Is this thing on?

A play-by-play guy trying to survive in a mid-major world

Archive for the month “April, 2009”

Louisville Slugger Field

Today’s game is scheduled for 11:15 am, but weather will be a factor.  At 8 am the rain moved into the Louisville area and it has not stopped.  The Indians and Bats have already postponed one game and don’t want to add another double-header to the schedule.  My gut tells me we will sit through a delay and try to play baseball.  A major reason for opening the gates is the 3,000 kids expected to attend.  Let’s be honest, even if there isn’t a game each kid is coming with $10-$20 burning a hole in their pockets.  Besides both team have an off day tomorrow and we have all afternoon. 

If we do play, Andrew McCutchen and Luis Cruz will take a break.  They are not in the starting line-up, but will available off the bench.  This is the first time ‘Cutch is not on the card.  He has started the first 17 games leaving Jeff Salazar as the only player to be in the line-up each day.  Shelby Ford is back an will be hitting in the lead-off position.  He pinch hit last night and is in the line-up for the first time since last Tuesday.

I snapped some pictures of Louisville Slugger Field for you.  Daniel McCutchen is on the mound for the Tribe.

LOU 012.jpgA view of Salazar and you can see some of the Louisville Skyline.  Sally is on the pre-game today.  I will be putting up some excerpts from the interview, including a story from the ’07 playoffs.

LOU 008.jpg Finally, a view from the 3rd base side.

LOU 007.jpgThe Tribe will enjoy a day off tomorrow and open the second homestand of the season Thursday night vs. Rochester.  Personally I’m ready to go home. 


The Sunny Side

One last look at Huntington Park.  Not the best shot, but it’s from my seat on the bus.

LOU 003.jpgThe Tribe will not be back in the ‘Bus until July.  We will see if the wind pattern changes and I believe The Hunt will be apitchers nightmare when it is all said and done. 

Time for a two game set in Louisville and the team is staying in Jeffersonville, Indiana.  J-Ho says we are on the the sunny side of the river.  In the past we have been staying in the ‘ville and to be honest I wish I was closer to this place, but the rooms in our hotel are TERRIFIC.  I’m furnished with a 32″ flat screen (HD channels no less) and it’s tough to beat a king size bed.  I was pretty pumped to see the Starbucks in the room and the spacious desk with a view of the river makes working a little easier.  I have never been to Jeffersonville so I took a recommendation for lunch.


LOU 005.jpgNot a bad meatball sub, not bad at all.  I still believe I’m young enough to not worry about heartburn.  My only concerns are making it through an entire baseball game, if you know what I mean.  My call today was between a meatball sub or an italian sausage sub.  Next time I’ll try out the sausage. 

As for the Indianapolis Indians; the next two games will end a 19 game stretch vs. the West Division.  If the starting pitching (2-6, 5.14 ERA) steps up the next two days I believe the Indians will return home with a 9-9 record.  For the most part the bullpen has done a decent job (5-3, 4.09).  I’m sure things will change as we move into May, but the Indians starting pitchers have only pitched 77 1/3 of the teams 146 innings.  RHP Daniel McCutchen (1-1, 2.25) goes tonight while RHP Virgil Vasquez (0-1, 4.32) will pitch tomorrow.

Game Notes:  OF Jeff Salazar has an 8 game hit streak.  During this run he has raised his BA from .258 to .317.  Erik Kratz is having a great road trip going 9 for 25 scoring 6 runs and driving in 3.  Here is a picture of today’s Indians line-up. 

LOU.jpgShelby Ford will miss his sixth consecutive game, but may see action off the bench with NL rules in place.  Ford has been held out of the line-up since re-aggravating a spring training injury.  He has yet to take batting practice, but has been able to play catch.  Ford wants to play, but it’s not his call.  From my perspective he looks frustrated and possibly a little bored. 

The Indians will play tonight’s game a man below the 24-man roster limit.  Expect them to fill the spot left by Brian Bixler sometime before Thursday’s home game vs. Rochester.  Nice article and highlight of Bix right here

Here is another guy who is looking to stick in the big leagues.  So far so good. 


Looking for 4

A win tonight vs. Columbus will give the Indians their four straight win and bring them to .500.  The weather is perfect (I’m told it’s even better back home in Indy) and it will be a great night for baseball.  Tonight’s schedule starters may want to keep the ball down.  The winds are gusting up to 25 miles per hour and as 4:00 the flags are stiff and pointing to right centerfield. 

The Clippers hit a home run with their new park.  Huntington Park was built for the fans.  Every corner of the park gives you a unique view of the field and the downtown skyline.  Here is a picture from the broadcast location.

Huntington Park 003.jpgThe picture was taken in the first inning.  In left field you can see the bleacher seats.  Behind those seats is a three story building that has the team shop on the first floor and a restaurant on the second floor.  The restaurant offers views from six different balconies.  The wall in right field is up against Nationwide Avenue and fans can watch the game for free.  Last night fans brought coolers and lawn chairs.  Not a bad seat, you just can’t use a stadium restroom.  The next picture is of the first base side. 

Huntington Park 014.jpgAs you can tell from the seating area Huntington Park is not nearly as big as Victory Field.  There are 14 suites along the first base side.  Ugh, I just noticed the crowd mic made the picture, nasty thing.  The fans sitting in the forefront are in club seats.  The wall in right field is 25 feet high.  The seating area above the wall is rented out to companies and other large groups.  The wind has been a problem in right because from time to time it will whip through the wall giving the outfielders fits.

The last picture I have of the field is from the roof of the three story building in right.

Huntington Park 011.jpgThis is a terrific place to watch a game. One of the really unique experiences is the radio booth.  Well, technically it’s not a booth.  Check out the picture.

Huntington Park 006.jpgFrom what I understand we are the first visitors to broadcast from this location.  Our seats have bags on them.  No one sits in the four seats behind us, but fans do sit along the railing.  The area behind the radio booth is a area that includes a four sided bar and premium concession items.  The bar stayed packed after last night’s game with people watching the third period CBJ’s playoff game.  The radio location is right behind home plate and it feels just like broadcasting from the concourse.  With all of that said I’m glad there isn’t any rain in the forecast.

Grade A (the plus could come after I try some of the stadium food)

Game Notes:  Garrett Jones still has that 10 game hit streak after taking last night off.  2B Shelby Ford will miss his third straight game.  His wrist acted up on him Tuesday night at Toledo.  He told me yesterday’s day off was precautionary so I’m surprised to see him out of the line up tonight.  Steve Pearce is 8 for his last 15 with a HR and 5 RBI.  This stretch has raised his average from .094 to .234.  Brian Bixler is 6 for 16 on this trip scoring 7 runs and driving in 4.  Jeff Salazar has 8 hits in his last five games.  Finally, reliever Juan Mateo earned the win with two scoreless inning of work.  The righty has not given up an earned run in 10 innings of work.   


Andrew McCutchen CF

Brian Bixler SS

Jeff Salazar LF

Garrett Jones RF

Neil Walker 3B

Steve Pearce DH

Larry Broadway 1B

Luis Cruz 2B

Erik Kratz C


Jason Davis P (0-1, 16.20)



Michael Brantley CF

David Dellucci RF

Wes Hodges 3B

Matt LaPorta LF

Luis Valbuena SS

Chris Gimenez DH

Michael Aubrey 1B

Josh Barfield 2B

Wyatt Toregas C


Jack Cassel (1-1, 9.64)


Clippers starter Cassel is the older brother of Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel.  NOOOOOOOOOOO!  Give 10 a chance, please?  Thanks to Nancy and Bucs Dugout for the recent links.  Keep up the great work and we’ll see if the Indians can make it four straight.


Good-bye Dave Davidson


That Was Fun

Usually when the Indians visit Fifth Third Field I count down the days until we leave.  Toledo has simply owned the Tribe over the years with blow out wins, playoff wins, extra-inning wins, and several heart breaking wins in the late innings.  So it was great to not only see the team win both games, but score 23 runs while pounding out 33 hits.  I overheard last night the Indians 18 hits were one or two shy of a Fifth Third Field record.  During the 5th inning I left the booth to snap a couple of pictures for you.  The first is from the first base concourse.  Erik Kratz is at the plate and he has been some kind of hot.  Kratzy was 5-10 in the two game set scoring 4 runs and driving in three.

TOL 008.jpgThe next two pictures are from “The Roost.” voted this the best seat in minor league baseball a couple of seasons back.  The shots are from the second row and it’s hard to argue with the view.

TOL 003.jpgUnless you are behind the foul pole


TOL 007.jpgThe Indians will next host the Mud Hens at the end of June and will not visit Toledo until July.  Remember when I told you not to expect much from Luis Cruz?  Um, yeah, about that, he had FOUR hits last night including a two run home run.  What I forgot about Cruz is he can hit a curveball.  Luis received a steady diet of breaking balls while growing up in Mexico.  He is a good enough hitter to put a fastball or sinker in play, but it you give him uncle charlie he will make you pay.  His blast over the wall in left field last night was on an 0-2 curveball. 

The Pirates should be happy Cruz has such a level head on him.  He told me that Brian Bixler is the next everyday shortstop in Pittsburgh and Cruz wants to be their utility guy.  It’s unusual to find someone who understands his role and accepts it.  Luis is excited to be playing and played first last night for the first time outside of spring training.  Cruz made his teammates laugh when a Hens batter reached first and Cruz forgot to hold him on the bag.  Cruz slowly walked to his defensive spot and then realized he needed to be holding the run at first base and sprinted over while the pitcher was in the stretch.  We’ll see where he plays tonight.

One last note on last night.  Daniel McCutchen gave up a run in five innings for the win, but was one pitch away from not making it to the 2nd inning.  The Pirates have a rule that prevents any pitcher from re-entering a game if they threw more 30 or more pitches in an inning.  That was the reason Ty Taubenheim was lifted after two innings on April 15th and the rule almost bit McCutchen.  Jeremy Powell was warming up in the first inning as Hen DH Ryan Roberson came to the plate.  Five pitches later Roberson struck out and McCutchen left the mound having thrown 29 pitches.  He made it under 30 and stayed in long enough to earn the win. 

Game Notes:  OF Garrett Jones brings a 10 game hitting streak into tonight game.  The starting pitchers will be Indians right-hander Virgil Vasquez (0-1, 3.27) and Columbus lefty Jeremy Sowers (0-1, 1.64)   

McCutchen Goes Yard in Wild Win

The Indians held on to beat Toledo last night 13-10.  The Tribe almost lost leads of 8 and 7 runs.  I’m the last person who needs to complain about the weather, but it was cold and damp last night.  After the game I couldn’t tell if the players were excited for the win or relieved to be heading into the warmth of the clubhouse. 


Plenty of offensive stars last night including Andrew McCutchen who for the second time this season was a hit away from the cycle.  ‘Cutch took the third pitch of the game over the left field wall for his first home run of the season.


It’s good to get it out of the way and get it out of the way early. I didn’t go in there trying to hit a home run.  I was trying to go in there to battle and make good contact.  He threw the ball in a good spot and I was able to get the barrel on it and get it out.  It’s good to get that goose egg off the board.


Catcher Erik Kratz launched a three run shot over the 365 sign in left center giving the Tribe an 11-4 lead.  Kratz was 2-5 with 2 runs and the 3 RBI’s.  Immediately after the game, Kratz sat in the dugout either tired from the 3+ hour game or reflecting on the meltdown by the bullpen.  Let’s just say he didn’t look like a guy who drove in the winning runs. 


Garrett Jones had a hit and drove in three.  Jones has a 9 game hit streak heading into tonight game.  Neil Walker had some rare luck collecting a double on a ball that landed in-between three Mud Hens down the third base line.  Walker has just 3 hits in his last 26 at-bats.  Steve Pearce raised his average to .135 with a pair of hits. 


As for the pitching we will only talk about Tom Gorzelanny.  The lefty gets the win allowing 4 runs (grand slam by Mike Hessman) in 5.2 innings of work.  Gorz retired the side in order in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings.  The trouble came in the 6th when he appeared to pitch defensive.  After a one out double Gorzelanny nibbled and walked pinch-hitter Don Kelly.  A walk to Wilkin Ramirez was followed by the granny to straight away centerfield.  Overall, 90 pitches for the winner striking out 7 and walking 2. 


News and Notes:  INF Anderson Machado has been sent down to Double-A Altoona.  In return the Indians receive catcher Miguel Perez.  Tonight RHP Daniel McCutchen (0-1, 2.45) opposes RHP Ron Chiavacci (0-1, 1.69). 

On the Road for 8

Well I guess technically we’ve been on the road since Saturday, but a stop over in Indy helps break up this 12 day stretch away from Victory Field.  The bus pulled out this morning at 8:30 and we passed this beauty at 9:50:

TOL 001.jpgThe great state of Ohio.  I love trips back to the O-H, even Toledo.  Where there are way too many Michigan fans for my liking.  I have STO in my room so I’ll be studying for the Browns upcoming draft.  On to the now…Baseball America voted Fifth Third Field the number one park in the International League.  Here is the view from my hotel room:

TOL 002.jpgIt is tough to argue.  The rain has been on and off for most of the morning and early afternoon.  Right now the sun is peaking through and the great news is the tarp has been removed.  It is a cool and damp 48 degrees.  The teams may battle rain showers tonight, but expect to get the game in.

Right now I need a nap.  One of my must eats is taking its toll on me.  Hey if it’s good enough for Klinger, it’s good enough for me. 

4:45 UPDATE: 

Plenty of roster moves for the Tribe this afternoon.  OF Jason Delaney has been sent to Double-A Altoona where he needs to get at-bats.  Delaney was sitting on the Indians DL.  Reliever Corey Hamman has been activated off the DL and gives the Indians a lefty out of the ‘pen.  As expected Luis Cruz has joined the team.  Frank Kremblas tells me Cruz will play everywhere.  Don’t expect the Tribe to field the same line-up day in and day out.  Cruz will see time at short, second, left and right field. 

The big news is an injury to Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit.  He has been placed on the DL and Robinzon Diaz has been called up.  It wasn’t tough to figure things out when everybody, but Diaz was getting dressed for pre-game work.  Diaz is heading to the airport. 

Here is tonight’s lineup:


Andrew McCutchen CF

Brian Bixler SS

Jeff Salazar LF

Garrett Jones RF

Neil Walker 3B

Steve Pearce 1B

Shelby Ford 2B

Erik Kratz C

Luis Cruz DH


Mud Hens:

Danny Worth 2B

Ryan Raburn DH

Wilkin Ramirez LF

Mike Hessman 3B

Brent Clevlen RF

Ryan Roberson 1B

Brent Dlugach SS

Clete Thomas CF

Dusty Ryan C


Some game notes:  Garrett Jones has an 8 game hit streak.  The bullpen has given up two earned runs over its last 20.2 innings of work.  The Indians 3-7 record is the third worst in the IL.  Toledo will have fireballer Joel Zumaya will throw an inning tonight and an inning tomorrow.  He is on the Tigers DL with a sore right shoulder.  He pitched on Saturday and twice hit 101 on the radar gun. 



Working on an Off Day

The Indians will take tonight off and will depart for Toledo tomorrow morning.  The scheduled off day has not kept me away from the Victory Field offices.  My sales responsibilities keep me busy during the season.  In addition to calling on prospects I will be keeping in touch with people from the road.  So today is a great day to get ready for the upcoming trip.

The Red Sox annual Patriots Day game has helped pass the time.  Thanks to the MLB app I’m listening to Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione.  AT&T should consider me for an iphone testimonial.  Whether it’s listening to a baseball game, editing the blog (from the bus!), or getting a post game quote to Brian Bosma, the iphone has made my life easier.  The one thing it can’t do is tell you how to handle the business side of baseball.  I’m afraid the nasty part of the game is going to show its face sometime this week. 

INF Luis Cruz is expected to join the Tribe tomorrow in Toledo.  Cruz was a bench player for the Pirates and the Delwyn Young signing pushed Cruz to Indianapolis.  The Indians do not have to make a roster move because Cruz completes the 24 man roster.  The question I have is where will Cruz play?  Someone is going to lose playing time and the middle infield positions appear to belong to Brian Bixler and Shelby Ford.  Let’s begin at short.  When Bixler was sent down, the Pirates said they would rather Brian play everyday in Indy than sit the bench.  That tells me they favor Bixler as a more long term option that Cruz.  So maybe Bixler plays 5 out of 7 games at short, with Cruz filling in the other two days.  Shelby Ford may be considered more of a prospect than Cruz and perhaps Ford will play second base 5 out of 7 games with Bixler and Cruz spelling him.  Both of these scenarios leave Cruz on the bench for too many games.  So I’m saying Cruz will play the outfield with Garret Jones or Jeff Salazar getting their at-bats as a DH.  Just a guess and we will know more tomorrow. 

Don’t expect Luis Cruz to come in and hit safely in 7 of his first 8 games.  Cruz had a grand total of TWO at-bats with the Pirates.  We saw this with Brad Eldred in 2007 and Bixler last summer.  Both guys saw limited big league action and when they arrived in Indy their timing was off.  Eldred was with the Pirates for about six weeks and appeared in 19 games hitting .109.  The next 14 games with the Indians he would hit .218 (12-55) with 16 strikeouts.  Bixler appeared in 34 April and May games for the Pirates hitting .175.  He would be sent back to Indy and in his first 14 games hit just .143 with 8 strikeouts.  After looking at the numbers two things stand out.  Eldred’s Indy numbers were not as bad as I remember.  (With his swing you remember the home runs and strikeouts.  There we plenty of K’s that summer.)  Big Country had 4 extra-base hits in his first 14 games with the Indians.  Second, I didn’t realize Bixler appeared in 34 games and had 80 at bats.  That’s a decent sample size.  In any case both guys were off their game when they came to Indy and Cruz may soon be in the same boat.

Some news and notes before the team hits the road.  Yesterdays scheduled starter Jason Davis will not pitch tomorrow.  He threw a simulated game yesterday and will pitch in a real game Friday.  Tom Gorzelanny will go tomorrow at Toledo with Daniel McCutchen pitching on Wednesday.  Virgil Vasquez will pitch the opener at Columbus with Davis and Ty Taubenheim pitching the next two days.  The move keeps Gordo, Danimal, and Virg on a five day schedule. 

Check this out.  A pair of former Indians worked together for a Las Vegas win.  Have a great Monday and we’ll talk from the TOL.


Not Sure About This One

It is pouring in Louisville.  The forecast calls for 100% rain.  I don’t know if I have ever seen a forecast calling for 100% rain.  Sure we have our 50%’s, 70%’s, but watching the news last night I actually saw 100% listed above the rain/cloud/lightning symbol used for the five day forecast.  The 9:00 am bus left at 9:10 (expect some Kangaroo Court fines) and when we arrived I took some pictures from the Indians dugout.

Rain out 002.jpg
The chair on the right is where the Tribe skipper Frank Kremblas sits.  The Bats have a fan blowing under the tarp causing it to ripple and bubble up as you can see in the picture. 

Rain out 001.jpg
Lets’ see if this game ever gets started.  The good news is we have 11 games remaining at this place.  So a double header can be scheduled.  If this game is postponed there will be some pitchers who need to workout at some point today.  That will either happen here or back home at Victory Field.  With an off day scheduled for tomorrow certain pitchers can’t go two days without throwing.  Whenever and wherever the weather breaks, pitching coach Ray Searage will make sure guys get their work in.




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That was quick. Todays game has been rained out and your Indians are impressed
with the quick hook. Nobody wanted to sit around all day wondering if there
would be a game. A double-header will be played on July 2nd.

Time to head back to Indy and enjoy the extra day off (unless you’re a
pitcher). Bus pulls out early Tuesday morning.

Letterman and Some Thunder

Is this thing on?  More like…is he still there?  The recent homestand kept me pretty busy, but now the Indians hit the road and I can bring you more updates.  Right now I’m sitting in the Louisville Slugger Field press box.  

Slugger 002.jpgBaseball America says this is one of the ten best parks in the Minors.  I have shared my feelings and I’m really looking forward to watching the Indians on this 11 day, 10 game road trip.  They completed their longest homestand of the season last night losing to Louisville 4-3.  The Tribe failed to take advantage of a great opportunity with 9 home games to open the seaons stumbling out of the gates with a 3-6 record.  Maybe taking the players away from the comforts of the Vic will force them to lock in and focus a little better.  The trip will have the guys playing today and tomorrow in the ‘ville.  After a scheduled day off on Monday they will play a pair of games at Toledo, followed by four at brand spanking new Huntington Park, and then it’s back to Louisville for two.  When it’s all said and done the Indians will play their first 19 games against their division.  That’s why the 3-6 start is do disappointing. 

Who’s Hot?  SS Brian Bixler has hits in 7 of the first 9 games.  CF Andrew McCutchen has hit in four straight (7-16, 7R) and like Bixler, 7 of the first 9 games.  ‘Cutch has 7 extra-base hits plus he is a perfect 3 for 3 in stolen base attempts.  OF Garrett Jones has a 7-game hit streak with 5 doubles and a home run.  Jones is locked into the clean-up spot. 

Who’s eh?  3B Neil Walker had 7 hits in the first four games of the year and since then has gone 2 for 22.  One of those two hits was the difference in Thursdays win over the Bats.  Worse than the hitting has to be the three errors.  All three are throwing errors and he had more than enough time to make the plays, but uncharacteristically rushed them.  It’s time for him to bounce back and Slugger Field is the place.  A season ago Neil hit .284 with 5 home runs and 17 RBI vs. the Bats.

Who’s Cold?  Cold doesn’t begin to describe the start that Steve Pearce is having.  Maybe tossing some “o’s” will help.  Let’s see…Steve Pearce is ice cooooooooold.  That’s better.  The right-hander has played everyday and has just three hits.  It dawned on me yesterday when I wrote .107 next to his name in my scorebook.  Pearce is not in the line-up this afternoon, but his .094 average will be available off the bench. 

Here is this afternoon starting line-up:


Andrew McCutchen CF

Brian Bixler 2B

Chris Barnwell SS

Garrett Jones RF

Larry Broadway 3B

Jeff Salazar LF

Erik Kratz C

Anderson Machado 3B

Virgil Vasquez P



Norris Hopper CF

Chris Valaika SS

Adam Rosales 3B

Kevin Baker 1B

Jonny Gomes RF

Danny Dorn RF

Craig Tatum C

Luis Bolivar 2B

Ben Jukich P


So it looks like Walker and Pearce will watch from the dugout.  They will get a chance to swing the bat at some point.  This is only the second start for Anderson Machado (0-5, 5K) and Larry Broadway (1-14) is starting for the first time since Easter.


At 4:30 yesterday afternoon I was walking through the clubhouse and passed Andy Phillips.  It was minutes after he was informed he had been dealt to the White Sox.  Phillips is going to report to Charlotte and is hoping that will be a short stay.  So how do you say good-bye to a minor baseball player?


me:  “Good Luck, and I hope I don’t see you again this season.”

Andy: “I’m with you bro, I hope I’m not in Charlotte long.”


In everyday life you wish someone luck and say see you again.  When it comes to baseball you wish someone luck and hope to not see them again.  When a player is sent down from the Pirates, you say it’s good to see them, but deep down know they would rather avoiding talking to a Triple-A announcer.  We visit Charlotte May 21-24, at the very worst if Phillips is still there he can hook us up with some golf.  


How is this for an expierence?  Ticketing intern Bradley Vitale was working a ticket window yesterday when the one and only David Letterman walked up and purchased three tickets for section 119.  David Letterman!  Seriously…



David_Letterman.JPGThere’s Dave, right in the middle of your picture with his arm folded.  This tops Greg Oden ducking into the ticket window to buy some seats last summer.  Maybe was a big sports week and Dave caught some college football


Time to head down and check out batting practice.  Radio coverage begins at 1:55 with first pitch at 2:15.




A Quick Injury and Roster Update

The results of RHP Jimmy Barthmaier’s MRI revealed inflammation and a strain of the flexor mass in his right elbow.  The good news is there is no tear and the 2009 season will not be a total loss.  The bad news is Jimmy will not throw for at least two weeks.  I would be surprised if he is active and pitching with the Indians before June.  It’s not an educated guess, just a feeling after factoring in conditioning, rehab, and a couple of lower level starts.  From what I’m hearing Ty Taubenheim will take Jimmy’s spot in the rotation.   

I heard a rumor last night that 2B prospect Shelby Ford will be in town today around 5:00.  Hey what can I say, some words travel a greater distance on an empty concourse.  Ford was expected to be with the Indians for their opener, but remained in Florida recovering from a wrist injury suffered during spring training.  I do not know the corresponding roster move or if he will be activated for tonight’s game. 

Columbus 1B Jordan Brown had the game winning hit last night.  He doubled off Andrew McCutchen’s glove in right-centerfield.  Here is Jordan’s comments about playing in the rain from the 3rd inning until the delay in the top of the 6th:

You need to trick yourself.  It’s a pain in the (rear) to actaully go through that.  The bat is loose and it’s not easy to throw a ball.  All you can do is trick yourself and imagine you’re in Arizona or in California.  It’s just as bad for the pitcher as it is for the hitter. 

The delay was one hour and two minutes and when play resumed a light rain fell for the remainder of the night.  RHP Jason Davis will make his second start of the year.  This past Thursday he was weak from an illness and lasted only two innings falling short of his pitch count.  Columbus right-hander Jack Cassel will make is ’09 debut.  Broadcast time is at 6:40 with first pitch due at 7:00 


Shelby Ford is active for tonight’s game and in the line up.  He arrived around 3:00 and was greeted by his teammates.  I had a quick conversation with Shelby and his injured wrist feels fine and when I welcomed him to Indy he replied “finally.”  The Tribe line up tonight;

Andrew McCutchen CF (1 for last 14), Brian Bixler SS, Neil Walker 3B (hit safely in all 5 games), Garrett Jones RF, Steve Pearce 1B (HR yesterday), Robinzon Diaz C, Jeff Salazar LF, Andy Phillips DH, and Shelby Ford 2B.

Walker is so much more confident this season than at this time a year ago.  He told me has not wasted an at-bat and has a plan each time up.  Pirates fans will have to wait a while before they’ll see Walker at third.  The feeling here is he needs to continue his growth into the summer.  As of today Neil is the toughest out in the line-up with four of his eight hits going for extra bases. 


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