7/18/2014 7:21 P.M. ET
Indians take penalty, sign 30 of 42 Draft picks
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
DETROIT -- The Indians did all they could to reach pacts with as many of their selections as possible from last month's First-Year Player Draft prior to Friday's signing deadline. That included spending more money than was permitted for the team's bonus pool.
Cleveland will be penalized for the excess spending, but the team knew the risk involved while convincing players to sign on the dotted line.
"We were fortunate in that the Dolans [ownership] allowed us the opportunity to go slightly above our allotted pool," Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting, wrote in an email, "which provided us the flexibility to sign a few additional players. The ability to go above our pool enabled us to add more talent to the organization that we are very excited about."
When Friday's 5 p.m. ET deadline arrived, Cleveland had signed 30 of its 42 Draft picks, including each of its top 15 selections (in the first 13 rounds). Right-hander Grayson Jones (14th round) was the lone player within the Indians' first 26 selections not to sign a contract.
For the first 10 rounds, the Indians were permitted a bonus pool of $8,234,100 for their 12 selections. Cleveland spent $8,355,300, which put them over the pool by $121,200. As a result, the organization will pay a 75-percent tax on the excess.
Cleveland signed its top three selections -- outfielder Brad Zimmer (21st overall), lefty Justus Sheffield (31st) and outfielder Mike Papi (38th) -- for less than their respective slot values. Zimmer had a slot value of $2,008,100, but signed for $1.9 million. Sheffield had a slot value of $1,733,000, but signed for $1.6 million. Papi had a slot value of $1,495,400, but signed for $1.25 million.
The Indians went over-slot on four players within the first 10 rounds: righty Grant Hockin (61st overall), first baseman Bobby Bradley (97th), lefty Sam Hentges (128th) and righty Michah Miniard (248th). Those four players' slots were valued at $2,023,300 combined, but Cleveland spent $3,062,500 to sign that group.
"We were fortunate to be able to sign 30 of our 42 selections this year," Grant said. "Our scouts did a very good job in ensuring that we were able to get our drafted players signed and out and playing. Our first 14 selections were signed by the first week in July, and we are very glad to have all of them out and playing already this summer."
With Lee added, Tribe has flexibility of 10 relievers
DETROIT -- Indians manager Terry Francona continues to stretch the limits of traditional thinking for a Major League bullpen. Prior to Friday's game in Detroit, Cleveland recalled right-hander C.C. Lee from Triple-A Columbus.
The Tribe now has 10 relief arms available out of the 'pen.
"Tito would have 25 relievers if he could," Indians sarter Corey Kluber joked. "No, he's so good at manipulating it throughout a game that it's almost like the more guys he has, the more different ways he can go about it."
With Lee in the fold, the Indians are simply protecting themselves with a doubleheader looming on Saturday. Cleveland will also have transactions coming up on Monday and Tuesday in order to recall lefty starter T.J. House from the Minors and add another rotation member to the mix.
In the meantime, Francona will enjoy the flexibility that he has in the bullpen.
"We have a number of guys that are in the top 10 in appearances, but not in innings," Francona said. "So, we kind of monitored that [in the first half], and part of it was by carrying extra relievers. I think it's twofold. One, I think it helps you win. And the other one, I think it helps [give certain guys rest]."
Entering the second half, the Indians were tied with the Red Sox and A's for the most pitchers (four) with at least 40 relief appearances. Cody Allen and Marc Rzepczynski actually are tied for the American League lead with 46 appearances apiece, while Bryan Shaw is right behind them with 45 games. John Axford has made 41 apperances for the Tribe.
As Francona noted, though, while Allen leads the league in appearances, his team-high 41 2/3 relief innings rank him 17th in the AL in that category.
Lee (4.76 ERA in 13 big league outings this year) was promoted to fill the roster spot of starter Zach McAllister, who was optioned to Columbus on Tuesday. McAllister will be recalled as the 26th player on Cleveland's roster to start against the Tigers in the second game of Saturday's twin bill.
Bourn easing into running in hamstring rehab
DETROIT -- While the Indians opened their second-half schedule in Detroit on Friday, center fielder Michael Bourn stayed home in Cleveland to focus on his recovery from the latest setback involving his left hamstring.
Prior to Friday's game against Detroit, Indians manager Terry Francona noted that Bourn has initiated running activity on an anti-gravity treadmill, which reduces stress on the legs. Bourn is scheduled to resume light running drills under normal conditions soon.
"He's been running on the alter-G," Francona said. "That's the treadmill where you take some of the weight off. In the next few days, he'll transition into land-based stuff. He'll join us in Minnesota [on Monday]."
Bourn, 31, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 6, meaning he is technically eligible to be activated on Sunday. Cleveland has already made it known, however, that Bourn's comeback from the left hamstring injury could last until late July and possibly into August.
It is the same hamstring that Bourn had surgically repaired in October, but both the team and center fielder have noted that the current issue involves a different area. Bourn also dealt with a left hamstring injury during Spring Training, and he missed time in May with tightness in the same leg.
Through 66 games this season, Bourn had hit .267/.316/.379 with three home runs, nine doubles, seven triples, seven stolen bases, 21 RBIs and 37 runs scored for Cleveland. In the 13 games prior to landing on the 15-day DL, the center fielder hit .283 (.828 OPS) with six extra-base hits and six runs scored.
Quote to note
"I think the first thing that jumps out, maybe, is just catching the ball defensively. I think we've always said that for us to be the team we want to be, we've got to play clean. We've had a lot of periods where we haven't, and we've made it harder to win than we need it to be."
-- Francona, on what his team needs to improve in the second half
• One of Indians outfielder Michael Brantley's favorite memories from the All-Star Game festivities earlier this week came during the annual parade. Brantley, who was Cleveland's lone All-Star representative this summer, rode in the back of a pickup truck with his wife and 7-year-old stepson.
"I had all my family there," Brantley said. "My stepson enjoyed it. They gave him foam balls to throw out to the kids. He had a great time on the back of the truck. It was funny. It made me laugh. We had to tell him to slow down, because he was throwing every ball as fast as he could. Little memories like that you'lll always cherish."
• During Thursday's optional workout at Comerica Park, the Indians held a two-round home run derby to loosen things up. Right fielder David Murphy launched six long balls in the seven-out first round to reach the finals and then beat catcher Yan Gomes, 2-1, for the win.
"He put on a pretty good show," Francona said of Murphy. "That, and nobody else did anything."
• Earlier this week, the Indians named Class A (low) Lake County first baseman Nellie Rodriguez the organization's Minor League player of the week for the period of July 7-13. During that span, the 20-year-old Rodriguez hit .360 (9-for-25) with three home runs, one double, 10 RBIs, six runs scored and a 1.120 OPS in six games for the Captains.