06/23/11 10:00 AM ET
Inbox: Will Carmona be replaced in rotation?
Beat reporter Jordan Bastian answers Tribe fans' questions
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
Father's Day was this past Sunday, but it stirred up plenty of memories of my old man. For the record, Dad Bastian never likes when I call him that, but that's what happens when you grow up with older parents. Tough break, pops.
I've got to say, I never really realized how much work he put in. The daily commute to the city. The hours spent working in the yard. Making sure to take time to watch the last few innings of a ballgame on TV with me or stepping away from his desk to hit me ground balls or play catch on the ballfield next to our house.
I remember experiencing a tinge of embarrassment when I'd work up to a comfortable distance and my dad could no longer throw a baseball all the way back to me on a fly. The baseball would bounce a few feet short, and I'd pick it up and fire it back on a line. He'd keep bouncing it back as long as I wanted to throw.
Mom was always the more athletic one of my parents.
At the time, I hoped no one was watching. The old guy was making a fool of himself. Years later, looking back, it is a moment that I cherish. He could have turned me down -- told me to call up a friend. Instead, he put in the time and pushed his aging arm to the limit. I might not have learned anything from that at the time, but I sure have now.
So a belated Happy Father's Day to my nearly 70-year-old dad, Doug. And I wish the same to the rest of the good dads out there. Keep on doing the little things, because the day will probably come when your kids finally appreciate it.
Now, on to this week's Indians Inbox ...
I'm sure you've been flooded with questions regarding Indians starter Fausto Carmona. I love Fausto. I was there for Game 2 of the American League Division Series in 2007 when he beat the Yankees. But if the Tribe is serious about winning, how long can it continue to throw him out there?
At Triple-A Columbus, Cleveland has options in Jeanmar Gomez (6-2, 2.58 ERA), Zach McAllister (8-2, 2.82 ERA), Scott Barnes (6-1, 3.53 ERA) and David Huff (6-2, 3.64 ERA). One of these guys has to be able to at least keep the Tribe in games.
-- Eric B., Fostoria, Ohio
Carmona has been stuck in a horrendous slump, but don't expect him to go anywhere any time soon. He is not going to be sent down to the Minors, and Indians manager Manny Acta noted recently that the team is not considering moving him to the bullpen. The Tribe also insists Carmona is healthy, so a trip to the disabled list is out, too.
Carmona is being given every chance to sort his issues out every fifth game, and Cleveland appears to be taking this approach for a couple reasons.
First off, Carmona doesn't have Minor League options. Even if the Tribe wanted to send the big sinkerballer down to an affiliate, the team can't take the route without exposing Carmona to waivers. In 2009, the Indians optioned Carmona all the way to rookie ball to fix his mechanics and get his mind right. Such a route is off the table now.
Beyond that, neither Carmona nor the Indians believe this is similar to what happened two years ago. Carmona's biggest problem this year has been the separation (or lack thereof) in velocity between his offspeed pitches and his fastball. As far as Acta can tell, Carmona is not laboring physically or mentally.
There is also the fact that Carmona is coming off a solid 2010 season in which he piled up 210 1/3 innings, posted a 3.77 ERA and won 13 games for a 93-loss team. Earlier this season, Carmona went 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA over an eight-start stretch from April 7-May 13. The stuff is obviously there.
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It is also worth noting that Carmona has actually been strong for the majority of his innings this year. Consider that he has allowed 58 percent of his earned runs (38) in only 12 percent of his total innings pitched (10 innings). Over the other 86 1/3 innings, Carmona has a 2.92 ERA. When things have gone bad, they've just gone really bad.
So, yes, it's true that Carmona has gone 1-6 with a 9.73 ERA in his last seven starts, with a .998 opponents' OPS, and it has looked as ugly as that stat line. He isn't going anywhere, though. So if guys like Gomez, McAllister or Huff (all on the 40-man roster), or even Barnes (not on the roster), are going to get their shot, it will likely have to come through a different opportunity.
Now for some rapid-fire responses ...
Why not have Shelley Duncan on the team instead of Austin Kearns for pinch-hitting purposes, especially with a nine-game Interleague road stretch coming up?
-- Rob M., Broadview Heights, Ohio
Kearns has his critics, and it's not hard to see why with his .207 average, two RBIs and .583 OPS through 30 games. Plain and simple, though, Kearns does not have options and he has a big supporter in Acta. To swap Kearns for Duncan, the Tribe would need to part ways with Kearns. Right now, it doesn't look like the Indians are ready to go down that path.
I would actually like to see the Indians drop Kearns and promote Lonnie Chisenhall to split time with Jack Hannahan at third base. Hannahan is great defensively, but very streaky offensively. What are your thoughts on that?
-- Brandon K., Blackstone, Va.
When Chisenhall joins the Indians, it will be for regular playing time -- not as part of a platoon. Besides, both Chisenhall and Hannahan are left-handed hitters. Typically, a platoon has one player who hits from the right side and another from the left.
With the offensive struggles the Tribe is having over the past month, what are the chances the team will summon Chisenhall for his bat?
-- Jeffrey K., Stow, Ohio
The chances of that happening aren't high right now. Chisenhall is just coming back from a mild concussion, and he has been up and down at the plate this year. It's also worth noting that the young third baseman was hitting just .183 against left-handed pitching through 61 games played at Triple-A.
Shin-Soo Choo's mental anguish over his DUI arrest in May is killing his season and the team. Do sports teams, specifically the Indians, use sports psychologists?
-- Craig K., Copley, Ohio
They certainly do. The Indians have Dr. Charles Maher, who is a sports psychologist and the club's director of psychological services. The Tribe also has Julio Rangel, who is the team's mental-skills coordinator. As for Choo, he has said recently that he in a much better state of mind than he was a month ago.
When is right-hander Alex White due back in the Indians' rotation?
-- Jason, Virginia Beach, Va.
After injuring his right middle finger in late May, White's timetable for return was estimated at two to three months. That would put him on pace to potentially rejoin the Tribe in late August or early September. White is scheduled to begin a throwing program with light catch on Friday in Arizona.
What can you tell us about Jason Knapp's right shoulder? I heard he'll be out the rest of the season.
-- Michael C., Carlisle, Pa.
You heard correctly, Michael. Knapp underwent surgery on June 14 to stabilize and tighten the anterior aspect of the shoulder. He is expected to begin a throwing program after a six-week period of rest and recovery. The goal will be to have Knapp healthy and ready to pitch in time for Spring Training.
Why did Double-A infielder Matt Lawson retire? It seemed to me like he had a decent career ahead of him.
-- Michael C., Carlisle, Pa.
Michael's getting some special treatment. First time ever I've answered the same e-mailer twice in the same Inbox. As for Lawson -- acquired from Seattle in the spring in exchange for pitcher Aaron Laffey -- I was told that he expressed to the Indians that he simply did not have the desire to play any longer. Lawson wanted to spend more time with his family.
What are the realistic chances Asdrubal Cabrera is with the Indians next year?
-- Camden B., Daytona Beach, Fla.
Cabrera is controllable contractually through the 2013 season through arbitration. Given his All-Star-caliber showing this season, there is a better chance of Cleveland talking extension than talking trade. So, let's say 98 percent. As for the other two percent, well, you never never know.
In closing ...
Would you agree that Indians reliever Frank Herrmann strongly resembles Tom Hanks in the Father's Day video that was on MLB.com?
-- Erik H., Huntsville, Ala.
Have you been talking to our Indians associate reporter, Zack Meisel? He was the first one to point out the Hanks comparison, and I've got to say, I can definitely see it. Herrmann has also heard as much a handful of times.