Cleveland Indians Report -- July 21

Record:41-57, 4th Place, 14 GB
Last:Lost 7-4 in New York on Sunday
Streak:Lost five in a row
Next:Tonight in Chicago, 8:05 PM ET
Matchup:Brian Tallet (0-1, 3.77) vs Mike Porzio (0-1, 4.76)
On Deck:Two games at home against De-troit


Admin Note: I'm having PC issues so the CIR may be sporadic or in abbreviated form until I can resolve the problem. If anyone knows why a computer would freeze for 5-10 seconds for no apparent reason, please let me know. Actually, it started when our cable modem was installed but Adelphia says it's a Windows issue but I can't find the conflict. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Goodbye New York. See you next year.

Brian Tallet was recalled last night and he will start in place of Billy Traber today in Chicago. Terry Mulholland was originally expected to make the spot start but he threw an inning yesterday against the Yankees. Nothing is wrong with Traber (as far as we know), they're just giving him an extra bit of rest to keep his workload for the season down. Tallet made two starts for the Indians earlier this season, taking a loss against the Dodgers (5 IP, 3ER) and receiving a no-decision against the Pirates despite not allowing an earned run in six innings. In triple-A, Tallet had a 4.78 ERA for the Bisons in 14 starts and was holding hitters to a .267 BAA. There was a mention in the paper late last week about Tallet possibly moving to the bullpen next season so don't be surprised if we see Tallet remain with the big league club after this start and begin to make the conversion.

Alex Herrera was sent to Buffalo after yesterday's game to make room for Tallet on the roster. Of course, the fact that Herrera had allowed seven runs and three bombs in his last three appearances (including four runs yesterday without recording an out) didn't make the move all that difficult. Herrera finishes his short stay with the Indians with a 9.00 ERA and eight walks and six strikeouts in 10 appearances.

Ricky Gutierrez may go back on the disabled list as his conditioning remains a problem. I know he had major surgery, but how long does it take to work yourself back into baseball shape? I hope it's as simple as that, but something doesn't smell right here. Gutierrez is hitting a very empty .260/.309/.320/.629 with three doubles in 50 at-bats since his return.

If Gutierrez does go on the disabled list, Brandon Phillips 10-day option requirement would end on Thursday but I can't see him making enough adjustments in his swing and approach at the plate to warrant a callup right now. Greg LaRocca (.322/.371/.473, 28 2B, 8 HR) is a likely candidate for promotion as is Maicer Izturis (.242/.292/.350, 8 2B, 3 3B, 6 SB). LaRocca is a triple-A veteran while Izturis is a younger prospect who is a candidate to be added to the 40-man roster in the offseason. For the sake of completion, I suppose Scott Pratt (.244/.272/.342, 8 2B, 3 HR) and Angel Santos (.238/.334/.358, 10 2B, 7 HR) should also be mentioned.

Since we're on the subject of middle infielders, how about the 4-for-13 weekend (with a double and triple) turned in by Jhonny Peralta?

Kyle Denney started the Eastern League All-Star game last week and allowed a hit in one inning. Luis Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Grady Sizemore was 1-for-2.

Kinston righthander JD Martin will miss the rest of the season due to a strained ligament in his right elbow. Martin finishes with a 5-3, 4.27 record in 16 starts covering 86.1 innings. He allowed 95 hits and 30 walks while striking out 57 and Carolina League batters hit him at a .281 clip. Martin had pitched better of late but those numbers are a big falloff from his previous level of performance. JD is not expected to pitch again until the Instructional League in the fall and I would expect that a return to Kinston is in store for the start of the 2004 season.

Jake Dittler was promoted from Lake County to Kinston. Dittler tossed five scoreless innings yesterday in the Captains 6-0 shutout victory over Hagerstown to run his record to 6-4, 2.63. In 17 starts for Lake County, Dittler has struck out 82 in 89 innings while allowing 86 hits and walking only 20. True, he was repeating the Sally League but the BB/K and BB/IP ratio is a nice improvement from 2002. Most impressive has been the consistency he has shown from start-to-start after an '02 campaign that varied drastically with each outing. Dittler is the last of the 2001 "Big Four" draft class of high school right-handers to move into the Kinston rotation. He'll join Travis Foley and Dan Denham and replaces JD Martin. Dittler will make his Carolina League debut on Friday.

Fausto Carmona will make another spot start for the Aeros on Tuesday. Ryan Prahm will take his turn in the Lake County rotation.

Kevin Martin (JD's older brother) is on a nice run for Lake County as he has not allowed a run in 16.2 innings for the Captains this season. Opponents are hitting him at a .183 clip and he's fanned 16. Martin posted a 2.70 ERA for Kinston in a brief 3.1 inning stint earlier this year.

First round pick Michael Aubrey returned to the Captains lineup on Saturday and went 1-for-3. He had missed the last month with a strained right quadriceps muscle.

The LMJ reports that first basemen Bill Peavey, out with a bulging disc in his back, is on a non-playing rehab assignment with Lake County. Last year's 11th round pick out of USC is currently on the Kinston disabled list.

Micah Schilling (2002 sandwich pick) had a nice week for Lake County with hits in six games and drawing a bunch of walks. It's been slow progress but he's raised his average to .233 since hovering around the Mendoza Line for most of the season. The power is still not there (.294 SLG) but the 50 BB and .351 OBP offers hope for continued improvement.

Keith Ramsey tossed seven innings of no-hit ball on Friday for Lake County in picking up his 11th win of the season. Ramsey (11-4, 2.83) is holding Sally League hitters to a .253 average and has struck out 88 in 114.1 while issuing only 8 walks. It's interesting that Dittler was promoted instead of Ramsey or Fausto Carmona (11-3, 1.63). All have certainly earned a look at the next level.

Josh Boyd reports on Burlington right-hander Adam Miller in today's Daily Dish from Baseball America. Boyd notes that Miller has been limited to two-inning stints since being shut down earlier this month with elbow soreness but that the elbow didn't seem to effect him last night as he was "throwing 90-94 mph with life on his fastball against Johnson City. After giving up singles to the first two hitters, Miller retired six straight hitters using his complete four-pitch arsenal. He showed good power to his 82-84 mph slider and a fastball arm action to his changeup."

Joe Roa was designated for assignment by the Rockies. He had a 4.05 ERA in 6.2 innings for the Rockies.

BUFFALO: The Bisons won 7-2 over Durham on Saturday. Chad Durbin (1-1, 4.15) went seven innings and allowed just two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six. Lyle Mouton had three hits. Chris Magruder had two hits and two walks. Angel Santos singled twice and stole a base and Greg LaRocca drove in a pair of runs with two basehits.

On Sunday, the Bisons outlasted Durham 4-3 in 11 innings. Jason Stanford allowed three runs in seven innings, striking out six. Nick Bierbrodt tossed three scoreless innings of relief and Chad Paronto was credited with the win. Greg LaRocca homered (#8) and singled. Chris Magruder had two hits. Brandon Phillips singled and walked and Alex Escobar and Josh Bard both singled.

AKRON: Francisco Cruceta (7-8, 3.91) was pounded for eight runs in four innings in Saturday's 9-1 loss to New Haven. He walked and gave up 11 hits. Fernando Cabrera worked two scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Hector Luna had a pair of hits with Luis Gonzalez and Grady Sizemore adding baseknocks.

The good guys rebounded on Sunday with an 11-3 victory over New Haven. Brian Luderer had four hits, including a double, to lead the attack. Corey Smith reached base five times, three times via basehits and twice via a walk. Tyler Minges drove in three runs with a pair of doubles while Luis Gonzalez singled twice and walked twice. Kyle Denney (7-3) allowed three runs in six innings (5H, 0W, 4K) for his seventh win. Jake Robbins recorded his seventh save with three scoreless innings of relief.

KINSTON: The K-Tribe lost a tough one on Saturday, falling to Frederick 1-0. Victor Kliene (3-4, 3.06) turned in another solid performance, allowing just one run in six innings of work, scattering eight hits and a walk while striking out four. Marcos Mendoza and Scott Sturkie finished with three scoreless innings. The offense managed only five hits, paced by Jason Cooper's two singles and a walk. Dave Wallace added a double.

Kinston was off on Sunday.

LAKE COUNTY: Sean Smith tossed six innings of one-run ball to lead the Captains to a 2-1 victory over Hagerstown on Saturday. Smith (8-4, 3.47) scattered five hits and two walks while striking out four before turning the ball over to Carlos De La Cruz (1.2 scoreless IP) and Todd Pennington (1.1 scoreless IP) who notched his 16th save. Eric Johnson blasted his third homerun and Ricardo Rojas drove in the other Lake County run with a single. Michael Aubrey returned to action and went 1-for-3.

Jake Dittler continued the sensational run of starting pitching for the Captains as he tossed five innings of scoreless ball on Sunday as Lake County shut out Hagerstown 6-0. Dittler (6-4, 2.63), promoted to Kinston after the game, allowed five hits and three walks while striking out six. Blake Allen took over with three scoreless frames and Kevin Martin closed with a scoreless final inning. Ricardo Rojas needed only a triple for the cycle as he belted his 4th homerun and doubled and singled. Javi Herrera blasted his first homerun and singled.

MAHONING VALLEY: The Scrappers lost 8-3 to Jamestown on Saturday. Paul Rigdon (5.40) continued his rehab and allowed two runs in three innings, allowing four hits and striking out four. Randy Perez, also rehabbing, allowed five runs in four innings. Ryan Mulhern belted his third homerun. Mike Conroy had a pair of hits, including a double. Brad Snyder walked twice and stole two bases.

A late rally by the Scrappers on Sunday ended a run short as they lost their 8th in a row, 8-7 to Jamestown. Ryan Garko tripled and singled. Anthony Lunetta and Jesus Colmenter singled and doubled. Ryan Goleski belted his third homerun. TJ Burton (9.93) turned in a solid outing as he allowed just one earned run (two total) in four innings. Adam Hanson took the loss after allowing four runs in two innings. Shane Wallace allowed one unearned run in one inning of work. The Scrappers committed five errors in the game (Mulhern-2, Lunetta-2, and Colmenter).

BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe took advantage of five Johnson City errors in a 4-3 victory on Saturday. Chad Longworth belted a solo homerun (#2) and Fernando Pacheco singled twice as the offense managed only five hits. Dan Cevette (4.55) allowed two runs in four innings on five hits and three walks. Nelson Hiraldo ran his record to 4-0 with five innings of one-run ball, scattering four hits and a walk while striking out three.

The bats were silent again on Sunday as the littlest Indians fell 11-2 to Johnson City. Luis Hodge (#1) and Teodoro Encarnacion (#3) provided the Burlington runs with solo blasts. Chris Clem and Encarnacion also doubled. Adam Miller (3.75) allowed a run in two innings while striking out three. Aaron Laffey (0-1, 4.00) was touched for three runs in 3.1 innings. He struck out five. Jimmy Schultz took the loss as he was charged with five runs on six hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning.