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Baseball America's Daily Dish
Complete Daily Dish Archive

Compiled by Kevin Goldstein, Chris Kline and Matt Meyers
August 26, 2005

When it comes to managing, Triple-A Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett is as intense as it gets. Whether it's throwing BP, hitting fungoes or in the actual war room of the dugout, Jewett is all business all the time.

Originally signed as a catcher by the Pirates in 1987, Jewett spent four seasons in the system before retiring. "I was never much of a player," he says. "I wish a lot of things, but I really wish I'd have been able to see. I'm not making any excuses, but I wish I'd realized I needed glasses back then."

Glasses in hand, the Pirates offered him a job coaching in the organization and over 10 years Jewett has risen to its highest level. He's been managing that the Triple-A level since 1996--after guiding Carolina to its 1995 Southern League title in Double-A.

Jewett finally made it to the big leagues as the Pirates' third base coach in 2000, and held that position until 2003 when he returned to manage Triple-A Nashville. His Indianapolis club this season is on the outside looking in, currently sitting six games back of Toledo in the International League's West Division.

But with all the moves the Pirates have made this season, calling up the likes of lefthander Zach Duke, first baseman Brad Eldred and outfielders Chris Duffy and Nate McLouth, Jewett has kept his team in contention for much of the season.

Not bad for the youngest skipper in the IL. But there's more to Jewett than just baseball. He's a devout Cowboys fan, wearing a cut-off Cowboys t-shirt under his jersey during BP, then switching to a short sleeve version of the same shirt during games.

We caught up with Jewett to talk about football, and how he approaches his job at arguably the toughest level to manage.

BA: So what do you think of your beloved Cowboys chances this year?

TJ: "I think they look better. I think the defense has gotten better and they'll be able to cover people better because they should be able to get better pressure on the quarterback. But they had a really bad kicking game last year--bad special teams overall. That drives me crazy. It's like not being able to throw strikes. It's just something that's a must . . . I mean, if you're going to win."

BA: So you don't really expect them to be playoff-bound, do you?

TJ: There's so much parity in football, so you never know. When the Patriots won their first one, nobody picked them. Nobody picked Baltimore (in 2001), nobody picked Tampa (in 2003). Then the next year Tampa was supposed to be so good and they were awful. So it's crazy for me to even try to pick it . . . other than to say I'll take the Cowboys. The fact of the matter is I know I don't know enough about football to sound intelligent, so I'll go with my heart and say the Cowboys will win the division. Patriots against the Cowboys--there's my pick."

BA: What is your opinion on how the Patriots have stayed at the level where they are?

TJ: "If you had to be a fan of one team in all of sports, they're the ultimate team because of the selflessness. Everyone sacrifices to the end goal. Nobody talked about any individual, but somebody had to be doing something right. The coach, who's bland as hell, he never says anything. The kicker never misses. They're a neat team because of the fact that they play so well together after a common goal. That limelight stuff never gets in the way. They're just one of those teams, that if you're a fan of them you just feel proud. And I think that's the ultimate feeling to have for a team in any sport."

BA: So how much of that selflessness do you try to instill on your teams from year to year?

TJ: "In my position, that's what you want. You want to win, but you want that class and the obvious show of selflessness. To me, that's what it's all about. In the NBA, the Spurs have some of that. The Celtics used to be like that--the lack of self and just win. You try to just come across as yourself. But open ended, just saying that--everyone says that and it never works."

BA: How do you go about trying to bring that out in individual players then?

TJ: "I think it's more the day-to-day stuff and the stuff you present them with at the early stages and the way you act--consistency or the lack of that matters. The level of trust is a must--it's something that has to be there. I'm somewhat different in my approach because I don't claim to have one guy treated as the next. I tell all my teams that everyone will be treated individually and I don't want to hear how I let this guy do this and didn't let someone else do the same thing. I'm the manager and I'll do what I want. And it's not the power of it, some guys you trust, some guys you trust more or less, and some guys you're a little bit leery of. You have to treat everybody differently. You can't clone anything whether it's on the field or not. You hope that comes out--to do whatever it takes to win ballgames. I think this particular team has done a pretty good job with that. We've had a pretty sacrificial team this year, and that's all you can ask for."

--CHRIS KLINE

DISH PIECES

• Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano continues to distance himself from the pack as the IL's top pitching prospect. Liriano allowed two runs Thursday on eight hits and struck out nine over eight innings in Triple-A Rochester's 5-2 win against Ottawa. Liriano has been topping out at 99 mph and is throwing two different changeups--a circle change and a three-fingered version. His fastball is consistently 93-94 mph and complements those two pitches with two versions of sliders as well.

• Astros righthander Juan Gutierrez made his Carolina League debut for high Class A Salem Thursday night. Gutierrez, who was signed out of Venezuela in 2000, tossed four shutout innings, allowing just one hit and striking out six. Gutierrez was 9-5, 3.21 with a 100-43 strikeout-walk ratio with low Class A Lexington before the promotion.

• Brewers' third baseman Ryan Braun's season is over. Milwaukee recently transferred him from low Class A West Virginia to high Class A Brevard County's roster, but the first-round pick this year out of Miami will not play again until instructional league due to minor soreness in his elbow. Braun batted .341/.383/.585 at Rookie-level Helena after he signed and put up .355/.396/.645 numbers in 152 at-bats for the Power this season.

• While Josh Barfield is essentially blocked at second base by Mark Loretta, it hasn't stopped him from putting together an excellent season in the Pacific Coast League. The 22-year-old went 2-for-4 last night and is now hitting .315/.375/.456 for Triple-A Portland. Barfield has turned it on over the last two months, hitting .388 in July and .355 in August, with six of his 14 homers this month.

• Marcus Sanders has continued to be a disruptive force at the top of the lineup as he went 2-for-4 Thursday with two stolen bases and now has 51 this season in 59 attempts, a remarkable 86 percent success rate. One thing to watch out for is his lack of power. After hitting five homers in the season's first two months, the shortstop has no home runs and only 9 extra-base hits since. He is also slugging a paltry .321 in August. Sanders, who turned 20 yesterday, injured his shoulder in batting practice in June (and had shoulder problems in high school) and it appears as though that is sapping his power.

• Angels first baseman Kendry Morales had three hits and homered for the third consecutive night on Thursday in Double-A Arkansas’ 5-4 win over Wichita. Morales is now 16-for-26 (.615) with five home runs and 15 RBIs in his last seven games, and is batting .286/.339/.517 in 238 at-bats for the Travelers.

• 2004 Reds first-round pick Homer Bailey continued to show signs of coming around on Thursday night, firing five shutout innings and striking out six in low Class A Dayton's 6-3 win over Beloit. Despite a 4.36 ERA, Bailey has recorded 116 strikeouts in 97 innings.

• After posting a 2.35 ERA in nine Gulf Coast League appearances, Marlins supplemental first-round pick Sean West was solid in his New York-Penn League debut, allowing six hits over 4 1/3 innings in Jamestown's 2-0 win over Mahoning Valley. The 19-year-old lefty struck out four and did not issue a walk.

• On the rebound: Nationals righthander Clint Everts had has best outing since returning for Tommy John surgery on Thursday, firing three shutout innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four in short-season Vermont's 3-2 loss to Lowell. The fifth overall pick in the 2002 draft, Everts is 0-1, 3.00 in six appearances for Vermont, after going 0-1, 3.38 in seven games for the GCL Nationals.

• It was feast and famine for Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Reds shortstop Michael Jones Thursday. Jones, an eighth-round draft pick this year, went 3-for-6 to raise his average .019 points, to .202. He also struck out three times and has been retired on strikes 37 times with four walks in 99 at-bats this summer.

• Michael Bowden rocketed up draft boards this spring with an awe-inspiring senior season at Waubonsie Valley High in Aurora, Ill., and has pitched admirably, if briefly, since signing with the Red Sox for $730,000. The lean righthander made his fourth appearance in the GCL Thursday and walked one of the seven batters he faced in two shutout innings. Bowden has not allowed a run in six innings overall. Australian lefty Tim Cox followed Bowden with 6 1/3 overpowering innings, picking up the win to improve to 3-1, 2.19. The 19-year-old Cox has 56 strikeouts and seven walks in 49 innings in his rookie season.

• Like Bowden, Travis Wood was a high-profile high school pitcher drafted this June, though Wood has jumped to the Rookie-level Pioneer League with similar success. The Reds drafted the loose-armed lefthander in the second round and signed him for $600,000. Wood picked up his first professional win Thursday thanks to four strong innings for Billings. He struck out seven, walked one and allowed two hits and an unearned run to run his secondary numbers to 15 strikeouts, seven walks and a .190 opponents' average in 15 innings.

• College World Series MVP David Maroul's all-or-nothing offensive approach has followed him from Texas to his professional career. The Giants prospect has gone 2-for-4 with a home run and two strikeouts in each of his last two games, putting his season totals at .273/.309/.422 with 46 strikeouts and four walks in 128 at-bats. When he puts the ball in play, Maroul's average leaps to .427 (35 hits in 82 at-bats). Maroul, an excellent defensive college third baseman who moved to shortstop with short-season Salem-Keizer, batted .251 with a 55-14 strikeout-walk ratio as a senior at Texas, though his 11 home runs (two of which came at the CWS) tied for the team lead.

Contributing: Will Kimmey, Alan Matthews, and Matt Stucko.

 
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