08/11/11 7:52 PM ET
Ubaldo's impact could be far-reaching
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
The Tribe's pitching staff had already provided plenty of push during the first four months of the season, and the addition of Jimenez bolstered an already-adept rotation. Now the Indians hope competition within the staff breeds even more success.
"I think the team feels good that the front office went out and made a move to make us better," said pitching coach Tim Belcher. "That always makes a team feel good. We're being rewarded for what we've done for four months, and the front office is going to try to put us over the top and get the pieces and parts necessary to do it."
On Wednesday, in his first start at Progressive Field as a member of the Indians, Jimenez allowed just three unearned runs in eight strong innings. Belcher said that Jimenez's presence could motivate Fausto Carmona, who has been weaving his way through a roller-coaster season.
"I think the addition of Ubaldo is really going to help [Carmona]," Belcher said. "I think that's going to create a little bit of friendly competition within the rotation that's going to help him, especially, and the others. Fausto's kind of been the guy here for the last few years since CC [Sabathia] and Cliff [Lee] have gone other places. Now, all of the sudden, someone is here with top-of-the-rotation stuff."
Manager Manny Acta said that Jimenez's arrival could also take some pressure off Justin Masterson, who has been the club's de facto ace this season. Masterson (9-7) has been hurt by a lack of run support, but his ERA (2.71) ranks fourth in the American League.
"Despite Masterson pitching the way he has pitched for us, the majority of the people from the outside world see Ubaldo as a No. 1," Acta said. "But Masterson has been a No. 1 for us this year. He can easily benefit from that and not have everybody else's perception that he's a No. 1."
Aside from the boost Jimenez can provide the rest of the rotation, Belcher is excited to see what the right-hander can do for himself. Jimenez began the 2010 campaign with a 15-1 record for Colorado and finished third in the National League Cy Young Award voting, earning the nickname "Cybaldo" among Rockies fans.
"Why wouldn't you call him that?" Belcher said. "We hope we see that Ubaldo here in the next couple of years. The next couple of months will do fine."
Asdrubal pleads his case, stays in lineup
CLEVELAND -- Like a mother and her child, when it comes to athletes and injuries, managers often know best.
Many players try to shake off minor injuries and maintain their spots in the batting order. All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera left Wednesday's game in the seventh inning with a sore right foot after being plunked earlier in the contest.
Cabrera was walking with a noticeable limp on Thursday afternoon but stressed that he feels OK. Manager Manny Acta initially penciled Cabrera into the lineup, but only kept him there after he took batting practice and confirmed his ability to play through the pain.
"He never wants out of the lineup. Never," Acta said after Cabrera pleaded to remain in the lineup despite a right ankle sprain sustained in early June. "I really have to negotiate hard with him just to give him days off. Even when the game is one-sided, he wants to stay out there."
Outfielder Michael Brantley, on the other hand, didn't start on Thursday for the second straight game. Brantley also sat out two games in Boston last week with a sore right wrist, and maintained on Thursday that his wrist feels well enough to play.
"I'm not concerned at all," Brantley said. "It feels fine."
Still, Acta preferred to be cautious and give him another day of rest with Tigers ace Justin Verlander on the mound.
"I think one more day off will do him good," Acta said. "It hurts when he swings and misses. It's too bad -- he's had some success against this guy, but [Verlander] makes people swing and miss."
As for right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, out since June 24 after having surgery on his broken left thumb, he suited up for Class A Lake County on Thursday, his third game with the Captains this week. Acta said that the Indians would re-evaluate Choo after Thursday's game before plotting his next move.
Acta compares Kipnis with Pedroia, Utley
CLEVELAND -- Wednesday night wasn't the first time Jason Kipnis has been called a "dirtbag." The term might not carry the most pleasant-sounding connotation, but Kipnis enjoyed manager Manny Acta comparing him with such fellow hustlers as Dustin Pedroia and Chase Utley.
Kipnis sparked Cleveland's 10-3 triumph over Detroit on Wednesday with five hits, four runs and three RBIs. He became the first Indians rookie to get five hits and four runs in a game since Jim Fridley in 1952.
Since assuming everyday second-base duties on July 31, Kipnis has batted .354 with six homers and 10 RBIs. His immediate impact hasn't surprised Acta, who appreciates the youngster's effort.
"A 'dirtbag' is one of those guys that runs through a wall to win every single day," Acta said. "He throws himself around, is always dirty, runs every ball out, just does whatever it takes to win. That's what we call a dirtbag in baseball. [He's] really not concerned about how he looks on the field, just getting it done."
Kipnis said that his relentless play has merited him the "dirtbag" distinction before.
"It's a good thing," Kipnis said. "I could be called worse things."
Quote to note
"X-rays were negative." -- Manager Manny Acta, joking about losing his voice on Wednesday night. Acta was able to speak with the media on Thursday, albeit at a whisper.
Entering Thursday's contest, the Indians had defeated the Tigers in 13 consecutive games at Progressive Field.
Rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis has six home runs in 16 games since being called up on July 22. His homer total ranks second in the Major Leagues since that date. Six players have hit seven homers in that span.
Zack Meisel is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.