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Wedge tries to ignore criticism

By Sheldon Published: June 25, 2009

 PITTSBURGH: At least Eric Wedge can laugh about it. ¶
   Some people think that as manager of the Indians, Wedge has the job security of a swim instructor in the Sahara Desert. But only owner Larry Dolan and his son Paul, Tribe president, and General Manager Mark Shapiro know for sure. ¶
   ""The higher the stress level, the more you should work out,'' Wedge said with a smile Thursday. ""Another week like this, and I'll be in the best shape of my life. And if I dodge all the bullets coming my way, I'll be in even better shape.'' ¶
   Wedge has been roundly criticized by Northeast Ohio fans, newspaper columnists and talk show hosts, many calling for his job. Even TV afternoon talker Bruce Drennan has receommended that Wedge be fired, and Drennan works for SportsTime Ohio, which is owned by the Dolans. ¶
   However, the last time he was asked, last weekend, Shapiro told a reporter that he didn't think Wedge should lose his job. ¶
   Wedge tries to waste as little time thinking about his risky occupational status as possible, but others keep bringing it up. ¶
   ""I have to spend some time on it, because I get questions by TV and radio people,'' he said, adding that he was focused on trying to fix the myriad problems of the team. ""Right now, I'm not comfortable with anything.'' ¶
   With a bullpen in need of an overhaul, a rotation fractured by injuries and Fausto Carmona's meltdown, plus six players still on the disabled list, Wedge has enough to worry about without wondering if he will be out of a job by next weekend or next month. ¶
   It isn't clear whether Wedge and Shapiro have spoken to one another specifically about the manager's job security, though the two men talk frequently about the state of the team. ¶
   ""Mark and I continue to talk daily, like we always have,'' Wedge said. ""He's only talked about it when he's had to -- when there's been an article -- because he knows I don't read the papers, and he thinks I might need to know about certain things that are written.'' ¶
   Considering that Wedge is in his seventh season as Cleveland's manager, he's already beaten the odds. Only Tris Speaker, Lou Boudreau and Mike Hargrove have served in the position longer. ¶
   ""The Dolans are in charge of this organization, and I respect that,'' Wedge said. ""Whatever they say goes.'' ¶
   MOVING FORWARD -- Rafael Betancourt (strained groin) threw his second bullpen session Thursday, delivering 35 pitches, using only fastballs and changeups. ¶
   ""Saturday, I throw my next one, 45 pitcches, and I will use all of my pitches,'' he said. ""After that, I think they want me to throw a simulated game.'' ¶
   Betancourt didn't know if he would have to go to the minors on a rehabilitation assignment, but manager Eric Wedge did. ¶
   ""He'll have to go down and pitch a couple of times,'' he said. ""He looked good today.'' ¶
   Before every throwing session, Betancourt does 21/2 hours worth of stretching, water workouts and cardio exercises. ¶
   ""And on days when I'm not throwing, I do all of my exercises twice instead of once,'' he said. ¶
   THE NEXT STEP -- Fausto Carmona has the next step in his reclamation process by leaving the Indians' training complex in Goodyear, Ariz , and heading for Lake County, where he started Thursday night. ¶
   ""There are certain things we want him to do, and we'll be looking for those tonight,'' Wedge said. ""He's scheduled to throw 80-85 pitches, and we'll go from there.'' ¶
   Peralta will not jump from Lake County back to the big leagues. ¶
   ""There will be a progression,'' Wedge said. ""I can't tell you what it is, because we're working off him.'' ¶
   The most important of Carmona's goals: To focus totally on the next pitch, no matter what happened on the previous pitch. ¶
   CABRERA CLOSE -- Asdrubal Cabrera went 1-for-8 in his first two games at Akron and was scheduled to be the DH Thursday night, the third and possibly last game of his rehab assignment. ¶
   ""He'll be in Cleveland for his pre-game workout tomorrow, so we can watch him and go from there,'' Wedge said. ""Maybe he can come back over the weekend.'' ¶
   PERALTA LOSES TRIPLE -- An appeal by the Cubs to Major League Baseball's scoring review committee has changed Jhonny Peralta's June 19 triple to an error on Chicago center fielder Reed Johnson. ¶
   ""I know he had to run a long way,'' Peralta said. ""It could be a hit or not a hit. There's nothing I can do about it.'' ¶
   Peralta led off the second inning with a long drive. Johnson chased it down, but the ball bounced off his glove. Kelly Shoppach followed with a walk and Luis Valbuena hit a three-run homer. One of the three runs in the inning is now unearned. ¶
   The Tribe lost the game 8-7. ¶
   FUTURE IS NOW -- Two Indians' minor leaguers have been named to the annual All-Star Futures Game, scheduled for July 12 at 2 p.m. in St. Louis, site of the June 14 All-Star Game. ¶
   Akron catcher Carlos Santana and Aeros outfielder Nick Weglarz will represent the Tribe. ¶
   Santana is batting .263 with 11 home runs, 46 RBI and an Eastern League-leading 46 runs. He is tied for fifth in home runs and tied for sixth in RBI and is seventh in the league with a .908 OPS. ¶
  Weglarz is batting .261 with 10 home runs and 50 RBI, tying him for second in the EL. ¶
   Columbus manager Torey Lovullo has been chosen as a coach for the USA Team that will be managed by Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith. Jose Oquendo, the Cardinals' third base coach, will manage the World Team. ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Matt LaPorta and Andy Marte each homered, doubled and singled, as Columbus beat Rochester 9-5.  ¶


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