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Spokane Indians notebook: Manager Kenny Hook gets the hook; Mariners prospect gets feet wet in pro ball

UPDATED: Mon., July 15, 2019

The Spokane Indians host the Everett AquaSox in the first of a three-game Northwest League series at Avista Stadium at 5:09 p.m.

The Indians (16-14, T-first in North) will send LHP Josh Javier (0-0, 1.15, four starts) against RHP Damon Casetta-Stubbs (2-0, 3.28, six starts) for the AquaSox (16-14, T-first in North).

Lineup: 1) Strahm-CF; 2) Garcia-C; 3) Asuncion-DH; 4) Crim-1B; 5) Hoover-2B; 6) McReynolds-3B; 7) Ricumstrict-LF; 8) Inoa-SS; 9) Joseph-RF.

Drama in Spokane: Cash Gladfelter crushed a two-run home run in a five-run seventh inning and the Everett AquaSox beat the Spokane Indians 6-3 in the first of a three-game Northwest League series at Avista Stadium on Sunday.

The AquaSox (16-14) drew even with the Indians (16-14) in the North Division with eight games to play in the first half. The teams face each other five more times in those eight.

There was big drama in the ninth. Down by three, Indians designated hitter David Garcia appeared to hit a line-drive, two-run home run that curled around the right-field fair pole. He circled the bases and the runs were put on the board.

Everett pitcher Logan Rinehart, catcher Juan Camacho and acting manager Carson Vitale started protesting even before Garcia reached first base. Home plate umpire Kyle Stutz and base ump Andrew Clark conferred for a few minutes, then waived to Indians manager Kenny Hook in the third base box.

Hook immediately got heated, and within seconds was ejected. After Hook gave Stutz an earful and walked off, the umpire signaled foul ball and instructed the press box to take the runs off the board.

Further investigation on Monday showed that the ball was indeed foul.

Hook gets the hook: Hook earned his first ejection on Sunday arguing the reversal of the home run in the ninth inning.

“I think that ejection is almost to the point where as a manager, it’s really predetermined that if they overturn (the call) you have to go,” Hook said.

“Just based upon the field umpire, it’s not a situation where you can ask for help, because the field umpire has responsibilities in the middle of the field with the base runner on second. It’s solely (the home plate umpire’s) call. And he made a call. And I understand that, okay, the ball was foul. But he made the call.

“And obviously, sometimes we make mistakes. It’s just a matter of like, that’s what you went with, you have to stick by it. And I felt like in that situation, It wasn’t whether they got it right. It was just like him not sticking by the call he made initially. So it wasn’t, I think it was just that it’s like you have to go right there just based upon how that all played out.”

First place battle: With Sunday’s loss, the Indians are tied with Everett for first place in the division with eight games left in the first half. The teams play each other five more times in the next eight.

Hook said the team is where it needs to be.

“I think if you would have told us at the start of this thing that we would be in this situation tied for first place, having division games against the people we need … with an ability to control our own destiny, I think we all would have wanted that to start out.

“It’s fortunate that we got off to the start we did,” he continued. “I think that’s what put us in this position. This the first time seeing them last night, now we kind of know what they are, and it’s up to us to make the adjustments and find ways in these next five games against them to compete and come out on top.”

Moving on up: The Rangers’ first round pick (No. 8 overall) 3B Josh Jung was promoted from the Arizona Rookie League to Low-A Hickory, skipping short-season A altogether.

Jung went 10 for 17 with a homer, triple and double and five RBIs in four games in the AZL. He hit .342/.476./636 with 14 homers in 60 games for Texas Tech this season.

Taking the reigns: The AquaSox come to town with a new acting manager. Former Spokane Indian Carson Vitale is helming the squad while Jose Moreno is serving a one-week, team-issued suspension.

Vitale, the Seattle Mariners’ minor-league field coordinator, played parts of two seasons for the Indians in 2010-11.

“I just do whatever the organization needs and right now, this is where I’m needed,” Vitale said. “Whatever brings health and success to the organization is kind of what we’re all here for.”

It was just a twist of fate that Vitale is on the bench for the series in Spokane.

“Walking into the stadium yesterday was definitely a different feel from the last time I was here,” he said. “But all good memories. I still keep in touch with my host family, who were great with me. Just a lot of great memories here.”

Getting his feet wet: Mariners top draft pick George Kirby pitched on Saturday so he’ll miss the Indians series. The 21-year-old from Rye, NY by way of Elon University in North Carolina, is learning how to be a pro.

“It’s very nice to be able to get drafted that high,” he said. “But overall, we’re all in the same position. We’re all the same guys basically playing at the same level. Just got to keep doing well to move up. No pressure.”

Still, playing in Everett so close to the parent club comes with a little more attention.

“My first star there the crowd was a little bigger,” he admitted. “I think it was nice to see. Everett’s a great place, close to Seattle. Tacoma’s right there too. So guys in the front office will come down to Everett, watch the game. That’s a really good atmosphere there.”

Kirby said the biggest adjustment he’s had to make is to the pro strike zone.

“In college, the zone is more side-to-side. Here it’s more up and down,” he explained. “So that’s one thing I got to work on, just commanding it a little better up and down the zone.”

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