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Cleveland Indians

Indians take Kent State pitcher

By Sheldon Published: June 10, 2009

 CLEVELAND: After 30 rounnds of the annual June draft, the Indians lead the majors in Kyle Smiths, with two. ¶
   In round 14, the Tribe selected Kyle Smith, a shortstop from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, a 21-year-old who lives in Visalia, Calif. ¶
   In round 20, the Indians stayed much closer to home, taking 21-year-old right-hander Kyle Smith, who pitches for Kent State and lives in Louisville in Stark County. ¶
   ""He's a big, strong guy (6-foot-6, 220 pounds) who has a three-pitch mix,'' said Cleveland scouting director Brad Grant. ""We like his size and the fact he has a three-pitch mix. He's also a very good athlete.'' ¶
   Smith posted a 4-2 record and 4.79 earned-run average in 11 starts this season. In 47 innings, he gave up 47 hits and 17 walks while striking out 38. His batting average against was .267. ¶
   The Tribe cannot begin negotiations with its No.1 and No. 2 picks, because both are playing in the College World Series that begins this weekend in Omaha, Neb. ¶
   Alex White, a right-hander from North Carolina, was the Indians' first pick, 15th overall. ¶
   ""It's an exciting time, but I've just got to put it on the back burner,'' White told the Associated Press. ""We've got a job to do in Omaha, and that's to win.'' ¶
   Grant projects White as a late-inning reliever whose fastball sits at 92-93 miles per hour and at times will touch 95 or 96. ¶
   ""He has the stuff and the makeup to be a back end guy,'' Grant said. ""I'm not going to say he'll be our closer, because it's tough to say anyone can do that (at this level of development). ¶
   ""We wanted to take him in high school, but that didn't work out. He's a good person with a big body. Everything we would want in a pitcher, he has.'' ¶
    Jason Kipnis, the Tribe's second pick, is a 22-year-old outfielder from Arizona State. ¶
   ""He's a good hitter,'' Grant said. ""He has a very advanced approach at the plate. He also has enough tools to stay in center field.'' ¶
   Ironically, Arizona State and North Carolina meet in the first round of the College World Series on Sunday. ¶
   The first round of this year's draft was virtually unpredictable after the first couple of selections. ¶
   ""It was a crazy draft,'' Grant said. ""After the first two picks, nobody knew what anybody was going to do. A lot of guys were very similar.'' ¶
  Grant knew one thing: ""We had college pitching targeted in the first round,'' he said. ¶
   In White, the Grant selected the player projected by Baseball America as the No. 6 overall pick. ¶
   MAKING PROGRESS -- A week and a half has gone by since Grady Sizemore was shut down with inflammation of the lining of his left elbow, and the pain he felt has subsided. ¶
   ""The elbow has reacted favorably as expected,'' head trainer Lonnie Soloff said Wednesday. ¶
   Soloff said that Sizemore had experienced pain in three places; two no longer hurt. Sizemore is scheduled to undergo an MRI scan Monday to determine his progress. ¶
   ""Based on his symptoms then, he can resume baseball activity,'' Soloff said. ¶
   With the enforced inactivity and the use of anti-inflammatory medication, Soloff is hoping Sizemore can avoid arthroscopic surgery that would keep him off the field from four to six additional weeks. ¶
   NO DECISION YET -- Anthony Reyes will undergo surgery Friday in Los Angeles to transpose the ulnar nerve his right arm. ¶
   When Dr. Yocum looks inside Reyes' elbow, he will also determine whether the starter needs reconstruction surgery. If so, that will be done at the same time. ¶
   If only the nerve transposition is performed, Reyes could be back pitching in the spring. If Tommy John surgery is needed, Reyes will be out until mid-summer. ¶
   THE PITCH -- Scott Lewis (left elbow strain) will make his first rehab start at Lake County tonight, throwing three innings or 50 pitches. *elip Aaron Laffey (right oblique strain) threw a 30-pitch bullpen Tuesday, using only fastballs and changeups. He will throw a 40-pitch, all pitch bullpen today. *elip Rafael Betancourt (groin strain) is undergoing water therapy and stretching exercises. ¶
   CABRERA UPDATE -- Asdrubal Cabrera (left AC joint sprain) has begun playing catch and should begin taking ground balls by the weekend. Soon after, it is hoped that he will start swinging a bat. ¶
  FARM FACTS -- Michael Brantley had three hits and scored three runs in Columbus' 6-5 win over Gwinnett. In his past 19 games, Brantley is batting .351 to raise his average to .275. Hiws 19 steals and 41 runs are tied for the most in the International League. Matt LaPorta also had three hits.  *elip Paolo Espino gave up two runs and five hits in 61/3 innings, as Kinston beat Myrtle Beach 3-2. Lonnie Chisenhall had two hits to raise his average to .301. *elip Alexander Perez gave up three runs (two earned) and two hits in six innings, but Lake County lost 6-4 to Delmarva. Perez and second baseman Karexon Sanchez were named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Team.  The All-Star Game pits the Northern Division against the Southern Division June 23 in Charleston, W. Va. ¶

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