Notes: Belliard's glove pleasant bonus
Best known for bat, second baseman impressing in field
CLEVELAND -- When he signed with the Indians in 2004, Ronnie Belliard wasn't billed as a man with a flashy glove. Not that Belliard was called "hands of stone," but he was only a season removed from being in the shadow of Roberto Alomar.So the standard for playing second base for the Indians was set high. It wasn't so high, though, that Belliard hasn't exceeded it. No, he's not Alomar, but he's no slouch, either, as his play in the field on Sunday against the Blue Jays proved. "Ronnie Belliard there in the seventh inning was unbelievable," manager Eric Wedge said. "You look at the plays he made from the ball hit up the middle, the line drive and the other ball that was hit hard at him ... it was about as good an inning as any infielder can have at a key point in the game." The seventh was a key point in the Tribe's 4-1 win, and the 31-year-old Belliard played the inning as if it were early in the ballgame and the Tribe was sitting on a seven-run lead. He was cool and efficient, making plays he's supposed to make and some that, well, maybe he wasn't supposed to make. But Belliard has been doing that since he arrived here. His bat was the reason the Indians were interested in him, but his glove has been a pleasing bonus, almost bordering on Gold Glove. "Ronnie's a good defensive player for us," Wedge said. "He's made a lot of big plays for us this year. Making big plays and being consistent at a position, I mean, he's a good second baseman."
Here's the question: When Ben Broussard hit a grand slam as a pinch-hitter last season, Broussard became the first Indians player to do so since whom? (See answer below)Quotable: "I'm not like, 'Shoot, they won tonight.' We're where we need to be. It's not like we're four or five games out." -- Third baseman Aaron Boone, on the American League Wild Card race Did you know: Carlos Baerga and Mark Bellhorn are the first switch-hitters in Major League history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same inning. Bellhorn was the last of the two to do so when he homered in a 10-run fourth inning in 2002 for the Cubs. Injury updates: Arthur Rhodes and Matt Miller will both make rehab outings on Tuesday with Double-A Akron. Wedge said he probably won't activate either of them until Sept. 1. ... Right-hander Kyle Denney went on the 60-day disabled list (post-concussive symptoms/skull fracture). Denney, pitching for Triple-A Buffalo at the time, was struck in the head by a line drive in the first inning of his last start on June 26 against Durham. For the year, Denney went 1-1 with a 5.12 ERA in nine starts. This and that: The Indians are 34-13 when Travis Hafner knocks in a run, and they are 26-17 since the All-Star break. ... The Tribe has won the season series from the Blue Jays in 2004 and 2005. ... At Buffalo, catcher/DH Ryan Garko is hitting .362 in his last 25 games. He has four homers and 15 RBIs in that span. Also at Buffalo, Jeremy Guthrie is 12-10 and has won three of his last four starts. Aside from Guthrie, the Bisons, who have won five in a row, have Jason Young, Jason Stanford, Fausto Carmona, Jason Davis and Steve Watkins in their starting rotation. ... With a 6-3 win on Sunday over Altoona, Akron clinched its third Eastern League title in the last four years. Tribe tidbits: Tribe fans can buy tickets to home games through the Internet at www.indians.com, at the Jacobs Field box office, at the seven Cleveland Indians Team Shops in Northeast Ohio and through the Ticketmaster.com phone center (1-866-48-TRIBE). ... The Indians game on Sept. 11 against the visiting Twins has been changed from a 1:05 p.m. ET start to an 8:09 p.m. ET. ESPN2 will broadcast the game nationally. On this date: In 1977, after four seasons and 1,382 Major League at-bats, Duane Kuiper broke out of an 0-for-1,382 power shortage as he hit his first and only homer. The Indians second baseman, now a broadcaster with the Giants, would bat nearly 2,000 more times without another homer in his 12-year career. And the answer is: Facing Blue Jays reliever Mike Jackson, outfielder Casey Parsons hit a grand slam on Aug. 6, 1987. On deck: Cliff Lee (14-4, 3.93 ERA) will go for win No. 15 on Tuesday night when he takes on the Tigers. Lee will face left-hander Mike Maroth (2-0, 2.13 ERA).
Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.