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Time To Go Nuts Again

I’m burying the lead here as far as talking about the Wingnuts returning after an 18-day road trip, but that’s OK. I want to talk about something else first, and it’s my blog (whether or not Taylor Eldridge and Paul Suellentrop try to take it over during the NBC), so I can do that.

One of my favorite things is checking the transactions wire of the American Association to see if there are any names I recognize. My assumption is that if I recognize your name as you join the league, then you’re going to be a difference maker. And I recognize a lot of names, so maybe that’s not the best assumption. If I don’t recognize your name, that’s when your team could be in trouble.

Anyway, I’d like to welcome two ex-Indians to the American Association. Jim Brower, who pitched for the Indians for two seasons (1999-2000) and had his most MLB success with the Giants, is now a member of the St. Paul Saints. In fact, Brower led the National League in games pitched, 89 with the Giants in 2004. That year Brower also had an ERA+ of 132. Which is good. Go look up ERA+ if you’re not familiar with the statistic.

But Brower was bad in 2005 then awful in 2oo6 and 2007, when he made his last MLB appearance with the Yankees. Last year he pitched in Triple-A with Cincinnatti, Houston and the Cubs. As far as I know, he hasn’t pitched anywhere this season, but now he’s a Saint and a teammate of former Cleveland farmhand Jason Cooper.

Joining Grand Prairie last week was Lee Gronkiewicz, who never pitched in the majors with Cleveland but had some nice minor-league seasons in the Indians system. Gronkiewicz has one MLB game to his credit, with Toronto in 2007. He has 159 saves in the minors, including 37 with Cleveland’s High-A affiliate in 2003. I’m sure he’ll be the closer for Grand Prairie, and I wonder, with the Wingnuts also picking up a closer, if they were in on Gronk.

Nice segway into the Wingnuts, huh? The closer they picked up, as you may have seen in the newspaper this morning, is Justin Dowdy, formerly of Shreveport-Bossier. He’s a pretty filthy left-hander from what I’ve heard. Definitely what the Wingnuts need, because they have gotten poor production from the back end of the bullpen this season. Got my first look at Dowdy today during pregame, and he’s pretty tatted up. Looks intimidating. So we’ll see. After proclaiming Joe D’Alessandro the next big thing, I’m going to watch my words. But this guy looks more “hit” than “miss” I think.

And how about Kevin Hooper almost activating himself? I think this was actually very, very close to happening, but with the acquisition of Dowdy, the Wingnuts had to clear salary and drop the roster to 21. Since Hooper would have to be on a veteran’s salary, they would have had to let go of two players to add one and the roster would have been at 20. That’s not enough for the playoffs, so I think Hooper and the team made the right decision to keep him in the coaches box. He definitely would have helped, though.

Three-game series starting today with Sioux City. I’m sure the Wignuts are hoping this feels a lot longer than three days, because I doubt another road series seems too inticing after the long road trip from which they just returned. Excited to see them play again, though. It’s been too long.