Which one is Pedro?
A baseball clubhouse is one of the most unique places on earth. Twenty five baseball players come together from all walks of life to live in a locker room for 5 1/2 months. You will find 33 year old Americans playing cards with 23 year old Venezuelans. I have never, in all of my years in broadcasting witnessed a scrum or a fight among teammates. Like any family you have differences and those differences are handled in an adult manner because your teammate is going to be in that same locker tomorrow. One of the best things about the clubhouse is watching the players pick each other up with encouragement. At any given time a player may be on a hot streak while another is searching for hit. Teammates will not let a hot streak go to your head and they will not let you get too down on yourself. A player will receive a congratulatory hand shake and a minute later be humbled due to their lack of taste in clothing.
It is tough to reach to top of the mountain in the Indians clubhouse because someone will knock you off with a joke or story. It is all about keeping players humble and that was on display Sunday morning. Pedro Alvarez is 23 years old and this is only his second professional season. He was the #2 overall pick in 2008 and is by all accounts the future of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The souvenir give-a-way on Sunday was a Pedro Alvarez replica jersey t-shirt. Every player receives a souvenir item prior to the game and most will stuff the picture frame, water bottle, or back pack into their locker. However, this Alvarez item was too good to shove into a locker stall.
Every player put on the t-shirt to show support and in a way keep Pedro humble. Here is a picture of Daniel McCutchen, Brad Lincoln, and Steve Jackson relaxing with their Pedro pride.
Below, Kevin Melillo, Steven Jackson (sitting w/back to camera…he’s everywhere), and Neil Walker (standing) pose with their Pedro shirts.
The good news is that Pedro took it all in stride. “It’s embarrassing to them all wearing the shirts.” I had to mow my yard yesterday and I was sporting my Pedro T.
RHP Brad Lincoln is on a roll and closing in on a promotion. The 24 year-old (he will turn 25 on Tuesday) improved to 5-2 and lowered his ERA to 3.77 with Saturday’s win over Gwinnett. Many in the Indians clubhouse feel that Lincoln will make one more start with the Indians and then get the call to the big leagues. Lincoln isn’t looking to far ahead, “I’m getting ready to make my next start against Charlotte. They got me pretty good last year and I hear they have a small park.” Lincoln’s worst Triple-A start came last summer against Charlotte. The Knights scored 7 runs on 9 hits sending Lincoln to the showers after only 3 innings. Since that loss on August 9th Lincoln has a 9-2 record (13 starts) with a 3.46 ERA.
The question that has followed Lincoln is when will he develop a third pitch? He throws a fastball (4 seam fastball between 93-96 mph and a 2 seam fastball between 90-92 mph) with a awesome curveball. His curveball is the pitch that jumped off the charts a season ago. He can throw the curve with a big bending 12:00 to 6:00 drop or throw it hard to give a hitter a sluvy (curveball + slider) look. As season ago current Pirates coach Ray Searage helped Lincoln develop a change-up. It was his weakest pitch, but he found out that he needed it to get hitters out. This season that change-up has morphed into a splitter. Well, at least that depends on who you ask.
Me: “Does Lincoln throw a change-up or a split finger pitch?”
Manger Frank Kremblas: “It’s a change-up with a split look. It’s a change-up.”
Pitching Coach Dean Treanor: “It’s a change-up, but he splits his fingers on the grip so it drops like a split, but has the action of a change-up.”
C Erik Kratz: “I think it’s a split and that sounds a lot cooler than a change-up. It it too hard to be a change-up, but it’s effective enough that is acts like a change-up. It say it’s a splitter.”
Brad Lincoln: “We are going to go with a change-up. A split sounds cool, but because of the change up action I have to call it a change-up.”
Based on other conversations my best guess is that last year he had a change up, but this season he is throwing it between 86-88 mph hour and it looks like a splitter. The Pirates tell me it’s a change up so that will be the final official word. Still, a split finger pitch sounds nasty and much cooler than a change up. Lincoln’s next start will be pushed back a day due to the Indians Wednesday off day. He will next toe the rubber on Friday in Charlotte.
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