Â Editorâ€™s note: The Indians and Giants game was not complete at presstime.
By CHRIS ASSENHEIMER
CLEVELAND â€” Indians manager Eric Wedge is choosing to look at the silver lining of his teamâ€™s last-place standing.
â€œItâ€™s last place, but itâ€™s 7Â½ games,â€ said Wedge of his teamâ€™s deficit in the Central Division to first-place Chicago, entering the series finale against San Francisco on Thursday. â€œItâ€™s not where you want to be, but itâ€™s late June. Weâ€™ve got a long ways to go.
â€œYou have to look at how many games youâ€™re behind more so than where you are in the standings.â€
The Indians entered Thursday with six losses in their last eight games, with another offensive slump contributing mightily after Cleveland hitters had shown life for much of the month. Over their last 10 games through Wednesday, the Indians had scored more than three runs on just four occasions.
â€œOne common theme is the way these guys have fought,â€ Wedge said. â€œOn the flip side is just our inconsistency offensively. A lot of that can be contributed to guys playing up here on a regular basis for the first time.
â€œEven when (Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner) were here, they werenâ€™t healthy, the same guys. Compared to last year, weâ€™ve got a totally different lineup.â€
Thanks to injuries and performance issues, Wedge has repeatedly juggled his lineup, with the Indians employing 38 players already this season after using 41 all of last year.
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MOVING DOWN: One of the players contributing to Clevelandâ€™s latest offensive slide, first baseman Ryan Garko, was dropped from fifth to eighth in the order Thursday. Garko, who entered batting .251 with six home runs and 39 RBI in 72 games, was in the midst of a 4-for-25 skid (.160) over his last six games. â€œI just feel like heâ€™s been trying to do too much,â€ Wedge said. â€œI thought he was making some progress for a while, but now Iâ€™m starting to see him be a little more violent up there.â€
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WOUNDED WAHOOS: Wedge said he would have status reports today on disabled players Fausto Carmona (left hip strain) and Hafner (right shoulder fatigue). Carmona is expected to throw today for the first time since suffering a setback, with the Indians hopeful that the right-hander can begin a minor league rehab assignment before the All-Star break. â€œIâ€™m hoping we can put a schedule together for him in the next couple days,â€ Wedge said. Hafner will undergo what Wedge called a strength test today, but is unlikely to begin a rehab assignment before the break.
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NEXT UP: The Indians continue their interleague homestand with a three-game series against intrastate rival Cincinnati that begins tonight at 7:05. C.C. Sabathia (5-8, 4.06) opens the set against RHP Daryl Thompson (0-0, 0.00), while Paul Byrd (3-8, 5.21) starts Saturday (7:05), opposing RHP Johnny Cueto (3-8, 5.01). Aaron Laffey (4-4, 2.83) goes in the series finale Sunday (1:05), while Cincinnati counters with RHP Bronson Arroyo (4-7, 6.52). The Indians were swept by the Reds on May 16-18 but own the all-time series lead 29-25.
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ROUNDINâ€™ THIRD: Grady Sizemore entered Thursday as the team leader in on-base percentage (.367), slugging percentage (.503), runs (48), hits (78), homers (17) and stolen bases (18). â€¦ SportsTime Ohio and WKYC Channel 3 will switch telecasts, with STO broadcasting July 5thâ€™s game in Minnesota, while Channel 3 televises July 12thâ€™s game against Tampa Bay at Progressive Field.
Assenheimer may be reached at email@example.com or 440-329-7137.