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Cleveland Indians

Shoddy fielding becoming routine for Tribe

By Sheldon Published: June 25, 2010

CINCINNATI: Russell Branyan starts a double play by stepping on first and a run scores as a result; Rafael Perez throws to first, but his aim is so poor, the ball lands in the glove of the second baseman; Carlos Santana drops a throw to the plate on a force out and two runs score.

These are a few -- and only a few -- of the Indians' recent misplays in the field. Manager Manny Acta has blamed some of the defensive lapses on ""a revolving door'' triggered by the injuries to center fielder Grady Sizemore and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. In part, that's correct.

As Acta says, it's a lot easier to play solid defense when the same players are stationed at the same positions game after game. But that's not the only problem

""You're always concerned with defense,'' Actas said, especially when your pitching staff is near the bottom (of the league) in strikeouts and near the top in walks.''

Pitchers have made nine of the Tribe's 53 errors, 17 percent, with Justin Masterson leading with four. Among the position players, Luis Valbuena (sent to Buffalo on Thursday) has six, Jhonny Peralta and Cabrera have five each, and Austin Kearns, Andy Marte, Jason Donald and Branyan have four each. Branyan made it five in the first inning tonight against the Reds.

In other words, the veterans -- Peralta, Marte, Kearns and Branyan -- are contributing as many errors to the total as the novices.

""Our pitchers have struggled a little, and that has helped them beat themselves,'' Acta said. ""In a way, it's a positive that the young kids (have not led the pack in errors). Some of these guys (veterans) have been around for so long, there's only so much you can do with them.''

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