The Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto spoke to Indians CEO Paul Dolan, touching on many of the issues that have plagued the franchise since its last winning season in 2007. Of note, Dolan called his team’s 2012 season “the worst” in his family’s 14 years with the organization. Dolan also admits that, despite increased ticket sales as a result of the Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher signings, “we will lose money” in 2013.
More, via Pluto:
But he views it as a “long-term investment” in the franchise, something that had to be done.
“It’s self-evident that we should be a very exciting team with personality,” he said. “We certainly have challenges. How we deal with them will determine if we are playing meaningful baseball in September or not.
“But we are unequivocally a better team.”
Though the Indians are playing in a division that includes the reigning American League champion Detroit Tigers, the AL Central is seen as a weak division. If the Indians’ lackluster starting rotation can prove a lot of naysayers wrong, they could enjoy significantly more success than they saw in seasons prior, something which would justify Dolan’s refusal to put his team through a complete rebuilding phase.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.