CLEVELAND: Manager Manny Acta didn't like the outcome the first time the Indians faced Mark Buehrle on Opening Day in Chicago.
Buehrle threw seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits, and the White Sox blanked the Tribe 6-0. This time around Acta is juggling his lineup. The biggest change is installing Jhonny Peralta in the cleanup spot instead of Travis Hafner. It's not that Hafner hasn't been hitting, but he bats from the left side, and Buehrle is left-handed. Peralta is a right-handed batter.
""Jhonny has a track record, and he has the experience to handle it,'' Acta said. ""He's done it before.''
In addition, right-handed hitting Austin Kearns is in left-field rather than lefty Michael Brantley, who happens to be in a .192 skid.
""Kearns is swinging the bat well, and we want to try and get Michael through this slump,'' Acta said. Brantley also sat on the bench Thursday against a left-handed starter from Texas.
The first time the Indians faced Buehrle, Mark Grudzielanek played second. This time it will be Luis Valbuena, who was hurt in Chicago.
Acta indicated that Russell Branyan is close to ending his rehab assignment and coming off the disabled list. Branyan was shifted from Columbus to Akron, where he is scheduled to play all nine innings tonight.
""He's very close,'' Acta said. ""They want him to play back-to-back games (at first). But he could join us pretty soon.''