It has been a week since my last blog post and for that I’m truly sorry. A few of my blog ideas fizzled with some recent moves and injuries. So I’ve decided to bang away on the laptop and share with you some stories from this past week.
Brad Lincoln: The 26-year-old right-handedpitcher is scheduled to start tonight for the Indians tonight at Louisville Slugger Field. His last start was Saturday night from D.C. in game two of a double-header between the Pirates and Nationals. Lincoln was told that he would be making that start several days before and made the trip with the Indians to Syracuse. The day before the start he flew from Syracuse to Washington DC. “I couldn’t go to the park on Friday because I wasn’t added to the roster so I just hung out in the hotel. Then on gameday I showed up at 3 and stayed in the clubhouse during game one.” Lincoln performed well allowing only 2 runs in 6 innings and was in line for the win, but the Pirates bullpen lost the lead and the game. “Sure I wanted the win, but more importantly I didn’t want to stop their momentum. They (Pirates) are winning and it was my job to step in keep the train rolling.” It was Lincoln’s first game this season with the Pirates after making 9 starts for them in 2010. “First of all the atmosphere up there was incredible and a complete turn around from last season. Even after the loss the guys were upbeat and Clint (Pirates manager Clint Hurdle) was walking around the clubhouse having fun and chatting it up. It definitely makes me want to get back up there and contribute.”
For Lincoln the start felt like the Tribe facing the Nationals. “I had Eric Fryer catching, Chase (d’Arnaud) was a short, Jay-Hay (Josh Harrison) was at third and (Alex) Presley was in left field. It was crazy to have so many Indy teammates on the diamond, but at the same time pretty cool to know that they are helping the Pirates win.” After the start Lincoln went back to his hotel and prepared for Sunday. “I wore my suit to the park because it was a travel day and when I saw Chris Leroux in the clubhouse I knew that I was heading back to Indy.” Leroux was added from the Indians roster and Lincoln was on a direct flight from DC to Indianapolis. “I got back into Indy at about 3:00 pm and my 24 our stop over in the big leagues was complete.”
Cesar Valdez: The Pittsburgh Pirates traded the Indians right-handed reliever earlier this week to the Florida Marlins. Why? Wasn’t he doing really well for the Tribe? Yes, he was; Valdez was the May player of the month and had pitched in 34 of the Indians first 82 games going 1-1 with 5 saves and a 3.86ERA. However, as it is often the case, numbers do not tell you the entire story. The trade was more for Valdez than anything else. He had grown frustrated with seeing other pitchers get the call to Pittsburgh while he pitched at a high level. The frustrated Valdez was not helping the Indians (8 runs in his last 4 appearances) and although it was hard for Dean Treanor to do, he told his reliable right-hander that he was going to Triple-A New Orleans. “I counted on him so many times, but this will be a fresh start and it gives him a chance to get to the big leagues. It didn’t look like that chance was going to happen here so he was moved to another team.” It was a trade to benefit the player and leaves the Indians with a hole in the bullpen.
Jordy Mercer: Mercer joined the Indians on Tuesday June 28th from Double-A Altoona. He is a slick fielding shortstop who was drafted in 2008 out of Oklahoma State. Mercer and 1B Matt Hague are close friends and based on the first few days a lot of the current Indians like Jordy. I made the mistake of asking a certain question to Jordy. Actually the question wasn’t the problem, the timing was the problem. While the visitors dugout before batting practice I asked Jordy if his first name is short for anything. “Nope, it just Jordy. It’s not short for Jordan or anything like that, I guess my parents liked the name.” Simple enough right? Well, then his teammates chimed in…”Jordy Joe!” ”Hey Jordy let Scotty know it’s short for Jordy Joe.” Turns out Jordy’s middle name is Joe and thanks to the timing of my question his Indians teammates preceded to call him Jordy Joe for the rest of batting practice and my guess is throughout most of that night’s game. “Hey, Jordy, sorry about that man.” “It’s ok, I’m used to it from these clowns.”
Tim Wood: On June 9th the Indians closer was promoted to Pittsburgh. Woody was taking his 96 miles per hour fastball and 90 mph slider to the big leagues whle leaving behind a 2.96 ERA and the second most saves in the International League. Wood pitch in 13 games with the Pirates suffering 3 losses and return the to Tribe on July 2nd. “It was a great experience and they gave me every opportunity to succeed. I did OK in my first few games, but I understand the move to send me back to Indy. I pitched in 13 games in a short amount of time and you love that as a pitcher because they trust you enough to run you out there that many times. I just have to do well here and hopefully I will get another chance to help them win.” Dean is not sure how he will use the righty out of the bullpen. Prior to leaving for Pittsburgh he was the Indians closer, but he may move into long relief so that he can better help the parent club down the stretch. There are times when a manager has to adjust to the needs of the big club. If the Pirates was middle relief work out of Wood, then that will be his role with the Indians.
Steven Jackson: Jackson pitched for the Tribe in 2009 and 2010 making a few appearances with the Pirates. “After the season the Pirates didn’t want me back so I went into the off-season as a free agent and I couldn’t find a job. I was starting to worry and was going to begin looking for a normal job until the Dodgers signed me to a deal in March.” The Dodgers wanted Jackson to start and he accepted that role and a spot in AA Chattanooga. “I didn’t have a problem with starting and went to Double-A to prove that I was a team guy. After two starts there I moved up to AAA Albuquerque and made two more starts.” After his second start in AAA he developed an issue with the tip of the middle finger on his pitching hand. ”It didn’t hurt, but it was causing me problems.” The Dodgers were financially strapped and whenever a cut was made it was with a veteran to save some money. So instead of hold on to Jackson he was released and packed up his truck for the drive from New Mexico to his home in Tennessee. “Now I figure I’m done and have to find a new career when the Reds call and ask if I would like to pitch in Louisville. Um, yeah, so I change directions and headed to Kentucky.” Jackson pitched in 10 games for the Bats and then sensed that something was going to happen to him once again. “The Reds were going to make some moves and we figured that most of the moves would affect our bullpen. I figured I was going back to Double-A, but then Sweet (Louisville manager Rick Sweet) told me I was traded the Pirates and I was heading to Indy. I couldn’t believe it. I was back with the Pirates and back in Indy.” Jackson has been a great addition to the clubhouse and the struggles this season have given his a new perspective on the game. “I’m glad I have a job and it’s a good thing I’m back here because I’ve had success here and don’t have to prove anything. If I stay within myself I can have good outings and help this team win.”
One final thing about Jackson he doesn’t greet me with the usual “good afternoon” or “what’s up”, but rather with “Hey, is this thing on?” He likes to poke fun at the blog and now he has most of the clubhouse asking me ”is this thing on?” Well, it was not on for a week and I’m sorry about that, but it’s back with a few short stories. Hope you enjoyed them and have a great weekend.