Laffey eyes return to 'pen in SeptemberCLEVELAND -- Aaron Laffey figures to be one of the Indians' September callups, because, three outings into his Minor League rehab assignment, he's not yet ready to join the Tribe bullpen. Laffey has been out since July 20 with left shoulder fatigue. It caused his velocity to take a noticeable dip in his last four starts before going on the disabled list. After letting Laffey rest, the Indians decided it was not worth stretching him back out as a starter for the stretch run. So when Laffey returns, it will be in the bullpen. But for now, he is still trying to get his velocity and feel for his pitches back. "He's not 100 percent yet," manager Manny Acta said. "He doesn't feel physically ready to compete and get Major League hitters out." In his third rehab appearance, Laffey went 1 1/3 innings for Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday night and allowed two runs on four hits. He has tossed a combined 4 1/3 innings for Columbus, Double-A Akron and Class A Lake County. Laffey's fastball maxed out around 82 mph when he was dealing with the fatigue. His normal velocity is in the upper 80s. Acta said Laffey is not all the way back in that department. "It's better than it was in his last four starts," Acta said. "But it's not all the way back. He continues to make progress."
Germano sticks with Tribe after e-mailCLEVELAND -- Justin Germano needed more than just his healthy right arm and his career numbers to get the Indians' attention. He needed an e-mail account, too. Desperate for an opportunity stateside after spending the 2009 season in Japan, Germano fired off an e-mail to Tribe general manager Mark Shapiro and farm director Ross Atkins in March, looking for a job. The Indians didn't have a spot for Germano on their Major League or upper Minor League clubs, but they figured they could squeeze him in eventually. So they signed him to a Minor League contract and sent him to extended spring training camp. Five months later, Germano has become a surprisingly effective cog in manager Manny Acta's bullpen. He has yet to allow an earned run in 14 2/3 innings of work. "He has a good feel for pitching," Acta said. "You see him changing speeds. He throws the same amount of fastballs, changeups and slow curves. That's what pitching is about. If you can't blow them away, mix them up." This is Germano's first extended stint in a bullpen. He joined the Tribe in an emergency situation July 30 and was only supposed to be here a couple days. But when closer Kerry Wood was dealt at the Trade Deadline, the 28-year-old Germano stayed. He's been here ever since, motivated to prove himself at this level and avoid another stint overseas. "That's helped my drive to succeed," said Germano, who declined the option of remaining with Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks for the 2010 season. "I didn't want to go back." Thanks to a well-received e-mail plea, Germano is here. And with the way he's been pitching, he's not going anywhere anytime soon.
Manny Acta said center fielder Michael Brantley, who returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing four games with a left ankle sprain, shouldn't have any physical restrictions going forward and should once again be a regular in the lineup. ... Over the course of a four-game losing streak they took into Wednesday's play, the Indians hit .147 (19-for-129) with three runs scored, two doubles and a homer. ... Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall hit his 16th homer for Double-A Akron on Tuesday. He's batting .351 (20-for-57) with five doubles, four homers and 19 RBIs over his last 16 games. ... The Indians have been shut out 11 times this year, tied for most in the AL. ... For more on the Tribe, visit CastroTurf.