Shutouts plague Indians' offense early
Manager Acta remains positive about timely hitting
ANAHEIM -- The struggles of the Indians' offense this season are well-documented. But there's no more dubious documentation than the number of zeros in the Indians' runs column on the day-by-day results sheet.Four times in this young season, the Tribe has come up empty in the runs department, and three of those shutouts have come on the nine-game trip that wraps up with this week's three-game series at Angel Stadium. Manager Manny Acta has remained positive and said he isn't concerned about the shutouts themselves. But the overall trend with the bats is a head-scratcher for a Tribe team that is expecting a lot out of its offense. "We know that we have a few guys struggling," Acta said. "It's something we need to address. But we've gotten the best out of those hits and those runs. Being outscored, we're still two games below .500. We have to keep battling and keep our heads above water until the offense comes alive." The 60 runs scored by the Indians, entering the Angels' series, were tied with the Astros for the fewest in the Majors. As Acta alluded to, however, some of those runs have come at opportune times. According to STATS LLC, the Indians' percentage of two-out runs (33 of 60, or 55 percent) was the highest in the AL.
Wood plays it careful with back injury
ANAHEIM -- Tribe closer Kerry Wood knows better than to offer a guess as to when he'll be back with the Indians. When he tried to push himself in Oakland last week, his back barked at him."I'll come back when it feels ready to go," Wood said. Wood, recovering from a strain of a back muscle below his right shoulder, appeared close to rejoining the Tribe before a simulated session in Oakland on Friday didn't go as well as he'd like. He scaled back his activity and tossed a bullpen session Sunday. After playing catch at Angel Stadium on Monday, Wood said he will throw another bullpen either Tuesday or Wednesday here. When the Indians return home to Cleveland later this week, Wood will throw either another bullpen session or another simulated game, with an eye on going out on a Minor League rehab assignment next week. "We want to get it right," Wood said, "so that when I come back I'm effective and not a problem."
Despite struggles, LaPorta is 'here to play'
ANAHEIM -- A leak had sprung from the ceiling in the visitors' clubhouse at Angel Stadium, and it was situated right near Matt LaPorta's locker."I'll probably be sitting here reading and the ceiling will crash on me," LaPorta said, jokingly. That didn't happen, but it would have been consistent with LaPorta's recent experiences at the plate. He entered the three-game set with the Angels with just three hits in his previous 26 at-bats. He's batting just .192 (10-for-52) with two doubles and an RBI in 15 games. "He's struggling overall," manager Manny Acta said. "But he's working. Things are going to happen for him." Acta remains committed to playing LaPorta as much as the youngster's body will allow. LaPorta, six months removed from surgeries on his left hip and left big toe, is still not deemed ready to play seven days a week, but he's progressing. And Acta will continue to bounce him back and forth between left field and first base. "He's here to play," Acta said. "We'll continue to increase his playing time. Our training staff feels good about [his progress]. He hasn't had any setbacks."
In two at-bats Sunday, Grady Sizemore tripled his production against left-handed pitching this season. His two singles off A's lefty Gio Gonzalez were his second and third hits off lefties in 2010. Sizemore is 3-for-27 off southpaws. "I feel he's coming around," Indians manager Manny Acta said of Sizemore. "We know he's going to be there for us." ... The Indians have turned 26 double plays this season, the most in the Majors. ... The Tribe will hold a one-day sale from 6 a.m. to midnight ET this Friday. The sale will include discounts on tickets, food, retail items and ballpark experiences, including no online fees on the purchase of tickets for the remainder of the 2010 season. The full slate of sale offers can be viewed at indians.com/onedaysale. ... For more Tribe news and notes, visit the CastroTurf blog at http://castrovince.mlblogs.com.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.