The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

July 5, 2014

Indians Notes: Brantley not out to steal spotlight

Tribe LF selective on base paths, yet clutch when needed

CLEVELAND — Michael Brantley could just be out for himself, trying to pad his stolen base stats in an attempt to get even more noticed so he’s included in the upcoming All-Star Game on July 15 in Minnesota.

But the Indians left fielder, who is a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen bases this season, is more selective than many of the game’s top base stealers — even if he almost always has the green light to run as he sees fit.

“We always believe more in the percentage than the amount, and he does a really good job of that,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Brantley. “It seems like he steals bases in big times during games. And he’s always safe.”

BRAZILIAN PROUD — Catcher Yan Gomes stood out among the crowd before Friday’s game, as he proudly sported his bright yellow Brazil soccer jersey. As a bonus, the first Brazilian-born player in MLB history was able to keep up with his team’s big match against Colombia, as it was played on the large scoreboard during the Tribe’s batting practice.

SIGNED, SEALED & DELIVERED — While the Indians enjoyed a day off Thursday in preparation for the beginning of the 10-game homestand that began Friday, the team’s front office was busy preparing for the future. With the College World Series over, the Tribe was finally able to begin negotiations with their third pick and the 38th overall player selected in last month’s draft, University of Virginia outfielder/first baseman Mike Papi.

Papi, 21, is set to begin his professional career at short-season Mahoning Valley. Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Jim Callis reported that the Indians handed Papi a $1.25 million signing bonus. While that may sound like a nice chunk of change to many folks, it’s actually under this year’s slot value of $1,495,400.

With Papi in the fold, the Indians have reached deals with 29 of their 42 draftees — including the team’s first 15 picks.

MORE SIGNEES — The Indians also signed another two draftees Thursday in right-handed pitcher Micah Miniard (eighth round) and catcher Juan Gomes (37th round). Miniard’s signing bonus is for a reported $350,000, which is much more than the suggested slot value of $155,800. Gomes, who is the younger brother of Indians catcher Yan Gomes, signed a minor-league contract for 2015.

INJURY UPDATE — Double-A prospects Tyler Naquin and Joe Wendle underwent surgery Thursday by Indians team physician Dr. Thomas Graham at the Cleveland Clinic. Naquin, a 23-year-old outfielder for the RubberDucks, suffered a fractured second metacarpal in his right hand after he was hit by a pitch last week by a Harrisburg Senators reliever.

The previous night, Wendle, a 24-year-old infielder, suffered a broken hamate bone in his right wrist on his foul tip. The two next head to Goodyear, Ariz., to begin their respective rehabilitations.

MOVE PENDING — Minor leaguer Travis Banwart, a right-handed pitcher at Triple-A, was placed on the temporarily inactive list at Columbus on Friday  while the Indians work on a deal to send Banwart to South Korea, where he’d pitch for the SK Wyverns in the Korea Baseball Organization.

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