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Morning Roundup

Terry Pluto on Jeremy Sowers:

As Shapiro said: ``He doesn't look durable, but he is. The impressive thing is how much pitchers get tired in their first pro season and tend to tail off at the end. But not him.''

Sowers went to Vanderbilt, and college pitchers usually have one start a week. The adjustment to every five days as a pro can lead to a tired arm. But in 11 starts covering July and August, Sowers' ERA is 1.75 with a 6-0 record.

Keep in mind, he's only 22.

He's not a guy for those who believe the radar gun is the bottom line to pitching. His fastball Wednesday night was in the 86-88 mph range. He has been clocked as high as 90-91 mph, which is considered the big-league average.

But rules are different for lefties, especially those with tea-cup control. You know the kind: a guy holds up a tea cup and from 60 feet away, the pitcher throws the ball in the cup.

That's Sowers' kind of control. That's why the Tribe made him their No. 1 pick in 2004, paying a $2.6 million bonus. It's also why he has bolted through the minors, and why Shapiro and the entire organization are so excited about him.

When you can combine control with strikeout ability, you have a chance to be a good pitcher. In some ways Sowers is like Cliff Lee, in others he's like Billy Traber. Like I said earlier, he's the best pitcher in the system right now, and he has a shot (albeit not a big one) of making the rotation out of Spring Training next season. There are other pitchers who probably have a leg up on Sowers right now, most notably Jason Davis and Fausto Carmona, but that's because they've had more experience.

The Washington Post has a story on the job Shapiro's done (registration required). Some interesting excerpts:

But Shapiro couldn't completely separate himself from baseball. At age 23, after an uneventful year working for a home builder in California, he sent letters to every major league team asking for employment. Only one of them, the Indians, responded. He was given an entry-level job and worked his way up to general manager.
That game was still on the players' minds the next day. Their game against the Tigers was called off early in the day because of rain, but a healthy group of Indians came to the ballpark anyway to work out. And amazingly, with an entire evening free, most decided to stay awhile.

C.C. Sabathia, the hulking left-handed pitcher who has taken Colon's place as the team ace, slumped in a large leather sofa and watched television. Peralta and Ronnie Belliard played cards. Sizemore signed autographs while seated at a table. Shapiro, with a team in contention again, walked into the clubhouse and headed for the gym. Yes, as his father had warned, baseball could be a delicate business. But as the photos in Shapiro's office of his father, laughing wonderfully at a game, proved, baseball could be a wonderful business, too.

It's pretty much a puff piece, but there's some stuff that you don't normally get from the local papers.