Just when Brad Snyder was turning it around, an injury ended his season. The Buffalo Bisons' outfielder, drafted by the Indians in the first round in 2003, broke his right hand sliding into second base on Friday night. According to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News, Snyder will have a pin placed in his hand in order to recover from the latest in a series of injuries to key players in Buffalo.
Right-hander Adam Miller is in Cleveland, but not to help the Indians' staff as was expected during spring training. The Indians' top prospect is having his strained right elbow examined by doctors.
He felt some tenderness in the elbow shortly after returning to action following some time on the disabled list with a strained tendon in a finger on his pitching hand. The Indians are concerned because Miller missed much of the 2005 season with an elbow strain.
After a great start to this season that had many expecting Miller to be called up to Cleveland at any moment, the right-hander is only 4-3 with a 5.12 ERA overall -- after a brutal July in which he tried to pitch through the elbow soreness. In four outings, he allowed 21 runs and 26 hits in only 11 innings, going 0-2 with a 17.18 ERA.
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who probably would have been back in Cleveland when outfielder David Dellucci went on the Indians' disabled list, instead went to Winter Haven, Fla., to rehab his strained elbow. He's been out for nearly two months.
Choo hit over .300 for the first month, then went into a prolonged slump. He went 12-for-27 (.444) over a seven-game stretch from May 28 to June 6, but has not batted since going 0-for-4 on June 7. Overall, his average is .270 (38-for-141), but with only one homer and 20 RBI.
Snyder was hitting well over .300 in July to raise his average to .263 overall after batting only .179 in June. He finishes with 10 homers, 35 RBI and 12-for-12 in steal attempts as his development continues to stall.
Another underwhelming performer for the Bisons has been third baseman Andy Marte, batting only .247 with 11 homers and 42 RBI in 63 games since being sent down by the Indians in late April. He opened the season as Cleveland's starting third baseman.
Left-hander Jeremy Sowers, who began this year in Cleveland's starting rotation and went 1-6 to get sent down, is only 1-4 with a 4.44 ERA at Buffalo, but has allowed only one earned run over his past two starts.
Right-hander Matt Miller, sent down after spending time on the Indians' disabled list, has been very effective for the Bisons. In 24 2-3 innings over 25 outings, he has a 1.82 ERA with one save and has allowed only 14 hits while striking out 23.
The most pleasant surprise at Buffalo has been left-hander Aaron Laffey (7-3, 3.28 ERA), who likely will be called up to the Indians this week. Since June 9, Laffey is 6-0 with a 2.11 ERA, though he's only 1-0 with a 3.70 ERA in July.
Right-hander Mike Koplove, signed from Arizona shortly after the season started, has done as the Bisons' closer since being sent back down by the Indians. He's 3-2 with nine saves and a 2.20 ERA in 39 appearances and could be brought back to bolster the bullpen in Cleveland should Indians general manager Mark Shapiro be unable to acquire help in a trade.
A little lower in the farm system, there's been a power explosion from two unlikely sources.
At Class A Lake County, outfielder Cirilo Cumberbatch had one homer all season, giving him eight in a 197-game minor-league career -- until hitting three last Friday and following that with another one Saturday. Overall, the 21-year-old from Panama is batting .279 with five homers and 28 RBI.
At Class A Kinston, catcher Armando Camacaro hit three homers in a game last Wednesday and belted another Sunday. In limited action between Double-A Akron and Kinston, he's hitting .293 (17-for-58) with five homers and 16 RBI.
Signed by the Indians out of Venezuela at age 19 in 1998, Camacaro had never been such a power-hitting threat. In 381 minor-league games over eight seasons entering 2007, Camacaro had a .220 average with 11 homers.