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04/18/07 7:20 PM ET
Notes: Marte gets a break
Struggling third baseman given night off after two-error game
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- The Indians' primary request of Andy Marte for this season is that he plays above-average defense at third base. So with four errors already under the 23-year-old Marte's belt just 10 games into the season, is he putting himself in prime position to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Triple-A Buffalo? Not so fast, said manager Eric Wedge. "We have to be patient with him," Wedge said. "He's a good player and he's going to be a good player. He works hard and has a lot of ability." Still, one day after Marte made a pair of errors in the series opener against the Yankees, Wedge opted to give the youngster a mental break Wednesday, starting Casey Blake at third. The Indians view Blake as insurance for Marte, especially if Ryan Garko proves he can be an adequate defender at first and continues to drive in runs in the middle of the order. It's Wedge's opinion that Marte has been overthinking a bit, trying too hard to impress the higher-ups, and, in the process, given them cause for concern. Aside from the four errors, Marte has also misplayed a couple balls that were ruled as hits. He's looked a bit stiff at the position, on the whole. For his part, though, Marte said all is well. "I feel great," he said. "I'm comfortable. I have to make the plays I have to make. Everybody is going to make errors. You just have to go out and keep working." Wedge said the cold weather that has followed the Indians around these first few weeks of the season has affected the Dominican-born Marte, who had a slow start with Buffalo, offensively and defensively, in similar conditions last year. But Marte shook off that excuse. "I'm not thinking about cold weather or last year, either," he said. "I'm just trying to go out and play." Left in: David Dellucci probably did a double-take when he saw his name in the Indians' starting lineup against left-hander Kei Igawa on Wednesday. "I don't think I've started against a lefty since 1998," Dellucci said. With Blake at third, the Indians had a vacancy in the outfield, and Wedge opted to fill it with Dellucci over Trot Nixon, mainly because he's leery of giving Nixon starts on back-to-back days in which a night game is followed by a day game, as is the case in this series. When Dellucci signed with the Indians, he was told he'd get a chance to hit against lefties and improve his .208 (60-for-289) career average against them. "It means a lot to me," he said. "This is definitely something I've been wanting. The key is to not go out and put too much pressure on myself. I have to simplify it as best I can. It will be good to get to try to get comfortable. It's not a situation where they're bringing a lefty out of the bullpen for one at-bat. I'll get two or three at-bats off this guy." Here's the question: Three members of the Tribe's 1948 World Series-winning club fathered sons who also played in the World Series. Can you name those three players? Free souvenir: Josh Barfield needed to come up with an explanation for his throwing error to end all throwing errors on Tuesday night. During the seventh inning, on an attempted double-play relay, he threw a ball over Garko's head and several rows into the stands by the Yankees dugout. "There was a kid in the third row with a glove," Barfield said with a smile. "I thought I'd give it a shot." Actually, Barfield made the mistake of double-pumping his arm and then rushing his throw. The result was ugly, to say the least. "It never works out when you double-clutch," he said, before joking, "If you're going to make an error, that's the way to do it, I guess." While the recipient of the ball walked out of the yard with a special memento, Barfield walked out with a life's goal accomplished. He grew up a Yankees fan, because his father, Jesse, played here from 1989-92, so playing at Yankee Stadium for the first time -- error or no error -- was a thrill. "It didn't work out like I planned," he said. "But I got the first one out of the way." Tribe tidbits: The Indians activated Joe Inglett from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Buffalo before Wednesday's game. Inglett came into Spring Training as a candidate for the Tribe's utility infield job, but appeared in just four spring games before straining his left quadriceps and hamstring. He played in extended Spring Training games the last few days before being activated and will be a busy man in Buffalo, playing both outfield and infield. ... Left-hander Cliff Lee (strained right abdominal muscle) will make his third rehab start with Buffalo on Saturday, and he's scheduled to throw 70 pitches. It's expected Lee will make at least one start after that one before being activated from the DL, but that's not a guarantee. "We'll see how Saturday goes," Wedge said. ... A day after making his return from a left quad strain suffered April 6, catcher Victor Martinez was back out of the lineup Wednesday, even though the leg felt fine. "He's available," Wedge said, "but it's just not smart to push it right off the bat." Martinez is expected to start behind the plate Thursday. Down on the farm: Right-hander Jeff Harris gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits in six innings, and left-hander Juan Lara gave up a run in two innings of relief work to take the defeat in Buffalo's 5-4 loss at the hands of Toledo. Outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Brad Snyder both missed the game while nursing lower body injuries and are listed as day to day. ... Double-A Akron pitchers combined on a three-hitter against Erie. Starter Aaron Laffey gave up just a run on two hits over six innings, and relievers Reid Santos and Jensen Lewis finished off the 5-1 win. ... Class A Kinston right-hander Frank Herrmann gave up just one hit and walked none in six innings to get a 4-1 win over Wilmington. And the answer is: They are: Jim Hegan, Ray Boone and Bob Kennedy. Hegan's son, Mike, played in the '64 Series, Boone's son, Bob, played in the '80 Series and Kennedy's son, Terry, played in the '84 Series. On deck: The Indians and Yanks wrap up their three-game set with Thursday's 1:05 p.m. ET game at Yankee Stadium. Right-hander Fausto Carmona (0-1, 12.46 ERA) gets the ball opposite right-hander Darrell Rasner (0-1, 4.66).
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.