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05/07/08 7:26 PM ET
Marte eager for chance to contribute
Third baseman gets second straight start on Wednesday
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Eric Wedge calls his ever-evolving lineup an "open book." Perhaps this is Andy Marte's opportunity to write his own chapter in that book. Marte was in Wedge's lineup against the Yankees for the second straight night on Wednesday, bucking a season-long trend. Marte had just 13 at-bats and had yet to start -- or even play -- consecutive days coming into this series. "We want to give him a chance to play two days in a row," Wedge said. "I felt he had some decent swings [on Tuesday] night." Marte went 0-for-3 with a walk in that first start against the Yanks. For the season, he is batting an anemic .063 (1-for-16), with two walks and three strikeouts. But you can't blame the 24-year-old Marte if he's a tad uncomfortable at the plate, given the dearth of playing time he's received in the early going. This second start in as many days, then, was a welcome development, from his perspective. "It's good for me," Marte said. "I get to see more pitches and be in the game. Being in there helps me feel more relaxed." With third baseman Casey Blake, who was off on Tuesday night and moved to first on Wednesday, struggling to the tune of a .202 average, a .286 on-base percentage and five errors in the field, Wedge appears more open to the possibility of getting Marte more consistent playing time than he once was. "His swings have been better," Wedge said of Marte. "This kid does a great job in [batting practice]. It's just a matter of that translating more consistently in the game. That's tough to do when you only play once a week or once every 10 days." Marte is on this club because he is out of Minor League options, and the Indians, thinking he still has a chance to be their third baseman of the future, don't want to expose him to waivers. But Wedge has hardly made Marte a go-to player in the early going. So is this development the start of a new trend as far as Marte is concerned? Wedge was noncommittal except to say that his lineup is most certainly in a state of flux, as has been apparent the last couple of weeks. "I'm willing this thing from day-to-day right now," Wedge said with a laugh. "It's just where we are. We're an open book right now. It's not ideal, but on the flip side, it could be exciting, too." Wedge paused at that last remark. "I'm sure the fans will love that," he joked. It's become overwhelmingly clear that the Indians need to make some alterations, be it in their approach or their lineup. Marte hopes this is his chance to contribute. "I know I want to play every day," he said. "When I get in there, I'll do my best to try to help the team win."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.