Indians’ outfielder Chad Smith remembers pitching for South Gwinnett High School against its rival, Archer High School. Smith was usually able to get most outs with relative ease, but one player was always a thorn in his side.
That player was Curtis Terry, a 5-foot-11, 255-pound first baseman who is now Smith’s teammate with the Spokane Indians.
“We’d probably win 3 or 4 to 2, and their only runs would come from Curtis hitting home runs off of me,” Smith said.
Terry, who is nicknamed “Big Rig,” was called up to Spokane on Aug. 20. He joined the team right before the Indians’ road series with Hillsboro, which Spokane was swept in five games.
For Terry, 19, joining a team amidst a colossal losing streak was extremely difficult.
“When I first started playing, I think I tried to do too much,” Terry said. “It was kind of hard knowing they were losing and I getting called up made me feel like I had to do something. But now I realize I just got to be myself.”
After playing all of last season in the Arizona Rookie League, he was eager to be called up to the Northwest League. After playing in games where development is the No. 1 priority, in front of little fans, Terry was thrilled to get back to what he calls “real baseball.”
“I went and packed as fast as I could and got on a plane. I was ready to get here,” Terry said.
Terry has struggled in his first few games with Spokane, slashing .211/.211/.263. He’s a prospect with a ton of pop, and even though it hasn’t translated to the games quite yet, he’s shown what he can do in batting practice.
“It’s nice to have that kind of sock down there at the bottom of the lineup,” Hulett said.
As for Smith and Terry, who grew up 10 minutes away from each other in Snellville, Georgia, they are about to get more familiar with each other. Their lockers are right next to each other in the Indians’ clubhouse.
“He’s a big dude, we might need to get a locker in between me and him,” Smith joked.
Werner on rehab assignment with Indians
Right-handed pitcher John Werner has been added to the Spokane Indians’ roster for a rehab assignment.
He’s pitched mostly in Hickory this season, posting a 4.78 ERA in 26 outings.
He pitched three games for the AZL Rangers in a previous rehab stint, throwing four scoreless innings, before being called up to Spokane.
Game notes from last night
Anderson Tejeda kick started the Indians’ scoring in an 8-0 win over Hillsboro last night. He’s a smaller player, but carries quite a big stick (Game Story).
Mendez cruises through seven: Sal Mendez has a team-high six wins, demonstrating he’s been pretty solid throughout the season. But tonight, he was downright dominant.
“He pitched a great game tonight,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said after last night’s game. “We had a couple plays behind him that we didn’t make, but he was able to come back and get a double play ball or make a pitch to get out of the inning.
“He’s really tough because you can’t just put [together] a couple of good at-bats, because he mixes his pitches really well. You got to put a bunch of guys back-to-back-to-back to score runs off him. As long as we make plays behind him, he’s going to be a tough pitcher for us.”
Hard work pays off for Spivey: I finished my game story and started packing my things around 11 p.m. on Monday night. While I was packing up, the sound of the crack of a bat was cutting through the silence after the Indians 12-1 win.
It was Seth Spivey, who went hitless in the series opener against the Hops. Rumor has it he was at Avista Stadium until after midnight. His payment for his hard work came in the form of a three-run homer on Tuesday.
“It was really good to see him get that,” Hulett said after Tuesday’s game. “He’s been working the last couple of days, trying to make some adjustments. It’s really great to see it happen in the game so quick, usually when you start making some adjustments, it usually takes three of four days to take it into a game.
“That was good to see. We need him to hit. He’s really been that guy for us. Even when he hasn’t been swinging the bat well, if there is a guy on third base he found a way to score that guy.”
Hulett said Spivey was working at staying more square in the batter’s box and hit through the ball more.
Taveras and Tejeda 1-2 punch: They came up from the AZL Rangers together, and now Leody Taveras and Tejeda are both starting to produce. While Tejeda was one of the stars from Tuesday’s contest, Hulett said he was really impressed with Taveras in Spokane’s six-run sixth inning.
“That inning really started with a great at-bat from Taveras, who hit a double with a couple of strikes,” Hulett said. “I thought Tejeda, he doesn’t walk much, but tonight he was really patient and didn’t chase with a 3-2 (count) and that set up the situation for us.”
My no-quoter from last night:
The Spokane Indians’ offense has awoken from it’s slumber.
After scoring 1.7 runs per game during a 10-game losing streak, the Indians have scored 2- in back-to-back wins over Hillsboro. Spokane blanked the Hops 8-0 in the second game of a Northwest League series on Tuesday at Avista Stadium.
Anderson Tejeda launched a solo home run to straight-away center field in the first inning to kickstart the offense. He now leads the team with six home runs, despite only playing with the club since Aug. 3.
The Indians added to Tejeda’s homer in a big way, scoring five runs in the sixth. Charles Leblanc plated Leody
Taveras on a shallow fly ball, which fell due to the Hops’ infield being in. Seth Spivey then slugged a three-run home run over The Depot in left field and Todd McDonald lined a single to center field to score Chad Smith.
Smith pulled a home run to left field in the eight, scoring Luis Terrero and pushing the Indians’ lead to 8-0.
Sal Mendez (6-4) pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up five hits, striking out four and walking four, to pick up the win. Tyler Mark (5-5) was handed the loss for Hillsboro.
Spivey finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs and Smith had a double, a home run and two RBIs for the Indians.
Hillsboro shortstop Mark Karaviotis was 2 for 3 for the Hops.