Rajai Davis, speed demon

Another outfielder who could be with the Indianapolis Indians for 2007, and a fan favorite from last season….
RAJAI DAVIS
outfielder
born: 10/19/1980� in Norwich, Connecticut
ht: 5′ 11″���� wt: 197 lb������� B: Right�� T: Right
Rajai Davis (pronounced Rah -jay) was drafted by the Pirates in 2001.� He has moved up through the Pirates’ minor league system, collecting All-Star honors along the way for his hitting and baserunning: Gulf Coast League in 2002, South Atlantic League in 2003, Carolina League in 2004, and�Eastern League in 2005.� In 2005 for Altoona, Davis had another solid year, hitting for a .281 AVG�while stealing 45 bases to tie for the league lead.� His season ended early, when�his hand was fractured by being hit by a pitched ball.
Davis spent most of 2006 in Indianapolis, where he led off the batting order in 78 of the 92 games he started (he batted second in the order in the rest).� He batted for a .283 AVG, while stealing 45 bases, second highest in the International League.� He also led the league in fielding percentages for an outfielder, with .991.� In July, Davis hit for a .441 AVG, despite being on the DL for a week with a broken finger.� On August 14th, he was called up to the Pirates, where he appeared in 20 games, mostly as a pinch hitter,� getting 2 hits in 14 AB’s.� In the at bat in the photo above, he put down a successful sacrifice bunt.� Davis played winter ball for les Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League, appearing in 15 games, for a .227 AVG in 66 AB’s, with 6 stolen bases.�
Thus far in spring training as a member of the Pirates’ 40-man roster, Davis has not had much chance to show off his speed.� He got two hits and one stolen base in the Pirates’ first Grapefruit League game, but has had no hits since then.�� He is expected to return to Indianapolis this year, where his speed will be a welcome addition to the team.
OTHER NOTES:
Brad Eldred�hit another home run in yesterday’s game — straight to centerfield, and with the wind blowing in — but “only” hit a single today.
Michael Ryan hit a double and a single, with three RBI in today’s game.�
Go� Tribe!

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The first “reassignments”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporting the first “reassignments” from big league camp to the minor league camp:
Bryan Bullington and John Van Benschoten were assigned to AAA Indianapolis.
Yoslan Herrera and Micheal Tejera were assigned to AA Altoona.
Brad Lincoln, Kip Bouknight, Steve Lerud, and David Parrish were also sent to the minor league camp, but not specifically assigned to a team.
Another prospective Indianapolis Indians’ player:
VIC BUTTLER
outfielder
born 8/12/1980 in Los Angeles, California
Ht. 6′ 0″ Wt. 180 lb. B: Left T: Left
Buttler was drafted by the Pirates in the 14th round of the 2000 draft. He has moved up through the Pirates’ minor league system, though not particularly quickly: GCL Pirates and Williamsport in 2000, Hickory in 2001 and 2002, and Lynchburg in 2003 and 2004. He posted decent but not spectacular numbers along the way. In 2002, he was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team. Buttler split the 2005 season between Hickory, Lynchburg, and Altoona. He showed some improvement, hitting for a .333 AVG with 5 HR and 38 RBI in 57 games in Lynchburg, and for a .313 AVG with 7 RBI in 25 games with Altoona. He made only two fielding errors all season, for a .989 fielding average.
Buttler played most of the 2006 season in Altoona, where he was named to both the mid-season and post-season Eastern League All-Star teams. He hit 20 doubles, 5 HR, and 51 RBI, for a .292 AVG/ .345 OBP/ .445 SLG and 790 OPS. He had 21 stolen bases in 24 attempts. He was promoted to Indianapolis on Aug 15th and played in 20 games with the Indians, hitting 3 doubles and a triple with 5 RBI, for a .316 AVG/ .386 OBP/ .380 SLG and 766 OPS. He also stole 7 bases in 4 attempts. Buttler played winter ball for Pastora de los Llamos in Venezuela, where he hit .280 AVG with 5 doubles and 4 RBI in 28 games.
Buttler is a non-roster invitee in the Pirates’ big league spring training camp. He has appeared in 3 games so far, and had one sacrifice fly RBI in 5 plate appearances. He will probably start the 2007 season in Indianapolis, where we can hope to see him get a lot of singles and doubles, a few home runs, and show some speed on the basepaths.
Go Tribe!

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The first “reassignments”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporting the first “reassignments” from big league camp to the minor league camp:
Bryan Bullington and John Van Benschoten were assigned to AAA�Indianapolis.
Yoslan Herrera and Micheal Tejera were assigned to AA Altoona.
Brad Lincoln, Kip Bouknight, Steve Lerud, and David Parrish were also�sent to the minor league camp, but not specifically assigned to a team.
Another prospective Indianapolis Indians’ player:
VIC BUTTLER
outfielder
born 8/12/1980�� in Los Angeles, California
Ht. 6′ 0″�� Wt. 180 lb.����� B: Left��� T: Left
Buttler was drafted by the Pirates in the 14th round of the 2000 draft.� He has moved up through the Pirates’ minor league system, though not particularly quickly:� GCL Pirates and Williamsport in 2000, Hickory in 2001 and 2002, and Lynchburg in 2003 and 2004.� He posted decent but not spectacular numbers along the way.� In 2002, he was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team.� Buttler split the 2005 season between Hickory, Lynchburg, and Altoona.��He showed some improvement, hitting for a .333 AVG with 5 HR and 38 RBI in 57 games in Lynchburg, and for a .313 AVG with 7 RBI in 25 games with Altoona.� He made only two fielding errors all season, for a .989 fielding average.�
Buttler played most of the 2006 season in Altoona, where he was named to both the mid-season and post-season Eastern League All-Star teams.� He hit 20 doubles, 5 HR, and 51 RBI, for a .292 AVG/ .345 OBP/ .445 SLG and 790 OPS.� He had 21 stolen bases in 24 attempts.� He was promoted to Indianapolis on Aug 15th and played in 20 games with the Indians, hitting 3 doubles and a triple with 5 RBI, for a .316 AVG/ .386 OBP/ .380 SLG and 766 OPS.� He also stole 7 bases in 4 attempts.� Buttler played winter ball for Pastora de los Llamos in Venezuela, where he hit .280 AVG with 5 doubles and 4 RBI in 28 games.
�Buttler is a non-roster invitee in the Pirates’ big league spring training camp.� He has appeared in 3 games so far, and had one sacrifice fly RBI in 5 plate appearances.� He will probably start the 2007 season in Indianapolis, where we can hope to see him get a lot of singles and doubles, a few home runs, and show some speed on the basepaths.
Go Tribe!

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Carlos Maldonado — 2006 Indians’ MVP

Here is an Indy Indians’ player who has NOT missed the past season or two due to injury or surgery– a closer look at last year’s MVP.
CARLOS MALDONADO
Catcher
born: 1/3/79 in Maracaibo, Venezuela
ht: 6′ 2″ wt: 180 lb B: Right T: Right
Maldonado has played 11 years of professional baseball. He was first signed as an undrafted free agent in 1996, by the Seattle Mariners. He spent 1996 – 1999 in the Mariners’ minor league system, and then 2000 – 2002 in the Houston Astros’ minor league system. He then moved to the Chicago White Sox organization for 2003 – 2004, playing at AA Birmingham. In 2004, he was managed in Birmingham by former Indianapolis Indians’ star, Razor Shines. Maldonado signed with the Pirates for the 2005 season, and was assigned to Altoona, where he played all year. In 82 games he hit 7 HR, 34 RBI, with 35 walks and 63 strikeouts, for a .252 AVG/ .339 OBP/.378 SLG, and 717 OPS. In 79 appearances at catcher (the rest as designated hitter), he threw out 23 of 62 (37%) of baserunners attempting to steal.
Maldonado returned to Altoona to begin the 2006 season, but was promoted to Indianapolis after just 5 games, when Ronny Paulino was recalled from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh. Maldonado made the most of his opportunity. He led the International League with appearances at catcher with 100, and in fielding percentage for catchers with .996. He threw out 23 of 93 (25%) stolen base attempts. At the plate, he hit 6 HR, 18 doubles, 47 RBI, with 36 walks and 67 strikeouts, for .283 AVG/ .354 OBP/ .390 SLG, and 743 OPS. He had 24 multi-hit games and 10 multi- RBI games. Maldonado was named Player of the Month for June, and team MVP for 2006. During the season, Maldonado worked with the Indians’ training staff on extra general conditioning and dietary habits, and he lost a significant amount of weight. He gained strength and flexibility, and also a bit of speed. He certainly didn’t become a demon on the basepaths, but he did admit that he could tell a difference, and there were a few times when he was able to run out an infield hit that he would not have been able to get at the beginning of the season.
When the Indians concluded their 2006 season, Maldonado’s contract was purchased by the Pirates. He made his MLB debut as a pinch hitter on Sept. 8th, and immediately got his first major league hit, a single. He made his first MLB start two days later. For the remainder of the season, Maldonado played in 8 games, with 2 hits and one stolen base in 19 AB’s. He returned to his native Venezuela to play winter ball with Oriente, but played in only 22 games, with .185 AVG with one HR and 9 RBI.
Maldonado was invited to the big league camp for spring training, and in the early contests, he has seen action in two games, with one hit in four AB’s. He is generally expected to be heading for Indianapolis to start the 2007 season.
OTHER NOTES –
Brad Eldred has now hit four home runs in four games (one being a “B” game) in the Grapefruit League.
Bryan Bullington pitched one inning in today’s game, facing only three batters — 2 ground outs and one strikeout.
Go Tribe!

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Carlos Maldonado — 2006 Indians’ MVP

Here is an Indy Indians’ player who has NOT missed the past season or two due to injury or surgery– a closer look at last year’s MVP.
CARLOS MALDONADO
Catcher
born: 1/3/79�� in Maracaibo, Venezuela
ht: 6′ 2″��� wt: 180 lb������� B: Right��� T: Right
Maldonado has played 11 years of professional baseball.� He was first signed as an undrafted free agent in 1996,�by the Seattle Mariners.� He spent 1996 – 1999 in the Mariners’ minor league system, and then 2000 – 2002 in the Houston Astros’ minor league system.� He then moved to the Chicago White Sox�organization for 2003 – 2004, playing at AA Birmingham.� In 2004, he was managed in Birmingham by former Indianapolis Indians’ star, Razor Shines.� Maldonado signed with the Pirates for the 2005 season, and was assigned to Altoona, where he played all year.� In 82 games�he hit 7 HR, 34 RBI,�with 35�walks�and 63 strikeouts, for a .252 AVG/ .339 OBP/.378 SLG, and 717 OPS.� In 79 appearances at catcher (the rest as designated hitter), he threw out 23 of 62 (37%) of baserunners attempting to steal.�
Maldonado�returned to Altoona to�begin the�2006 season, but was promoted to Indianapolis after just�5 games,�when Ronny Paulino was recalled from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh.� Maldonado made the most of his opportunity.� He led the International League with appearances at catcher with 100, and in fielding percentage for catchers with .996.� He threw out 23 of 93 (25%)�stolen base attempts.���At the plate, he hit 6 HR, 18 doubles, 47 RBI, with 36 walks and 67 strikeouts, for .283 AVG/ .354 OBP/ .390 SLG, and�743 OPS.� He had 24 multi-hit games and 10 multi- RBI games.� Maldonado was named Player of the Month for June, and team MVP for 2006.� During the season, Maldonado worked with the Indians’ training staff on extra general conditioning and dietary habits, and he lost a significant amount of weight.� He gained strength and flexibility, and also a bit of speed.� He certainly didn’t become a demon on the basepaths, but he did admit that he could tell a difference, and there were a few times when he was able to run out an infield hit that he would not have been able to get at the beginning of the season.�
When the Indians concluded their 2006 season, Maldonado’s contract was purchased by the Pirates.� He made his MLB debut as a pinch hitter on Sept. 8th, and immediately got his first major league hit, a single.� He made his first MLB start two days later.� For the remainder of the season, Maldonado played in 8 games, with 2 hits and one stolen base in 19 AB’s.� He returned to his native Venezuela to play winter ball with Oriente, but played in only 22 games, with .185 AVG with one HR and 9 RBI.�
Maldonado was invited to the big league camp for spring training, and in the early contests, he has seen action in two games, with one hit in four AB’s.� He is generally expected to be heading for Indianapolis to start the 2007 season.
OTHER NOTES –
Brad Eldred has now hit four home runs in four games (one being a “B” game) in the Grapefruit League.�
Bryan Bullington pitched one inning in today’s game, facing only three batters — 2 ground outs and one strikeout.�
Go Tribe!

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