Tribe to Host HCAC Showdown at Victory Field

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Indians will host a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) showdown between Franklin College and Hanover College at Victory Field on Tuesday, April 22 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets for the collegiate contest will be available for just $5 on the day of the game at the Third-Base Box Office, and fans may enjoy free parking at the ballpark throughout the evening on a first-come, first-served basis.

Led by head coach Lance Marshall, fourth-place Franklin (19-13, 10-8 conf.) enters the matchup boasting a 3.5-game conference lead over eighth-place Hanover (11-6, 7-10 conf.) in the HCAC. Marshall’s Grizzlies feature one the league’s most dangerous bats in outfielder Scott Windler, who ranks first in the HCAC in RBI (35), tied for second in stolen bases (17) and tied for third in home runs (5). The senior is also joined on the conference’s leaderboards by fellow upperclassman Mitch Frey, a junior outfielder batting at an impressive .325 clip with the second-most RBI (32) in the HCAC this season.

Franklin’s opposition, rival Hanover College, will look to build upon its current three-game winning streak to gain ground in the conference standings. Hanover head coach Shayne Stock has leaned on his team’s standout infielder Matt Newman throughout the campaign, as the Edgewood High product owns the best overall batting average (.435) among all qualified HCAC batters in 2014. On the mound, the Panthers pitching staff is anchored by a pair of right-handed strikeout specialists in Mitch Hunnicutt, who leads the conference with 65 whiffs, and Andrew Roby, who ranks second in the HCAC with 50 punchouts.

Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday for the collegiate matchup and first pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. from Victory Field.

Make summer something you start early with your Indianapolis Indians. Tickets for the Tribe’s 2014 season are currently available online at IndyIndians.com, through the Indians’ single-game ticket hotline at 317-269-2282 or by visiting the Victory Field Box Office on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Autism Awareness Puzzle Piece Jersey Auction

This auction is now closed

The Tribe will look a little different when they take the field tonight.

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Your Indianapolis Indians will be sporting Puzzle Piece jerseys courtesy of Damar Services as part of Autism Awareness Night during tonight’s 7:05 p.m. game.

You don’t just have to be a spectator in this fun promotion, you can also bid on the game-worn jerseys and take one home (sweat and dirt included).

All proceeds from tonight’s auction will benefit Autism parent training and Parent Night Our Programs.

Since tonight’s auction is powered by Qtego, you don’t even need to be present at tonight’s game to bid on this unique design. Bid by text or phone through the end of the 7th inning of tonight’s game. (If you’re not present and want to watch for the 7th inning tune in to HTSN-digital channel 6.2, on the radio at  WNDE 1260 AM, via  iheartradio (a mobile app) or at IndyIndians.com for the pitch-by-pitch.)

TO REGISTER TO BID ON A JERSEY:

Register using your mobile phone by texting “FIGHT” to 79230

Phone in your bid by calling: 1-877-891-4752

OR Register online here: https://qtego.net/auc/indians/

TO BID BY TEXT:

Use the chart below to determine the item number for your desired player.
Hint: add 100 to the jersey number of the player to get the item number.
Text the item number AND your bid amount to 79230
(Example, for a $75 Rowdie jersey bid, Text “100 75″ to 79230)

TO ENTER A MAX BID

Text the item number AND max bid amount AND the letter “M” to 79230.
(Example, for a $500 max bid on Rowdie’s Jersey, text “100 500 m” to 79230.)

TO CHECK THE HIGH BID:

Text the item number to 79230

OR Watch the current high bid on all jerseys here: http://qtego.net/auc/indians/

COMPLETE LIST OF ITEMS FOR BID

Item Number Number Player
100 0 Rowdie
102 2 Robert Andino
105 5 Brent Morel
106 6 Matt Hague
107 7 Michael Martinez
110 10 Blake Davis
112 12 Brandon Cumpton
113 13 Mike Pagliarulo
115 15 Chase d’Arnaud
117 17 Adam Wilk
119 19 Chris McGuiness
123 23 Rudy Pena
124 24 Chris Dickerson
125 25 Gregory Polanco
127 27 Dean Treanor
129 29 Nevin Ashley
131 31 Jeff Locke
132 32 Duke Welker
134 34 Carlos Paulino
136 36 Phil Irwin
137 37 Vin Mazzaro
138 38 Andrew Lambo
139 39 Andy Oliver
143 43 Daniel Schlereth
144 44 Josh Kinney
145 45 Casey Sadler
146 46 Tom Filer
149 49 Jake Brigham
150 50 Jared Hughes


Tribe and Clippers Postponed, Two Twin-Bills Set for July

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INDIANAPOLIS – Both Monday’s and Tuesday’s International League contests between the Indianapolis Indians and Columbus Clippers  have been postponed due to inclement weather. The games will be made up as part of 6:05 p.m. doubleheaders on Thursday, July 10 (gates at 5:30 p.m.) and Saturday, July 12  (gates at 5:00 p.m.).

The Indians will now host both postponed contests during Columbus’ next visit to Victory Field from July 10-13. In accordance with International League rules, each game of the two twin-bills will be scheduled for seven innings, with the second game of the doubleheaders set to begin 30 minutes after the completion of the first contest.

Tickets from both postponed contests may be exchanged for any Indians home game throughout the remainder of the 2014 regular season. Fans can exchange their tickets by visiting the Victory Field Box Office from 8:00 am – 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 10:00 am – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, or by visiting any ticket window at Victory Field during any Tribe home game. All exchanges are based on availability.

The Tribe will now hit the road for a brief, three-game set as part of a home-and-home series with the Louisville Bats, Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds (April 16-18). The Indians return home to welcome the Bats for a three-game set at Victory Field from April 19-21, with a promotional  the first Signature Saturday of the season, Kids Eat Free Sunday and Monday Dollar Menu.

Tomorrow’s contest at Louisville Slugger Field will be carried on WNDE 1260 AM, WNDE.com and via iheartradio, a mobile application for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones with Howard Kellman and Will Flemming on the call. The pre-game show begins at 6:15 p.m.

For more information visit IndyIndians.com

‘Voice of the Tribe’ Shares Home Opener Memories

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Kellman Spoke with Reese Waters of The Weather Channel earlier today to promote the Tribe’s 60 Degree Weather Guarantee

By Megan Filipowski/Indianapolis Indians

When asked to describe Opening Day in one word, legendary broadcaster and “Voice of the Tribe,” Howard Kellman, did not even pause before answering:

“Sensational.”

As Kellman so eloquently suggests, It’s a day unlike any other. It means spring has arrived and baseball season has begun in the city. “Hope springs eternal”, he said.

“You always have such great anticipation no matter how many times you are there,” Kellman said. “It’s the first of 72 games there. It’s just a prelude of what’s to come.”

Above all people, he would know.

Kellman has called over 6,000 baseball games during his broadcasting career, and the 2014 campaign will mark his 39th season behind the microphone for the Indians. And even after calling 38 different Opening Days, the allure of a home opener hasn’t lost its special touch.

“It’s a beautiful time,” he said. “It’s a great, great day.”

The Voice of the Tribe received a more-than proper introduction to the home opener’s effect on the fans during his very first game with the Indians. In an experience he holds dear to his heart, he called the play-by-play action for Indianapolis’ contest against the Omaha Royals on April 20, 1974, when future MLB Hall of Famer George Brett suited up for the opposing ballclub.

While just a minor stop in the illustrious career of Brett, who later retired as one of four players in big league history with 3,000 hits, 300 homers and a career .300 average, the 1974 season opener left a lasting impression on Kellman.

“That’s one you never forget,” Kellman said.

Fast forward to the Tribe’s home opener in 1997 and Kellman, to this day, still fondly remembers his exact description of the scene at Victory Field’s first official Opening Day.

“It’s is the crown jewel of minor league ballparks,” Kellman’s voice resounded over the airwaves.

Even as both he and Indians fans were still adjusting to the two-mile move from the team’s first home ballpark of Bush Stadium, Kellman was moved to share his passion for the ballpark at the corner of West and Maryland.

“That’s our field,” Kellman said.

Along with a winning tradition on the diamond, Victory Field has also received praise for its enjoyable, fan-friendly atmosphere, perhaps never-more-so than when the gates open for the first time each season. According to Kellman’s expertise, the mood is festive, and he said it’s wonderful to walk around the park and enjoy the beauty of both the field and surrounding area.

What’s more, he added, fans never have to worry about less-than-ideal weather, as the Indians and their weather partner WTHR annually promise 60-degree weather at Victory Field’s home opener.

“The Indians Opening Day 60 Degree Weather Guarantee says if the temperature at game-time is below 60 degrees, everyone in attendance will receive a free ticket to another April home game of their choice,” Kellman recited.

And Opening Day “game-time” has featured several meanings of its own over the years for Kellman, most notably when the Tribe opened the 1978 campaign on the road against the Redbirds in Springfield, Illinois.

“[Springfield] had just gotten the franchise and the clubhouses hadn’t been built yet,” Kellman recalled. “The team had to be bused there while I took a cab (separately). When I got to the stadium the team wasn’t there. The bus got stuck behind a train. The game started 30 minutes late.”

Luckily for Kellman and Tribe fans, the only 30 minutes late for tonight’s home opener will be the extra time spent at the ballpark as friends re-live moments from the game, take one last look at their new Indians gear and enjoy the first postgame fireworks of the season.

As the Voice of the Tribe begins each home-game broadcast,

“We welcome you, to Victory Field.”

Collegiate Contest at Victory Field Postponed

INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday afternoon’s collegiate clash between Anderson University and Wabash College at Victory Field has been postponed due to rain. A makeup date for the contest has not been announced as of Wednesday.

For more information contact Anderson University’s Sports Information Director, Justin Bates, by phone at 765-278-6620 or via email at jbbates@anderson.edu.

With the postponement, Victory Field will now officially open its gates the first time this season for the Indianapolis Indians 2014 home opener on Thursday, April 10 at 7:05 p.m. The Tribe’s 2014 Opening Night will feature a matchup against the Toledo Mud Hens, Triple-A Affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, and includes the Indians’ annual “60 Degree Weather Guarantee,” which states that if the game-time temperature at Victory Field is below 60 degrees on Opening Night, everyone in attendance will receive a FREE ticket to another April home game of their choice.

Visit IndyIndians.com for more information on Opening Night.

Spring Training Position Previews: Outfielders

WEEK 6: OUTFIELDERS IN THE PIRATES ORGANIZATION
(By Megan Filipowski/Indianapolis Indians)

The Indianapolis Indians and their Major League affiliate head into regular-season play with a group of talented outfielders, including Baseball America’s No. 1 Pirates prospect Gregory Polanco, former San Diego Padres farmhand Jaff Decker, International League veteran Chris Dickerson, former Tribe slugger Andrew Lambo and 2013 Altoona Curve standout Adalberto Santos.

Potential Indians Outfielders

Gregory Polanco

Gregory Polanco, originally from the Dominican Republic, signed as an international, non-drafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009. The top-rated prospect enters the 2014 season as Baseball America’s No. 10 prospect out of all farmhands in the MiLB.

This offseason, Polanco played in the Dominican Winter League where he was honored as both the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year. His award-winning stint featured a .331 average (55-for-166) and a team-high (Leones del Escogido) 28 RBI and five home runs.

The 22-year-old carried his hot streak into Spring Training with the Pirates, batting .273 (6-for-22) in 10 games and hitting his first pitch of camp for a home run. He was officially optioned to Indianapolis on March 14.

Jaff Decker

Jaff Decker was selected by the San Diego Padres in the first round (42nd overall) of the 2008 MLB Draft. He joined the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of the deal for Indiana University alumnus Alex Dickerson on November 25.

Before being optioned to the Tribe earlier this week, the 24-year-old left fielder appeared in 18 spring training games where he hit .250 (9-for36) with two RBI.

Decker has suited up for eight teams in the Padres’ organization during his career. He also made his MLB debut as a pinch-hitter (walk) on June 20 in the Padres 6-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Chris Dickerson

Chris Dickerson was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 32nd round (968th overall) of the 2000 MLB Draft out of high school, but did not sign. He was then drafted again in 2003 (16th round, 471st overall) by the Cincinnati Reds following his standout collegiate career at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

After signing with Cincinnati, the veteran left fielder made his MLB debut with the Reds (2008-10)  in 2008, and has since played with the Milwaukee Brewers (2010), the Yankees (2011-12) and the Baltimore Orioles (2013). He joined the Pirates after signing a minor league contract in January.

Dickerson, in his ninth Spring Training, appeared  in 15 games at big league camp, hitting at a .355 clip (11-for-31) with seven RBI and three stolen bases.

Andrew Lambo

Andrew Lambo was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ fourth-round (146th overall) selection in the 2007 MLB Draft. After spending 2007-20 in the Los Angeles organization, he was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in July 2010 as part of a deal for Octavio Dotel.

The 25-year-old made his Major League debut with the Pirates last season on August 13 as the starting right fielder against the St. Louis Cardinals (0-for-3). His 2013 campaign also featured the Tribe’s Offensive Player of the Year Award and Pittsburgh’s MiLB Player of the Year, which he received largely thanks to his organizational-best 32 home runs and 99 RBI.

Lambo appeared in 17 games with the Pirates this spring before he was optioned to Indianapolis.

Adalberto Santos 

Adalberto Santos has the rare accomplishment of being drafted three times, the first of which was in 2007 by the Toronto Blue Jays (17th round, 535th overall). Two years later, he was drafted by the San Diego Padres (35th round, 1044th overall) before he actually signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a 22nd-round (657th overall) selection in the 2010 Draft.

Santos spent the 2013 season with Double-A Altoona Curve, where he led the team in runs scored (62) and stolen bases (21). He also concluded the campaign with a solid .281 batting average (115-for-409) through 118 games.

In the System

Among the outfielders in Bucs’ organization, two notable names include highly-touted farmhands Josh Bell and Austin Meadows, who rank as Baseball America’s No. 7 and No. 4 Pirates prospects, respectively.

Bell was selected by the Pirates in the second round (61st overall) of the 2011 Draft out of Dallas Jesuit College Preparatory School.  The 21-year-oldspent the 2013 season with the West Virginia Power where he hit .279 (128-for-459) and ranked first among Power batters in total at-bats (459), doubles (37) and RBI (76), as well as being tied for first in runs scored with 75.

Like Bell, Meadows was drafted right out of high school by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Meadows’ selection came in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2013 Draft. The 18-year-old prospect made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Pirates where he led the team with five home runs and five triples. He finished the campaign with a .294 average (47-for-160) in the GCL  before receiving a late-season promotion to short season Jamestown Jammers.

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First-Round pick Austin Meadows
Photo by Cliff Welch/MiLB.com

 

 

Win a Million Dollars at Victory Field in 2014

INDIANAPOLIS — For the second straight year, your Indianapolis Indians and the Hoosier Lottery are giving fans the chance to win $1 million at Victory Field with the 2014 “Million Dollar Swing” promotion. The exciting sweepstakes will also feature a new, First Prize opportunity for the 2014 season, which will give fans an additional chance to win $5,000 at every Indians home game during the upcoming campaign.

Open to all Indiana residents 18 years or older, the Hoosier Lottery “2014 Million Dollar Swing” sweepstakes again gives fans the chance to win a million dollars if an Indians batter hits a target located just inside the right field foul pole in the fifth inning of a home contest at Victory Field. In addition and new to this season, fans will also have the chance to win $5,000 during each home game if an Indians batter hits the aforementioned target in any inning other than the fifth.

For the chance to be a part of the “Million Dollar Swing” promotion  fans must fill out and submit an official online entry form at IndyIndians.com/bigdreamers. Once submitted, each entry form will be entered into a pool from which winners will be selected for each Indianapolis Indians home contest at Victory Field during the 2014 season.

Each selected winner will then receive four tickets to sit in the Hoosier Lottery Big Dreamers Section (attendees must be 18 or older)  at a selected Indianapolis Indians home contest. If an Indianapolis Indians batter were to then hit the right field target during the fifth inning, all ticket-holders in the Hoosier Lottery Big Dreamers Section would have the chance to win $1 million courtesy of the Hoosier Lottery. The same policy will apply to the sweepstakes’ new First Prize, with all ticket-holders in the Hoosier Lottery Big Dreamers section having the chance to win $5,000 if an Indianapolis Indians batter were to hit the target during any inning other than the fifth.

To be eligible for either drawing, fans must be a valid ticket holder of the Hoosier Lottery Big Dreamers Section and present at Victory Field when the target is hit.

All members who are present will become semi-finalists and entered into the $1 million or $5,000 drawing, dependent on which inning the target is hit. Each prize drawing will then be conducted in a separate ceremony at a later Indianapolis Indians home contest, where one winner will be selected from all eligible participants.

For full rules and sweepstakes information as well as sweepstakes entry forms go to www.IndyIndians.com/bigdreamers.

Come out and celebrate summer with your Indianapolis Indians. Tickets for the Tribe’s 2014 season are currently available online at IndyIndians.com, through the Indians’ single-game ticket hotline at 317-269-2282 or by visiting the Victory Field Box Office on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Spring Training Position Previews: Starting Pitchers

WEEK 5: STARTING PITCHERS IN THE PIRATES ORGANIZATION
(By Megan Filipowski/Indianapolis Indians)

The starting rotations in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization feature a diverse group of arms ranging from multi-year veterans to rising prospects and strikeout specialists to ground-ball inducers. This impressive mix includes five hurlers who each pitched with the Tribe last season in Brandon Cumpton, Jameson Taillon, Phil Irwin, Andy Oliver and Casey Sadler.

Potential Indians Starters

Brandon Cumpton

Cumpton was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ninth round (267th overall) of the 2010 MLB Draft. He is rated by Baseball America as the Pirates No. 11 prospect entering the upcoming season.

The righty climbed the levels of the organization quickly, and after earning a 22-19 record in 57 minor league games (54 starts), Cumpton made both his Triple-A and Major League debuts just three years into his professional career (2013).

Cumpton made five starts with the big league club last season, beginning his MLB career with four straight strikeouts on June 15 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. One month later, Cumpton picked up his first Major League win by three-hitting the St. Louis Cardinals through 7.0 shutout innings on July 30.

His ascension to the big leagues featured two additional stops during the 2013 campaign, with the right-hander going 0-1 with a 7.45 ERA (8 ER in 9.2 IP) for Double-A Altoona and 6-7 with a 3.32 ER (45 ER in 122.0 IP) for Indianapolis. Cumpton finished the year with just one earned run through his final three starts (18.1 IP), including tying career highs in innings pitched and longest outing without an earned run with his 8.0-frame (1 unearned run) start against Syracuse.

Jameson Taillon

Jameson Taillon was the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first-round selection (second overall) in the 2010 MLB Draft. The 22-year-old was drafted out of high school and has since been ranked as the Bucs No. 1 (2010 and No. 2 (2011-13) prospects by Baseball America.

In the first two seasons of his professional career, Taillon demonstrated solid swing-and-miss ability by fanning a combined 213 batters in 49 starts with Lo-A West Virginia, HI-A Bradenton and Altoona from 2010-12.  Taillon then spent most of the 2013 season with Double-A Altoona, where he went 4-7 with a 3.67 ERA (45 ER in 110.1 IP) and 106 strikeouts in 20 games (19 starts).

On August 5 last year, Taillon made his highly-anticipated International League debut with the Indians. Although he registered a 5.25 ERA through his first two starts, the righty settled into a groove to finish the season with four straight quality starts to lower his ERA to 3.89 by the end of the season. Taillon also finished the campaign ranked second in the IL with 37 strikeouts and fifth with 37.0 innings pitched since making his Triple-A debut.

Phil Irwin

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected right-hander Phil Irwin in the 21st round (625th overall) of the 2009 Draft.

The University of Mississippi alumnus reached the Triple-A level at the tail end of the 2012 campaign, a season in which he combined to post a 2.83 ERA (41 ER in 130.1 IP) with a career-high 117 strikeouts in 23 games (21 starts) between Bradenton, Altoona and the Tribe.

Irwin’s fast track was temporarily put on hold following his standout 2012 campaign. The righty, who started and won Game 3 for the Indians during the first round of the 2012 playoffs,  appeared in just two games with Indianapolis last year as he attempted to return to full health. However, he has since impressed with strong outings in the Arizona Fall League and at big league spring training.

Andy Oliver

Andy Oliver is the lone southpaw among these five former Tribe hurlers, and is also the only one to make his Pirates organization debut last season.

Originally drafted out of Oklahoma State by the Detroit Tigers in 2009 (second round, 58th overall), Oliver made just 14 starts at the Double-A level before appearing in his first big league game with the Tigers. The then-22-year-old authored a quality start during his Detroit debut, allowing only two runs while striking out four in 6.0 innings against the Atlanta Braves on June 25, 2010.

Oliver was acquired by the Pirates prior to the 2012 season in a trade that sent catcher Ramon Cabrera to the Motor City. The southpaw most recently spent the 2013 campaign with the Indians, where he tied the Victory Field era single-season strikeout record (138) and set a new mark for single-season walks (112).

Casey Sadler

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Casey Sadler out of Western Oklahoma State College in the 25th round (747th overall) of the 2010 MLB Draft.

Along with making his Triple-A debut with Indianapolis last season, the right-hander excelled with Double-A Altoona and earned recognition as the Curve’s Pitcher of the Year. The ground-ball pitcher’s standout campaign featured career highs in wins (11), starts (23) and innings pitched (136.1), as well as a stellar 191 groundouts (110 air) over 479 at-bats.

Sadler was promoted to the Indians on August 30 and made his minor league debut that night against the Louisville Bats. He surrendered only three runs with five strikeouts in six innings pitched in his first Triple-A foray, helping lead the Indians to a 4-3 win.

In the System

Two players to make headlines last season in the Pirates organization are right-handers Nick Kingham and Tyler Glasnow.

Kingham, the 22-year-old out of Sierra Vista High School, has quietly posted solid numbers during his four-year professional career, including a career WHIP of 1.17 (344.1 IP) which ranks between fellow top pitching prospects Gerrit Cole (1.15, 200.0 IP) and Jameson Taillon (1.22, 382.0 IP). After being promoted to Altoona in June, Kingham held the opposition to two earned runs or fewer in 12 of 14 appearances (10 of 12 starts)en route to the fourth-best ERA (2.70) in the Eastern League.

At 20-years-old, Glasnow is becoming one of the Pirates’ top-pitching prospects, reaching a No. 3 ranking in the Pirates organization by Baseball America. The 2013 Pirates Minor League Pitcher of the Year went 9-3 with a 2.18 ERA (27 ER in 111.1 IP) with the Power last season, while also ranking fourth in all of the minors with his West Virginia franchise-record 164 strikeouts.

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Tyler Glasow
Photo by stidlundphotos

Spring Training Position Previews: Relief Pitchers

WEEK 4: BULLPEN/RELIEF PITCHERS IN THE PIRATES ORGANIZATION
(By Megan Filipowski/Indianapolis Indians)

The Indianapolis Indians’ parent Club boasts impressive depth in the bullpen with a combination of veteran pitchers, and several who are on the cusp of reaching the Major League level. That list includes 2013 Tribe players Duke Welker and Jared Hughes, Winter League standouts Jay Jackson and Zack Thornton plus Norfolk Tides veteran Daniel Schlereth.

Potential Indians Bullpen/Relief Pitchers

Duke Welker

Duke Welker was selected by the MLB draft by the Seattle Mariners two times – out of Woodinville High School in 2004 (34th round, 1023rd overall) and during his freshman season at Seminole State College in 2005 (39th round, 1163rd overall).  He did not sign in 2004, instead transferring to the University of Arkansas in 2006 where he played two seasons before being selected as the Pittsburgh Pirates second-round pick in the 2007 Draft.

The righty spent the majority of 2013 with the Indians, leading the team in games (48) and serving as the closer following the departure of Vic Black (trade).  Welker also made his Major League debut with Pirates, pitching a perfect eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels on June 23.

Before being called up in June, the right-hander made 11 straight appearances without allowing an earned run, a span in which he gave up just four hits and nine walks while striking out 20. Welker later concluded 2013 with a career-high nine saves and 3.57 ERA (25 ER in 63.0 IP).

Welker finished the 2013 campaign with Indianapolis, but following the season, joined the Minnesota Twins as the player to be named later to complete the Pirates’ midseason deal for Justin Morneau. Just a few months later, he returned to Indianapolis when the Pirates and Twins swapped the righty for the Tribe’s 2013 Starting Pitcher of the Year Kris Johnson.

Jared Hughes

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected right-hander Jared Hughes in the fourth round of the 2006 MLB Draft (110th overall).  The Bucs were able to snag Hughes when the hurler opted to attend California State University Long Beach rather than sign with Tampa Bay during the 2003 draft.

Just four full seasons into his professional career, Hughes made his Major League debut with 1.1 scoreless frames in the Pirates 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros on September 7, 2011. Following his debut, Hughes has since spent parts of each of the last two seasons in the majors, with Double-A Altoona and with the Indians.

Last season, Hughes dominated during his 18-game stint in the International League, surrendering only one run in 21.0 innings pitched with 18 strikeouts. He appeared in 29 games with the Pirates, fanning 23 in 32.0 innings of work.

Jay Jackson

Jay Jackson was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 2008 MLB Draft (ninth round, 281st overall).  After pitching in the Cubs chain for five years, he was signed by the Pirates as a minor league free agent on November 20.

Jackson has spent the majority of his six-year career as a starting pitcher (107 starts in 153 minor league games), but after picking up 10 saves with a perfect 0.00 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched with the Venados de Mazatlan this offseason, he could potentially continue his work out of the bullpen.

Prior to joining the Pirates, the right-hander split the 2013 season between Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans (Miami Marlins). He concluded the year with a combined 4-7 record, 3.53 ERA (41 ER in 104.2 IP) and 93 strikeouts in 21 games (18 starts). He transitioned to the bullpen for his last three appearances.

Zack Thornton

Zack Thornton was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2008 (43rd round, 1287th overall) out of Ventura College. He chose not to sign and transferred to the University of Oregon for the rest of his collegiate baseball career. He was then selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 23rd round of the 2010 MLB Draft (695th overall).

Thornton joined the Pirates organization in an offseason trade in 2012 that sent Chris Resop to Oakland. Last season, he progressed through the system quickly, combining for a 7-3 record with a 2.63 ERA (22 ER in 75.1 IP) between Hi-A Bradenton, Altoona and the Tribe.

The right-hander has epitomized the role of a strikeout pitcher during his career, most recently combing for a career-high 90 strikeouts during the 2013 campaign. Thornton then spent the offseason with the Arizona Fall League’s Scottsdale Scorpions, where he recorded an impressive 4.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio and the league’s second-best WHIP (0.75).

Daniel Schlereth

Daniel Schlereth, the son of former NFL player and current ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth, was drafted in consecutive years by the Oakland Athletics (eighth round, 270th overall) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (first round, 26th overall) in 2007 and 2008 respectively. After signing in 2008, Schlereth pitched just one year in the minors before making his Major League debut with the a scoreless inning of relief against the Atlanta Braves on May 29, 2009.

Since that season, he has suited up for the Detroit Tigers (2010-2012) and Triple-A Norfolk (Baltimore Orioles, 2013).

Schlereth enters the 2014 campaign boasting a1.71 ERA (23 ER in 121.1 IP) with 156 strikeouts in 101 minor league games (6 starts).  He is also coming off a solid 2013 campaign in which he registered an 0.82 ERA (1 ER in 11 IP) in 12 games with the Tides last season.

In the System

Two notable relievers among Pirates’ farmhands include Robbie Kilcrease and Rinku Singh.  At 24 and 25, respectively, Kilcrease and Singh have both spent their entire minor league careers in Pittsburgh’s organization.

Kilcrease spent the 2013 season as the Bradenton Marauders’ primary closer and led the team with 11 saves in 40 appearances. He also posted a 1.36 ERA (10 ER, 66.0 IP) in that span.

Singh, originally from India, was the winner of a 2008 reality-show Million Dollar Arm (highlighted in the upcoming film) where he beat out 37,000 other contestants for a $100,000 prize, while also attracting enough attention to travel to the U.S. for workout sessions with scouts in November, 2008. In his last full season, he racked up 65 strikeouts while posting a solid 3.00 ERA (24 ER in 72.0 IP) for the West Virginia Power (2012).

Rinku Singh
(Photo by Scott Jontes/Four Seam Images)

Front Office Fridays

Chris ScherrerChris-Scherrer_2008

ARAMARK General Manager

Fast Facts:

  • 14th year with Indianapolis Indians
  • 14th year in Professional Sports
  • Has played guitar for over 20 years and was a member of multiple bands throughout high school and college

“It’s great to be part of a team that truly has a passion for the product that they deliver to their fans both on or off the field.”

ARAMARK Offseason:

Concession “Winterization”

After the Indians wrap up their season, Chris Scherrer’s first priority is to shut down all of Victory Field’s concession areas and help prepare the stadium for both weather and temperature changes of an Indiana winter. The process, which typically takes around a month to complete, involves updating ARAMARK’s inventory of concession items, cleaning the equipment and working with companies such as Pepsi and Coors to prepare beverage lines in an adjustment for the upcoming winter.

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Chris Says:
“The Indians like to work far in advance with preventative maintenance, which is a great way of looking at things.”
                                                                                                                    

Create New Menu Items and Concession Concepts

The Indians aim to stay at the forefront of concession concepts, and that stems largely from function with their unique partnership with ARAMARK. In addition to great baseball, Victory Field has a lot of appetizing food options to offer their fans, and they’ve helped pioneer the concessions concepts of Build-A-Burger and Mexican Cantina within the game of baseball. Scherrer and his staff pride themselves on their successful innovations, and maintain such an impressive track record by working around the clock to create new components for Victory Field’s concessions items.

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Chris Says:
“We have this blessing that everything has worked relatively well for us, which lets us focus on putting the best product out there to enhance the fans’ experience.”
                                                                                                                         

NonProfit Partnerships

Another task  Scherrer tackles during the offseason is renewing concession partnerships with nonprofit organizations. These partnerships are activated during the baseball season to allow nonprofits to work at Victory Field, while earning compensation with the commission of their respective concession sales. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement that, in-turn, helps the  Indians provide top quality service at each of their concession areas.

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Chris Says:
“We now have upwards of 30 organizations that participate with us. Last year we were able to give nearly $300, 000 to nonprofit groups through this program.”
                                                                                                                                  

Network with Regional Venues

As ARAMARK’s General Manager, Scherrer is in charge of traveling to regional sporting venues to both learn and exchange different practices to continually improve the Indians’ concessions. Sherrer is able to survey football, basketball, and baseball venues throughout Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, and is constantly learning about different menu trends and concepts to potentially implement at Victory Field.

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Chris Says:
“There is a lot of learning from traveling, something that works in one city might not work everywhere else.”
                                                                                                                                   

Capital Projects

One of the unique aspects of Chris Scherrer’s job is that he’s able to use his experiences from visiting regional venues and planning new concession concepts, to help create Victory Field’s next capital investment project. From utilizing Victory Field as a year-round venue for concerts and conventions, to creating a new concession area much like The Cove or Cantina, Scherrer is constantly looking for ways to make Victory Field a one-of-a-kind venue.

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Chris Says:
“The Indians have done a great job of updating their infrastructure to the next level. They’re always up-to-date on technology, which gives ARAMARK a great opportunity to create new concepts for the fans.”

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