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Cleveland Indians

Curve comes to Akron for four games

By sstorm Published: April 22, 2009

 Altoona Curve  Vs. Akron Aeros at Canal Park


Double A
Affiliate of the Cleveland Indians
Double A
Affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates
The Aeros are off to a hot 10-2 start, fresh off a double-header sweep at Harrisburg Wednesday that increased their winning streak to five consecutive games.   Utility man Jerad Head was instrumental defensively in left field and offensively at the plate in Akron’s 2-0 win in Game One Wednesday. He leads the team with a .316 (6-for-19) batting average in seven games.However, catcher Carlos Santana - the Tribe’s No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America - has shown plenty of power with team bests in home runs (four) and RBI (14) over his first 12 games to lead the Aeros into first place in the Eastern League Southern Division.

On the mound, right-handed pitcher Hector Rondon improved to 3-0 with a 1.10 ERA with his Game-One win Wednesday morning. He now has 13 strikeouts and just three walks in 16 1/3 innings of work.

In the bullpen, new Aeros closer Vinnie Pestano has been perfect, limiting opponents to just two hits and no runs while converting a save in each of his first five opportunities. With Rondon and Pestano leading the way, the Aeros pitching staff ranks first in the league with a 2.18 ERA.

Altoona comes to town with a 2-9 mark in tow, sitting in last place in the Southern division. However, new shortstop Brian Friday has already made an early bid for Rookie of the Year honors, hitting a scorching .500 (11-for-22) with a double, two triples, a home run, four RBI, six walks and two stolen bases.

For Thursday’s matchup, Altoona is expected to send right-hander Jared Hughes (0-1, 4.05 ERA) to the mound against Akron right-hander Josh Tomlin (1-1, 1.64 ERA).

Top Three team Prospects (As ranked by Baseball America):
Carlos Santana, catcher
Jose Tabata, OF

Acquired July 26th from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Indians veteran Casey Blake, Santana rocketed straight to the top of the Tribe’s prospect list armed with a cannon for an arm and bat that’s all but major-league ready. Although he’s batting just .225 (9-for-40) overall, he not only hits for power (see above), but hits in the clutch.     


One of the New York Yankees top position players, Tabata joined the Pirates organization last July when he and a handful of others were swapped for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte. Baseball America ranks Tabata as Pittsburgh’s third-best prospect. He’s off to a slow start this season, batting just .234 (11-for-47) with three doubles and four RBI in 12 games.

Nick Weglarz, left field
Brad Lincoln, SP


Weglarz (the Indians third-round pick in the 2005 draft) is off to a slow start at the plate, batting just .086 (3-for-35) in 11 games with a team-high 13 strikeouts. But his background makes baseball folks feel it’s only a matter of time before he hits, having spent time last summer at the Olympics in China with the Canadian National Team and this spring again with the Canadians at the World Baseball Classic.
The Pittsburgh No. 4 prospect, Lincoln was the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft. He is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts, allowing 15 hits and seven runs (six earned) in 14 innings. However, Lincoln has a power arm, proven by racking up 14 strikeouts and issuing just two walks.     



Beau Mills, first base
Jeff Sues, RHP


The Tribe’s top pick in the 2007 draft, Mills has begun to find his stroke this past week, raising his batting average to a respectable .277 (13-for-47) with four doubles and seven RBI. Last season he was the MVP of the Class-A Carolina League.
 - A hard-throwing converted starter, Sues became a reliever last season after suffering a shoulder injury that delayed his debut. The Pirates seventh-best prospect is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA in five appearances, striking out 14 batters in just 10 2/3 innings of work.

FAMILIAR FACE:  The Aeros welcome back former Akron pitcher Shawn Nottingham, who was traded to Pittsburgh at the end of spring training. Nottingham, a Jackson High product and North Canton native, enjoyed a solid outing against his former squad last week, but has since fallen to 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in five relief appearances.


During a three-game set in Akron last week, the Aeros won two games with the third postponed due to inclement weather. That game is scheduled to be made up Friday as part of a double header beginning at 6:05 p.m.

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