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Friday News & Notes: Appreciating the Indians 'pen, feigning interest in a Kluber-free All-Star Game

The Indians bullpen has been one of this year's few bright spots amidst a steaming pile of disappointment, including Klubot falling short of making the All-Star team.

Nearly a century of experience alongside the game's greats makes Atchison a bullpen force
Nearly a century of experience alongside the game's greats makes Atchison a bullpen force
Rick Yeatts

Three more games until we break for an All-Star game which, tragically, will not feature Corey Kluber. Here's what's going on around baseball as we kick off the last weekend of the first half:

Yesterday's game: Indians 9, Yankees 3

Last night's game not only didn't go 14 innings, but also resulted in a satisfying, dominant win over the Jackasses. Among other enjoyable moments was Derek Jeter ole-ing a ball off his wrist like a little leaguer in what was probably his last ever fielding chance at Progressive Field. Suck it, Jeets.

Indians news & notes

Bullpen has been a big strength for Indians this year | - Vinnie Pestano's mistake pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury ended an 18-inning scoreless streak for the Tribe bullpen. But apart from the occasional misstep, the Indians bullpen has seen some solid performance from some unlikely candidates this season.

Kipnis trying hard to lead the way | - In Michael Bourn's absence, Jason Kipnis is doing his best to fill th leadoff spot. He's good at stealing bases, but still generally sucks, making him the perfect stand-in for Bourn.

Kluber falls short of final All-Star spot | - Despite a strong marketing campaign - and a pretty good half-season of pitching, I guess - Klubot lost out on the vote for the final spot on the AL All-Star team. A deserving Chris Sale won the vote.

How Cleveland lost a Cy Young and gained an All-Star | Did The Tribe Win Last Night? - In honor of Michael Brantley's first All-Star appearance, Laurel Wilder recaps the events that led to the acquisition of the Tribe's burgeoning star outfielder.

Jeter whines about midges seven years later | - Reflecting - in a totally earnest fashion - on his career at Progressive Field, The Captain recalls the fateful Midge Game of '07.

Perez' first homer comes courtesy of borrowed bat | - It took Roberto Perez seven pitches, a lengthy umpire review, and Asdrubal Cabrera's bat to end up with his first career homer.

Tidbits from around the league

Pierzynski problem was worse than anyone could have imagined | - The abrupt DFA of A.J. Pierzynski was about far more than just him being terrible. He spent too much time on the phone, and basically didn't give a crap about his teammates. I dunno about you all, but I'm reveling in this.

Tanaka has torn UCL | New York Times - For the next entry in Schadenfreude Daily, the Yankees announced that Masahiro Tanaka has a small tear in his UCL. They will try to rehabilitate it with "platelet-rich injections," but it may ultimately result in Tommy John surgery.

Sizemore gets a shot with Phillies | NJ Star-Ledger - The Phillies have called up LGFT Grady Sizemore, who may become their best outfielder. Peep that sexy IronPigs jersey.

Colby Lewis has one of the worst starts in MLB history | CBS Sports - Thirteen runs on thirteen hits, in just two and a third innings. It's the worst line since Cleveland pitcher Johnny Miljus gave up fourteen runs on thirteen hits in three innings.

Let's imagine a baseball-playing Lebron | Fangraphs - Jeff Sullivan engages in a thought exercise to determine whether any baseball star could generate the insane amount of buzz the LeBron James has in the past few days. It's stupid, but kind of fun.

Futures Game is baseball nerd heaven | Sports On Earth - A rundown of all the intriguing prospects on the World and US rosters, including our own Francisco Lindor. Choice quote:

... as he digs his cleats into the dirt and ignites his massive thighs into action...

... I'll just leave it at that.