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NEW FACE ENTERS THE HERD'S ROTATION

Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, the Cleveland Indians' No. 1 pitching prospect, will join the Buffalo Bisons on the team's upcoming road trip and make his debut Wednesday night at Louisville.

A hole opened in the Buffalo rotation following Saturday's 3-1 loss to Richmond, when pitcher Mike Fyhrie was traded to the Kansas City Royals. Cleveland will be getting a Class A player in return.

Guthrie was Cleveland's top choice in last June's amateur draft after a stellar career at Stanford. He's much older (24) that most first-year professionals because he served a two-year Mormon mission in Spain in 1999 and 2000. So the Indians felt he could be accelerated directly to Double-A in his first pro season.

They backed up that feeling by giving Guthrie a $4 million major league contract with a $3 million signing bonus.

Their assessment has been proven correct. Guthrie has been the Eastern League's best pitcher so far, posting a 6-2 record and 1.44 earned run average in 10 starts while leading the league in both wins and ERA.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder has struck out 35 and walked 14 in 62 2/3 innings and held opposing batters to a .196 average. He pitched five shutout innings allowing just two hits in his final Akron appearance, a 6-2 win Friday over Reading.

"He has great, great stuff," said Herd manager Marty Brown, who saw Guthrie during spring training. "Experience is really what he needs and lacks and that's what he's going to get. I'm really anxious to see him. I know everybody is real excited about how he's progressed in Double-A."

Brown will actually have two new starters for the series at Louisville because left-hander Lance Caraccioli has been moved into the rotation from the bullpen with the departures of Jason Phillips and Jason Bere to Cleveland. Caraccioli, a career starter, is 1-2, 6.27 in 13 relief outings this year. He will start Monday afternoon.

Fyhrie was 1-5 with a 5.80 ERA in eight starts for the Herd. He pitched six innings and took the loss in Friday's rain-delayed, 6-5 loss.
Friday's game was one of the longest nights in Dunn Tire Park history. After a wait of 2 hours, 15 minutes, the first pitch at 9:20 p.m. was the latest start to a game since the ballpark opened in 1988.

The finish came at 12:18 a.m., the latest for a game that ended in regulation. The latest at the park was the 12:36 a.m. final pitch in a 6-5, 11-inning loss to Toledo on May 19, 1998.
Rehabbing Cleveland outfielder Karim Garcia was held out of Saturday's game because of soreness in his forearm but is not having pain in his injured wrist.

Catcher Victor Martinez pinch hit in the ninth inning and should be in the lineup today although he may not be able to squat enough yet to catch. He was hit on the knee by a foul ball in the ninth inning Friday and left the game.

A key to Richmond's success in this series has been the Braves' ability to keep Buffalo leadoff man Coco Crisp quiet. He had an eight-game hitting streak snapped Friday and has reached base just once in nine plate appearances the last two days. . . . Damon Hollins' second-inning home run was Richmond's 31st of the season -- and 26 of them have come on the road. . . . The series and homestand conclude today at 2 (Radio 1520 AM) as Buffalo's Jamie Brown (4-1, 1.87) meets Richmond's Andy Pratt (1-3, 4.05). Following the contest, the Bisons face a long bus ride to Louisville.
e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com

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