July 30, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
61°F

Indians notes: Choo back atop batting order

CLEVELAND — With his team stuck in another extended losing streak, Indians manager Manny Acta juggled the lineup Friday, returning Shin-Soo Choo to the leadoff spot, with Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera following the right fielder in the order.

“You gotta die trying, man,” said Acta, whose team was in the midst of a five-game skid after enduring 11 and nine-game losing streaks since July 27. “It’s been a struggle for a full month from every single one of those guys, and we changed things up. Choo was very good when he was leading off. I’m hoping that we made some good changes and we’ll see where that leads us.”

Choo, who flourished when Acta first moved him to the top of the order — .310 over 70 games — entered Friday batting .233 (24-for-103) with three home runs and 13 RBIs over 28 games in August. He had been batting third since Aug. 3.

Cabrera was at .245 (26-for-106) with two homers and nine RBIs in 27 August games through Thursday, while Kipnis was at .186 (16-for-86) with two homers and 10 RBIs in 23 games.

Choo, who was hitting .277 with a team-high 15 homers and 52 RBIs in 125 games through Thursday, will stay in the leadoff spot through more than just one day, according to Acta.

There was the thought that the Indians moved Choo into the third spot to showcase his run-producing abilities for a potential waiver-wire trade, but the deadline to make such a deal expired at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

 

See you soon

Acta said the Indians would add a couple of players from Triple-A Columbus today — the first day major league rosters are allowed to expand to 40 players.

According to the manager, a few more players will be added when the Clippers’ season is complete Monday, with Columbus out of the International League’s postseason picture.

Among the candidates for promotion are position players Russ Canzler (INF/OF), Cord Phelps (INF), Jared Goedert (INF/OF), Tim Fedroff (OF) and catcher Luke Carlin, and pitchers Scott Maine (LHP), Scott Barnes (LHP) and David Huff (LHP).

There could be some call-ups from Double-A Akron as well.

 

August atrocities

At 5-23, the Indians entered Friday a loss away from matching the worst month in franchise history (July of 1914).

“It has been such a bad month that it doesn’t matter,” Acta said. “We could win 10 in a row, and it’s going to feel good at the moment, but you can always go back and say, ‘They won 10 of the last 30.’

“We’re just trying to focus on the every-day things here, especially with the younger kids.”

At the root of the team’s struggles for much of the year has been a pitching rotation that ranked 28th in the majors with a 5.20 ERA through Thursday.

“For the most part, pitching sets the tone,” Acta said. “That’s how you win and you lose ballgames. You can scratch runs here and there, but it’s all about pitching, and it’s been a struggle all season.”

 

He’s back

Shelley Duncan cleared waivers and was outrighted to Columbus.

Duncan, Cleveland’s Opening Day left fielder, hit .203 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs in 81 games before being designated for assignment Wednesday to clear room for the promotion of RHP Jeanmar Gomez.

Acta has already said Duncan is not in the team’s plans for 2013.

 

Roundin’ third

The Indians entered Friday having allowed 97 runs in the first inning, which ranked third in the majors. … Cleveland is a combined 13-29 on Saturday and Sunday — its worst days of the week this year. … Indians alumni, pitchers Chad Ogea (1994-98) and Mike Jackson (1997-99), were in attendance Friday. … Tonight, 7:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM. Hernandez (0-3, 7.53) vs. Feldman (6-10, 4.95).

 

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.