09/05/10 5:54 PM ET
Choo surging into spotlight for Indians
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Entering Sunday's game, Choo was 4-for-10 in the first three games of the four-game series against Seattle with a home run, two doubles, six RBIs, a stolen base and three runs scored. He's also drawn three walks, which means he's been on base in seven of 13 plate appearances.
Overall this year, Choo is hitting .296 with 16 home runs and 69 RBIs and has stolen 17 bases. And he's been even better of late. Over his last 13 games, he's batting .375 (18-for-48) with two homers and 10 RBIs and has reached safely in 28 of his last 58 plate appearances. Entering Sunday's action, Choo had a .393 on-base percentage, which ranked seventh in the American League.
At the age of 28 and given the fact that he's only had one season (2009) in which he played more than 150 games (156) and got close to 600 at-bats (583), Indians manager Manny Acta and Choo's teammates have to be wondering what numbers he might put up if he had 600 at-bats in a year.
"He's a guy that can do everything on the baseball field," Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner said. "He's a five-tool guy. He hits for average, he hits for power and he's only going to get better. He can hit .300 or higher with 30 homers and 100-some RBIs. He's extremely talented.
"He's a guy that was always talented, but he really adjusted to pitching at the big league level pretty quickly and developed into a .300 hitter quickly. So I think the last thing is just going from hitting 20-to-25 homers to hitting 30. And he definitely has the pop to do that."
Acta said a lot of what Choo does in the future could depend on the players in the lineup with him.
"His year this year has been a very good one, but it could have been a lot better if he would have had Grady Sizemore in front of him, getting on base and stealing bases, and also if [shortstop Asdrubal] Cabrera wouldn't have missed 50 games with that [fractured left forearm] injury," Acta said.
"It all revolves around the other people," Acta added. "It's a team effort, and you see it in a lot of teams. Guys who drive in runs, a lot of times it's because guys are getting on base in front of them. Those 600 at-bats, I would love to see him with those guys in front of him and with some guys protecting him like Hafner and [injured catcher Carlos] Santana. It could be interesting."
Acta ejected for arguing call at second
SEATTLE -- Indians manager Manny Acta was ejected from his team's game against the Mariners in the bottom of the fifth inning Sunday at Safeco Field.
With two outs and Josh Wilson on first base, Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki hit a pitch by Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez for a grounder up the middle. Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera fielded the ball while ranging to his left toward second base and appeared to lightly drag his right cleat across the bag, but second-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ruled Wilson safe and Ichiro was given a base hit.
Acta ran out to the field to contest the call and was ejected by Wendelstedt after a lengthy argument that also was attended by home-plate umpire Jerry Layne and first-base umpire Mike Winters. It was Acta's second ejection of the year and the fourth of his big league managerial career.
Tribe's farm system rolling into playoffs
SEATTLE -- Indians skipper Manny Acta has been very pleased to see the reports from the Minor Leagues, where three Indians farm clubs are headed for the playoffs.
The latest to clinch was the Class A Kinston club, which lost to Frederick on Saturday night but still nailed down a spot in the postseason as a result of Salem's loss to Potomac. Triple-A Columbus and Class A Lake County have already qualified for the playoffs this year.
"Our farm system is doing a good job, especially with the trades we've made over the last couple of years," Acta said. "We've gotten some good prospects, and it's paying off down there. It builds depth and will make things interesting.
"We could see it in Spring Training because we played very well in Spring Training. And in Spring Training, when you win a lot of games, you know it means you're going to have a good Double-A and Triple-A team, because at the end of the games, those are the guys that are actually playing."
Indians loaded with Arizona alums
SEATTLE -- Infielder Jason Donald on Sunday morning saw the score of Friday night's University of Arizona football game -- a 41-2 Wildcats victory over Toledo -- crawl across the clubhouse TV screen, and he smiled once again. But Donald isn't the only Indians player who celebrates when his alma mater wins.
Outfielders Shelley Duncan, Jordan Brown and Trevor Crowe also went to and played at the school, which is located in the Tribe's former Spring Training home of Tucson, Ariz., and Donald, Crowe and Brown were college teammates, along with Double-A left-hander Eric Berger. Right-handers Cory Burns and Preston Guilmet and catcher Dwight Childs are also former Arizona players at various levels of Cleveland's Minor League system.
"It's kind of crazy, isn't it?" Donald said. "You'd have to think the odds are astronomically high that three guys who played college ball together would be playing together in the big leagues. It's really cool, and the best part about it is we were such good friends before. We were real close when we played there together, and we remained close after we left there.
"And when I got traded over here last year [from Philadelphia], I think they were more excited than I was."
Since June 28, Tribe closer Chris Perez owns a 0.67 ERA and has allowed two runs in his last 26 2/3 innings, with 25 of his last 26 appearances being scoreless outings. His ERA is the lowest among all American League relievers in that time span. ... Outfielder Michael Brantley has hit safely in six straight games and is batting .292 (28-for-96) with two homers and 12 RBIs in 23 games since his recall on Aug. 6. ... Entering Sunday, the Indians had won seven of their last eight games in Seattle since 2008. The Indians have not lost a series to the Mariners in Safeco Field since going 0-3 in '03. The Tribe is 20-9 in the ballpark since 2004.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.