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Will Carroll be asked to return?

By Sheldon Published: September 11, 2009

Jamey Carroll has been one of the Indians' more valuable players the past two years, but there is no assurance he will be asked to return in 2010.

As a $2.5 million utility player, Carroll might be a luxury the Tribe can't afford. For the past three months, the team has been trading players to trim salary for next season.

""That's their decision,'' he said. ""That's not something I can control. It's a business decision.'' [ep
Club officials have said that it's unlikely that the team will contend for a postseason berth next year. If that is the case, Carroll, who will be 36 in February, might not fit the Indians' plans. [ep
Then again, he has performed well playing a variety of positions and is a stabilizing influence in a clubhouse that probably will lack veteran leaders. [ep
""We've had talks about my being here,'' Carroll said on Friday. [ep
However, Carroll frankly doesn't know if he will be on the front office's list of wanted players. [ep
""I know they appreciate what I've done here,'' he said. ""But that's about all I can say.'' [ep
Carroll would like to return if an appropriate deal can be worked out. But it only makes sense that he would want to be paid what his past performance says he is worth, particularly if he is going to be part of a rebuilding club. [ep
""I've liked it here, but you have to find out what both sides need,'' he said. [ep
For the second year in a row, Carroll stepped into the breach when the Tribe needed help. Going into Friday night's game against the Royals, Carroll was batting .285 with two home runs, 22 RBI and 45 runs in 256 at-bats. [ep
In 2008, Carroll made 18 starts at third and 66 starts at second, playing the positon for five weeks when Asdrubal Cabrera was sent to the minors to repair his swing. Carroll ended the season with 347 at-bats, a .277 average with one homer, 36 RBI and 60 runs. [ep
Many utility players who are forced to play every day eventually founder, because the more they play the more weaknesses are uncovered by opposing pitchers. That has not happened in Carroll's two years with Cleveland. [ep
""When you play regularly, you get a chance to battle through the struggles that are going to happen every year,'' he said. ""Being out there every day has allowed me to fight through those struggles.'' [ep
Carroll seems content to finish out the season before he and the Tribe address next year. [ep
""I just want to play as hard as I can for the next three weeks,'' he said. ""If I do that, everything will take care of itself.'' [ep
SMITH UPDATE -- Joe Smith (sore knee) is throwing again, but manager Eric Wedge does't know when he will return to the bullpen. [ep
""He's still playing catch, but he hasn't thrown off a mound, and he needs to do that a few times,' Wedge said. [ep
Smith has had a difficult time staying on the field. First there was an illness in spring training followed by several injuries, including a strained rotator cuff. [ep
""It's been a tough year for Joe,'' Wedge said. ""But he was really getting locked in lately. He was throwing the ball like we hoped he would.'' [ep
Smith hasn't pitched since Aug. 29, but 21 of his past 24 appearances (221/3 IP) have been scoreless. [ep
ANALYZING PEREZ -- In talking about the struggles of Rafael Perez, Wedge said, ""He gets himself into situations and his slider and fastball flatten out. I think that's why he's had so much trouble with left-handers. Something goes wrong and it dominoes on him.'' [ep
Left-handers are batting .405 against Perez (a lefty). Right-handed batters are hitting .304. [ep
PLAYOFF UPDATE -- Mahoning Valley swept Brooklyn in the first round of the New York-Penn League playoffs, winning both games 3-1. [ep
Clayton Cook worked 52/3 scoreless innings in the opener, and this year's second-round draft pick, Jason Kipnis, homered. In the second game, Vidal Nuno pitched five shutout innings, allowing one hit, and Kipnis homered. [ep
The Scrappers will play either Staten Island or Lowell in the best of three set. [ep

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