Is this photo scary enough for you, Tribe fans? Yesterday afternoon King Diesel emailed me that #1 prospect and the man we are all hoping can save the franchise from more years of punch and judy corner outfielders and first baseman, Matt Laporta, was intentionally thrown at by the Chinese Olympic team during Team USA's 9-1 win. Laporta was alert and awake, but was taken to the hospital and made to stay overnight for precautionary measures after receiving a concussion.
Apparently, Laporta was being thrown at after his home plate collision knocked catcher Wang Wei out of the game. There is a right and a wrong way to retaliate, not that the Chinese National team, who is only playing because they are hosting the games, would know what that is. Funny, their manager, Jim Lefebvre is American, a longtime baseball man, who knows the unwritten rules. Their pitching coach is Steve Ontiveros, another American who played in the Majors in the 80's. These two should be forced to lose their citizenship. Said Lefevbre: "We do not throw to hit people. We do not teach that in China. We don't teach it in the United States. He tried to throw the ball inside and it got away from him."
He shouldn't be selling that bullshit, because nobody is buying it.
Meanwhile, Laporta was put at risk. The first thing I thought of was this is true Cleveland luck. He will probably never be the same again. But evidentally, he is a gamer. Our source in Beijing tells us "He (Laporta) actually wanted to stay in
the game but Davey (Johnson) said no."
In other Tribe news, Travis Hafner debuted in Buffalo last night and had two hits in three at-bats, including a ringing double off the wall in a 5-1 Bisons win. Future rotation member and former #1 pick David Huff continued his fast-track season with the win, striking out eight in five 2/3rds. Josh Barfield continued his rehab, going 0-2 with a sac fly. Bisons fans will get a bigger treat tonight as Victor Martinez joins the Herd and continues his rehab assignment. He is scheduled to play six innings.
Then you have David Dellucci. The man we want to drop like a stone has decided that what is going on in Cleveland for him just isn't good enough. In today's PD, he was quoted as being frustrated by his lack of PT of late.
"It's difficult for any player to be the best they can be when they're sharing time," said Dellucci, who has a year and $4 million remaining on his contract. "Any player that gets to see live pitching consistently is going to be better off. But I understand the process that's going on over here, and I'm pulling for the guys that are in the game when I'm not."
Memo to DD - you should be thankful that your agents were smart enough to convince Mark Shapiro to give you a three-year deal, because that is the only reason you are still here. Now he has the gall to say "oh, I'm not getting in a groove because I don't get regular at-bats." What a a deuche. True, Dellucci has been hitting the ball much better of late (15 for his last 34), but its not like he is sitting out every game. He has been in the lineup no-less than Franklin Gutierrez or Shin-Soo Choo.
Do you hear these two young guys complaining?
Nope. And these two are essentially playing for their jobs, while DD can do nothing and sit back and collect his $4 million a year. The only difference between Dellucci and Jason "K-Mike" Michaels is that third year on his contract.
Finally, Terry Pluto put it down perfectly in print today: "it's not happening for Andy Marte." We've been saying it all year; he isn't a major leaguer. He has finally gotten his chance to play every day and he flat out can't hit. The numbers don't lie. Per Pluto: He has been the regular third baseman since the All-Star break and is batting .188 in that span. In 164 at-bats this season, he has only 10 extra-base hits (three home runs) and 10 RBI. On the year, his on-base percentage is .230. In August, he's batting only .190, so it's not like he's figuring it out. Most alarming, the right-handed batter is at .157 vs. right-handed pitchers.