The Indians outrighted reliever (and Clippers broadcast favorite) Jensen Lewis to the Columbus roster today after he cleared waivers. Lewis is still Indians property because it’s his first time being outrighted, so he was forced to accept the assignment.
He has been tremendous as a Clipper, posting a 2.67 ERA in 27 appearances last year, but has yet to solidify a spot in Cleveland’s bullpen for the long term. His ERA lowered from 2009 to 2010 (4.61 to 2.97), but allowed nine earned runs in 5.2 innings of spring action before getting bumped off the 25-man roster.
It was assumed that Lewis was locked into a spot in Manny Acta’s bullpen, but you know what happens when you assume…
The bad news is that Lewis much re-prove himself to the Indians in order to get back to Progressive Field. The good news is that we’ll soon have a Jensen Lewis interview (which is always entertaining) coming to a Clippers broadcast near you…
* RHP Joe Smith (Wright State alum) hasn’t pitched in two weeks because of a strained abdominal muscle. It looks like he’ll miss Cleveland’s opener also.
* Jason Bastian of MLB.com writes that Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin, Rafael Perez, and Chris Perez are locks for the big league bullpen with three spots open. Interestingly, we thought there was only one spot open once Durbin was signed. That was before Smith’s injury and Lewis’ demotion. My how things change…
* Indians GM Chris Antonetti recently stated that top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall (3B) is Columbus-bound, but there is a chance that Jason Kipnis (2B) and Alex White (RHP) could start the year with Akron. Stay tuned!
* Speaking of the roster shuffling, Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon-Journal recently tried to solve the mystery of Cleveland’s Opening Day bunch. He has free agent acquisitions Jack Hannahan, Travis Buck, and Adam Everett making the big club. That could throw a wrench in the plans of guys like Shelley Duncan, Trevor Crowe, Luis Valbuena, and Jayson Nix to name a few.
* It appears Jason Donald is out of the equation for the Indians Opening Day roster (bone bruise on left hand). When he returns, he’ll be the likely third baseman.
* The Indians released Ben Carlson, Andrew Shive, Nick Kirk, Matt Speake, and Alex Morales from the organization. Players battling for a Triple-A spot are not likely to get released, but it happened to 1B/OF Stephen Head at this time last year. I’m told it could happen again…
* The Lake County Captains received their 2010 Midwest League championship rings before a game at Goodyear Ballpark last week. The Clippers will be awarded the 2010 Triple-A National Championship rings prior to next week’s exhibition against the Indians. Click here for ticket info.
* The 4th Annual Clippers 5K and Fun Run is scheduled for 1:00pm on Saturday, April 16th. That’s just a few hours before the Clippers home opener! The boys at Second Sole Racing are once again handling the preparations. It’s always a good time!
* There has been a Jason Davis sighting in Goodyear!
* Clippers Merchandise Director Krista Oberlander has one again exceeded any and all expectations with the new line of Clippers apparel at the Cargo Shop. Call the office at 614-462-5250 for hours of operation.
* The Huntington Park center field ticket booth is now open from 10:00am-2:00pm, Monday through Friday leading up to the season. Say hello to my man Kevin Daniels!
* Tickets are just five bucks to see the Clippers play the Ohio State Buckeyes in an exhibition on April 5th. Click here for tickets!
* This blog will be improving yet again! I’m told the changes involve customization, widgets, mobile posting, captions, and a commenting system that is easier for the bloggers and commenters. Are you excited yet?
This is the time of year when things really begin to roll downhill for baseball teams on the field and in the offices as well. Ticket sales, advertising, and publicity are going full stream, printing and season preparation deadlines are looming and in Arizona and Florida, rosters are being decided and changing at a furious pace as the squads head into the final fortnight of spring training. Scott and I will be heading the Goodyear later this week and we will bring you updates on the state of the Cleveland and Columbus teams from an eye-witness perspective. For now, here’s some of the scuttlebutt from the desert.
Tony Lastoria tweeted yesterday that Jensen Lewis was placed on waivers. The Ohio native has fashioned a very respectable Major League stat line and if the report is accurate, I would think a few teams will put in a claim on him. Though I didn’t expect to see him in Columbus this season anyway, it would be sad to see him go. Jensen is a great clubhouse guy and hits a tremendous fungo. He is also one of the top dugout play-by-play guys you’ll come across.
Jason Donald went through every test but the Wonderlic to finally reveal that he has a small crack in his left middle finger that may have him out of action up to a month. That means third base is again a competition with non-roster invitee Jack Hannahan as the odds on favorite to win it. The others in the mix are Luis Valbuena and Jayson Nix. Adam Everett injured his thumb sliding into a base head-first and might miss time, so infield roster spots are much more available today than they were 48 hours ago.
Josh Judy and Joe Martinez were optioned to the Columbus roster on Saturday and manager Manny Acta says Martinez will be a part of the Clippers rotation, a place that seems quite crowded right now. Acta cited the fact that injuries are such a fact of life in baseball and with pitching in particular, that it is incumbent upon teams to have a ready supply of Major League ready arms in reserve. Johan Pino was also assigned to minor league camp.
Acta declared Sunday that Grady Sizemore will not start the season on the 25-man roster and when it’s time to see game action after spring training, schedules and weather will have an impact on where he sees time tuning up for the big club. The Clippers start the season on the road for ten days, while the Akron Aeros play seven home games to open the campaign. If Sizemore is ready for games early, Clippers fans might not get a chance to see him, but if he’s a couple weeks behind the rest, and central Ohio isn’t under snow, Sizemore might have a Russell Branyan-esque stint at Huntington Park.
Matt LaPorta is batting just .182 this spring. Of note, he has 8 hits and only one of them is a single (4-2B, 1-3B, 2-HR). He is also tied for the team lead with 10 RBI’s.
The string of injuries for Nick Weglarz continues as the mountainous outfielder injured his knee running the bases late last week. It sounds like the same injury Jordan Brown had last year, but as it’s much farther into camp, he’ll likely miss more of the season than Brown did.
As always, questions and comments welcome at email@example.com.
It’s one of my favorite times of the year, March Madness! While I’m watching the games with great anticipation of an upset, I’ve created a “Clippers Final Four” to remember the best post-season victories of last year’s championship run:
#1 – COLUMBUS CLAIMS TRIPLE-A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP (12-6 over Tacoma)
The Clippers pounded out 19 hits in a one game “winner take all” showdown with the PCL Champions.
Jason Kipnis homered for one of his three hits, Josh Rodriguez smacked three hits, and five other Clippers had two-hit games.
David Huff pitched six innings, mostly with a comfortable lead. Zach Putnam, Josh Judy, and Vinnie Pestano each pitched one frame to close out another title-clincher.
Jared Head was named MVP.
#2 - CLIPPERS WIN GOVERNORS CUP (13-2 over Durham)
Columbus wrapped up its’ 8th Governors Cup in franchise history (first since 1996) with a 3-1 series win the best-of-five IL championship.
Jason Kipnis, having joined the Clippers just in time for the series, hit for the cycle (the first Clippers cycle since 2005). Cord Phelps, Jared Goedert, and Josh Rodriguez each added three hits.
Paolo Espino pitched six innings for the win and Aaron Laffey, Zach Putnam, and Vinnie Pestano each delivered one inning.
#3 - COLUMBUS RE-TAKES SERIES ADVANTAGE OVER YANKEES (1-0 over Scranton/WB)
Yohan Pino completed his season with seven innings of one-hit baseball to lift the Clippers to a 2-1 series lead in the best of five semifinals series.
Zach Putnam and Vinnie Pestano struck out six batters in the final two innings to finish the night.
Luke Carlin scored the lone run from second base on Jose Constanza’s infield hit.
#4 – CLIPPERS OPEN POST-SEASON WITH WALK-OFF WIN (6-4 over Scranton Wilkes-Barre)
Luke Carlin crushed a game-winning homer off the scoreboard at Huntington Park to give the Clippers a series opening win.
The Yankees had tied the game in the 9th inning with a HR off Vinnie Pestano, a rare blown save for the Columbus closer.
David Huff pitched seven innings to start the game. Columbus’ offense was fueled by an Ezequiel Carrera HR and three hits from Jared Head.
Do I have the right “Final Four” in my bracket?
Send me your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy some hoops action for the next couple weeks, but don’t forget the hardball season is right around the corner!
Well, management has ended speculation on the Opening Day fate of some rising stars. The Indians have decided to send their young talents to the minors. Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis have been reassigned to minor league camp. No word yet as to whether or not Bryce Harper and Mike Moustakas have considered joining forces with them to form a detestable under-performing group that 85% of America will delight in rooting against.
Also reassigned were RHP’s Zach Putnam and Alex White and C Juan Apodaca. Nick Weglarz and Zach McAllister were optioned to the Columbus roster. In case you are wondering about the difference in terminology, a player who is on the 40-man roster must be optioned, while players not on the 40-man can be assigned to any level at the club’s discretion.
With Jason Donald on the shelf for a few days with a bone bruise on his hand, Jack Hannahan and Luis Valbuena will take the bulk of the time at 3B in the big league games.
As the season draws closer, there is more news to pass along. Therefore, the blog will start to get a bit busy. Here is the latest…
* Many Clippers season ticket holders stopped by Huntington Park on Saturday to pick up their tickets, check out the ballpark, and participate in some fun activities. The weather cooperated and a good time was had by all.
* Manny Acta stated that the first round of cuts in Major League camp could come as early as Friday and he didn’t disappoint.
* RHP Corey Kluber, RHP Hector Rondon, and INF Jared Goedert were placed on the Clippers roster. Rondon is out for the season after having Tommy John surgery last August.
* Jared Goedert suffered a strained right oblique muscle last week. He is expected to miss at least two weeks of action. He has been ticketed for Columbus, but his injury may temporarily alleviate the clogged depth chart if he isn’t ready to break camp with the rest of the team. Lonnie Chisenhall is expected to be the Clippers main man at the hot corner with Goedert, Cord Phelps, and possibly Jack Hannahan in the mix as well.
* Jason Donald’s hand injury could make the Indians battle for third base and interesting one. Donald seemed to be the favorite, but that could change. Chisenhall, Phelps, Valbuena, and the rest will be assessed closely for the near future.
* Other roster cuts included LHPs Kelvin de la Cruz and Nick Hagadone optioned to Akron and LHP Drew Pomeranz, RHP Bryce Stowell, and CA Chun Chen re-assigned to minor league camp.
* There are now 54 players in major league camp with 29 cuts remaining. More moves are expected this week.
* Former Clipper Nick Johnson was inked by Cleveland this week. He is currently out with a wrist injury, but he’ll provide some insurance behind Matt LaPorta at first base and possibly behind Travis Hafner as DH. Johnson played in Columbus as a Yankees farmhand in 2001 to 2003.
* The Indians announced they’ll hold a Bob Feller Memorial Service on Thursday March 31st at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights. The Clippers will have special pre-game presentations before the March 30 exhibition game with Cleveland to honor and remember Feller and Harold Cooper.
*I was sad to learn of the passing of former player/coach Mitchell Page. The soft spoken Page died at age 59 of unknown causes. He was on the Washington Nationals staff in 2007 when the Clippers became their Triple-A affiliate. Page was responsible for hiring “Boots” Day as the Columbus hitting coach and while Columbus didn’t have a great club that year, “Boots” delivered some of the best bus ride stories I’ve ever heard. It’s true what they say; baseball can be like one enormously large family.
* On a lighter note, congrats to Clippers Marketing Director Mark Galuska on his recent engagement. I couldn’t find a photo of Mark, but he looks just like this man:
Lady Gaga did to Columbus last night… whatever a Lady Gaga does to a place, which I suppose is something to those who dig that sort of thing (which includes a large portion of the Clippers ticket department). In any case, the lone offering from the extravagant songstress that I’ve actually heard and her appearance in the Capital City last night inspired a blog title based on the quotes attributed to Manny Acta yesterday in Arizona about the future of certain prospects’ likely Opening Day uniform.
While it has been long reported that the Indians brass told Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis early on that they had no chance of opening the season with the big club, yesterday Acta seemed to hedge a bit, saying “What I’m trying to do is gauge Lonnie, Kipnis and some of those guys, where they’re actually at. So if they don’t make our ballclub when I leave in April, I can have that safety net as I had with Santana last year when we left.”
While not tipping his hand, that certainly seems to leave the door open to them being on the ballclub. Whether he plays the cards in April or not, Acta knows he has a large pair in the hole that he hopes will help the Indians rake in a big pot in the future.
Chisenhall has had a monster camp and 3rd base is not a position that is locked down in Cleveland. However, in spite of a recent hand injury, reports from Goodyear indicate that Jason Donald has played the position fairly well and his offensive numbers are encouraging.
As for Kipnis at second, by now we all know he wasn’t born this way, but they like his progress as a second baseman. Jayson Nix hasn’t been overly impressive, but Orlando Cabrera seems to have 2nd base sewn up unless he gets hurt.
If the future turns out to be now for either or both of the highly touted prospects, the effect on the Clippers would not necessarily be disastrous, as it would clarify an infield situation that has looked very crowded for a while. Cord Phelps would be the everyday second baseman and Jared Goedert, who was Jordan Brown-ed this spring with an early injury would man 3B. If they both start in Columbus, Acta will have had a good enough look at them both to be able to just pick up the telephone.
Other than that, there’s nothing else I can say.
The Tribe and White Sox combined to club in 32 runs yesterday with the wind whipping out to left field at the Ballpark at Camelback Ranch. Luis Valbuena hit two home runs which is good. The homers were just his 2nd and 3rd hit of the spring, which is bad. However, if these trends continue, heeeeeyyyyyy! (For future reference, any opportunity for a Disco Stu allusion will be taken in this space.)
As for the rest of the likely or possible Clippers, here’s what the early stats look like, and they are still early. Notice that Jordan Brown is once again off to a hot start and Lonnie Chisenhall is making himself difficult to send away.
NAME BA SLG OBP G AB R H TB 2B 3B HR RBI
Brown .308 .538 .400 5 13 2 4 7 1 1 0 4
Buck .471 .706 .500 6 17 5 8 12 1 0 1 3
Carlin .200 .200 .429 5 5 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
Carrera .364 .500 .517 8 22 6 8 11 0 0 1 7
Chisenhall .467 1.000 .556 7 15 4 7 15 2 0 2 4
Donald .375 .500 .444 4 8 1 3 4 1 0 0 0
Duncan .375 .625 .375 3 8 2 3 5 2 0 0 0
Everett .385 .385 .500 6 13 1 5 5 0 0 0 1
Goedert .000 .000 .000 2 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hannahan .400 .467 .526 7 15 2 6 7 1 0 0 0
Head .077 .154 .188 8 13 1 1 2 1 0 0 2
Huffman .571 1.000 .667 6 14 5 8 14 3 0 1 3
Kipnis .154 .385 .267 6 13 2 2 5 0 0 1 2
Marson .125 .125 .300 4 8 0 1 1 0 0 0 1
McBride .154 .231 .154 6 13 2 2 3 1 0 0 2
Phelps .222 .333 .417 8 9 2 2 3 1 0 0 1
Phillips .417 .417 .417 4 12 3 5 5 0 0 0 1
Valbuena .188 .563 .350 7 16 7 3 9 0 0 2 6
Weglarz .286 .857 .545 4 7 3 2 6 1 0 1 4
Includes games of Monday, March 7, 2011
NAME W L ERA G INN H BFP AB R ER BB IBB SO WP BK BA
Germano 0 0 0.00 2 2.0 2 8 8 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .250
Gomez 0 1 8.31 2 4.1 6 18 15 4 4 1 0 1 0 0 .400
Herrmann 0 0 0.00 3 4.0 4 16 15 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 .267
Huff 1 0 0.00 2 5.0 2 16 16 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 .125
Judy 0 1 20.25 2 1.1 4 8 8 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 .500
Mathis 0 1 3.60 4 5.0 5 19 18 2 2 1 0 3 0 0 .278
McAllister 0 0 0.00 2 4.0 5 18 17 3 0 1 0 3 0 0 .294
Pestano 0 0 0.00 3 3.0 0 10 9 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 .000
Pino 0 0 9.00 1 1.0 3 8 7 5 1 1 0 1 0 0 .429
Putnam 0 0 18.00 2 2.0 3 10 8 4 4 1 0 3 0 0 .375
Todd 0 0 2.70 3 3.1 3 16 13 1 1 3 0 2 1 0 .231
Tomlin 0 0 1.80 2 5.0 5 18 18 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 .278
White 0 1 6.00 2 3.0 3 14 12 2 2 2 0 4 1 0 .250
It’s been a week since we last visited and there is plenty to discuss, too much in fact for just one blog entry so Ryan and I will have to turn up our blogging intensity a bit as the season draws closer. For now, here are some of the things happening in the world of Clippers baseball…
* My friend, sportswriter Chuck Murr has added to the list of former Clippers that are now playing elsewhere. From what I can tell, most or all of these are in minor league camp, but it’s a nice addition to our recent “Where are they now”… RHP Jon Meloan (Athletics), LHP Zach Jackson (Rangers), RHP Greg Aquino (White Sox), INF Josh Barfield (Phillies), RHP Jose Veras (Pirates), RHP R.J. Swindle (Rays).
* The Indians traded Aaron Laffey to Seattle last week. The acquired player is 25 year old INF/OF Matt Lawson. He batted .293 26 doubles, 7 triples, 9 HRs, and 56 RBIs in a combined118 games in Double-A. Lawson started the 2010 campaign with Texas, but was traded to Seattle in the same deal that moved Cliff Lee to the Rangers. Lawson was originally drafted in the 14th round of the 2007 Rangers draft.
* Shelley Duncan is now playing in the Cactus League. He was out because of a pulled back muscle.
* Jason Donald was hit by a pitch on the hand last week, but the x-rays were negative and he’s listed as day-to-day.
* Jordan Bastian of MLB. com recently wrote a nice piece about outfielders Travis Buck and Chad Huffman. They are both fighting for a job in Cleveland or possibly Columbus. Buck does have an out-clause in his contract if he doesn’t make the Indians 25-man squad.
* Most assume top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall will start the year with Columbus, but he’s making it tough to for Manny Acta to bump him off of the Indians roster. Chisenhall is 7-for-15 (.467) with two doubles, two HRs, and 4 RBIs in the early portion of the Cactus League. The 22 year old smacked 17 homers with 84 RBIs over 117 games with Akron last year.
* Congratulations to John Strawn, Wittenberg University’s assistant sports information director. He finally took the plunge and is purchasing a Clippers 20-game season ticket plan! I’ve only been telling him for the past three years that it was a no-brainer. For all the benefits of being a season ticket holder (even having a partial plan) check out this page.
* The Clippers now have a Tumblr page! I don’t know anything about Tumblr, but I’m told it’s awesome.
* The Cincinnati Enquirer believes the Louisville Bats will have a really good team in April. I tend to agree.
* Less than three weeks until the Indians arrive at Huntington Park for the exhibition game against the Clippers. Click here for tickets!
* We have a new champion! “Livin’ La Vida Leo is the new name of my portion of this blog. Thanks to Clippers caricaturist Steve Campbell for that submission. You can usually find Steve in the left field pavilion at Huntington Park drawing until his wrist hurts! Click here for more on his work. We may begin some negotiations for a Scott and Ryan caricature for this blog!
Here some of the other recent blog name suggestions:
Leo’s Line Drives
At the Stadium: By Leo
Letter High Fastballs with Scott Leo
Leo’s In the Dugout
Touching All the Bases with Scott Leo
Baseball Works Cited: By Leo
Scott Gets Real
Ahead in the Count with Scott Leo
Leo’s On Base Blog
Keep them coming! Who knows when there may be a new winner! Remember, not even ”The Nature Boy” Ric Flair was the champ forever. Bring on more contenders!
Without further ado (HISTORIC MOMENT: That’s the first, and probably last use of the word “ado” in Clippers blogging history) here are the former Clippers that are enjoying the warmth of big league spring training in the American League:
2010 (Cleveland Indians)
CA Chris Gimenez (Mariners)
INF Drew Sutton (Red Sox)
INF Luis Rodriguez (Mariners)
2009 (Cleveland Indians)
RHP Vinnie Chulk (Athletics)
2008 (Washington Nationals)
RHP Jason Bergmann (Red Sox)
RHP Steven Shell (Royals)
OF Ryan Langerhans (Mariners)
2007 (Washington Nationals)
*OF Darnell McDonald (Red Sox)
2006 (New York Yankees)
INF Nick Green (Orioles)
*OF Melky Cabrera (Royals)
2005 (New York Yankees)
*INF Robinson Cano (Yankees)
1996 (New York Yankees)
*CA Jorge Posada (Yankees)
1995 (New York Yankees)
*RHP Mariano Rivera (Yankees)
*INF Derek Jeter (Yankees)
* Indicates 40-man roster
As stated before, I have undoubtedly missed a few. Please send any additions to email@example.com
I’ll have some Cactus League “Clippings” later this week…
Talk to you soon!
With all due respect to Johan Santana, Mother Nature has the filthiest change-up I’ve ever seen. After last week’s sunshine and greenery, the greater Columbus area is blanketed with winter depression once more. With that, let’s turn our attention to more western climes in hopes of taking a mental vacation to someplace warm.
The Indians opened the game action yesterday in intrasquad fashion. Mike Sarbaugh’s “Sarby’s Sourballs” went down to defeat 3-2 to Tribe 3rd base coach Steve Smith’s “Smitty’s American Racers” 3-2 in a 4-inning contest that saw a bevy of pitchers throw no more than one inning each. Sarbaugh will have some explaining to do when we see him in Goodyear next month. Today’s intrasquad game is slated for 7 innings.
It sounds from all reports like Jason Donald is more and more the candidate to put a claim on 3rd base. He has been working with Smith and former Indian 3rd baseman par excellence Travis Fryman who should have some particular insights to provide Donald on the switch from shortstop to 3B. Fryman came up in the Tigers system as the heir apparent to Alan Trammell at the 6 position, but ultimately found his All-Star and Gold Glove home at the hot corner. Fryman became the Tribe’s roving fielding instructor this off season after managing the Mahoning Valley Scrappers for the past 3 seasons.
The Indians are not done shopping for Manny Acta’s cupboard, at least according to the rumor mill. After failing to land Kevin Millwood or Jeremy Bonderman to shore up the rotation, Cleveland has been named as being among the teams talking to Chad Durbin about a contract. Durbin is reportedly seeking a Major League contract, and to this point hasn’t received an offer other than minor league deals with invitations to big league camp. He has not started since 2007 when he started 19 games for Detroit. Durbin pitched for the Tribe in 2003 and 2004.
Don’t forget about the March 30th exhibition game at Huntington Park between the Clippers and Indians, visit www.clippersbaseball.com for info and to purchase tickets.
Questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org