Back on the hill


Tribune Chronicle correspondent

NILES – It’s not everyday that two Cleveland Indians players appear in the same game for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

A sparse crowd of just over 2,400 was able to see just that Monday night when Cleveland Indians pitchers Brett Myers and Blake Wood each pitched an inning of relief in the Scrappers’ 2-1 loss to the Auburn Doubledays.

Myers was signed to a one-year, $7 million deal in the offseason with intentions of being in the starting rotation. However, he started only four games this season for the Tribe and will likely take a spot in the bullpen upon his eventual return to the big leagues.

Myers made his first live-game appearance since being placed on the DL in mid April in the second inning. He retired the side in order on 11 pitches, striking out Doubledays’ left fielder Greg Zebrack on three straight pitches to end the inning.

Blake Wood made things a bit more interesting as he allowed the first two hitters of the third inning to reach on singles. He quickly regrouped, however, getting a groundball double play followed by a flyout to the shortstop to end the inning.

This was Wood’s eighth minor league appearance of the season after beginning the year on the 60-day DL to recover from Tommy John surgery. He got through the inning quickly, throwing only nine pitches. He has given up one run in seven innings of work since first appearing in the minors last month.

Scrappers manager Ted Kubiak didn’t say much about the two major leaguers appearances.

“They got their work done,” Kubiak said. “At this level here, we know guys come in to do that.”

At this time, neither Wood nor Myers has a specified timeline for their return to the Indians.

As the scoreboard revealed, the Scrappers continue to struggle offensively. They were able to put together just six hits and left six runners on base.

“We hit some balls hard tonight and had some good at-bats,” Kubiak said. “We just gotta keep plugging away.

“We swung the bats well tonight. We hit some balls hard. Sooner or later something will fall in between there.”

One hitter able to hit the ball hard and get the ball to fall on Monday, was Juan Romero. Romero was not initially slated in the starting lineup, but was a late entry to the game to play right field.

Romero went 2 for 3 with a double and scored the Scrappers’ only run.

“He’s been good,” Kubiak said. “They’ve been on him hard all spring trying to get him to harness the power that he’s got. He’s worked hard. He’s had a lot of stuff thrown at him. And it’s nice to see him hit the ball. He’s got as much power as anybody, there’s no doubt about that.”

The Scrappers hope to get more run support for their solid starting pitching that has given up just 10 total runs in the last five games.

The rubber match between Mahoning Valley and Auburn is set for tonight at 7:05.