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Cleveland Indians

Draft pick makes it official

By Sheldon Published: August 20, 2009

CLEVELAND: All the karma seems to point in the direction of the Indians.

Alex White, the club's first-round draft choice, came to town Thursday to sign his $2.25 million contract. In meeting with reporters afterward, he revealed that he has watched the film Major League multiple times and lives only 20 minutes from Kinston, N.C., the Tribe's minor-league affiliate in the Carolina League.

Of course, only time will tell whether the Indians selected the right player with the 15th overall pick in the draft, but White seems to have the credentials: a strong right arm and the desire to make it.

"Ever since I can remember,'' he said, ""ever since watching my brother play ball, that's all I ever wanted to do.'' ¶
Older brother would be Travis White, now 25, who played baseball for one year at North Carolina Wesleyan College. Alex, who will be 21 late this month, matriculated at the University of North Carolina, pitching this year in the College World Series. ¶
It only took one night for him to realize the difference between amateur baseball and the professional game he is entering. White and his family sat at home Monday night waiting to see whether the Tribe's contract offer merited his signature. In the end, he and his agent agreed to terms at 11:56 p.m., four minutes before the deadline. ¶
""By that time (late Monday), I had a prety good idea that I'd be signing,'' White said. ''It was a lot of fun, there was a lot of excitement. We enjoyed every minute of it.'' ¶
Then again, maybe it wasn't a frolic in the park. ¶
""It was a big relief,'' White said. ""It was kind of a stressful night. But we did enjoy it.'' ¶
Nevertheless, when the deed was finally done, there was no celebration. ¶
""I think we were all so worn out from the long day, it was just time to go to bed,'' White said. ¶
What's the next step for White? He will begin a return-to-throw program at Akron, staying until Sept. 7. After that, he will go to the instructional league in Goodyear, Ariz., Sept. 16 and stay for four weeks. ¶
""One of the reasons he's going to Akron is that it has a playoff atmosphere,'' said Brad Grant, the Tribe's director of amateur scouting. ""He also will have access to us here.'' ¶
Where White begins next season is still undecided, but he will attend major-league spring training camp. Wherever he goes, he will be in a rotation, though that does no mean he will be a big-league starter. ¶
""I enjoy both,'' White said. ""But I think I set up better to be a starter. It takes me a few innings to get going, which is something I have to change. And whatever they want me to do, I'll do.'' ¶
In North Carolina, the Braves are the pervasive team because of cable televison, but they weren't White's team. ¶
""You can't love baseball and not watch Major League,'' he said, referring to the film about a fictional Cleveland Indians club. ""I think I've seen that movie 10 times. Everybody in the South watches the Braves, but I'm an Indians fan.'' ¶
Especially today. ¶
WHERE HE'LL PLAY -- Matt LaPorta has played more left field than first base in the minors, and the Indians apparently will put him through his paces at both positions, though not necessarily in equal measure. ¶
""I don't know yet,'' said manager Eric Wedge, when asked where LaPorta will play the most. ""He's had more experience in the outfield, so we'll get him in there initially. But I don't honestly know what the distribution will be.'' ¶
Thursday night, LaPorta played left and batted eighth. ¶
GETTING THE PICTURE -- Will Wedge see enough of his revamped bullpen to make definitive judgments about roles by the time spring training begins? ¶
""With the time we've had and with the time we will have, I should be able to get a pretty good feel for these guys,'' he said. ""But will I know the exact roles? I'd say I'll have  pretty good idea of who should pitch the eighth inning or the seventh, or who is a good matchup guy. But I won't know that for sure.'' ¶
It has become obvious that past couple of weeks that Wedge is becoming confident with Chris Perez in a setup role and Joe Smith and Tony Sipp pitching in the seventh inning. ¶
Asked about Perez's attributes, the manager said, ""He has a great arm and a deceptive delivery. Lately, he's done a better job commanding his fastball, and that allows his breaking ball work for him.'' ¶
FOX BAILS OUT-- The Tribe vs. Twins game Sept. 5 at Progressive Field has been dropped by Fox Sports. Consequently, the contest will not be televised. Start time will remain 4:05. ¶
FARM FACTS -- Lou Marson had two hits, including his second home run of the season, and two RBI, but Columbus lost a 7-6 decision to Toledo. Josh Barfield had two doubles. *elip In his first start since being promoted from Lake County, Chris Jones pitched six scoreless innings, allowing one hit, one walk and striking out seven, as Kinston beat Myrtle Beach 3-0. Doug Pickens had three hits and one RBI. *elip T.J. McFarland gave up one run and two hits in 52/3 innings, as Lake County defeated Delmarva 5-1. Donnie Webb had three hits. *elip Brett Brach (3-2, 2.55 ERA) gave up one earned run (three total) in five innings, as Mahoning Valley edged Hudson Valley 4-3. Casey Frawley had three hits. ¶

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