© 2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
06/07/06 6:56 PM ET
Notes: Is one bullpen lefty enough?
Wedge says he doesn't mind using right-handers
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Manager Eric Wedge dismisses the notion that his Indians could stand to have another left-hander in the bullpen. "I've never been caught up in the lefty vs. righty stuff," Wedge said. "If a right-hander can get left-handers out, then so be it." As it stands, the Indians have just one left-hander in the bullpen -- Scott Sauerbeck, whose ERA has gained two full points (4.22 to 6.23) in the past week. With two left-handers (Mark Kotsay and Eric Chavez) and a switch hitter (Nick Swisher) due up in the A's lineup Tuesday night, Wedge opted to leave Sauerbeck in the game for consecutive innings for the first time all season. Chavez got to him with a two-run home run in the eighth to tie a game the Indians would go on to lose. "I feel like I lost that game," Sauerbeck said. It was a rare situation that led to Sauerbeck facing three batters in a close game. And it's just as rare that he's appeared in three of the Tribe's last four games. "When you talk about a situational left-hander in the bullpen, their [appearances] come in bunches," Wedge said. "Sometimes they're few and far between. It's a tough role. But when the situations come up and they're available, you need to use them." Wedge hasn't had any other viable options to turn to when playing the percentages against left-handed batters. Right-hander Guillermo Mota has a track record of being as tough against left-handers (.294 average against) as he is against right-handers (.321). But with the Indians still trying to straighten Mota's season out, he hasn't been a go-to option in such situations. "He's doing a lot of work behind the scenes to get himself straightened out," Wedge said of Mota. "He's a guy that has had a lot of success against left-handers." Sauerbeck, ironically enough, has been tougher on right-handers than left-handers this year. Right-handers are batting just .136 (3-for-22) against him, while left-handers have hit .250 (6-for-24). Don't get defensive: As word play goes, Wedge's response to a question about his players' mentality as the errors on the defensive end have piled up this season was as good as it gets. "What they can't do is get defensive about it," Wedge said. "They have to look it in the eye and fight through it." A crucial Aaron Boone error in the eighth inning Tuesday helped pave the way to the 7-6 loss to the A's. That brings the Tribe's error count to 41, the second most of any team in the American League. "This year, they've been inconsistent with the same plays [made last year]," Wedge said. "But they've been moving around a little better the last week to 10 days." Here's the question: What former Indians player holds the club record for most extra-base hits in a season? Heavyweight hello: Travis Hafner didn't know the tribute was coming before his at-bat to lead off the sixth inning. But before the man known as Pronk stepped to the plate, there were his heavyweight heroes -- WWE wrestlers The Big Show, Edge, Jerry Lawler and John Cena -- on the big scoreboard screen, flexing their muscles and getting the fans worked up about "Pronkville," the right-field mezzanine section christened in Hafner's honor before Wednesday's game. Hafner, a renowned wrestling fan, responded with a solo home run, his 16th of the season. "[The video] got me fired up," Hafner said. Down on the farm: Double-A Akron third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff was named the Eastern League's Player of the Month for May after batting .440 with six homers and 26 RBIs in the month. ... Class A Kinston right fielder Ryan Goleski was named the Carolina League's Player of the Month after batting .426 with eight homers and 37 RBIs. ... Tribe-A Buffalo beat Toledo, 5-4, in 10 innings Tuesday, with Andy Marte going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. He's now hit in 10 of his last 11 games. Right-hander Ben Howard earned his second win of the season. ... Akron right-hander Sean Smith gave up three runs on eight hits over seven innings to improve to 6-0, as the Aeros defeated New Britain, 4-3. Kouzmanoff went 3-for-3 and was a home run shy of the cycle. ... Left-hander Scott Lewis pitched four scoreless innings and reliever Christopher Niesel gave up one run in two innings of relief to get the win in Kinston's 9-5 victory over Wilmington. First baseman Stephen Head hit his sixth homer of the season. ... Class A Lake County center fielder John Drennen's first-inning solo home run off future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens might give the young prospect a story to tell his grandkids, but it wasn't enough to get the Captains a win over Lexington, where Clemens was making his first tuneup of the season. Right-hander Albert Vargas gave up six runs, three of which were earned, over four innings to take the 7-4 loss. Tribe tidbits: On Tuesday, the Indians drafted three-fifths of the infield of the 2005 edition of Team USA, which competed in Japan and Taiwan last summer. Second baseman Josh Rodriguez was taken in the second round out of Rice University, third baseman Wes Hodges was taken in the second round out of Georgia Tech and shortstop Adam Davis was taken in the third round out of Florida. ... First baseman Ben Broussard's .556 (10-for-18) average in June is second only to that of the Mariners' Raul Ibanez, who is batting .583 (7-for-12). ... The Indians came into Wednesday having homered in seven straight games. And the answer is: Albert Belle holds the club mark of 103, which he notched in 1995. On deck: Graduating seniors will be on hand in full force for the Tribe's 12:05 p.m. ET game against the A's on Thursday, as it will be "School's Out" day at The Jake. Right-hander Jason Johnson (3-4, 5.80 ERA) will oppose right-hander Esteban Loaiza (0-3, 8.35).
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.