06/28/2002 00:34 am ET
Trade surprises Colon's teammates
Sabathia: 'He was the best pitcher on our team'
By Mike Petraglia / MLB.com
BOSTON -- It was very clear outside Cleveland's rain-soaked clubhouse Thursday that the impact of the Bartolo Colon trade to Montreal had yet to sink into with his now-former teammates.
"I was really surprised," shortstop Omar Vizquel said. "I never thought (management) was going to trade one of the best pitchers in the American League and probably of the game. It's just really sad to see the next Bob Feller of Cleveland (traded). But I guess they're talking about cutting payroll and the future of the team. I guess it's for the benefit of the team, but I'm still really sad about it."
Thursday's rainout at Fenway Park means C.C. Sabathia will take the hill Friday at Jacobs Field against Arizona, a game Colon was originally slated to start.
"He was the best pitcher on the team," Sabathia said. "He carried the load for us. It's a big blow to the whole team. It's a real shock."
"It's really something we have no control over," Vizquel said. "I'm pretty sure if the players had all the control to trade players, it would be a different story. You never want to see the best pitchers that we have gone like that."
With Colon and player-to-be-named headed to Montreal, this much is clear -- Sabathia, Danys Baez and Ryan Drese now become the young and still talented foundation of the Indians rotation.
"You just want to play day-to-day," Sabathia said. "One of our leaders has left the clubhouse. We still have Omar (Vizquel) and (Jim) Thome."
Vizquel said after the game that he still feels there's a place for him on an Indians team that is trying to rebuild for the 2004 season. But he admitted there would be a transition phase in getting to know Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Lee Stevens, the four players acquired in the deal.
"Now we have to deal with all the guys who are minor leaguers and not on the same level as Bartolo. But that's part of the game," said Vizquel.
As for the present, Vizquel admitted it's going to be difficult for the club to think about putting together a second-half hot streak to make a run at the Twins in the AL Central.
"It is hard right now to think about that," he said. "You let go a guy like that, you let go a lot of games, at least 15 (wins). Every time he steps to the mound, you feel like you have a 90 percent chance to win. And that doesn't happen very often.
"With the people we have right now, we just have to play and try to win, day-by-day. You know you're still going to win some games," said Vizquel.
Vizquel and other Latin players were among the first to talk to Colon after he officially became a member of the Expos late Thursday evening.
"I don't think many people knew," Vizquel said. "A few Latin guys were called. Bartolo called us on the cell. But he had been saying that since Spring Training. Then a source informed us and let us know it was true."
Overshadowed by the Colon trade was news that Indians skipper Charlie Manuel was selected Thursday by American League All-Star manager Joe Torre as one of his coaches for the midsummer classic July 9 at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Manuel will join Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia as All-Star coaches for Torre. It is the first coaching appointment to the game in Manuel's Major League managerial career.
Down on the farm:
The Buffalo Bisons lost five straight and six of their last 10 games to fall into second place behind Scranton Wilkes-Barre in the International League. The Bisons are currently third in the league in both team batting and team pitching, as the offense is hitting .275 as a team, while the pitching staff has a team ERA of 3.33. ... Catcher Chris Coste still leads the league in batting with a .352 average (88 for 250). He has collected a hit in 11 of his 13 games, during which he is batting .386 (17-for-44) with one homer and six RBIs. Outfielder Chad Allen, who spent some time with the Tribe, has collected a hit in each game since rejoining the Bisons on June 21. ... Pitcher Jaret Wright (shoulder) has made two starts since beginning his rehab June 17. He has recorded two no-decisions and owns a 5.00 ERA in nine innings. ... Pitcher Tim Drew has won eight of his last nine starts. Drew is now 8-4 with a 3.27 ERA. In his last nine starts, Drew has a 2.38 ERA. Since May 1, the right-hander is 8-2 with a 2.20 ERA.
Mike Petraglia is a reporter for MLB.com. He can be reached via email at Mike.Petraglia@mlb.com.This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.