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Notes: Blake activated from disabled list
07/13/2006 8:15 PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- Casey Blake doesn't claim to feel 100 percent healthy. The left oblique strain he suffered nearly a month ago still gives him occasional trouble.

"I'm going to feel something in there for a while," Blake said. "I still feel it sometimes when I'm swinging, throwing and running."

As it turns out, those are three pretty applicable activities to baseball. But Blake was feeling well enough to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Thursday, replacing outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, who was optioned back to Triple-A Buffalo on the active roster and in right field.

The Indians will be careful with how they use Blake for the next week or two. He'll likely be spelled every few days.

Blake, who's hit .304 (65-for-214) with 10 homers and 36 RBIs this season, had been out of action since suffering the injury during batting practice before a June 14 game in New York. He made two rehab appearances earlier this week -- one at Double-A Akron on Monday, when he went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI, and the other at Class A Lake County on Tuesday, when he went 1-for-2 with a home run on the second pitch thrown to him.

"Being up at the plate, I didn't feel real comfortable up there," Blake said. "Any success you have is going to be a confidence boost. I was just concerned with how my side felt when I swung. I still will feel [the pain] on certain movements, but it's not the sharp pain I had [before]."

During Blake's absence, the Indians had speculated that his return might see him get some time at first base. With Gutierrez out of the picture, that doesn't seem quite as pressing a reality, but Wedge isn't ruling it out.

"That's still an option," Wedge said. "Right now, we just want to get him back in the lineup and cross the next step when we come to it."

Blake, who converted from third base to right field last season, doesn't exactly seem thrilled at the prospect of another position change, but he said he'd do whatever is best for the club.

"They haven't said anything to me about that," he said. "I'm not going to say no. Hopefully there's some method to their madness. They've got something in mind."

Nice impression: Wedge said he was pleased with the play of Gutierrez, who looked polished defensively and was having a good month of July at the plate before the demotion.

"He did a real good job up here," Wedge said. "He did nothing but get better. [Sending him down] is just about him playing. We don't want him up here playing just once a week."

Gutierrez hit .258 (17-for-66) with four RBIs in 20 games with the Tribe. He hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games, batting .350 (14-for-40) with four RBIs.

Among the stars: Wedge thought his first trip to the All-Star Game would be of the laid-back variety. He didn't expect to do much on American League manager Ozzie Guillen's coaching staff.

The day of the game, though, Wedge found out otherwise. Guillen had him coach first base for seven innings. Wedge didn't mind much, especially as the game wore on.

"I didn't have a whole lot of action over there," he said, referring to the AL only having three hits through the game's first seven innings.

Several people have asked Wedge if the players really care about the outcome of the game, and he's given them all the same answer.

"One thing I can say without a doubt is the players want to win," he said. "There's a lot of pride with each league."

Here's the question: All-Star center fielder Grady Sizemore has yet to miss a game this season. Who was the last Indians player to appear in 162 games?

Down on the farm: Buffalo outfielder Jason Dubois went 1-for-2 and third baseman Andy Marte popped out in his only at-bat in Wednesday night's Triple-A All-Star Game. The International League came out with a 6-0 victory over the Pacific League. ... Double-A Akron third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff went 1-for-5 and second baseman Eider Torres was 1-for-3 with a stolen base and a run scored in the Eastern League All-Star Game, in which the South beat the North, 5-3. ... Right-hander T.J. Burton gave up one run over two innings of relief to get the victory in Class A Kinston's 7-6 win over Salem. Catcher Javi Herrera, right fielder Brian Barton and second baseman Argenis Reyes all had two hits. ... Class A Lake County right-hander Jim Deters gave up three runs on eight hits over seven innings to lead the Captains to a 7-3 win over Greensboro. Catcher Chris Gimenez was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run and four RBIs. ... Right-hander Joanniel Montero gave up three runs over three innings and took the loss in Burlington's 6-4 loss to Greeneville. ... First baseman Collin Martin went 3-for-3 with three RBIs in the GCL Indians' 9-6 loss to the Phillies.

Tribe tidbits: Outfielder Todd Hollandsworth, who was rested the last four games before the break with a minor hamstring injury, is ready to return to action, Wedge said. Hollandsworth will likely get a start in Friday's game. He has an RBI in seven straight games and 10 of his last 11. ... The Indians bullpen has posted a 2.36 ERA since July 1. ... Out of the Tribe's next 39 games, 23 will be on the road. ... The July 19 game against the Angels, which was originally scheduled to be televised by WKYC Channel 3, will now be seen on SportsTime Ohio at 3:35 p.m. ET. Also, the July 21 game against the Twins, originally set to be seen on WKYC, will now be aired by STO.

And the answer is: Joe Carter appeared in 162 games in 1989.

On deck: The Indians and Twins continue their four-game set with Friday's 8:10 p.m. ET game at the Metrodome. Right-hander Paul Byrd (6-6, 4.31 ERA) will oppose right-hander Brad Radke (7-7, 5.13 ERA).

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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