It was a busy holiday weekend for the Tribe, despite dropping two of three to the Oakland A’s. Let’s take a look at what happened:
Rightfielder Shin-Soo Choo injured his right thumb diving for a Jack Cust double on Friday. He was placed on the 15-day DL, although the injury appears to be more serious than originally thought. Choo may need surgery and best case scenario, he isn’t back until September. This is a bigger blow to the Indians than losing Grady Sizemore or Asdrubal Cabrera. Why? Well Sizemore was having a terrible year anyways, and when Cabrera went down, the Indians still had Choo. No more. The #’s 1, 2 and 3 hitters from the opening day lineup are all on the DL, and none of them are expected back anytime soon. Choo led the team in home runs and OBP and probably would have represented the Indians in the All-Star game if not for the injury. From a PR standpoint, this could be devastating to the Indians. They’ve lost their three best hitters and their two most marketable players this season. Might as well start pimping out the kids.
And that seems to be exactly what the Indians will do. OF Michael Brantley was recalled from Triple-A Columbus prior to yesterday’s game. He batted leadoff and played center field. It seems the Indians would prefer to play Brantley in center, Trevor Crowe in left field (where his defensive shortcomings can be hidden) and slide Austin Kearns over to right field. Brantley went 0-4, but I’m not going to judge the kid based on one game back, especially when nobody else in the lineup was doing much offensively either. 1B Matt LaPorta showed that going down to Triple-A can do wonders for the confidence, so maybe Brantley’s stint in the minors will have the same effect. Either way, the Tribe is going to find out what they have in Michael Brantley.
Fausto Carmona was named the Indians 2010 All-Star. It’s a token gesture, as every team must have a representative, but Carmona is a good pick. He’s pitched well, especially lately. In his last 10 games only once has he pitched fewer than six innings (6/24 at Philadelphia), he has an ERA of 3.69 and a WHIP of 1.29. Not too shabby. Given what a wild card Carmona was going into this season, the Indians have to be thrilled with the way he’s pitched, and being selected to the All-Star game is fitting. Hopefully he doesn’t fall off in the second half. I don’t buy the rumors that the Indians are shopping Carmona, but if they are, this just boosted his value. Again, it’s kind of a token gesture, because there were really only four choices on the Indians: Carmona, the injured Choo (who was the best pick had he been healthy), Kearns or Mitch Talbot (both of whom had tailed off recently). But given that a year ago Carmona was in the minors, it makes for a good story.