(Justin McIlwee/Indianapolis Indians)
Broxton Shines in Debut (5/29)
It didn’t take long for prospect Keon Broxton to make his presence felt on his new Indians squad — Just three pitches to be exact.
Broxton deposited the third offering of his first regular-season Triple-A at-bat over the center field fence in a prodigious solo homer that cleared the deepest part of Victory Field.
“I was anxious and excited but I just tried to stay within myself and not do too much,” Broxton said. “That’s what I’ve really been working on this year, and it worked out.”
His home run gave the Indians a 1-0 lead during an eventual victory in which the Tribe edged Toledo 5-4 on May 29.
In the eighth inning, with Indianapolis facing a 4-2 deficit, Broxton again delivered a crucial hit when he stroked a single up the middle off big league rehabbing reliever Bruce Rondon, scoring Alen Hanson to begin the game-winning rally.
A single put Broxton in motion and the speedster went all-or-nothing to go from first to third base on a ball hit to the left fielder. More importantly, the gutsy play also put Broxton just 90 feet away from scoring as the tying run.
“I just decided halfway that I was just going to go for it; If I get to third, it’ll be a big, huge run,” Broxton said. “So I just took a chance and gambled and it paid off.”
He scored on a grounder from Brent Morel to complete the Indians’ comeback and finish his debut at 2-for-4 with a homer, two runs and two RBIs. The effort was on-pace for strong start of the year with Double-A Altoona, where he hit .302 with four home runs and an Eastern League-leading 35 runs scored.
“(I just want to) continue what I was doing in Double-A,” Broxton said. “I think everyday I’m just going to come in and do what I need to do. I’ve always wanted to progress in my career, and to move up to Triple-A and be in the lineup the first day was pretty exciting.”
Kingham Undergoes Tommy John Surgery (5/28)
Indians starting pitcher Nick Kingham had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday May 27. This surgery was performed by Dr. David Altchek in New York.
Kingham last pitched for the Indians on May 6 against Rochester. He worked into the sixth inning with just one base hit before being removed from the game with discomfort in his right elbow.
The speculations were later confirmed that Kingham would require surgery, and upon further examinations from doctors, he was informed of the tear in his UCL.
A typical recovery time for this type of operation is 12-18 months, thus cutting short what began as a promising campaign for the Tribe’s touted prospect. Kingham entered the 2015 season ranked sixth in the Pirates system and 68th overall among Minor League prospects, and went 1-2 with a 4.31 ERA and 32 strikeouts to just seven walks in his six starts this year.
The 23 year old is the second Indians pitcher from the 2014-15 seasons to undergo the surgery since the beginning of the offseason. Former staff ace Brandon Cumpton had the operation in March.
Romero Released to Sign in Korea (5/27)
Third Baseman Deibinson Romero has been released to sign with the Doosan Bears of the Korean Baseball League. The 28 year old native of the Dominican Republic won the Indianapolis Indians April Player of the Month award and was hitting .302 (38-for-126) with a team-high six home runs in 38 Triple-A games this year.
The slugger was projected as the top-rated free agent of the recent offseason and proved to be a valuable signing through spring training and his early action with the Indians.
Batting out of the center of the Indianapolis lineup, Romero provided much-needed pop with 19 of his 38 hits going for extra bases and by scoring or driving in at least one run in 26 of his 38 games.
“Deibinson made some nice adjustments toward the end of Spring Training in big league camp and he carried it into the season with him real well,” Indians hitting coach Butch Wynegar said. “He used the whole field to hit, he’s got some power in his bat”
Romero fulfilled his hitting coach’s projections to rank second in the league in extra-base hits (19), tied for second in doubles (13), third in slugging (.548) and fifth in both OBP (.403) and RBIs (27). He hit safely in eight straight games during his award-winning April, a stretch which still stands as tied for the longest for the Indians this season.