Posted on: September 29, 2010 2:13 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2010 2:56 pm

Tommy John for Indians' Ambriz

The Plain Dealer reports that Indians reliever Hector Ambriz, who has been troubled by elbow surgery all season, will undergo Tommy John ligament replacement surgery and miss most, if not all, of next season.

Ambriz, a 26-year-old right-hander, was picked up by the Indians from Arizona in last winter's Rule 5 draft. He made 34 appearances, posting a 5.59 ERA. Ambriz first reported elbow trouble in spring training and went on the disabled list at the start of the season. On September 21 he was shut down, and after consulting with Dr. Lewis Yocum, it was decided he needed the surgery, which will take place Friday.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 27, 2010 1:50 pm

Why did Dodgers trade Mattingly's son?

Don Mattingly
From a baseball perspective, the Dodgers trading a disappointing player in the low minors is a non-story. Preston Mattingly, the Dodgers' first-round pick in 2006, had a terrible season (.218/.247/.291) between rookie league and low Class A, and does not project to be a major leaguer soon or probably ever. Now, after Sunday's swap, he's a cog in the Indians' system instead of the Dodgers' system.

What makes this minor trade interesting is that Preston Mattingly is the son of Don Mattingly, who was named a week earlier as the Dodgers' next manager. Why would the organization quickly ship out the new skipper's kid?

There are a couple of possible reasons. It might be that the Dodgers just wanted to remove the son from the father's purview and eliminate any dilemmas or uncomfortable situations in which Mattingly would have to weigh in on his son's professional future.

Another possibility is that, as has been rumored, the Dodgers were upset about this Twitter post, in which Preston Mattingly hinted at his father's news hours before the move was announced by the team. The trade could have been punitive.

In either case, you have to wonder whether either Mattingly is happy about the move.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Tags: Dodgers, Indians
Posted on: September 25, 2010 2:08 pm

Jays interview Melvin, Wedge

Bob Melvin
Cito Gaston isn't departing the Blue Jays for another week, but the team isn't wasting any time looking for his replacement.

The Toronto Sun reports that the Jays this week interviewed former Mariners and Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin as well as former Indians manager Eric Wedge. Both have other potential suitors, as Wedge has interviewed with the Cubs and Melvin is scheduled to meet the Cubs and is considered a candidate with the Mets if (OK, when) they fire Jerry Manuel.

Melvin (pictured) interviewed to join Manuel's coaching staff after last season and was not hired, but Jeff Wilpon, the son of the Mets' owner, hired Melvin as a scout. Melvin, a former journeyman major-league catcher, has a 493-508 career record in six-plus seasons as a manager. Wedge went 561-573 in seven years at the helm of the Indians and was replaced after last season.

The Jays will interview their bench coach, Nick Leyva, who managed the Phillies for two-plus seasons. Also on Toronto's radar, according to the Sun: Tim Wallach, Triple-A manager in the Dodgers system; Ryne Sandberg, Triple-A manager in the Cubs system; Rockies hitting coach Don Baylor; and Juan Samuel, who was interim manager of the Orioles for much of this season.

Expect to see these same names crop up all over baseball this winter, as there could be a record amount of managerial turnover. The game of musical chairs has just begun.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 22, 2010 5:43 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 5:43 pm

Sanchez can get Giants into record territory

Jonathan Sanchez
Jonathan Sanchez has been on quite a roll, and if the Giants left-hander can keep it up Wednesday night, he'll have the San Francisco pitching staff rolling into record territory.

The Giants have allowed three or fewer runs in 15 consecutive games. According to stats provided to the team by Elias Sports Bureau, that's one game behind the single-season record for the live-ball era (since 1920), 16 straight games by the 1972 Indians and 1981 A's. And it's worth noting that both of those teams did it in April, not in the heat of a pennant race.

San Francisco has a collective ERA of 1.57 in 18 September games, an amazing turnaround from August, when the staff had a 4.55 ERA.

Sanchez, who goes against the Cubs on Wednesday, has been a big part of that, dominating in his three September starts. He's 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA (one earned run in 19 innings) this month, and has lost just twice in 15 starts since June 30.

Interestingly, despite making 152 career appearances over five seasons in San Francisco, Sanchez has only faced the Cubs twice for a total of five innings. With a half-game lead in the National League West, the Giants hope to see Sanchez pile up some numbers against Chicago and contribute to a record-tying streak.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 11, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: September 11, 2010 5:25 pm

Masterson removed from rotation

Justin Masterson Justin Masterson is finished as a starter, as he is on the verge of reaching his innings limit for the season.

The report out of the Indians' Twitter account has Masterson available out of the bullpen Saturday after baffling the Angels for one run over seven innings on Tuesday.

Masterson made 28 starts, posting a 4.88 ERA in 166 innings. The groundball specialist walked four batters per nine innings, checking in with a 6.8 K/9 and struggling against left-handers thanks to throwing sidearm. A sidearm motion exposes the ball for a longer period of time to lefties and they are able to get more effective swings on the ball.

While Masterson improved his 5.31 pre-All Star Break ERA to 4.13 after the break, he still needs an out-pitch to retire lefties. Otherwise, his future is best-served in the bullpen, and the Indians will get a look at that for the rest of the season.

With Masterson's spate of recent starts, he's put himself in prime location for a 2011 starting gig -- and it doesn't hurt there aren't many pitchers standing in his way.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:22 am

Attendance on slight decline

Major League Baseball is on track to see an attendance decline for the second straight year following record turnstile spinning in 2008.

Analysis by bizofbaseball.com shows the numbers entering Thursday are down 0.85 percent from last season, with an average crowd of 30,156, down from 30,415 last year.

The Mets have seen the biggest decline, going from the boost of Citi Field's inaugural season in 2009 to a drop of 6,339 per game in this disappointing year. The Indians, who have baseball's lowest attendance, are off 4,543 per game and the Blue Jays 4,291.

The opening of Target Field has provided the biggest boost, with the Twins up 11,091 per game. The Rangers are seeing bigger crowds (by 3,097) in their successful season, and the Rockies are up 3,006 per game.

Despite the overall decline, I don't think this news can be viewed as anything but good. Despite a deep and prolonged economic downturn, baseball posted the fifth-highest attendance in history last year and have stayed within a percentage point of that level this year. All while the cost of going to a game, and the number of entertainment alternatives, continue to rise.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 7, 2010 5:08 pm

Asian Games could be big for Choo

Shin-Soo Choo Indians fans may want to cross their fingers that South Korea wins gold medal at the Asian Games in November -- it's their best chance Shin-Soo Choo will be able to avoid his two-year mandatory Army service.

Choo has been named to South Korean's final 24-man roster. If the team wins gold, all the players will likely receive an exemption from military service. All able-bodied South Korean men are required to serve two years in the military by the end of their 30th year. Choo turned 28 in July.

Choo could also chose to simply not return to South Korea and attempt to become an American citizen.

The Indians, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince writes , are unsurprisingly fully behind Choo's choice to play in the Asian Games.

"As always, with international competition, we leave the decision up to the player," assistant general manager Chris Antonetti told Castrovince. "In Choo's case, he certainly wants to represent his country. Provided there' not an injury or workload concern, we are always in support of international competition."

South Korean, Japan and Taiwan are the favorites in the competition. South Korea won gold in 1998 and 2002, with Chinese Taipei winning in 2006 when the South Koreans took the bronze.

When South Korea won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the entire team was given a waiver from military service. However, Choo was playing in the big leagues at the time and was not a member of that team. Members of the runner-up team in the inaugural World Baseball Classic also got a reprieve from military service, but Choo wasn't on that team, either.

Although the Indians have rarely made as big a deal about Choo's service as fans and media have, a win in the Asian Games would let everyone breathe a little easier.

"it would be," Antonetti said, "the ideal scenario."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 3, 2010 5:31 pm

Looking ahead at Indians 2011 rotation

Fausto Carmona It's possible the Indians' rotation could have five new faces in it for 2011.

Granted, Fausto Carmono would have to be traded, Justin Masterson sent to the bullpen, Carlos Carrasco back to Triple-A and even then that leaves Mitch Talbot to deal with.

Regardless, the 2011 Indians rotation has the potential to be drastically different than the five pitchers who logged the most starts: Masterson, Carmona (pictured), Talbot, Jake Westbrook and David Huff.

Huff seems to be on the outs as the organization has soured on him, plus his 6.21 ERA is rather unsightly. Masterson has struggled against left-handed batters and may be better suited to the bullpen, where he will move to shortly as he approaches his innings limit. While Masterson may be better suited in the bullpen, the Indians have so far refused to make that official switch with manager Manny Acta saying Masterson "will be sent home as a starter," reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer .

Then there's Carmona, who is just 26 and locked up to a deal through 2011 plus affordable club options through 2014. That made him a hot commodity at the trade deadline, and even though Carmona can log plenty of innings for the Indians in that time frame, the fact remains the Indians are one-to-two years away from even thinking about contending. Carmona is one of the team's remaining valuable trade assets, so bet on Cleveland heavily considering moving him.

The last member with a lot of starts is Mitch Talbot, who got the year off to a promising start, posting a 3.99 ERA in 17 starts, but the second half has been full of injuries and regression to the mean. Oh, and did I mention he has a 6.03 ERA at home and 2.86 mark on the road? Not exactly the model of consistency you're looking for out of a starter.

So what will happen in 2011? The guess here is that recently recalled Carlos Carrasco will find himself with a rotation spot after a successful Triple-A stint, with Talbot and Masterson joining them. Talbot is a young, cost-controllable righty who can at the very least soak up innings, while Masterson and the organization needs to come together and find a pitch to get lefties out with.

Another rotation spot will likely go to one of Jeanmar Gomez, Aaron Laffey or Josh Tomlin. Assuming Carmona is moved, the final spot would go to to a veteran right-hander who signs a deal after finding the free agent market chilly. Could that mean the return of Kevin Millwood?

-- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com