05/09/10 5:16 PM ET
Closer's role belongs to Wood again
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
Valbuena's struggles following him to field
CLEVELAND -- Luis Valbuena was already slumping at the plate, and now he's slumping in the field.Valbuena had a day off Sunday, and he might have needed it after committing four errors in three games at shortstop last week. With Asdrubal Cabrera back in the Tribe lineup for the series finale against the Tigers, Valbuena was given a day off and Mark Grudzielanek started at second. Though he said he feels comfortable at short -- a position he started at 22 times last season -- he didn't always look it while filling in for Cabrera. And his struggles in the field only draw more attention to Valbuena in what has been a rough first full season in the big leagues. "I'm working on things," Valbuena said. "I want to keep working and take it into the game. I'm working on my hitting and my fielding, and I need to put it all together." Valbuena is batting just .167 (11-for-66) with a .616 OPS this season. He's currently mired in a 3-for-27 funk. The hot start by Jason Donald at Triple-A Columbus put even more attention on Valbuena in the early going. Donald has cooled a little bit this past week, but he's batting .294 with an .862 OPS on the season, getting the bulk of his time at second base. A Donald callup does not appear imminent, but that doesn't mean veteran Mark Grudzielanek, who had a pair of RBIs in Sunday's 7-4 win over the Tigers, won't start to see more time at second base. "We could be leaning that way," manager Manny Acta said. "[Grudzielanek] has already been playing more than we anticipated."
Shin-Soo Choo entered Sunday ranking third in the American League in on-base percentage with a .432 mark. ... Left-hander Kelvin De La Cruz is on the move. The highly touted pitching prospect will make his Double-A Akron debut on Monday against Erie. He went 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA in six starts for Class A Kinston. De La Cruz missed most of 2009 with an elbow injury. ... The deadline to nominate an "All-Star Among Us" is Thursday. Fans are encouraged to visit PeopleAllStars.com to nominate themselves or other Northeast Ohio community members who go above and beyond the call of duty in extraordinary ways. Fans will vote online May 31-June 20, with the local winner representing the Indians at the 2010 All-Star Game.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.