CLEVELAND — Former Indians manager Eric Wedge was never a fan of interleague play. His successor has a different view. “I’ve always liked interleague play,” said Manny Acta. “It gives you the opportunity to see the great players from the other league and the parks you don’t get to see. It gets you out of the monotony of playing the same teams all the time.
“People will always find a reason to like it or dislike it.”
Wedge located plenty not to like. He wasn’t in favor of National League opponents interrupting his club’s American League schedule and, like many, felt the AL was at a disadvantage without its designated hitter in NL ballparks.
“I think every American League team has that disadvantage because the designated hitter is such an important part of our teams,” Acta said. “But it’s the same thing when they come over here. Their designated hitter is just one extra guy off the bench.”
Acta is getting his first taste of interleague play from the AL side after spending five seasons as a third base/infield coach for the Expos and Mets (2002-06) before managing the Nationals from 2007-09.
Indians pitchers have been taking batting practice in preparation for interleague road trips to Pittsburgh (Friday- Sunday), Philadelphia (June 22-24) and Cincinnati (June 25-27).
“We have a few (pitchers) that are good athletes and can do some stuff,” Acta said, mentioning David Huff and Jake Westbrook as his besthitting pitchers.
Though they are both sidelined with injuries, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and center fielder Grady Sizemore have been regular visitors to Progressive Field, Acta said.
Sizemore is on crutches after undergoing season-ending surgery on his left knee. Cabrera, whom the Indians hope to have back in late July or early August, is wearing a cast on his fractured left forearm.
“They miss being out there,” Acta said. “It’s not easy for them to watch us play, but they’re in good spirits.”
Acta said he plans on sticking with struggling reliever Tony Sipp, who has allowed 15 earned runs in his last 2 1 / 3 innings and has minor league options available.
“I think everything has its limits, but we’re not to that point right now,” said Acta, who plans on pitching Sipp in less critical situations in an effort to get him back on track.
With Sipp out of the late-inning mix, lefty Rafael Perez, who didn’t allow a run in his sixth straight game Tuesday, is expected to see more opportunities.
- Aaron Laffey has made three starts — 0-1, 4.91 ERA — since being demoted to Triple-A Columbus, as the Indians attempt to stretch out the lefthander for a possible spot in the rotation. “He’s thrown the ball OK down there,” Acta said. “He’s already up to 80 pitches.” Laffey began the season in Cleveland’s bullpen, going 0-1 with a 5.61 ERA in 20 appearances.
- Advanced Class A Kinston left-hander T.J. McFarland was named to the Carolina League All-Star team that will take on the California League All-Star team in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Tuesday. McFarland is 7-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 12 games (seven starts) for the K-Tribe.
- The Indians have signed eight of their picks from the recent draft after agreeing to terms Tuesday with shortstop Nick Bartalone (sixth round, Chabot College), OF Chase Burnette (18th round, Georgia Tech), 2B Logan Thomson (33rd round, Palm Beach State College), OF Brian Heere (41st round, Kansas) and OF Henry Dunn (50th round, Binghamton University). Thomson is the son of Robby, former big leaguer and current Cleveland special assistant to baseball operations.
- The Indians also signed nondrafted free agent Alex Kaminsky, a RHP out of Wright State.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.