The blockbuster trade that sent Cleveland Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers in July was emblematic of how the Tribe does business: deal a star about to sign an expensive contract for a handful of players with great potential.

The blockbuster trade that sent Cleveland Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers in July was emblematic of how the Tribe does business: deal a star about to sign an expensive contract for a handful of players with great potential.

Three of the four Beer City boys who made the switch have spent time with the Columbus Clippers, who stood 14-19 heading into Wednesday's game. Star slugger Matt LaPorta was recently called up to Cleveland, and pitcher Zach Johnson is now 1-2 with the Clippers since arriving from the Tribe in April.

The player you'll see most often this season is outfielder Michael Brantley, who has established himself as an anchor in a rotating cast that's just starting to come together.

"The longer we play together, the more we know what roles players will have," Brantley said before Monday's 9-1 loss to the Pawtucket Red Sox. "It makes things go a lot smoother."

Last year with the Huntsville Stars, Milwaukee's double-A affiliate, Brantley batted .319, with 134 hits and 50 walks in 106 games. He's struggled a bit at the plate this season, but he's known as a disciplined hitter capable of making adjustments.

Though he turns only 22 on Friday, Brantley's already played in the minors for five seasons. His strongest asset, he says, lies on the mental side - observing the locker room, learning from older players and always striving to get better.

"I'm strong enough mentally to adapt very quickly," he said.

Vital Stats: Michael Brantley

Age: 21

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 200 pounds

Number: 50

Bats: Left

Throws: Left

Position: Outfield

Hometown: Bellevue, Washington

Years in minors: Five

Big Ten

Huntington Park will host the 2009 Big Ten baseball tournament Wednesday-Saturday, May 20-23, the first neutral site since 1994. Currently, Ohio State is battling Michigan and Illinois for the top seed in the conference. Single-game tourney tickets are now on sale for $10. For info, check BigTen.org.

Diamond Deals

Through Sunday, the Clippers had drawn the highest average attendance in the minor leagues, thanks in part to a great new park and lots of sweet promotions. Here are some upcoming deals. Click to ClippersBaseball.com for more.

Friday, May 15

7:05 p.m.

Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Indians/Clippers caps to first 2,000 fans and thunder sticks to first 2,500 fans. Party-at-the-Park features food and drink specials and live music by Gas Pump Jockeys.

Monday, May 25

6:35 p.m.

Charlotte Knights

Clippers Cloths to first 5,000 fans

Friday, May 29

7:05 p.m.

Norfolk Tides

Indians/Clippers caps to first 2,000 fans and food specials from Bob Evans. Party-at-the-Park features food and drink specials and live music by John Schwab.

Click to the A-List at ColumbusAlive.com to search hundreds of local sporting events