Monday, May 11, 2009
Wedge not worried about job status
CLEVELAND -- Rather than spend time worrying about his job status, Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge is thinking about tinkering with the lineup.
The Indians went into Monday night's game against the Chicago White Sox at 11-21, the worst record in the majors.
"It is my fault," Wedge said. "I'm not playing, but I take full responsibility when things are not going well. And we are a better team than we have shown.
"My situation is not something I spend time on. My entire energy is on getting guys back on track," he said.
Wedge said he won't hide behind injuries or point fingers at particular areas of the team. He did emphasize that he has told players they have no excuses, either.
"I believe in these guys, but we have to do better," Wedge said. "And it has to start now. Not the next game, not the next inning. I'm not saying that if we don't win immediately, it is never going to happen. I am saying that focusing on the moment at hand will pay off."
Wedge met with general manager Mark Shapiro and the coaching staff to discuss all aspects of the club. He's even considered dropping leadoff hitter Grady Sizemore down in the lineup.
"Just me saying I've thought about it tells you where we are," said Wedge, who has steadfastly refused in recent years to drop the power-hitting All-Star outfielder out of the leadoff spot. "Grady is struggling, but you know what? He's such a hard worker and such a talent that all it might take is one swing, one at-bat, and off he goes."
A 3-for-21 (.143) streak sent Sizemore's average tumbling to .227. He hasn't homered in 15 games and scored just twice in his last 12.
Cleveland had lost four straight going into the series against the White Sox and had not scored a first-inning run in May.
"It is a lot of things," Wedge said. "One night it is the bullpen, then we don't score runs or make a key error.
"These guys figure it out, have a good week and we're back in it [the AL Central race]. But it has to start now. And if that is pressure, well guess what? This is the big leagues," he said.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said the Indians have plenty of company in the division.
"Everybody is struggling," Guillen said. "We stink and we're only three games out. The Tigers and Kansas City are in first place, and they haven't played that good at all. They've played good enough to be in first place, but nobody in this division is playing good right now."
Infielder Jamey Carroll, out since April 6 with a broken bone in his left hand, could be back soon. He was scheduled to play a full nine innings Monday on the fourth day of his rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus.
Others on Cleveland's disabled list are in various stages of rehab, according to trainer Lonnie Soloff.
Designated hitter Travis Hafner, out with a sore right shoulder, is taking batting practice and may start a rehab assignment soon. Soloff said reliever Joe Smith's tender right rotator cuff has improved enough for him to play catch and that he is about "10 to 14 days" from rehabbing in the minors.
Right-hander Jake Westbrook, who had Tommy John surgery last June, is progressing at the team's training facility in Arizona and could be pitching in about a month, Soloff said.
The news on lefty Scott Lewis is not as encouraging. Lewis, who opened the season in the Indians' rotation, had a setback in rehabbing his strained left forearm.
"He has not progressed at the predicted rate," Soloff said.