August 2, 2014

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Trot healing, hitting – Tribe Notes

CLEVELAND — It should come as no surprise that Trot Nixon is beginning to fight his way out of a season-long slump that has earmarked his debut season with the Indians.
Battling and beating the odds is what the rugged eight-year veteran who underwent offseason back surgery just months before reporting to spring training, has done for the majority of his career.
“It’s been a frustrating year,” said Nixon, a lifetime .278 hitter, who is batting .253 with three home runs and 31 RBIs in 81 games for the Indians. “But I’m not going to let it hold me down.”
That has appeared evident over the last month, with Nixon beginning to pick up steam at the plate — coincidentally or not — at around the same time he began to get rest from manager Eric Wedge and a push from young outfielder Franklin Gutierrez in right.
Over his last 19 games since
June 29, Nixon is hitting .315 (17-for-54) with a homer and six RBIs. He drove in the Indians’ lone run Sunday with a double in the second inning.
“I just think I’ve been able to find some holes,” Nixon said. “I feel like I’ve been swinging the bat well for a while.”
Though it’s undoubtedly slowed him for much of his first season in Cleveland, Nixon claims his back hasn’t been a serious issue at any point.
“I don’t feel the same, but it’s not anything that’s going to hurt the team,” he said.
Welcome home
Kenny Lofton went 4-for-10 with an RBI single in his first series back in Cleveland, starting two of the three games against Minnesota in left field.
That Lofton had instant success against the Twins is no surprise. He is hitting .348 with seven homers and 53 RBIs in 122 games against Minnesota, his best career batting average against any American League opponent.
Lofton received standing ovations from the crowd in each of his first plate appearances on Friday and Sunday.
Fultz fodder
Disabled reliever Aaron Fultz (strained muscle in rib cage) made his rehab debut for Double-A Akron on Sunday, starting for the Aeros against Altoona and retiring the side in order (one strikeout) in his only inning of work.
Fultz (3-1, 1.71 ERA in 32 games) is expected to make at least one more rehab appearance before rejoining the Indians.
Next up
The Indians are off today, resuming their 10-game homestand Tuesday night (7:05) with the first of three games against the Texas Rangers.
Fausto Carmona (13-4, 3.31) opens the set for Cleveland, opposing right-hander Brandon McCarthy (4-7, 5.52).
Paul Byrd (9-4, 4.40) and Jake Westbrook (1-6, 5.85) are the scheduled starters Wednesday (7:05) and Thursday (12:05), while Texas counters with left-hander John Rheinecker (1-0, 3.60) and righty Jamey Wright (3-3, 4.57).
The Indians have won five of six meetings with the Rangers this year.
Minor details
Triple-A Buffalo third baseman Andy Marte hit his 11th homer and was the only player in the lineup with more than one hit in a 9-5 loss to Syracuse on Saturday.
– Buffalo’s Brad Snyder, a Bellevue grad, was placed on the disabled list after breaking his thumb while attempting to break up a double play on Friday.
– A day after hitting three homers, Class A Lake County left fielder Cirilo Cumberbatch went deep again in an 8-3 victory over Hickory on Saturday.
Roundin’ third
The Indians have lost five of their last seven series, including their last three at Jacobs Field, after beginning the season with a 13-2-1 record in series at home. Cleveland lost for just the fifth time when leading after seven innings, while the Twins won for just the fourth time when trailing after seven.
– The Indians drew 115,597 fans to the three-game series against Minnesota, notching their second sellout (41,203) of the season in Game 2 on Saturday. Cleveland’s other sellout came against the Tigers on June 1 and drew the largest crowd of the year at Jacobs Field (41,365).