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Cleveland Indians

5-3-09 Morning RoundUp

By jcfortun Published: May 3, 2009

Rafael Betancourt step right up. It's your turn to cough up a lead!

The Indians have been able to score back-to-back wins just once this season and are now fighting to get over that hump.

In Saturday's 9-7 loss to the Tigers the Indians responded to a five-run deficit early before eventually taking the lead in the seventh. A three-run eighth by Detroit, with Betancourt on the mound, all but squashed them after that.

''We have to keep fighting,'' Mark DeRosa (told Sheldon Ocker). ''We'd like to get over the hump and string two wins together. It seems like every time we're ready to get rolling, something negative happens, and we end up losing the game.''

The young guys should help now that they are in Detroit, although it sounds like an adventure just getting there.

Matt LaPorta played first base for the the first time this season the other night for Columbus. Indians manager Eric Wedge plans on using him there, as well as right field, left field and designated hitter.

Luis Valbuena and Josh Barfield give an added level of versatility that was lacking before as well.

Sheldon Ocker had a few medical updates in his notebook:

MEDICAL UPDATES — Jake Westbrook (Tommy John) twice threw batting practice in Goodyear, Ariz., for the first time since his surgery and is scheduled to do it again Monday and Friday.

''If all goes well, he will get his first game activity, pitching one inning [20 pitches] next Monday,'' head trainer Lonnie Soloff said.

Jamey Carroll (broken finger) is taking groundballs and began a hitting program, which has advanced to swinging at balls on a tee. He is scheduled to take batting practice in Toronto Monday or Tuesday. If he has no setbacks, he will be sent on a rehab assignment after the Tribe returns home late in the week.

Scott Lewis (left elbow strain) is throwing bullpens in Goodyear, and Joe Smith (right strained rotator cuff) will begin playing catch early this week.

''He has shown significant improvement since Wednesday [when he sustained the injury],'' Soloff said of Smith.

TWO SURGERIES TWICE AS GOOD — Why does Adam Miller need two operations to repair his right middle finger?

''Dr. [Tom] Graham thinks that's the best way to minimize the formation of scar tissue in the finger,'' Soloff said.

Graham inserted a silicone rod in the finger, because scar tissue cannot form on it. If scar tissue does develop, it might restrict the range of motion and strength of the finger and jeopardize Miller's career.

Ocker also had an interesting look at Eric Wedge's performance by month. Sure he stinks in April, but it is August and September that actually matter.

Yet ESPN's Jayson Stark had an unfavoring statistic about the Indians poor start too....

• OK, let's look back even further. The Rays (9-14) and Indians (8-14) won't enjoy learning that only 10 of the 160 playoff teams since 1982 finished April more than three games under .500. And just one team since 1935 -- the 1979 Pirates -- was more than three games under after April and won the World Series.

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