Cabrera joins Indians at lucky 13
Asdrubal Cabrera claims he didn’t ask for the No. 13 jersey hanging in his locker in the visitors’ clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field, but certainly he wasn’t going to ask for an alternative.
“Omar Vizquel was my favorite player growing up, but I’ve never met him,” Cabrera said Tuesday, just hours after joining the Indians in Chicago.
Cleveland has had pretty good luck with shortstops from Venezuela in the past, and the Indians hope they have struck gold again. Cabrera called up from Triple-A Buffalo and utilityman Mike Rouse designated for assignment.
Manager Eric Wedge said Cabrera will see playing time at shortstop, second base and third base. His presence only offers the potential of a bit more rest for the three starters there. If he performs well, Cabrera could become more than just a utility infielder.
“He’s got big-league tools,” Wedge said. “It was the right time to get him up here.”
The Indians obtained Cabrera last year in a trade that sent Eduardo Perez to Seattle. He played the entire year in Triple-A but struggled to hit (.249) at age 20. When spring training ended this year, the Indians thought it best to send Cabrera to Double-A Akron to refine his offensive approach.
“I understood the situation,” Cabrera said through interpreter Luis Rivas. “I’m more prepared to be here now.”
The switch-hitting Cabrera batted .310 with 23 doubles, eight home runs, 54 RBIs, 78 runs scored and 23 stolen bases in 96 game at Akron. He then spent a week at Buffalo, where he batted .353 with three RBIs and two steals.
Cabrera’s presence also offers the Indians an alternative if they decide to pull the plug on struggling second baseman Josh Barfield. Although Barfield has been stellar defensively, his offensive numbers — .245 average, .273 on-base percentage, two home runs — leave something to be desired.
“Josh is a young player who hasn’t figured out exactly the type of hitter he needs to be,” Wedge said.
Rouse batted .119 in 41 games. The Indians have 10 days to trade him, release him or outright him to the minor leagues.
COMING UP The series continues tonight at 8:11. C.C. Sabathia (14-6, 3.56) will start against Jon Garland (8-7, 4.60).
BRANYAN SIGNED The Indians have signed 3B Russell Branyan to a minor-league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Buffalo. He batted .197 with seven home runs in 61 games with San Diego before being released July 28. Branyan, 31, played for the Indians from 1998-2002. He needs four home runs to pass Jeff Manto’s Buffalo franchise record of 79, set from 1997-2000. “He’s there to help them out,” Wedge said when asked about Branyan. “There’s nothing more to comment on.”
INJURY REPORT RHP Adam Miller (elbow) threw fastballs and changeups during a 25-pitch bullpen session Tuesday. If no ill effects result, he will throw all his pitches during a 40-pitch bullpen session Thursday. Head trainer Lonnie Soloff said Miller is seven to 10 days away from pitching in a game. ... OF David Dellucci (hamstring) is running, hitting and throwing and could begin a minor-league rehabilitation assignment later this month. ... OF Shin-Soo Choo (elbow) is throwing from 150 feet, taking batting practice and doing outfield drills in Winter Haven. Choo could begin working as a DH in minor-league games in another week.
AN OBJECTIVE VIEWPOINT Yankees DH Jason Giambi was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk Sunday for Triple-A Scranton against Buffalo and LHP Cliff Lee. “The one game he pitched that I saw him, he threw really well down there,” Giambi told the Buffalo News. Giambi was 1-for-9 in four rehab games against the Bisons, the lone hit being a home run Friday off Sean Smith.
SPLITTING UP RHP Paul Byrd said he has all but parted ways with the split-finger fastball he added during spring training. “I’ve really gone back to my old changeup and my refined curveball,” Byrd said. “I might throw five splits out of 100 now. When I was throwing it more, if I made a mistake with it, I got hurt.”
ON THE FARM RHP Ryan Miller allowed one run in five innings Monday as the Gulf Coast League Indians defeated their Atlanta counterparts, 5-3, at Orlando. The draft-and-follow signing from Blinn Junior College (Texas) is 4-0 with a 1.97 ERA in six starts and has struck out 34 in 32 innings.
Reach Canton Repository sports writer Andy Call at (330) 580-8346 or e-mail email@example.com