Posted on: June 27, 2010 12:32 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2010 8:47 pm

Branyan returns to Seattle in trade

Russell Branyan Maybe Russell Branyan can bring back the magic of the Mariners' 2009 season, the team traded two minor leaguers to Cleveland for the slugger.

Branyan hit 31 home runs for Seattle in 2009, when the Mariners, despite not making the playoffs, were a feel-good story and posted a winning record. This season, not so much. The Mariners are 30-43, Ken Griffey Jr. has retired and much of the off-season optimism has been drowned by Seattle rain.

The Indians aren't any better, boasting a 26-46 record. Cleveland received minor-league outfielder Ezequiel Carrera and minor-league shortstop Juan Diaz in exchange for Branyan and a player to be named or cash.

Carrera, 22, was named the Mariners' 15th-best prospect by Baseball America and was hitting .268 in 64 games for Triple-A Tacoma before being put on the disabled list with a left hip pointer. Diaz, 21, is playing at High-A High Desert.

More importantly for the Indians, the team called up Matt LaPorta, who will now become the team's everyday first baseman with Branyan's departure. LaPorta was the key figure in the trade of CC Sabathia to the Brewers.

LaPorta struggled in his first stint with the Indians this year, hitting .218/.290/.277 with a home run and seven RBI in 35 games. Despite struggles at the big league level, it's obvious Triple-A holds no challenge for the University of Florida product -- LaPorta is hitting .362/.457/.638 with five home runs and 16 RBI for Columbus

Branyan was signed in February to a one-year, $2 million contract and was hitting .263/.328/.491 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI. This will be his second stint with the Mariners and end his second stint with the Indians. In all, he's played for eight different teams and been with the Indians, Mariners and Brewers twice.

UPDATE: The Seattle Times ' Geoff Baker reports Branyan is expected to arrive in Milwaukee for the Mariners' game against the Brewers just after noon, Milwaukee time. If he can get to the park by the 1:10 p.m. local start time, he'll be on the roster, available to pinch hit. In that case, Mike Carp will be option to Triple-A. If Branyan's cab doesn't beat the clock, Carp gets to stay with the team one more day.

But that won't mean there won't be a move made today for the Mariners -- the team has already called up pitcher David Pauley to serve as the team's long-man out of the bullpen on Sunday and put Mike Sweeney on the disabled list with back spasms. Sweeney has a history of back problems, but this one is nowhere near as serious, the team said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 25, 2010 9:25 pm
Edited on: June 26, 2010 12:41 am

Indians' Santana exits game

Carlos Santana Indians rookie catcher Carlos Santana left Friday's game in Cincinnati following his fifth-inning home run with a left thumb bruise, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovice tweets .

Santana hit a two-run home run off of Reds starter Aaron Harang in the top of the fifth, but grimaced in pain before he even got to first base.

In the bottom of the inning, the Indians had a whole new battery, replacing not only Santana with Mike Redmond, but also starter Aaron Laffey with Joe Smith, who promptly surrendered four runs to the Reds.

UPDATE: The Cleveland Plain Dealer 's Paul Hoynes reports X-rays on Santana's hand were negative.

"It was his catching hand and he didn't want to take any chances," Indians manager Manny Acta said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 24, 2010 7:07 pm

Minor leaguer Lindsay getting around

Shane Lindsay At this rate, Shane Lindsay may get a complex.

On Thursday, the Indians designated Lindsay for assignment to make room for infielder Jayson Nix, claimed off of waivers from the White Sox.

Lindsay, a 25-year old right-hander from Australia hasn't spent a day in the big leagues, but he would have spent his fair share of time in the transactions section of the sports page if those things still existed.

Lindsay had pitched in four games for Double-A Erie since the Indians claimed off of waivers from the Yankees on June 1. He was with the Yankees for just two weeks after he was claimed off of waivers by the Rockies. He appeared in 14 games for the Rockies' Triple-A squad in Colorado Springs, allowing 10 runs in 13 2/3 innings  (6.59 ERA) with 17 walks and 19 strikeouts.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 24, 2010 5:45 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2010 7:21 pm

Three Indians minor leaguers charged with assault

Beau Mills Three minor league players in the Cleveland Indians organization were charged with felony assault after a fight at an Akron, Ohio club, including Astros manager Brad Mills' son.

Beau Mills (pictured), a 2007 first-round pick, was accused along with Jerad Head and Josh Tomlin of assaulting Theodore Zeman on June 3 near closing time of Whiskey Dick's, a bar in Akron, reports the Akron Beacon Journal . Mills and Head appeared in court Thursday to plead not guilty. Tomlin did not appear as he pitched Wednesday for Triple-A Columbus. Police expect Tomlin to surrender to authorities.

Zeman suffered a punctured lung and rib fractures, necessitating a two-day stay in a hospital, said Akron police Lt. Rick Edwards.

Defense attorney Lawrence Whitney is representing Mills and Head, and says the two deny assaulting Zeman. According to the police report, Zeman was at the bar when the three players started teasing him. Zeman's girlfriend, Ashley Kaitwasser, said that "five or six people" she thought were players suggested "he had nothing to offer his girlfriend."

When Zeman tried to get the men to stop, he was assaulted around 2:20 a.m. The players had just won a game with Mills playing first base and Head sitting on the bench. Outfielder John Drennan was with the three players at the bar, but did not have charges filed against him.

Police were called to the scene by a witness and found Zeman vomiting multiple times. A preliminary examination of Zeman by an Akron General Medical Center physician revealed "no serious injuries and no broken ribs or other bones."

A felonious assault conviction can carry anywhere from probation to eight years in prison.

"We are aware of the incident," Indians assistant GM Chris Antonetti said. "We will allow the legal process to take its course. We'll have no comment until the legal process is complete."

Mills is hitting .205/.281/.302 for Akron in 228 plate appearances and has largely been considered a bust. Head, a 27-year-old outfielder, has a .232/.315/.439 line in 92 plate appearances, and has also appeared in six games for Triple-A Columbus. Tomlin, 25, is 7-2 with a 2.70 ERA for the Clippers in 73 1/3 innings. He will likely have a major-league career.

UPDATE: Brad Mills didn't have much to say on Thursday when he spoke to reporters, according to the Houston Chronicle 's Bernardo Fallas.

"I did not know anything about it, to be honest with you," Mills told reporters following the Astros' 7-5 victory over the Giants. "I'd be remiss if I were to make any other comment because I don't know anything. I really don't."

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 22, 2010 12:16 am

What are the odds?

Any Baltimore fans harboring dreams of a miracle should give up now. Even if they had a million chances, the Orioles wouldn't make the playoffs this year.

That's the conclusion of a postseason odds report compiled by baseballprospectus.com, which ran a computer simulation of the remainder of the 2010 season a million times. The Orioles were the only team that came out with a zero percent occurrence of making the playoffs. The Royals, Indians, Mariners, Nationals, Astros, Pirates and Diamondbacks each were under 1 percent.

In the crowded American League East race, the Yankees won the division 49 percent of the time, the Red Sox 26 percent and the Rays 21 percent. The best bet to reach the postseason? The Rangers, who made it in 81 percent of the simulated seasons.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 21, 2010 5:17 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2010 1:17 am

Report: Mets interested in Carmona

Fausto Carmona As the Mets search high and low for starting pitching, Fausto Carmona has emerged in their crosshairs, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com.

The Mets may prefer Carmona to any of the other potential high-priced free agents such as Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook or Ben Sheets because all three are eligible for free agency after the season. Carmona's price would come higher because he's locked up for years, but the Mets may be more willing to pay the price as opposed to a three-month rental.

The Indians pitcher is making $4.9 million the year, plus $6.1 million in 2011. Cleveland also holds club options for 2012 and 2013, making Carmona an attractive long-term candidate -- presuming he doesn't regress. The youngster is currently enjoying his best season since the 2007 campaign which saw the Indians come one game away from the World Series. Injury isn't completely to blame for his two-year absence from success: He made 46 combined starts at the big-league level from 2008-09 and nine minor-league starts. He did hit the 60-day DL in July, 2008 for a left hip strain.

The Indians wouldn't be opposed to dealing the 26-year-old but would require a hefty return. Cleveland may be rebuilding, but Carmona is certainly a big part of the rebuilding effort.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 19, 2010 7:39 pm

Peralta, Wood ready for trade season

The Indians aren't going to win anything this year, that much is clear. That's why at least two Cleveland players tell the Cleveland Plain Dealer 's Paul Hoynes that they'll try to avoid trade talk, but won't be caught unaware.

"There's a good chance something could happen," Jhonny Peralta said. "I don't know what they're thinking right now, but it could happen to me and a couple of other guys."

The Indians have a $7 million option on Peralta after this season. Closer Kerry Wood can also become a free agent after the season.

"It's part of the game," said Wood. "I'm sure it's not unrealistic. But at this point, you just try to go up and put zeroes up."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 13, 2010 1:21 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2010 3:15 pm

Strasmas II: Electric Boogaloo

Stephen Strasburg started Sunday where he left off in his last start, striking out the first batter he faced in his second big-league start. Cleveland's Trevor Crowe was the eight-consecutive batter Strasburg struck out. Shin-Soo Choo followed for Strasburg's ninth strikeout in as many batters faced.

Cleveland's own rookie, Carlos Santana, at least put wood to the ball, lining out to end the first inning.

Second inning: The Russian's cut! He's human. Travis Hafner homers off Strasburg to tie the game at 1. But he has two more strikeouts, so the legend isn't quite dead. Hafner's homer is the only hit so far.

Third inning: More mortality -- no strikeouts, just three boring ground balls. Through three, Strasburg has 38 pitches, 25 strikes. His opponent, David Huff has 39 pitches, 33 strikes, for what it's worth.

Fourth inning: Apparently Adam Dunn doesn't want Stephen Strasburg to ever lose a game. Dunn homers -- like he did in Strasburg's first start -- to give the lead back to the phenom. Strasburg gets Choo again on three pitches -- the second strike was a nasty backdoor pitch and then the big curve for his fifth strikeout of the game. What's special about Strasburg so far, to me, isn't the velocity, it's those other pitches -- and I'd have a feeling Choo would agree. And for those poo-poo'd his debut against Pittsburgh, Cleveland may not have the best offense, but Choo is a professional hitter. Santana goads Strasburg into his first career walk. How about that, a guy who throws 100 who has that kind of control. And as that's written, Strasburg walks Hafner. Things then return to normal, getting Austin Kearns for K No. 6.

Fifth inning: Sir Strasburg doesn't like the mound at Progressive Field. A little delay as they repair his landing spot. So with two outs and a man on first, Trevor Crowe is left trying to bunt for a hit, because it seems like a better chance than actually swinging the bat. Ryan Zimmerman lets him know that's not a sound strategy. 

Sixth inning: Ivan Rodrguez's two-run double gives Strasburg even more of a cushion, and then Ian Desmond made it 6-1 with a two-run triple. Santana gets a bloop single for just the second hit of the day for the Indians. And then, after a couple of balls to Hafner, Strasburg's looking at his landing area again and pitching coach Dan McCatty comes to the mound. And now Jim Rigglemman is out again to talk about the mound and the field crew is out there to work on it. And now Strasburg walks Kearns and that's it for him. Strasburg went 5.1 innings, two hits, five walks, eight strikeouts and a home run. He left the bases loaded, so his line is incomplete. He threw 95 pitches, 52 strikes. He as brilliant through five, but struggled int he sixth. Drew Storen replaced him. Storen got Russell Branyan to pop up for the second out of the inning and strikes out Jhonny Peralta to close the book on Strasburg. 5.1 innings, two hits, one run, five walks, eight strikeouts.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

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