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Cleveland Indians

A-Rod's hand no obstacle to 600

By Sheldon Published: July 26, 2010

CLEVELAND: At 4 p.m., more than three hours before the Indians were scheduled to play the Yankees, about 60 people crowded around the iron gate that guards the left field home run porch at Progressive Field.

Most of these fans wore Yankee gear and were waiting for the gates to open. Not only were they anxious to see their favorite team play the Tribe, they were hoping to see history: Alex Rodriguez hitting the 600th home run of his career.

In his last at-bat Sunday, A-Rod was hit in the hand by a pitch, an incident that might have kept him out of tonight's lineup. But he told reporters surrounding his locker this afternoon that the hand felt good. He is batting in the cleanup spot tonight.

It was obvious that manager Manny Acta wanted his players to ignore the added hype that goes with a player, especially a New York player, going for a major milestone.

""I don't think that's going to influence anything we do in the game,'' he said. ""We're not going to do anything different. If he does it here, I think we can live with it.''

After suffering a minor knee injury last week in Minnesota, Austin Kearns missed three games before returning to the lineup Saturday night. But during the game against the Rays, he was spiked in the leg and missed Sunday's game. He also was excluded from tonight's lineup.

Kerry Wood will throw a bullpen Tuesday to determine whether the blister on the index finger of his right hand has healed sufficiently. He is e

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