Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Tribe’s Hagadone feeling a little punchy

Nick Hagadone? We won’t be seeing him for a while.

The Cleveland Indians placed the left-handed reliever on the Minor League disqualified list on Sunday after Hagadone reportedly suffered a self-inflicted injury to his pitching hand following Friday night’s game against Tampa Bay.

“We’re certainly disappointed with the reaction to it,” Tribe general manager Chris Antonetti said. “He was certainly very frustrated coming out of the game. We certainly would have wished he would have handled it a little differently.”

Well, as long as everyone is certain.

The Indians are working with Major League Baseball and the Players Association to determine what to do with Hagadone while he recovers from the injury, which could sideline him for some time, according to Antonetti. Oh, and Hagadone will not be paid while he is on the disqualified list.

Hagadone started off the season looking strong, giving up just four earned runs in his first 16 innings of work and holding opposing batters to a .143 average. At one point the hoople heads were even calling for the Indians to trade All-Star closer Chris Perez and move Vinnie Pestano to the closer’s role so that Hagadone could take over Pestano’s eighth-inning role.

Thankfully, Antonetti wasn’t paying attention.

Hagadone has struggled since the start of June, posting a 14.00 ERA in his last 11 appearances, including his final one Friday night, where he allowed two runs in two-thirds on an inning of work.

“Lack of command, and then the confidence, too,” manager Manny Acta said in summing up Hagadone’s problems. “It’s really tough for those guys to gain any type of confidence unless they’re having success. Once the success went away a little bit because of a lack of command, then the lack of confidence kind of came in.

“Command of the fastball is the number one thing. He struggled to throw his off-speed (pitches) over the plate, which really helped the hitters to narrow from three pitches to just one. But he still has a pretty good fastball. If you can locate it and command it, you can get people out. He wasn’t capable of doing that.”

Hagadone might be in the team’s doghouse right now, but the Tribe is going to be nothing if not patient with him. He was part of the Victor Martinez deal, he’s 26 and he throws left-handed, so the team isn’t going to be in any kind of rush with him. Plus, it’s not like the bullpen is just swimming in left-handed options.

Tony Sipp has struggled all season, he game into Sunday’s game against the Rays with a 5.72 ERA in 33 appearances, and Rafael Perez hasn’t pitched since April 25 (although he may start a rehab assignment in the “next couple of weeks,” according to Antonetti).

“it’s been a bit of a struggle,” Acta said. “We have really missed (Perez), who has been a mainstay there for so long. We had some spurts. Nick, earlier in the year, pitched well in that role. Tony, we’re trying to find a way to get him back.”

The Indians are going to come back from this week’s All-Star break right in the middle of a pennant race. Hopefully the 2011 Sipp comes back with the rest of the team.

(Photo by Getty Images)

***

Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy says all he wants is a fair chance when training camp opens at the end of the month in Berea.

***

Norman Sas, the inventor of Electric Football, has passed away.

Sas invented the game in 1948 and introduced it a year later. The game featured two teams of 11 plastic football players, each standing on a rectangular base with prongs on the bottom and a knob on the side. Once the players were lined up, you hit the switch, the metal field would vibrate and the players would move – just not always in the direction they were supposed to.

“You’d sit there and on the 10th try your running back would turn to the left and magically go down the field for a touchdown,” said Earl Shores, co-author of a book about the game, Unforgettable Buzz, that is scheduled to be published later this year. “You played Electric Football for that one moment.”

It wasn’t until 1967, when Sas signed a deal with NFL Properties, the National Football League’s product licensing division, that the plastic players represented actual NFL teams and Electric Football really took off.

(h/t Pro Football Talk)

***

The Pittsburgh Steelers turn 79 today. Let’s all celebrate a franchise that was founded by a degenerate gambler who used inside information to make a big score at the horse track so he could pay off the bookies he owed back in Pittsburgh.

Such a class organization, really.

***

Finally, take a look at the kits the 20 Premier League teams will be wearing this season.

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