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Cleveland Indians

Tribe pitch(er) count up to 20

By Sheldon Published: May 17, 2009

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.: Durng the first 17 days of May, 11 pitchers have come and gone in an effort to restore order to the Indians' pitching staff. ¶
   The latest moves: calling up highly-regarded prospect David Huff from Columbus to start Sunday's game against the Rays and purchassing the contract of Greg Aquino from Triple-A to help stabilize the bullpen. ¶
   Aquino, 31, has pitched for three major-league teams since 2004: Arizona for three seasons, Milwaukee for one and Baltimore last year, when he worked only 91/3 innings and posted a 12.54 earned-run average, allowing 17 hits and nine walks. ¶
   ""We'll probaby pick a spot for him and work from there,'' manager Eric Wedge said Sunday, acknowledging that at this point, it's impossible to assign a role to Aquino. ""He has a good arm and good stuff, but he's a little erratic. He needs to trust his stuff and put the ball in play.'' ¶
   Having been released by Baltimore, the Tribe signed Aquno to a minor-league contract in January and issued him an invitation to big-league camp for spring training. ¶
   Aquino has missed time every season, including this one, with an injury but has not had to undergo surgery. At Columbus, he was sidelined from April 16 thorugh May 6 with tendinitis in his right shoulder. He appeared in eight games for the Clippers, saving four, giving up one run, eight hits and four walks, while striking out six. ¶
   To make room for Aquino on the 25-man roster, rookie right-hander Tony Sipp was optioned back to Triple-A, 31/2 weeks after being called up. In nine appearances, Sipp gave up three earned runs and four hits, striking out nine in 61/3 innings. ¶
   Sipp's problem was control. He walked eight, including six of the last 10 batters he faced. ¶
   ""In his last two or three outings, he had trouble throwing the ball over the plate,'' Wedge said. He needs to go down and relax and get himself back on track.'' ¶
   Sipp was making his first trip to the big leagues, so his unpredictability was no surprise. ¶
   ""All of that is a plus,'' said Wedge, referring to Sipp being able to acclimate himself to the majors. ""Hopefully, he'll be more prepared when he comes back.'' ¶
   To find a spot for Aquino on the 40--man roster, Scott Lewis (strained left elbow) was moved from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL, which means he cannot be activated until June 10. ¶
   The Tribe already has used 20 pitchers, eight starters and 12 relievers. ¶
   RAYS LOSE DH --  The game was held up 13 minutes after the Indians' first at-bats, as the umpires tried to figure out how Rays manager Joe Maddon had contaminated his lineup and what they should do about it. ¶
  What happened is this: Maddon listed both Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist at third base. When the game began, Zobrist ran out to his position, making the Longoria entry invalid. ¶
   Under the rules, the Rays were forced to lose their designated hitter, putting Longoria on the bench and starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine in the lineup, batting third. ¶
   It could have been worse. Sonnanstine, born in Barberton, came into the game with a .400 (4-for-10) career average and doubled home a run in the fourth inning. ¶
   The incident was reminiscent of a game on July 22, 1999, in Cleveland, when manager Mike Hargrove's lineup inadvertently listed Manny Ramirez at DH and Alex Ramirez as the right fielder. ¶
   When Manny actually played right in the first inning, the lineup mistake came to light, and the Tribe lost its DH, which meant starting pitcher Charles Nagy (hitting seventh) had to bat. ¶
   Toronto and David Wells won the game 4-3, and Nagy was 0-for-2 at the plate. ¶
    TAKE A BREAK -- Slumping Grady Sizemore was given a day off Sunday, with Asdrubal Cabrera taking his place at the top of the lineup and Ben Francisco spelling him in center field. ¶
   ""Coupled with tomorrow (an off day), Grady will have two days off,'' Wedge said. ""We've played so many days in a row, it will help him mentally and physically. ¶
   ""He's been wearing it (the stress of losing). Everybody does, but Grady is a great player, and he puts a lot of responsibility on himself.'' ¶
   Sizemore's batting average has skidded to .220. ¶
   STOP, THIEF -- For the series, the Rays stole 13 bases (through the fifth inning Sunday), with six of the base stealers scoring. Nothing surprising about this. Tampa Bay, with 66 steals, leads the American League by a wide margin. ¶
   ""Basically, they're one of the best in regard to the running game,'' Wedge said. ""We're trying to be as quick as we can to the plate, but eventually, the pitcher has to throw the ball.'' ¶
   MINOR-LEAGUE NEWS -- Masa Kobayashi has accepted his assignment to the minors and will report to Columbus. *elip The Tribe traded right-hander Randy Newsom to the Pirates for a player to be named. Newsom was 2-0 with one save and a 2.38 ERA in 111/3 innings at Akron. ¶
  FARM FACTS -- Cristo Arnal homered and singled, driving in three runs, but Kinston lost 4-3 to Frederick. ¶

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