. *elip T.J. House threw five scoreless innings, allowing five hits, as Lake County lost 5-4 West Virginia in the first of two games. Alexander Perez (5-3, 2.88 ERA) yielded two runs in 62/3 innings, but Lake County was blanked 3-0 in the second game. *elip Jason Smit tripled, doubled and drove in two runs, as Mahoning Valley beat State College 6-4. ¶

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Five Aeros named to EL All-Star Game

By sstorm Published: July 1, 2009

Five Aeros were named to the Eastern League All-Star team today - 1B Beau Mills, C Carlos Santana, OF Nick Weglarz, RHP Hector Rondon and RHP and closer Vinnie Pestano.
The quintet will represent Akron on the Southern Division roster at the July 15th E.L. All-Star Game at Waterfront Park in Trenton.

Mills has been one of the more consistent Aeros players this season, playing in 71 games at first base and leading the squad with 21 multi-hit outings. He is now batting .256 with six home runs and 40 RBI. Mills was Cleveland’s first-round pick in the 2007 draft, and was named the 2008 Carolina League MVP with Class-A Kinston after hitting .293 with 21 home runs and 90 RBI.

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