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Andy Call News and notes

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Andy Call News and notes

Unread postby Mcreek » Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:35 am

Gutierrez might be playing more for Nixon
Sunday, June 17, 2007

CLEVELAND Franklin Gutierrez's stays in Cleveland during the last two years have been relatively brief ones.

If the present trend continues, however, Indians fans may see more of Gutierrez than they are used to. Right fielder Trot Nixon was stuck in an 0-for-19 slump through Friday, and Gutierrez has been seeing more regular playing time there, especially against left-handed pitchers.

"Franklin has looked a little bit better every year," Manager Eric Wedge said. "We knew how great he was in center field, but you've got to be thrilled with the progress he's made in the corners. I think he has the potential to be an everyday player."

The 24-year-old Gutierrez was batting .194 through Friday but had two hits in his most recent start. Being an effective hitter while seeing only spotty playing time is a tough task for any player.

"Your mind has to change a little bit," Gutierrez said. "You have to try to be prepared for anything. In the past, going back and forth (from the minor leagues) was hard. It's a little easier now."

Perhaps the most visible improvement in Gutierrez's game is his ability to track down difficult fly balls in right field and left field. Last Friday in Cincinnati, Gutierrez saved two runs when he snagged a fly ball just before slamming into the outfield fence in the right-field corner. In previous years, he might have been more tentative about attempting such a play.

"I'm getting better in the corners," Gutierrez said. "I had been playing center field my whole career, so it was hard. That was the first time I had made that play in right field. It's great when you do that and, the next day, you don't feel anything (injured). You know you've helped the team win the game."

One catch doesn't make Gutierrez an everyday outfielder, but he's getting closer.

"I just have to be patient and wait for my time," Gutierrez said.

Nixon hopes the time for ending his slump comes soon. He said he is not experiencing pain from his offseason back surgery but admits his athleticism has been a bit limited.

"I'm just not happy with the way I'm moving compared to years past," said Nixon, whose average has dropped from .285 on May 22 to .240.

"It's frustrating when your body doesn't cooperate the way you want it to. Now, I can sit here and boo-hoo all I want. I mean, I know there are people laid up in the hospital. But from a professional standpoint, it's hard to do my job. I'll just keep plugging away."

COMING UP The series concludes this afternoon at 1:05. Fausto Carmona (7-2, 3.17) will start against Kyle Davies (3-5, 5.70).

THE WESTBROOK WATCH Jake Westbrook (rib cage) will make his fourth minor-league rehabilitation start of the season Monday. He is scheduled to throw approximately 85 pitches for Triple-A Buffalo against Louisville. Wedge said that "barring something unforeseen" this will be Westbrook's final rehab start before coming off the disabled list.

TOUGH TIMES Ryan Garko, stuck in a 2-for-35 slump, was left out of Saturday's starting lineup. "It's more a case of it being his first full year than anything," Wedge said. "It's very ordinary. The ball's in his court now. It's up to him to make some adjustments."

INJURY REPORT Two of the top prospects in Cleveland's minor-league system are battling identical injuries. Left-hander David Huff, last year's No. 39 overall draft pick, and Triple-A Buffalo outfielder Shin-Soo Choo both have been diagnosed with a mild sprain of a ligament in the left elbow. Both have been shut down for six weeks.

INJURY REPORT, PART II Infielder Jared Goedert, the top hitter in Cleveland's minor-league system during the first two months of the season, was placed on Single-A Kinston's disabled list with inflammation of his left shoulder. Goedert should be activated sometime next weekend, according to farm director Ross Atkins. ... Top pitching prospect Adam Miller (middle finger) should begin pitching in games again around June 26, Atkins said.

ALUMNI REPORT Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie, a former first-round draft pick by Cleveland, came into Saturday with a 2.57 ERA that ranked third in the American League. If Guthrie's two relief appearances against the Indians earlier this season are thrown out, his ERA in the other 13 games is 1.87.

THE DOTTED LINE The Indians announced they have signed 10th-round draft pick Brandon Taylor, a left-hander from Oklahoma, and 13th-rounder Matt Brown, an outfielder from Wichita State. ... Scouting director John Mirabelli said he expects the two most difficult players to sign will be fourth-round pick T.J. McFarland, a high school left-hander from Illinois, and sixth-round pick Bo Greenwell, a high school outfielder from Florida. McFarland already has signed an NCAA letter-of-intent with Missouri, Greenwell with Miami (Fla.).

ON THE FARM Kelvin Diaz is batting .429 with a .786 slugging percentage for Cleveland's Winter Haven team in the Gulf Coast League. The third baseman has four doubles and two home runs among his 12 hits. Diaz, 20, had 62 RBIs in 58 games in the Dominican Summer League last season.
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Unread postby ArtGold » Mon Jun 18, 2007 12:06 am

Where do you find Winter Haven stats, and stats for the Gulf Coast League? Is this a formal league or just an informal get together (and if so why are they keeping stats)? How are other players doin'?
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Unread postby TribeinLA » Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:10 am

Well, can we get rid of Nixon and just go ahead and see what Frankie can do? It's dubious that we get a major player in trade. Franklin is better than Trot. Trot has more experience and Shapiro doesn't wanna look like an idiot (too late). Please, please...is there a way that Franklin can play both corners in the same game...so DD doesn't have to play either? I don't even feel bad for criticizing these two platooners - they're not Indians. They're overpaid newcomers to a team that has better OF's in AAA.

I do, however, think Michaels should stick around. He saved the game for us today and also saved the first meeting with the Tigers and the opener vs. the ChiSox. His bat is very lively at times and dead at others, but that's saying more than the other two. Yes, DD has had some clutch moments as well (Detroit twice and the Marlins rubber match), but he's also getting, off the top of my head, about 50 more at bats, yes? Nixon - nada.

Anyway, I'm ready to see Franklin G gro w up and play for us. I've heard professional scouts raving about the kid, so he's obviously got some major upside. Let's hope so!
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Unread postby Mcreek » Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:45 am

ArtGold wrote:Where do you find Winter Haven stats, and stats for the Gulf Coast League? Is this a formal league or just an informal get together (and if so why are they keeping stats)? How are other players doin'?

Art, my guess is these are extended ST numbers not GCL stats since the season has yet to start. You can e-mail Andy Call, he usually gives prompt responses.

andy.call@cantonrep.com <andy.call@cantonrep.com

With Diaz the Aussie kid Smit and Rivero at LC we have some intriguing kids at the left side of the diamond.

As for FG, I have not been a big fan of his after he arrived from the Dodgers because his power has been short circuited by the radical change they have made in his approach, however i hope he gets to play over the worthless aging has beens Nixon/Dellucci who gives us the weakest corner outfielders i have ever seen in Cleveland since we were auditioning the likes of Chris Mcgruder, Chad Allen and Shane Spencer a few yrs ago.
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Unread postby consigliere » Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:04 am

ArtGold wrote:Where do you find Winter Haven stats, and stats for the Gulf Coast League? Is this a formal league or just an informal get together (and if so why are they keeping stats)? How are other players doin'?

These are just extended ST games. THe org keeps track of the stats....they are not publicly available.

The REAL Gulf Coast League games start tomorrow, and stats will be on-line.
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