5/29/2013 7:40 P.M. ET
Indians upbeat, 'coming together' despite rough stretch
By Mark Emery / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Before Wednesday's game against the Reds, there was hardly an indication in the Tribe's clubhouse that the home team had lost five straight and seven of the past eight games.
The players were easygoing. They chatted and laughed, even taking time at one point to stop and enjoy the new rap song put out by pitching prospect Trevor Bauer, whose lyrics lauded the big league club. By any measure, the Indians players seemed to be focused on that evening's contest instead of the losses that preceded it, or the 18-4 record that came before the current funk.
That's how Indians manager Terry Francona likes it. Despite their recent record, the Tribe is still doing plenty right, if the manager is to be believed.
"In my opinion -- and I get to see it from a different perspective than a lot of people -- I think we're coming through with flying colors," Francona said. "[It] hasn't shown on the scoreboard this last week, but our team is coming together more than ever. And I see it every day, and it's going to help us in the long run."
Francona's players make him proud on a daily basis. When players are hustling regardless of the score -- such as Nick Swisher sprinting to first on a dropped third strike or Michael Bourn extending himself to make another nimble catch in the outfield -- Francona feels gratified.
"I feel every bit as good about our ballclub right now as I did 10 days ago -- maybe if not better -- because I've seen the fight they have in them and we're pulling together," Francona said. "There's some things that haven't gone right for us at the end of games and things like that. But I think we're going to be OK."
Marson to make rehab start at Double-A
CLEVELAND -- Lou Marson will begin another road to recovery on Wednesday with a rehab start in Double-A Akron.
The catcher was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation near the end of last month. After Wednesday's rehab, Marson will sit out Thursday -- when he comes off the DL -- before playing for Triple-A Columbus on Friday.
"I would say it's probably weeks as opposed to days," Indians manager Terry Francona said about Marson's comeback process. "He's been out [a] pretty long time now.
"You can't just put it all in one week. That doesn't work. So, it's going to have to be every other day. And we'll up the amount as we go and the reps and things like that. And some of it will depend on how he feels."
Marson has dealt with this particular shoulder injury throughout his career. He also went on the DL with a cervical neck strain on April 9.
In just three Major League appearances this season, Marson is 0-for-3 with two walks.
"You can't just send him out there four days in a row," said Francona, who is particularly concerned with Marson's defense. "We probably wouldn't do that here. As a catcher, you can't do that on a rehab. It just won't work."
For his career, Marson carries a .219 batting average and .309 on-base percentage. He has 60 RBIs and five home runs.
Myers still projected as starter; bullpen role possible
CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona did not rule out the possibility of injured pitcher Brett Myers returning to the team in a bullpen role when the right-hander's elbow discomfort is behind him.
Myers has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 20 because of inflammation in his right elbow. He's made two rehab appearances, but he was scratched from an outing scheduled for Monday after suffering a recent setback, which forced him to refrain from throwing for five to seven days.
"As he comes back, we'd like to let him come back as a starter," Francona said. "Saying that, I guess if it ever got to the point where we thought he could handle being a reliever, maybe that's something we would look at, just out of common sense. But I think the best way for right now is to let him stretch out as a starter.
"As a reliever, you're dealing with different issues. You don't have to throw 80, 90, 100 pitches -- which is helpful -- but you also have to be able to bounce back. So, everybody's a little bit different, and it's our responsibility to figure out -- if it gets to that point -- what's best for him."
In two rehab appearances for Double-A Akron, Myers went 0-1 with a 3.68 ERA. He lasted a combined 7 1/3 innings, while striking out two and walking five.
In 12 Major League seasons, Myers is 97-96 with a 4.25 ERA. About one-third of his career appearances have come as a reliever. When coming out of the bullpen, Myers is 8-14 with a 3.69 ERA.
"It's funny, because he was fighting us on it. He didn't want to make the third rehab start," Francona said. "And we were making a point to him. We're like, 'Hey, we have five pitchers that are stretched out to 115 pitches, so when you come back and we need you -- not just to pitch effectively but to pitch effectively deep into the game.' And so, it's probably a good thing we fought him on it."
Cleveland's starting rotation has fared well of late without Myers' services. Over the Tribe's last 30 games, its starters have gone 14-8 with a 3.67 ERA while averaging slightly more than six innings per outing.
Myers made four starts for the Indians in April. He posted an 0-3 record and 8.02 ERA with 12 strikeouts and five walks over 21 1/3 innings.
Quote to note
"From a staff, the more consistent we are, I think it makes it easier for the players to play the game. Sometimes the game is hard. Some times [are] harder than others. I think, as a staff, if we're consistent, I think that helps. So we'll do that. And to be honest with you, you know there's ups and downs during a year. You just know it. [That] doesn't make the downs any easier, but you just have to fight through it. And the more you fight, you'll get through it. I'm confident that we will." -- Francona
• The Indians announced on Wednesday that left-handed hurler Matt Packer was named the organization's Minor League Player of the Week. In two appearances for Double-A Akron, Packer went 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA. The southpaw allowed just one earned run on five hits in five innings, while striking out three in a relief outing. He then threw seven scoreless innings with a career-high 10 strikeouts in a start last Friday. Packer was selected by the Tribe in the 32nd round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
• After hearing Bauer's new rap song, third baseman Mark Reynolds got the attention of a team employee and requested that the tune be used for his walkup music. Reynolds, who hit a solo homer on Wednesday, was hitting .254 with a team-high 12 home runs and 40 RBIs entering the game.
• During the Indians' current five-game losing streak, Cleveland has been outscored 33-14. Indians hitters have batted .209 (34-for-163) and the bullpen has compiled an 0-3 record with a 16.88 ERA and .442 opponents batting average.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.