Tribe gives Brantley another audition
Lewis optioned to Triple-A Columbus for fourth time
CLEVELAND -- Last week's Austin Kearns trade cleared the way for Michael Brantley to make his return to the Indians' outfield. But Brantley had to wait the required 10 days after getting optioned to Triple-A Columbus before he was eligible to be promoted again.That 10-day period passed, and Brantley was officially added to the active roster before Friday's series opener against the Twins. Brantley arrived at the expense of right-handed reliever Jensen Lewis, who was optioned to Columbus for the fourth time this season. Brantley, 23, opened the season as the Tribe's starting left fielder, only to be sent back to Columbus two weeks later when Russell Branyan came off the disabled list, moving Matt LaPorta from first base to left. After more than two months in the Minors, Brantley returned to the Tribe as a result of a thumb injury to right fielder Shin-Soo Choo. But when Choo returned from the DL, the outfield picture was crowded once again. Now, with Kearns sent to the Yankees, the Indians are expected to take a real look at Brantley these last two months of the season to determine if he can be counted on as an everyday option in the outfield next year. With Grady Sizemore done for the season thanks to knee surgery, Brantley is expected to man center and bat leadoff on a consistent basis from here on out. "It's about making the adjustment up here," Tribe manager Manny Acta said. "We have the time and opportunity to give him. We feel Michael's a guy who's going to hit up here." In 26 games in the bigs this year, Brantley, one of the players acquired in 2008's CC Sabathia trade with the Brewers, has batted just .157 with a homer, a double and seven RBIs in 102 at-bats. His numbers at Columbus have been a little more encouraging -- a .319 average, four homers, 13 doubles, two triples and 13 stolen bases in 67 games. The Indians hope consistent playing time up here will allow him to settle in. Brantley, after all, showed promise when filling in for an injured Sizemore last September. "He dug himself a big hole [with his numbers early this season]," Acta said. "But we're not looking at the numbers. We see the at-bats he's had up here. He put up better at-bats the last time he was here." As for Lewis, this is technically the second time he has been optioned out this week but the first time the move became official. Lewis actually flew to Columbus from Boston on Monday after being told he was optioned to make room for starter David Huff. But when catcher Carlos Santana and designated hitter Travis Hafner were placed on the disabled list Monday afternoon, Lewis was told to come back to Boston. He appeared in that night's game, threw a pitch behind the back of Adrian Beltre, igniting a benches-clearing fracas, and was ejected and later fined.
Santana has successful knee surgery
CLEVELAND -- Carlos Santana had season-ending surgery on his left knee Friday at the Cleveland Clinic, which is inherently bad news.But the good news was that the surgery did not uncover any additional damage to the knee than the MRI had unveiled. Santana's lateral collateral ligament was repaired, and no additional restructuring in the knee was required. "For us, that's good news," Tribe manager Manny Acta said. Good news in the big picture, not the small. The Indians will be without the services of the rookie Santana, who had been one of the bright spots in a rebuilding season. But because no further damage was uncovered, Santana remains on track to be back in action by Spring Training 2011. Santana injured the knee in a collision with the Red Sox's Ryan Kalish in a play at the plate Monday night in Boston.
Talbot, Reyes backed up on mound
CLEVELAND -- Back problems pulled Mitch Talbot out of the Tribe rotation and pulled Anthony Reyes out of his rehab assignment at Double-A Akron. But both right-handers are on track to be back on the mound in a game in the coming days.Talbot, who was placed on the disabled list July 30 with a mid-back strain, threw a bullpen session at Progressive Field on Friday and is expected to throw three or four innings for Class A Mahoning Valley on Monday. "After that," Tribe manager Manny Acta said, "we'll see if he's ready to take his turn in the rotation." Reyes could be a rotation option later this year, if his rehab from 2009 Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery goes well. But his rehab was paused because of the back issue, which appears minor. Reyes also threw a bullpen for the Major League coaching staff on Friday and is expected to resume his rehab next week. "He looked good," Acta said.
The Indians made another waiver claim on Friday, grabbing infielder/outfielder Drew Sutton from the Reds. Sutton was optioned to Triple-A Columbus. He appeared in two games with the Reds in May and was batting .262 with three homers and 27 RBIs in 84 games with Louisville. His addition brings the Tribe's 40-man to 39 players. ... The Tribe and 11th-round Draft pick Hunter Jones, a shortstop from Lakewood, Calif. High School and the son of former Major Leaguer Tracy Jones, came to terms. The Indians have signed 15 picks from this year's Draft. The deadline to sign picks is Monday. ... Former All-Star outfielder Kenny Lofton and former GM and scout, the late Cy Slapnicka, will be inducted into the Tribe Hall of Fame before Saturday night's game. ... The Indians are starting a new tradition at Friday night games, having two players sign autographs in the stands behind the Tribe dugout at 6 p.m. Fausto Carmona and Jordan Brown participated on Friday. ... Carmona bought All-Star Game T-shirts for all his teammates during his trip to the Midsummer Classic. They were waiting for the players upon their return from the road trip on Friday.