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Cleveland Indians

Brantley born to run?

By Sheldon Published: September 2, 2009

DETROIT: Not surprisingly, Michael Brantley's major-league debut will be indelibly etched in his memory.

""It was an unbelievable experience,'' he said after starting in left field for the Indians Tuesday night and connecting for two singles. ""It's something you only do once, and you'll never forget it.

""But I want to treat every day like my first day. Being in the big leagues is the one thing I dreamed of when I was a kid.''

One thing Brantley didn't do is steal a base, a skill at which he hopes to become proficient. At Columbus this year, he stole 46 bases in 51 attempts to tie for the International League lead. ¶
Forty-five steals in the minors doesn't necessaily translate to a like number in the big leagues, but Brantley is confident of his baserunning skills.¶
Clippers manager Torey Lovullo had enough faith in Brantley to leave him alone, allowing him to run when he pleased but reserving the right to put on the ""stop sign.'' ¶
""My manager had total confidence in me,'' Brantley said. ¶
Manager Eric Wedge hasn't watched Brantley enough to know whether he will be a lethal base stealer, but he likes what he's seen so far. ¶
""We have the luxury of spring training to work off,'' he said. ""And I know what he's done in Triple-A. I think he's earned a little more (respect) than somebody else coming up from Triple-A. For a young player just coming up, he has a good feel.'' ¶
Brantley has an advantage over most players in that his father, Mickey, played in the majors for four years with Seattle, and that allowed the younger Brantley to be a part of clubhouse life. ¶
""My father was a coach with the Mets ( in 1999), and Rickey Henderson was in the clubhouse talking to some other players,'' said Brantley of baseball's all-time leader in steals. ""I was a (12-year-old) kid sitting in the corner listening.'' ¶
But to this day, Brantley remembers the scene. ¶
""When it comes to baseball, I don't forget much,'' he said. ¶
How fast is Brantley? He recalls being timed only once, when he was in the Brewers' organization and clocked a 6.37 in the 60-yard dash, no better than third in the minor-league camp. ¶
But Brantley knows that base stealers don't succeed on speed alone. ¶
""It's got a lot more to do with your jump and your timing,'' he said. ""You havwe to know when to run and when not to. That's where growing up in the big leagues has helped me.'' ¶
Henderson stole 100 or more bases three times. Is that something to which Brantley aspires? ¶
""If I can, I'd love to steal 100,'' he said. ""But I don't know if that's possible.' ¶
THE GUNSLINGER -- Wyatt Torega insists this is the true story of how his parents picked his name. ¶
""They were watching television, and my dad says, "The next movie that comes on, we're going to pick a name from it,' '' Torega said Wednesday. ""It happened to be Gunfight at the Old Corral, which means I was either going to be named Virgil "Doc' Holliday or Wyatt Earp.'' ¶
Thankfully for Torega, his parents weren't watching Dweezel Zappa play guitar. ¶
MAKE NO MISTAKE -- After bouncing into a double play his first time at-bat Tuesday night, Michael Brantley singled sharply to center for his first major-league hit. ¶
As is the custom in baseball, the ball was retrieved and given to him. ¶
""I'm keeping that ball the rest of my life,'' Brantley said. ""It's going right up on the wall.'' ¶
KUDOS -- Andy Marte and Jordan Brown have been named to the International League postseason All-Star Team. ¶
Brown, an outfielder/first baseman, is batting .333 with with 12 home runs and 62 RBI 402 at-bats. Marte, who is currently with the Tribe, played mostly third at Columbus and batted .327 with 18 homers and 66 RBI in 300 at-bats. ¶
FARM FACTS -- Donnie Webb had three hits and drove in three runs, as Columbus beat Louisville 9-2. Wes Hodges and Jordan Brown each had two hits and two RBI. *elip Ole Sheldon hit his 13th home run of the season and singled, driving in five runs, as Kinston defeated Frederick 5-1. Paulo Espino (8-6, 2.54 ERA) gave up one run and two hits in five innings. *elip Alexander Morales gave up one earned run (two total) and one hit in Lake County's 5-4 win over Delmarva. ¶

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