Huff Is Finishing Up StrongLeft-hander David Huff continues to breeze along this season. With what looks like just two starts left in his season he is now 5-4 with a 2.83 ERA in 14 starts at Buffalo and is averaging a strikeout an inning with 73 strikeouts in 70 innings. In 11 of his 14 starts he has held the opposition to two runs or less, and in the other three did not allow more than four runs. In 25 combined starts between Akron and Buffalo, Huff is 10-5 with a 2.39 ERA and has 135 strikeouts in 135.2 innings pitched. He also has only walked 27 batters and has held the opposition to a .202 batting average.Huff is currently at 135.2 innings, which with two starts remaining he is right in line to hit his target innings pitched threshold of 145-150 innings. Huff aired it out for the first time in awhile on Monday night when he went 5.2 innings and threw 96 pitches, easily the most pitches and the the longest he has gone in a game since July 6th. The Indians have carefully monitored his innings in order not to overwork him this year after he only threw 59.2 innings for Kinston last year. Sorry Tribe fans, but once his season in Buffalo concludes, he will not be in Cleveland in September. He'll be shutdown, put in bubble wrap until next year, and be a strong favorite to win the fifth starter sport out of spring training next year.An Olympic ScareIndians outfield prospect Matt LaPorta was involved in a scary incident on Tuesday when he was struck in the head with a pitch during their 9-1 win over China. LaPorta was allegedly hit intentionally after he and teammate Nate Schierholtz were involved in collisions at the plate in consecutive innings. LaPorta bowled over catcher Wang Wei in the fifth inning and Wang suffered a torn ACL to his left knee on the play, so LaPorta was drilled while leading off the bottom of the seventh. When LaPorta was beaned, he laid crumpled on the ground for several minutes before walking off on his own power and left the game to go to the hospital and have tests done. All tests came back negative, and he was diagnosed with a mild concussion. He took batting practice on the field yesterday and is listed as day-to-day. He likely will be back in the lineup for the game against Cuba.After finishing up pool play at 5-2, Team USA has advanced to the medal round and earned a #3 seed. They will face off with #2 seed Cuba tomorrow morning at 6:00 am ET. If USA wins, they would advance to the gold medal game and play at 6:00 am ET on Saturday, but if they lose they would play in the bronze medal game at 10:30 pm ET tomorrow night.Mr. Cooper Now Mr. BisonBuffalo outfielder Jason Cooper has now played in 401 games as a Buffalo Bison which is the most in the Modern Era of the franchise. Cooper passed the record set by Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Tom Prince who had played in 400 games with the team from 1988-1992. In his five-year career with Buffalo, Cooper also ranks 2nd in RBI (218) and doubles (81), 3rd in walks (167), tied for 3rd in triples (18), 4th in runs (202) and 6th in hits (322) and home runs (49). On the season he is hitting .241 with 9 HR, 42 RBI and a .783 OPS.Cooper has had a hard time getting everyday at bats in Buffalo this year. As a six year free agent this offseason he likely will try and find greener pastures elsewhere because of the crowded outfield situation in the upper levels in Cleveland. In a twisted way, Cooper could end up back in Buffalo next year even though he would not be with the Indians. With the Indians all but set to move to Columbus next year, there has been talk that the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets may be the top candidates to scoop up Buffalo as their Triple-A affiliate. If Cooper was to sign with one of those teams, he could be back in his familiar confines at Dunn Tire Park for yet another season.Affiliate Notebook
Buffalo Notes (62-69, 5th place, 17.0 GB): First baseman Jordan Brown has really heated up since the All-Star break. In 27 games since the break he is hitting .316 with 1 HR, 16 RBI and an .826 OPS with eight multi-hit games during that span. On the season, Brown is now hitting .280 with 5 HR, 43 RBI and a .740 OPS in 101 games. ... Catcher Chris Gimenez is another player who has started to find his groove. After making his Triple-A debut in June and only hitting .167 for the month, Gimenez has batted .301 since then in 35 combined games in July and August. In 100 combined games at Akron and Buffalo, Gimenez is hitting .307 with 7 HR, 38 RBI and an .876 OPS. ... All-Star left-hander Rich Rundles has not allowed a run in 11 consecutive outings. Since July 26, in those 11 appearances he has thrown 8.1 innings and allowed only two hits, no walks and struck out ten. On the season he is 5-4 with 4 saves and a 2.94 ERA in 50 appearances. ... Since the All-Star break, outfielder Brad Snyder has hit .292 with 5 HR, 23 RBI, and an .843 OPS in 27 games. On the season, he is hitting .249 with 12 HR, 59 RBI and a .733 OPS, and he leads the team in extra-base hits (40), home runs, and RBI. ... On Sunday, infielder Morgan Ensberg was activated off the temporary inactive and infielder Jared Head (2-for-7, HR, 2 RBI) was transferred back to Kinston. ... Right-hander Jeff Weaver has been transitioned to the bullpen.Akron Notes (74-57, 2nd place, 3.0 GB): Right-handed reliever Erik Stiller's overall numbers at Akron of a 6-5 record and 4.44 ERA in 31 games may not show much, but a deeper look into his numbers shows a budding quality reliever who often goes unnoticed. Only four of his 22 inherited runners have scored, of which two of them scored way back in his first Akron appearance on May 9th. Also, he is racking up a strikeout an inning with 50 strikeouts in his 52.2 innings pitched at Akron. After putting up a 5.02 ERA in 21 first half appearances, Stiller has started to settle in the second half with a 3.00 ERA in 10 appearances. ... While his won-loss record may not be spectacular, right-hander Frank Herrmann has not gotten much support from his offense. Herrmann is pitching as good as he ever has in the Indians organization and has gotten stronger down the stretch going 1-5 with a 1.91 ERA in his last eight starts (six at Akron and two at Buffalo). In 47.1 innings he has allowed 40 hits, 16 walks and has 43 strikeouts. In 24 combined starts between Kinston, Akron and Buffalo this year, Herrmann is 9-8 with a 4.21 ERA. ... Outfielder Jose Constanza has quietly put together a solid year, hitting .278 with 0 HR, 34 RBI, and a .683 OPS. While he hits for little power, the scrappy outfielder is one of the most exciting players in the system to watch because of his ability to put the bat on the ball with only 42 strikeouts in 338 at bats, and also his speed on the bases (23 stolen bases). Constanza was moved off the roster and utility man Jared Head was activated from Kinston yesterday. No official word yet on why Constanza was taken off the roster, but a lingering shoulder issue is said to be the cause. ... When hard throwing right-hander Neil Wagner was promoted from Kinston to Akron last week, he took Scott Lewis' spot on the roster and J.D. Martin's spot in the bullpen. In three appearances at Akron he is 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA. ... Akron made a few moves on Wednesday, activating catcher Doug Pickens to fill the backup catching void left open when Armando Camacaro was assigned to Buffalo on Tuesday night. Wyatt Toregas was expected to be activated off the disabled list, but he still was having some problems with the inflammation in his elbow.Kinston Notes (33-25, 3rd place, 5.5 GB): Catcher Carlos Santana has been tearing it up since coming over in a trade from the Dodgers for third baseman Casey Blake. In 20 games he is hitting .377 with 4 HR, 13 RBI and a 1.071 OPS. Santana is the only player in minor league baseball with 100 RBI and 100 runs scored, and is first in runs scored (114) and second in RBI in all of minor league baseball. Santana was hit by a foul ball in the throat areas while he was catching on Tuesday night and had to leave the game in the 7th inning, but was back in the lineup on Wednesday night. ... Left-hander Kelvin De la Cruz had a rough outing on Monday going just 2.2 innings and allowing eight hits, seven runs, five walks and had three strikeouts. It was his worst outing of the year by far, and spiked his numbers at Kinston to where after six starts there he is now 3-2 with a 6.35 ERA. ... Prior to his callup earlier this week to Kinston, right-hander Josh Judy was on a tear at Lake County. In his last eight appearances covering 15.1 innings Judy was 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA, eight hits, four walks, and 19 strikeouts. He finishes the year 12-1 with a 3.51 ERA in 31 appearances at Lake County. In two appearances at Kinston he has thrown 4.1 shutout innings and allowed three hits, no walks, and struck out five. ... Here is a quick update on how some of the other Kinston newcomers are doing: Outfielder Lucas Montero (21 games, .261 AVG, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 12 stolen bases, .670 OPS), outfielder Roman Pena (8 games, .143 AVG, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .558 OPS), and right-handed reliever Kyle Landis (3 games, 0-0, 11.25 ERA, 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 5 K). ... After winning just eight games in April, Kinston has won 60 games since, the second most in the Carolina League behind Myrtle Beach. ... Kinston's recent eight game win streak was their longest winning streak since the beginning of the 2004 season.
Lake County (27-30, 4th place, 11.0 GB): Outfielder Matt Brown has reached base safely in 19 of his last 20 games and is on a tear in August hitting .415 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and a .975 OPS in 14 games. On the season Brown is now hitting .309 with 8 HR, 69 RBI and a .796 OPS. ... Tough luck lefty Ryan Miller can't catch a break. Last Monday he went five innings allowing just one run on six hits, one walk and had one strikeout, but victory eluded him as the bullpen blew a three run lead in the eighth inning. In his follow up start this past Saturday he got 12 runs of run support from his offense, but he lacked the command to get through five innings to qualify for the win and went just 4.1 innings allowing four runs on seven hits, three walks and had three strikeouts. After winnings seven of his first eight starts, Miller is now winless in his last 15 starts. ... On Sunday, right-hander Eric Berger made his Lake County debut but had to leave the game in the second inning with an oblique injury. He injured himself in the early stages of the game while trying to field a bunt. Given our experience with this injury to players on the major league roster, I'd say that since there are only about three weeks left in the season (including playoffs) his season is over. ... On Monday right-hander Joey Mahalic struggled through his worst outing of the season going 4.1 innings and allowing five runs on eight hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Prior to the start, he had not allowed more than four runs in his 17 previous starts. On the season Mahalic is 7-5 with a 3.80 ERA in 18 starts. ... Shortstop Ron Rivas had a 16-game hitting streak snapped last Friday, which tied the longest hitting streak at Lake County with outfielder Roman Pena who also had a 16 game hitting steak earlier in the season. On the season Rivas is hitting .295 with 0 HR, 22 RBI and a .708 OPS in 71 games. ... Catcher Matt McBride has been assigned to Lake County.
Mahoning Valley Notes (26-33, 5th place, 9.5 GB): Five Scrappers were named to the NY-Penn League All Star team: left-hander Eric Berger, first baseman Brock Simpson, second baseman Isaias Velasquez, shortstop Lonnie Chisenhall, and catcher Robbie Alcombrack. The All Star game was played on Tuesday night in Troy, NY. In the game, Alcombrack went 0-for-1, Simpson went 0-for-2, and Velasquez went 0-for-1 with a walk and strikeout. Berger did not participate as he was promoted to Lake County, and Chisenhall was not there as well as it is believed he has been promoted to Lake County as well (unconfirmed). ... Last Friday right-hander P.J. Zocchi was the best he has been this season going five innings and allowing just one run on five hits, no walks and had seven strikeouts. In 12 starts he is 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA. ... Outfielder Juan Valdes was recently promoted to Lake County, and was replaced on the roster with outfielder Tim Fedroff. Fedroff is out of North Carolina and was taken in the 7th round of the 2008 June Draft, and in seven games is hitting .414 with 0 HR, 2 RBI and a .986 OPS. ... Infielder Isaias Velasquez recently had a 17-game hitting streak snapped. On the season he is hitting .294 with 1 HR, 16 RBI, 7 stolen bases, and a .751 OPS. ... Right-handed reliever Brad Hinkle has been a standout this season on the pitching staff. Literally. At 6'10" the 220-pounder towers over opposing hitters, and he has used that height to his advantage where he can stay on top of the ball and get it on a downward plane. In 14 appearances (6 starts) Hinkle is 0-0 with 1 save and a 3.66 ERA. In 39.1 innings he has allowed 38 hits, 12 walks, and piled up 41 strikeouts. ... The Scrappers lead the NY-Penn League in walks with 246. Vermont is second in the league with 223 free passes.
GCL Indians Notes (25-28, 5th place, 7.0 GB) and DSL Indians Notes (36-31, 6th place, 8.0 GB): Left-hander Heath Taylor has been absent almost the entire season with elbow problems, but just started a rehab assignment with the GCL club on Wednesday and threw a scoreless inning. Prior to going on the disabled list in early May, Taylor was 2-2 with a 4.79 ERA in 10 relief appearances for Kinston earlier this year. ... 2008 2nd round pick right-hander Trey Haley made his professional debut with the GCL club on Wednesday throwing a scoreless inning. ... Third baseman Abner Abreu is in a funk offensively, hitting just .162 with 2 HR and 4 RBI in his last ten games (6-for-37). He is now hitting .255 with 10 HR, 34 RBI and an .829 OPS. ... There will be some movement in the system soon since the GCL club wraps up play next week (8/27). Several players on the GCL roster will likely go to Mahoning Valley or Lake County to take part in the final week of the season for each team. ... On the DSL side, third baseman Kelvin Diaz is hitting .306 with 5 HR, 44 RBI, and an .873 OPS. ... Outfielder Darling Read is hitting .276 with 12 HR, 43 RBI, and an .878 OPS. ... 17-year old lefty Elvis Araujo is 4-2 with a 1.89 ERA in 14 starts. ... The DSL Indians wrap up play on Saturday.All photos courtesy of Ken Carr, Cleveland Indians, Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Lake County Captains, Kinston Indians, Akron Aeros, and Buffalo Bisons.