BRIAN RICHESSON | Scrappers Sarbaugh keeps eye on Indians and former players



NILES -- Mike Sarbaugh carries a special appreciation for the position in which the Cleveland Indians find themselves.
Sarbaugh, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers first-year manager, spent the last four years as a hitting coach with Double-A Akron.
There, he coached with current Indians manager Eric Wedge and watched a group of young, talented players grow into big-leaguers.
Now, as the Indians threaten Minnesota for first place in the American League Central Division, Sarbaugh is noticing.
"You're always keeping up and seeing how the big-league club is doing," Sarbaugh said. "You're proud of the progress we've made as an organization and seeing some of the younger guys like Victor [Martinez] and Grady [Sizemore] make an impact. It's nice to see those guys start to make a name for themselves."
Sarbaugh also coached with Wedge at Class A Kinston. In their time together, the Scrappers' skipper has seen how Wedge has worked his way into a major league dugout.
"He's a very good communicator and he lets them know from day one what they need to do," Sarbaugh said. "He'll stay on them to help them get better. He's a good teacher and a good motivator, so he's got a lot of things going for him."
Larry and the LPA
Larry Gibson, known as Scrappers' entertainer Larry Legend, said he's feeling heat from the Little People of America organization for his role in Scrappers promotions.
Gibson is most known for his involvement in the Race Around the Bases promotion in which he races a fan. Lately, Gibson has tangled with the team's gorilla mascot in promotions and suffered some bruises.
Gibson said he's just trying to entertain fans and his actions shouldn't be perceived as demeaning to dwarfs.
Scrappers general manager Dave Smith doesn't see a problem either.
"The fans love him, and if he's enjoying it, who's being hurt?" Smith said.
Reyes update
The New York-Penn League record for single-season hits is 108, set in 1999 by Vermont's Matthew Watson. Scrappers infielder/outfielder Argenis Reyes is in range of reaching that mark.
Entering weekend play, the native Dominican had a league-high 82 hits (69 was the second most), needing 26 to tie the record and 27 to surpass it. With 16 games left in the regular season, Reyes needed to average 1.69 hits per game to break the record.
Final homestand
Still in the wild-card hunt, the Scrappers began their final homestand of the season Saturday night against Jamestown.
They will finish with six games -- three against the Jammers and three against the Aberdeen Ironbirds, ending the homestand Thursday.
After that, Mahoning Valley begins a season-high nine-game road trip -- to Jamestown, Williamsport and Batavia -- to complete their sixth year in the New York-Penn League.
richesson@vindy.com

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