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07/24/06 7:55 PM ET
Notes: Callup Mastny added to bullpen
Mujica sent back to Buffalo to work on split-fingered fastball
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Like most starting pitchers, when Tom Mastny was moved to a bullpen role, he was disappointed. At least, initially. "Then I took it as a new challenge," Mastny said. "And if I have a bad outing, there's less time to think about it." Mastny hasn't had many bad outings this season, which is why the Indians purchased his contract from Triple-A Buffalo on Monday, optioning right-hander Ed Mujica to the Bisons. The right-handed Mastny, acquired by the Indians in the December 2004 trade that sent John McDonald to the Blue Jays, has pitched out of the bullpen at Buffalo and Double-A Akron this season. With the Aeros, he went 0-1 with a save and a 1.09 ERA in 12 appearances. Since being promoted to Buffalo on May 16, Mastny has gone 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 24 games. Opposing Triple-A batters hit just .184 (25-for-136) against him with no home runs. "You know what you're going to get from him with the way he attacks hitters," manager Eric Wedge said of Mastny. "He goes right at people. He's earned the opportunity to be up here." The Tribe will break Mastny, 25, in as a middle reliever. He has a four-pitch mix that includes a fastball in the upper 80s, a curveball, a sinker and the occasional changeup. The Indians didn't even have the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Mastny in their big-league camp during Spring Training, but his performance at two levels put him on the radar. "I've always been overlooked," he said. "But I knew if you put up numbers, you're going to get a shot." And here it is. Martinez pulled: Catcher Victor Martinez was scratched from the lineup for Monday's series opener with the Tigers because of an injured big toe on his left foot. Martinez fouled a ball off the toe in the fourth inning of Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Twins. "I wanted to have the doc [head team physician Dr. Mark Schickendantz] take a look at it," Wedge said. "[Martinez] is available but not going to start." Kelly Shoppach started in Martinez's place behind the plate. Work on it: The Indians sent Mujica down to work on his split-fingered fastball. "He added a split in Spring Training," Wedge said. "He fills the zone and throws a lot of strikes, but we want him to command the ball a little better." Mujica has had little command trouble in the Minors this season. In 38 2/3 innings of work between Akron and Buffalo, he has yet to allow an earned run. With the Indians, Mujica went 0-1 with a 2.63 ERA in six appearances. "Ed did a good job," Wedge said. "Just like with [Rafael] Perez, we want him to work on a few things then get him back up here." Here's the question: Who was the last Indians batter to draw two walks in the same inning? Belliard watch: Ronnie Belliard remained out of the lineup for the fourth straight game with a strained left hamstring. It's looking as though he'll avoid a trip to the disabled list. "He continues to get better every day," Wedge said. "I know he's sure tired of being in that training room." Rookie Joe Inglett has filled in admirably for Belliard, and he'll continue to get starts at various positions when the second baseman returns, Wedge said. "He's done a great job," Wedge said of Inglett. "He's earned playing time." Down on the farm: Buffalo outfielder Jason Dubois was named the International League's Batter of the Week for July 17-23. During the week, Dubois hit .417 (10-for-24) with four homers and 10 RBIs, raising his season average to .264. ... Lou Merloni, playing first base, drove in the game-winning run on a single with two outs in the ninth inning of the Bisons' 7-6 win over Syracuse on Sunday. Merloni went 4-for-5 in the game. ... Akron right-hander Adam Miller earned his 10th win by giving up just one run on five hits over five innings in an 8-3 victory over Harrisburg. ... Right-hander Jensen Lewis also gave up just one run on five hits over five innings to lead Class A Kinston to a 4-1 win over Potomac in a game shortened by rain. Left fielder Jordan Brown homered for the second straight day. ... Class A Lake County right-hander Jim Deters is 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA over his last five starts after leading the Captains to a 10-2 win over West Virginia. Newly acquired catcher Max Ramirez was 2-for-2 with an RBI. Tribe tidbits: Ramon Vazquez spelled shortstop Jhonny Peralta on Monday. "We're going to give Jhonny a few more off days in the second half," Wedge said. "We'll see if that helps him and keeps him fresh." ... Right-hander Jake Westbrook is moving up in the world. Before Monday's game, Westbrook moved his locker to a corner spot in the Indians' clubhouse that is unofficially known as the "Charlie Nagy locker." ... Westbrook and head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff will interact with local youth Tuesday morning at Jacobs Field in a program designed to teach the benefits of setting a fitness program. The American Diabetes Association and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons will bring nutrition and medical experts and nearly 100 youth to participate. And the answer is: Manny Ramirez drew two walks in the fourth inning of a Sept. 10, 1999, game against the White Sox. On deck: The Indians and Tigers continue their three-game set with Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. ET game at Jacobs Field. Right-hander Paul Byrd (7-6, 4.28 ERA) will start opposite left-hander Kenny Rogers (11-3, 3.97 ERA). Tuesday is $1 Hot Dog Night at the ballpark.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.