CLEVELAND – An Indians legend is battling a life-threatening disease.
Tribe Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller revealed to members of the media prior to Sunday’s game that he has acute myeloid leukemia.
Feller, who turns 92 in November, said he was diagnosed within the last two weeks and has already begun chemotherapy treatments at the Cleveland Clinic.
“I’m just trying to be practical about it,” said Feller, the oldest living member of baseball’s Hall of Fame. “It’s curable, but not always. Only time will tell. The prognosis is so far so good.”
Feller said he had been feeling weak and that he thought something might be wrong with his heart. He discovered there was a problem with his blood during a routine visit to the eye doctor.
Acute myeloid leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow and usually gets worse quickly if not treated. It is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults.
Feller said he was scheduled to visit his Cleveland Clinic doctor today.
“That’s when we’ll find out how effective the treatment has been,” Feller said. “Right now I have plenty of energy. I’m not going to complain.”
Feller has been a fixture in the Indians press box and at their spring training complexes in Winter Haven, Fla., and Goodyear, Ariz., for years.
Indians first baseman Matt LaPorta left Sunday’s game with a left hip strain. He batted in the fourth inning and flied out to left field before being replaced.
It is the same hip that LaPorta underwent surgery on prior to the season but the Indians don’t think it warrants a trip to the disabled list yet.
“Our training staff doesn’t think it’s that serious,” said Cleveland manager Manny Acta, who nevertheless doesn’t expect LaPorta to play tonight. “They believe it’s a muscular thing and a day-to-day thing. They feel like he’s going to be able to turn the corner pretty quick.”
LaPorta said he sustained the injury while taking a pitch in his second at-bat of the game before flying out.
“When I landed, something kind of cracked or popped, if you will,” he said. “We don’t think it’s anything major.”
Still, the recent ailment could stem from the previous surgery.
“There might be a little bit of correlation,” LaPorta said. “It’s the same hip, the same leg.”
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is still working his way back from a fractured left forearm that sidelined him for more than two months (May 17-July 19).
“I’m about 90-95 percent but I feel really good to be able to play,” said Cabrera, who is batting .271 (38-for-140) with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 36 games since being activated from the disabled list – .279 with three homers and 21 RBIs in 69 games on the season. “The first couple days (back) was tough.”
Acta said Cabrera, a switch-hitter, feels the effects of the forearm most when batting left-handed, but Cabrera said he feels it from both sides of the plate. Cabrera’s walk-off homer Saturday – the first of his career – came from the left side.
Cabrera’s 33-game errorless streak came to an end on his throwing error in the ninth inning Sunday.
The Indians’ bullpen entered Sunday allowing just 25.9 percent of its inherited runners to score. The total led the American League and ranked second in the majors behind San Diego through Saturday.
Left-hander Tony Sipp ranked third in the category through Saturday, allowing 18.4 percent (7-of-28) of his inherited runners to score, while right-hander Joe Smith was eighth – 20 percent (7-for-35).
The Indians continue their homestand with a three-game series against the White Sox that begins tonight at 7:05.
Mitch Talbot (8-11, 4.44 ERA) opens the set for Cleveland, opposing LHP Mark Buehrle (12-10, 3.93), while Justin Masterson (5-12, 5.23) squares off against RHP Edwin Jackson (2-0, 0.96) Tuesday (7:05 p.m.).
Josh Tomlin (2-3, 4.08) pitches the series finale Wednesday (7:05 p.m.), while Chicago counters with RHP Freddy Garcia (11-5, 4.89).
The White Sox are the only team in the Central Division that the Indians own a winning record (8-4) against.
Jerad Head went 2-for-4 with a double and four RBIs to help Double-A Akron to its fifth straight win Saturday, a 9-0 victory over Erie. Head, an undrafted free-agent acquisition (2005) who began the season at Triple-A Columbus, was hitting .351 (26-for-74) with seven homers and 24 RBIs over his last 20 games for the Aeros through Saturday – .314 with 15 homers and 47 RBIs in 62 games on the season.
• Kinston right-hander Joe Gardner continued his impressive season Saturday, pitching five scoreless innings in a 5-3 victory over Salem. Gardner, a third-round draft pick last year, is 12-5 with a 2.69 ERA in 21 starts for Kinston. He led the Carolina League in wins and opposing batting average (.202) through Saturday.
Michael Brantley and Travis Hafner both got planned days off and were not in the starting lineup, but Brantley was called on to pinch hit in the seventh and struck out looking with runners on second and third and the Indians trailing by a run.
• Shelley Duncan snapped an 0-for-15 skid at the plate with a single in the sixth.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or email@example.com.
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