MINNEAPOLIS: Northeast Ohio fans won't see the best of the National League East, even though the Indians will be matched up against that division on next year's interleague schedule.
On the other hand, the Tribe got a break in the schedule with Progressive Field playing host to only seven games in April.
All 30 major-league teams announced their tentative schedules Tuesday, and as always there were elements favorable and unfavorable to Tribe partisans.
In addition to six games with designated rival Cincinnati, the Indians will play three teams from the NL East plus the Pirates, who play in the NL Central but have requested a series with Cleveland, which they regard as a natural rival. ¶
Interleague play kicks off with a weekend series against the Reds May 21-23 at Progressive Field. The Nationals play a weekend series at Progessive Field June 11-13, and the Mets play three midweek games in Cleveland June 15-17. ¶
Unfortunately for local fans, the defending World Series champion Phillies, led by former Tribe manager Charlie Manuel, will not come to Progressive Field. The Indians travel to Philadelphia for a three-game set June 22-24, sandwiched between a weekend trip to Pittsburgh June 18-20 and a weekend series in Cincinnati June 25-27. ¶
The Yankees and Red Sox, traditionally the opponents who draw the largest crowds in Cleveland, play only once at Progressive Field, which has been the norm for a decade. Boston visits the Tribe for four weekday games June 7-10. The Indians will play host to the Yankees for four weekday games July 26-29. ¶
For a franchise that depends on luring fans to the ballpark in warm weather months and on weekends, the Tribe did realtively well with the schedule maker. In June, July and August, the Indians will play 44 games at home and 38 on the road. During this three-month span, the Tribe will play at Progressive Field seven weekends and be on the road for six. ¶
Weekend opponents in the three best drawing months of the season include Washington, Oakland, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Seattle and Kansas City. ¶
The season will open with a six-game trip. Opening Day will be April 5 in Chicago against the White Sox, after which the Tribe visits Comerica Park to play the Tigers. The home opener is April 12 against the Rangers. ¶
Of the three summer holidays, the Indians will be home only on July 4 against the Athletics. ¶
Although the Tribe is not expected to contend for the Central Division championship in 2010, should the club make a run at the playoffs, from August 27 to the end of the season Oct. 3, the schedule includes 25 games against division rivals, including 16 at home. ¶
THE FIRST TIME -- Trevor Crowe is thinking about what to do with the ball he hit for his first big-league home run Monday night at the Metrodome. ¶
""It probably will go somewhere in my house,'' Crowe said. ""It was awesome. But I'm just trying to have quality at-bats.'' ¶
You would think that a rookie who had never gone deep off a major-league pitcher would watch the ball sail out of the park. ¶
""No, I didn't follow it,'' Crowe said. ""I knew I hit it good, and after I got around first I peeked to make sure it was out.'' ¶
ONE STEP AT A TIME -- Michael Brantley still has the green light to steal, even though he has been caught twice in five attempts. ¶
""For one thing, I think he's run into a couple of howitzers,'' manager Eric Wedge said, referring to Joe Mauer of the Twins and Gerald Laird of the Tigers. ""I think he will become a real good baserunner, and sometimes you learn more from being thrown out. '' ¶
The coaching staff is not overloading Brantley with advice, preferring for now to leave him alone and see what areas need to improve in the future. ¶
MARSON THE MAN? -- Lou Marson has started three of the Tribe's past five games behind the plate and apparently will catch at least half the games the rest of the season. ¶
""We're trying ot get him in there more,'' Wedge said. ""He's a young player we want to get a good look at. We'll also pick spots for Wyatt (Toregas) and Kelly (Shoppach).'' ¶
HITTING MACHINE -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer began Tuesday night's game with a .520 average against the Indians. He also is leading the American League with a .371 average.¶
""He's one of those guys where you think you've won if he only got three singles off you,'' Jeremy Sowers said. ¶
PLAYOFF UPDATE -- Brett Brach gave up two runs and five hits in four innings, as Mahoning Valley lost 3-0 to Staten Island in the opener of the best-of-three New York-Penn League finals. Ben Carlson had three hits, including two doubles.¶