Indians Have Long Relationship With Top Pick Pomeranz





CLEVELAND—Drew Pomeranz was a high school player when the Indians began to show interest in him.

Tribe scouts followed the lefthander while he lettered four years at Collierville (Tennessee) High, then for three more at Mississippi.

With the fifth overall pick this year, the Indians made the 6-foot-5, 231-pounder the highest the team has picked since 1992.

Yet, the relationship between the Indians and the Pomeranz family goes back even further, to the days before Chuck Bartlett became an Indians area scout and he and Pomeranz's father, Mike Pomeranz, played together at Mississippi State.

"Chuck's had a long relationship with the family," said Brad Grant, the Indians director of scouting. "And this year, we followed every single one of Drew's starts and were at almost every single start this year."

What Bartlett saw consistently was impressive.

"A power fastball (in the) 90-95 mph (range), a late-breaking, swing-and-miss curveball, a changeup and the ability to start," Grant said. "We feel like we got a big, front-end-of-the-rotation starter."

Yet, Grant said all along the Indians weren't necessarily targeting a pitcher.

"We thought right where we were going to take (Pomeranz) was the place to take him," Grant said. "We took who we thought was the best player (available)."

Pomeranz, 21, had pitched well coming into the collegiate season after a stint with Team USA. But he suffered a pectoral strain towards the end of March into the beginning of April, an injury the Indians kept a close eye on.

Pomeranz rebounded from the injury, going on to go 9-2, 2.24. In 16 starts spanning 100 2/3 innings, he struck out 139 batters (ranking as the third most strikeouts per inning of any NCAA Division I pitcher). He walked 49 and was named the Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year.

"On the mound, Drew is an extreme competitor," Grant said. "He's very mature, very focused on the mound. Nothing wavers him at all. He just has the makeup. He looks much more mature than everybody else out on the field because of that presence."

SMOKE SIGNALS

• Righthander Frank Herrmann, a graduate of Harvard, was promoted to Cleveland from Triple-A Columbus June 4. Herrmann was 3-0, 0.31 at Columbus, where he struck out 22 batters and walked just eight in 28 2/3 innings.

• The Indians activated infielder Andy Mate from the 15-day disabled list on June 7. To make room on the 25-man roster, outfielder Matt Lateran was sent down to Triple-A Columbus. LaPorta, the centerpiece of the trade that send C.C. Sabbathia to Milwaukee in 2008, started the season with Cleveland and hit just .218 with 13 runs scored, four doubles, a home run and seven RBIs in 35 games.