Toledo Mud Hens 6, �Indianapolis Indians 0 (box)
The Indianapolis Indians dropped the second game of this brief two-game series in Toledo, as they fell victim to four double plays turned by the Mud Hens. �The Indians posted 5 hits, and 4 more batters reached on walks, but could not push a run across the plate.
Brian Bass stepped up to make a spot start for the Indians, because the regularly scheduled starter Kevin Hart was serving the last day of his 3-game suspension for throwing behind a batter on Opening Day. �Bass was knocked around in the 1st inning, as the first three batters in the Toledo line-up smacked consecutive hits to load the bases. �Then Bass caught a bit of luck. �LF Ryan Strieby smashed a line drive right to Tribe SS Brian Friday, who flipped the ball to 2B Argenis Diaz (photo) who was at second base, for a double play. �The next batter, 1B Jeff Larish, lined a single into left field to score the runner who had been left on third base, but at least it was only one run and not two or even three as it could have been without that double play.
Bass worked around runners on base and in scoring position in both the 2nd and 4th innings. �The original plan was for Bass to pitch four innings, but at the end of four, he had thrown only about 55 pitches. �The decision was made to have him continue for one more inning. �That didn’t work out so well. �With one out, 2B Will Rhymes singled on a liner into right field. �When Bass tried to pick Rhymes off first, the throw sailed past 1B Steve Pearce and into the Indians’ bullpen area (along the right field foul line) and ricocheted off the foot of catcher Luke Carlin, who was minding his own business and warming up reliever Anthony Claggett. Rhymes reached third base on the throwing error. �3B Brent Dlugach brought Rhymes in with a single into left field. �DH Brennan Bosch doubled, scoring Dlugach, to give Toledo a 3-0 lead. �At that point, Claggett came on in relief. �Claggett got a strikeout, then walked Jeff Larish before getting a fly out to end the inning.
Indianapolis Indians 4, �Columbus Clippers 3 (box)
Indians’ outfielder Brandon Moss admitted that he’d had a “rough Spring Training”. �That was followed by 10 days off while he waited to go through waivers. �He was more than ready to come to Indianapolis, where he was much more likely to get some regular playing time. �Moss went 0-for-5 on Opening Day and sat out yesterday’s game. �Tonight, though, it was time to get going. �Moss said after the game that he “felt really going coming into the game tonight.” �It showed, too, as he singled, doubled, and hit the game-winning home run as the Indians took a 2-1 series lead over the Clippers at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio.
Moss said that he made good use of his forced time off. �He went back to Loganville, Georgia, where he sought out his high school baseball coaches. �He worked with the coaches, who pitched to him for hours and hours. �They talked about tempo and about keeping his hands back. �It put Moss back into his right place, where he could feel confident with his swing, and as we saw tonight, the extra work paid off.
Playing conditions tonight at Huntington Park were very different from those of the past two nights. �For two games, the Clippers and the Indians pounded out the hits and especially the home runs. �After combining for 14 home runs in the first two games of the series, tonight the only home run of the game was Moss’s. �The wind had wreaked havoc for the outfielders, particularly the left fielders in the first two games, but it was mostly quiet tonight.
The Indians got the game started with two runs in the top of the 1st. �With one out, RF Brandon Jones and DH Brian Myrow worked back-to-back walks. �They both advanced a base on a wild pitch by Columbus starter Jeanmar Gomez, and 3B Pedro Alvarez filled the void at first with another walk. �Gomez had a full count on the lead-off batter Jose Tabata before he grounded out, then another full count on Jones. �Myrow walked on a 3-1 pitch, and Alvarez walked on four straight balls, including the wild pitch. �Gomez also had a full count on 1B Steve Pearce, when Pearce lined a single into left field, scoring both Jones and Myrow. �The inning finished with a strikeout by Moss (2-2 pitch), and a fly out by C Luke Carlin (mercifully, on the first pitch). �Gomez had thrown 33 pitches. �(If he had been in the Pirates’ organization, he would not have been permitted to go back out for the second inning.)
Columbus Clippers 17, �Indianapolis Indians 4 � �(box)
We were hoping for a glorious AAA debut for top Pirates’ prospect 3B Pedro Alvarez. Instead, it was a glorious AAA debut for a different top prospect — Clippers’ C Carlos Santana. �Santana blasted two home runs, a double, and a single to lead the Columbus Clippers in their rout of the Indianapolis Indians at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio. �And the Indians’ performance was anything but glorious.
It really didn’t start out too badly. �Starter Kevin Hart walked two batters after two outs in the bottom of the 1st inning, but then got Santana to fly out to end the inning. �He also walked the first batter he faced in the 2nd inning, and then gave up a home run to RF Chris Gimenez. �Hart got out of the 3rd inning with a timely double play, and he had made it through 3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits, throwing 66 pitches, 35 for strikes. �It was the 66th pitch, though, that got him into trouble.
After two quick at-bats, the Indians began the 3rd inning with 2B Brian Friday getting hit by a pitch. �Friday moved to second when SS Argenis Diaz grounded back to the mound, and scored on CF Jose Tabata’s (photo) single up the middle. �Tabata stole second base, then Alvarez followed with his first AAA home run — a rocket-powered shot that hit the roof over the 328 sign in right field. �The idea of the glorious debut was looking good, as the Indians took a 3-2 lead.
In the top of the 4th, Brian Friday was hit by a pitch again. �This time it was a high and inside pitch, that skipped off the top of Friday’s helmet (the new big style) as he ducked down and away from the plate. �The Indians were not pleased with Friday being hit twice, and manager Frank Kremblas had a quick chat with home plate umpire David Rackley. �Rackley did not make any motions toward the dugouts though, and did not make any show of warning both managers or benches. �So, when Kevin Hart’s 66th pitch, the first one to Carlos Santana in the bottom of the frame, went sailing behind Santana, Hart and his teammates were surprised to hear Rackley immediately toss Hart from the game.
Two bullpen additions to the Indianapolis Indians for the 2010 season…. only a few days until Opening Day!
Steven Jackson is a right-hander from South Carolina, who was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 10th round of the 2004 draft. �After three seasons in their organization, almost entirely as a starting pitcher, Jackson (along with Ross Ohlendorf) was traded to the Yankees in the deal for Randy Johnson. �The Yankees put Jackson into the starting lineup to begin the 2007 at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but found that he did much better working out of the bullpen. �Jackson also split the 2008 season between AAA and AA in the Yankees’ organization. �He started in Trenton, where he made 15 relief appearances, for 31.1 innings, earning a 1-3 record and 2 saves, with a 5.74 ERA and 37 strikeouts. �He got better when he moved up to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. �In one start and 33 relief appearances, Jackson had a 3-0 record and 4 saves, with a 3.17 ERA over 48.1 innings, including 54 strikeouts. �Jackson began the 2009 season back at S/W-B, and had pitched in 7 games, earning one save, in 14.1 innings. �He had a 1.88 ERA but had allowed 16 hits with 3 earned runs, 3 walks, and 8 strikeouts. �But the Yankees needed to free up a spot on their 40-man roster, so Jackson was designated for assignment, and the Pirates claimed him off waivers on May 18th. �He was optioned to AAA Indianapolis, where he made 4 relief appearances over the rest of May: �one scoreless 1-inning performance, two scoreless 2-inning performance, and one inning in which he gave up 4 earned runs on 3 hits and a walk.
The Pirates moved six pitchers and one catcher to minor league camp today. �Jeff Karstens, who had been a starter for the Pirates in 2009 but was removed from the 40-man roster after the season, could be either a starter or a long reliever in Indianapolis to begin 2010. �Relievers Brian Bass, Anthony Claggett, Vinnie Chulk, Steven Jackson, and Jeremy Powell were all sent to Indianapolis. �Powell pitched for the Indians in 2009, and signed a minor league contract for 2010. �Bass and Chulk also were signed as free agents over the winter. �Also sent to Indy was another free agent, catcher Luke Carlin, who will likely play a back-up role for the Indians.
That leaves the Pirates with relievers DJ Carrasco and Jack Taschner. Neither of them are on the Pirates’ 40-man roster, so two roster moves will have to be made to accommodate them. �There are a few more players and positions who remain in question. �Infielder Ramon Vasquez seems to have lost out to a group of other infielders (Aki Iwamura, Delwyn Young, Bobby Crosby, and Ronny Cedeno) and the Pirates are trying to trade him before they have to just release him. �A decision has to be made between the two prospective back-up catchers Erik Kratz and Jason Jaramillo. The Pirates have to determine whether or not they will keep Rule 5 outfielder John Raynor. �Steve Pearce might also be optioned back to the Indians, since he has an option left and is being squeezed out by Jeff Clement at first and a host of outfielders. �Then, the Pirates just picked up reliever Hayden Penn yesterday and have promised to give him a good look before making a decision.
In today’s Grapefruit League action: � �Twins 4, �Pirates 1 �(box)
Apparently the Pirates used up all of their extra bat-power in yesterday’s 15-hit attack. �Today at Fort Myers, they managed only 4 hits and one run in the loss to the Twins. �A host of minor leaguers got a chance to have some fun with the big leaguers today, but they were no match for Twins’ starter Francisco Liriano, who allowed just 3 hits and 3 walks in 6 scoreless innings. �In fact, the Pirates didn’t have a hit until the 5th inning, when LF Robbie Grossman singled. �SS Bobby Crosby and C Jason Jaramillo also singled. �The Pirates’ only run came in the 9th inning, when 2B Shelby Ford tripled, then scored on C Erik Kratz’s RBI ground out.