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Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Wedge doesn't talk about his job

Associated Press

-PITTSBURGH -- Eric Wedge talked about center fielder Grady Sizemore's return from the disabled list. He commented on Tony Sipp's latest call-up to the Cleveland Indians' bullpen and Asdrubal Cabrera's rehabilitation assignment.

What the Indians manager didn't discuss Tuesday was his own job.

With the Indians stuck in last place in the AL Central, Wedge's status is becoming a daily topic of discussion among the team's fans. Of more concern to Wedge, general manager Mark Shapiro is expected to talk about Wedge with Indians president Paul Dolan and team owner Larry Dolan, if he already hasn't, in the next few days.

This latest performance probably won't help. The Indians nearly blew a five-run lead in the ninth inning before Kerry Wood retired Adam LaRoche with the bases loaded, finishing off a tense 5-4 victory in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night and ending a six-game losing streak.

Shapiro, who hired Wedge in 2002, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Sunday he wants to retain the manager. However, the Indians -- only 30-42 after 72 games -- probably can't afford to keep piling on the losses.

Expected to be a contender, the Indians trail AL Central leader Detroit by 10 games. Another bad series or two might be hard for Wedge to explain away.

"It's been one of those years, that's for sure," said Wedge, who is signed through 2010 but has had only two winning seasons in seven years.

Wedge was referring to the Indians' numerous injuries, but he could have been talking about their performance. Their attendance also is a concern. Despite an $81 million payroll, the Indians are only 10th in the American League in attendance with 777,853 fans in 35 home games, well off the pace of two years ago, when Cleveland drew 2,275,916 for the season.

Both Dolans were in Chicago over the weekend when the Cubs swept the Indians in a three-game series, winning in their final at-bat against former Cubs closer Wood on Saturday after tying the game in the ninth inning against Wood on Friday. The Indians have 13 blown saves and have lost 10 games in an opponent's final at-bat.

Wedge is hoping Sizemore's return will give the offense a lift at the top of the order. Sizemore had been out since May 31 with an inflamed left elbow before getting two hits, including a two-run triple, against the Pirates.

"We're going to take it day by day and work it from there," Wedge said.