Indians Midseason Report
Righthander Alex White opened at Triple-A Columbus with a 1.90 ERA in four starts, then went 1-0, 3.60 in three big league starts before suffering a sprained right middle finger that has sidelined him since May 21.
As White rehabs, lefthander Drew Pomeranz is following in his footsteps as another fast-track draft pick. The fifth overall pick in 2010, Pomeranz, like White, began his career at high Class A Kinston. Pomeranz was off to a 2-2, 1.93 start through 12 outings in the Carolina League, with a potential promotion to Double-A looming.
Biggest Leap Forward:
Infielder Cord Phelps wasn't a popular name on the lips of Tribe fans entering the season. Yet Phelps hit his way into the big league lineup just when the club needed an offensive spark. Originally a second baseman, Phelps has spent the last year and a half moving around the infield between second base, shortstop and third base, while mixing in appearances at Columbus as a DH. After batting .299/.391/.488 in 55 games for Columbus, Phelps was promoted to Cleveland in June. He was hitting .196/.315/.326 through 19 games, but he did chip in a three-run walkoff home run to help beat the Pirates on June 19.
The pure athleticism of outfielder LeVon Washington was too much for the Indians to pass up in last year's draft, despite warning signs about his maturity. Still, the Tribe rolled the dice and selected Washington out of Chipola (Fla.) CC with their second-round pick, handing him a $1.2 million bonus.
Considered raw with a below-average arm in the outfield, the one thing Washington was expected to do was hit. However, he has struggled at the plate at low Class A Lake County to start the season, batting .219/.330/.332 in 49 games.
• The Indians fired second-year hitting coach Jon Nunnally and replaced him with Bruce Fields. In his sixth season in the Indians organization, Fields served as the hitting coach at Triple-A Buffalo in 2006 and has been the minor league hitting coordinator since 2007. Prior to joining the Indians, Fields was the Tigers' hitting coach from 2003-05.
• The Indians released righthander Jensen Lewis from Triple-A Columbus after six seasons in the organization. In 22 appearances with the Clippers this season, Lewis had a 5.14 ERA with 15 walks and 22 strikeouts over 28 innings.