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Indy adds Alcantara to arsenal

by Brad Cameron
February 12, 2002 - International League (IL)

Izzy AlcantaraINDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Indians catered to several types of fans with the signing of veteran outfielder Israel "Izzy" Alcantara on Sunday. If you happen to be a dedicated Indians fan and Alcantara continues his dominant offensive play from last season, there will be plenty of reasons to cheer.

Anyone who was at Victory Field on July 26th of last season may recall Alcantara, then a Pawtucket Red Sox slugger, leading his club to a 10-6 win over Indianapolis with two homers. To the dismay of Tribe fans at that game, Alcantara gave a preview of what he has to offer in just one Indianapolis appearance. Obviously, his effort did not go unnoticed by the Tribe.

His offensive numbers improved drastically over the past two seasons and the trend of improvement looks promising for 2002. In 2001, Alcantara hit a league-high 36 balls over the fence, in addition to another league-best, .599 slugging percentage with Boston's AAA affiliate.

It should not take long before fans regularly rush the lawn-seating area when Alcantara steps into the batters box this season at Victory Field. With 65 homeruns in the past two campaigns, putting balls out of the park seems to come naturally for the IL All-Star.

While on the subject, Alcantara was named an All-Star last season but was suspended from the All-Star game after an altercation in the second game of a home series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

On May 1st, 2001, in Scranton, Alcantara smashed two monstrous homeruns over the wall in deep center field and was an impressive 3-for-3 heading into his fourth at bat in the eighth inning.

Eager to prevent any further offensive damage by Alcantara, Red Barons pitcher Pete Zamora upset Izzy by pitching at him rather than to him. Alcantara waited until the Barons made the trip to Pawtucket to get his revenge. Not that anyone condones intentionally hitting a batter, but Zamora was putting his team first and trying to protect its lead. The Red Barons came out victorious in the game, 9-5.

The teams met again on July 2nd in Pawtucket with plenty of anger still seething in the mind of Alcantara. In his final plate appearance of the night, Alcantara was able to pull off another homerun in an 8-0 rout of the Red Barons.

The following evening, ruckus was the result of revenge as the bomb inside Alcantara finally detonated. Blas Cedeno was on the mound in the eighth to face the Red Sox hitter with two outs and the bases empty. Cedeno knew that Alcantara can do great damage to an opponent's lead once he steps into the batter's box. Cedeno decided not to take any chances and pitched a brushback ball, igniting Alcantara's short fuse.

After mule-kicking catcher Jeremy Salazar, charging the mound was next on his list. After all was said and done, the benches cleared, the Red Sox fell 10-3 and lost Alcantara for a league-issued one week suspension. Alcantara was also banned from competing in the league's All-star game in Indianapolis.

The Indians feel comfortable that Alcantara is here to play baseball, not to wrestle. By signing the prominent slugger, the Brewers' AAA club proved that success is their main focus for 2002. For those of you keeping score, the Indians first battle the Red Barons on May 11th-14th in Scranton and host the squad June 6th-9th.

It seems very likely that Alcantara's temper was triggered, not just from Red Barons pitching, but from the frustration of playing for a team without any playoff hopes, despite his own stellar play.

If this is the same Izzy Alcantara who accomplished so much with an underacheiving team last season, whoever was involved in bringing him to Indianapolis will certainly not see their effort go to waste. Don't be surprised if the name Alcantara is on a Brewers uniform sometime this season. Only time will tell.

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International League Stories from February 12, 2002

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