Minor Matters: Aeros Sweep League Honors

The Akron Aeros swept player and pitcher of the week honors in the Class AA Eastern League. Outfielder Jon Van Every batted .471 and had 11 RBI in a span of 13 at-bats. Left-hander Aaron Laffey had two impressive starts to earn top pitcher honors. He gave up two earned runs in 12 innings, striking out nine. Van Every raised his average 175 points to .357; Laffey lowered his season ERA to 1.50.

Van Every capped his big week Sunday against Reading by going 2-for-3 with a homer, two walks, three runs and five RBI in a 14-3 victory.

Laffey has been consistently outstanding all season. He has allowed one run over six innings in each of his three starts. In 18 innings overall, he has allowed eight hits and two walks while striking out 11.

In the bullpen, Bubbie Buzachero and Mariano Gomez have formed a solid right-left combination. Buzachero has two saves and has not allowed an earned run over walk in 6 1/3 innings while striking out seven. The left-hander Gomez (Lefty Gomez?) has one save and a 1.35 ERA in his six appearances.

Middle infielders Rodney Choy Foo and Asdrubal Cabrera have been on a tear at bat. Cabrera has played a solid shortstop and has a 12-game hitting streak, is batting .333 (18-for-54) with three doubles and went 3-for-5 with the game-winning RBI single last Wednesday. Choy Foo, last week's Eastern League player of the week, is batting .395 with three homers and 11 RBI in 13 games.

Kinston Indians
The K-Tribe went 4-1 last week, led by outfielder John Drennen, right-hander Frank Constanza, and getting a big game from third baseman Wes Hodges.

Drennen went 4-for-4 with three singles, three runs and his first homer of the year in a 4-1 win last Wednesday. He's hitting only .241 overall and has yet to get a stolen base. Kinston has only five steals all season, led by shortstop Brian Finegan with two. Finegan, who missed much of 2006 with a broken leg, is hitting .302 with a homer and eight RBI.

Outfielder Jose Constanza, who hit two homers in one game on April 12 after hitting only four in the first 1,280 at-bats of his minor-league career, has tumbled to .196. Constanza entered the season with a .324 career average, including .327 in 76 games last year at Kinston.

Hodges, a second-round pick last year who did not make his pro debut because of a stress fracture in his leg, was off to a horrible start until last Saturday. The third baseman then had two hits and five RBI in a win. Overall, he's hitting .212 with a homer and six RBI.

Herrmann, pitching in poor weather, had a great outing last Tuesday at Wilmington. Working in 40-degree temperatures whipped by 25-mph winds, he allowed only one hit over six innings with no walks and six strikeouts. That put his record at 1-0 with a 1.79 ERA in three starts overall.

Reliever Jeff Stevens, acquired last April from Cincinnati in the trade that sent infielder Brandon Phillips to the Reds, has been outstanding. He's 2-0 and has yet to allow an earned run in 13 innings over five outings. He's given up only three hits, walked two and struck out 15.

Lefty David Huff, the Indians' first round pick in 2006, is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in three starts, though right-handers Kevin Dixon and Sung-Wei Tseng are off to slow starts. Dixon is 0-2 with a 4.96 ERA; Tseng is 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA.

Buffalo Bisons
Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, who opened the season on the Indians' disabled list with a strained hamstring, then was sent to Buffalo, has hit .344 in his last eight games, including a 9-for-18 streak to end the week. He has scored eight runs in his last eight games and is batting .361 overall.

Ben Francisco leads the team with five steals in five tries and is hitting .306 with a homer and five RBI and Shin-Soo Choo batted .294 to earn a call to Cleveland when Andy Marte went on the Indians' disabled list Monday.

The Bisons' pitching has been the key to the team's early success. The Bisons 8-1 when allowing three runs or less.

Jason Stanford, who had Tommy John surgery in July 2004, is 2-0 and has not allowed an earned run in 13 innings over two starts. The left-hander has struck out 13 and given up only four hits and four walks.

Closer Edward Mujica is at it again. The right-hander, who opened 2006 with 38 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings at Akron and Buffalo, has yet to yield an earned run in six innings over six outings. He has five saves, not walked a batter, and struck out seven.

Lake County Captains
Steven Wright, a second-round draft pick last June, has had a rough pro debut. He's 0-1 with an 11.42 ERA in three starts. Most of the damage came in one outing when he allowed eight earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings.

A few other pitchers moved up to Lake County this year have struggled, too. Jeanmar Gomez is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA, Mike Eisenberg is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA and closer Neil Wagner, who was nearly unhittable last season at Mahoning Valley, is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. A couple of relievers have done well early, however. Matt Meyer has a 1.17 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings and Cody Bunkelman is 1-0 with an 0.84 ERA in his first 10 2/3 innings over five games.

Third baseman Jared Goedert batted .500 (9-for-18) and hit his fifth homer, which leads the South Atlantic League, as the Captains went 3-3 last week. Goedert is hitting .326 (15-for-46) overall with 11 RBI. Other Captains on an offensive role are young outfielder Lucas Montero, batting .378 (17-for-45) and first baseman Matt Whitney at .346 (18-for-52) after hitting .381 (8-for-21) on the week. The converted third baseman also has four homers and 15 RBI. Catcher Matt McBride is hitting .340 with 11 RBI.

Conversely, second baseman Adam Davis went 3-for-20 to drop his average to .208 (10-for-48). He's made two of the Captains' 20 errors in 18 games. Whitney has made five, young shortstop Carlos Rivero four and Goedert four.

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