CHICAGO: Manager Manny Acta held a pregame meeting with his players this morning before the Indians wrapped up the season against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
""I thanked them for the great effort they gave this year,'' he said. ""I pointed out that they took some steps forward, especially the pitching saff. And I thanked them for the way they represented us on and off the field. We take those things seriously, too.''
Acta also reminded them of their off-season responsibilities to stay in shape and come to spring training ready to play.
""Youth is not going to be an excuse next year,'' he said. ""We're still going to be young, but most of these guys will have at least one year of big-league experience. I wanted them to hear that they made big strides. Would it have been nice to jump from last place to first? Yes. We didn't do that, but we took some big steps.''
Only two regulars were in the closing day lineup: Michael Brantley in center and batting in the leadoff spot and Travis Hafner, batting third as the designated hitter.
Acta elected not to put Shin-Soo Choo in the lineup. He will be the first Tribe batter to finish a season with a .400-plus on-base percentage (.401) since Hafner in 2006. He also will end the season batting .300 for the second year in a row.
""You have to take care of your players,'' the manager said. ""They battle for you for six months. This is about a guy who plays every day, every inning.''
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