Sunday, September 03, 2006

Freaky Saturday

What a day to be away from the computer. Saturday was a Cleveland sports blogger's dream. All three teams did something blog-worthy, and some college action was thrown in on the first week of the football season.
I myself went to the much-ballyhooed "Clash in Cleveland," pitting my beloved Bowling Green Falcons (Class of '03, if you didn't already know) against the Wisconsin Badgers. I'll write much more about that in a subsequent post.
While I was dodging raindrops at Cleveland Browns Stadium, the world was passing by outside. So without further delay, let's wrap up an eventful Saturday, sports page style.

Kouzmanoff hits a slam on his first major league pitch
That's right, folks. Not just his first game. Not just his first at-bat. The very first pitch Kevin Kouzmanoff saw come out of a major-league pitcher's hand -- from Texas' Edinson Volquez -- he took deep for a grand slam.
It's the first time in baseball history that has happened.
Sunday, The Plain Dealer reported that 23 big-league hitters have gone deep in their first major league at-bat. Kouzmanoff, called up from Buffalo earlier in the day, is reportedly the first American Leaguer to hit a grand slam, and just the third all-time.
The Indians won 6-5, by the way. They are now 65-69 and 18-6 in their last 24 games.
It was, to be sure, an auspicious debut for Kouzmanoff, a third base prospect who was sort of forgotten when the Indians acquired Andy Marte. But Marte, who has been lukewarm at the plate since being recalled more than a month ago, might get pushed for playing time by Kouzmanoff. A hot finish by Kouzmanoff would likely create a competition at third base next spring.
It's also possible that Kouzmanoff might learn another position. Reportedly, he's been taking fielding practice at both third base and left field recently. If first impressions mean anything, he needs to play somewhere to get his bat in the lineup.
He was the DH last night while Travis Hafner recovered from a hand bruise after getting hit by a pitch Friday.

Browns trade for center Fraley
Out is Ross Tucker, cut by the Browns Saturday. In is Fraley, a veteran center with 71 starts, including a Super Bowl, for the Eagles. The Browns acquired Fraley from Philadelphia for a conditional low-round draft pick in 2008.
Fraley missed the final eight games of the 2005 season with a torn shoulder tendon, and subsequently lost his starting job to Jamaal Jackson.
Fraley, who will turn 29 this month, is far from LeCharles Bentley, but a definite upgrade over the cast of characters the Browns have had snapping the ball since Bentley went down with a seas0n-ending knee injury. Fraley at least has the experience of being the anchor of the offensive line on a contending team. Once he gets his feet wet, he'll provide valuable leadership that even Bentley might be able to learn from.

Suggs and Green both out
We spent all training camp wondering who would win the backup running back battle, Lee Suggs or William Green? Turns out, the real winner is Jason Wright. Wright and Jerome Harrison will team as Reuben Droughns' backup. Suggs and Green have been shown the door.
Suggs was among the players cut Saturday. Green was placed on injured reserve and the Browns will likely try to negotiate an injury settlement that terminates his contract.
Among the other Browns players cut Saturday: WR Frisman Jackson, C Ross Tucker, LB Nick Speegle and OL Andrew Hoffman

Cavaliers will likely sign Wesley
You can read more about it in the post below, but the Cavs appear close to signing veteran shooting guard David Wesley to a two-year deal. It's a solid move if the Cavs can trade one or two other backup guards.

Ohio State rolls in opener
Not that anyone couldn't have seen in coming, but the Buckeyes torched Northern Illinois, scoring 21 first quarter points en route to a 35-12 season opening win. The star hookup? No surprise, Troy Smith to Ted Ginn Jr. The Glenville High School products connected on a pair of first-quarter touchdowns that provided Ohio State all the offense it needed.
Next up: a rematch with Texas. If Ohio State wants any respect, let alone a national title, they must pay the Longhorns back for last year's loss at The Shoe.

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