CLEVELAND — It’s only been two starts, but David Huff already looks like a different pitcher than the one that’s been in and out of the Indians’ rotation the past two years.
With a new delivery and a better mindset that has produced positive results in his first two big league starts of the season — one earned run in 122⁄3 innings — the left-hander has more than likely secured the rotation spot of Mitch Talbot (lower back strain), who is not expected to rejoin the starting five when he is ready to leave the disabled list.
The mental side was on display Wednesday, as Huff’s will was tested by three errors from his fielders during his 52⁄3 innings on the mound, two in the third inning of a no-hitter by his counterpart, Los Angeles’ Ervin Santana.
In the past, Huff might have let the shoddy defense get to him, but this time he didn’t, pitching through both innings in which Cleveland committed errors behind him without a run crossing the plate.
“I don’t think the errors bothered David,” said Indians manager Manny Acta. “I thought he did well. It wasn’t about David Huff. We just couldn’t do anything against Santana.”
“Errors happen. It’s nothing I can control,” Huff said. “You just have to move on and get the next guy. Today was just bad luck.”
Huff tinkered with his delivery at Triple-A Columbus, where he has spent the majority of the season after making 38 starts for Cleveland the past two years. It paid off, with Huff going 8-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 17 starts for the Clippers.
“He worked at Triple-A at being a little more aggressive with his delivery,” Acta said. “His fastball velocity has been better, and he’s also developed a cutter. It’s only been two outings, but so far, he’s been good.”
Huff, who didn’t allow a run over seven innings of his season debut July 18 at Minnesota, said he has added deception to his delivery.
“It’s nice to be able to blow a fastball by a guy instead of having him foul it off because he can see it earlier,” Huff said. “It’s a work in progress, but it’s been good so far.”
Just like Huff.
The Indians have yet to agree to terms with first-round draft pick Francisco Lindor, a shortstop out of Montverde Academy in Clermont, Fla.
General manager Chris Antonetti said the club is still in the midst of talks with Lindor, the eighth overall pick, who has verbally committed to Florida State. Scouting director Brad Grant is handling the negotiations with Lindor.
The Indians have until Aug. 15 to sign Lindor, who they project as their future shortstop.
The Indians are off today, wrapping up the homestand with a three-game series against Kansas City that begins Friday at 7:05 p.m.
Carlos Carrasco (8-8, 4.25 ERA) opens the set for Cleveland, opposing LHP Jeff Francis (3-11, 4.65).
Justin Masterson (8-7, 2.57) goes for the Indians on Saturday (7:05) against RHP Felipe Paulino (1-4, 3.86), while Fausto Carmona (5-10, 5.34) starts the series finale Sunday (1:05), KC countering with RHP Kyle Davies (1-9, 6.75).
The Indians are 7-2 against the Royals this season, including a 3-0 mark at home.
- Tim Fedroff was a home run shy of the cycle Tuesday in Columbus’ 3-0 victory at Syracuse. He went 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
- Left fielder John Drennen had the only multihit game for Double-A Akron on Tuesday, going 2-for-4 in the Aeros’ 4-3 loss to Trenton. Drennen, the 33rd overall draft pick in 2005, entered Wednesday batting .250 with three homers and 19 RBIs in 50 games for Akron.
- High-A Kinston center fielder Tyler Holt had two of his team’s five hits Tuesday in a 9-2 loss at Winston-Salem. Holt, a 10th-round draft pick last year out of Florida State, is hitting .258 with two homers, 22 RBIs and 23 stolen bases in 92 games.
- Of the nine games the Indians and Angels played this season, eight were decided by two runs or fewer, with seven decided by one run. Los Angeles won six of the nine games.
- Justin Germano’s perfect game Tuesday for Columbus was the first in the International League since Pawtucket’s Bronson Arroyo tossed one against Cleveland affiliate Buffalo in 2003.