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Cleveland Indians

Carmona heads for the desert

By Sheldon Published: June 5, 2009

 CHICAGO: Who among those associated with the Indians thought that Fausto Carmona would be spending at least part of the month of June in Goodyear, Ariz.? ¶
   Carmona was optioned to the Arizona Rookie League Friday to make room on the roster for Travis Hafner, who is coming off the disabled list. ¶
   If Hafner hadn't been activated, surely someone would have been summoned from Columbus, because Carmona needs to go somewhere to be fixed. In 12 starts, he has posted a 2-6 record and 7.42 earned-run average, and his ERA over his past three starts is an ugly 19.64. ¶
   But why not send him to Triple-A or Double-A to be in a more competitive situation? That's exactly what he doesn't need right now. ¶
   ""We feel like this is the way Fausto can get back up here the quickest,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ""He can take a deep breath, and we can go from there. He's supposed to be in Goodyear on Sunday, and we're in the process of putting a plan together for him.'' ¶
   The low key atmosphere of the a rookie league should take the pressure off Carmona to produce instant results. ¶
   ""When he throws his bullpens, he looks pretty good,'' Wedge said. ""But we have to get the mental and the fundamental working together.'' ¶
   Carmona been unable to take his bullpen form into games. ¶
   ""We don't have a time limit on this, either,'' Wedge said. ""That would only create more anxiety for him.'' ¶
   It's unlikely that Carmona will return to Cleveland directly from the rookie league. ¶
   ""It's safe to say he'll go somewhere else before he comes back,'' Wedge said. ""Sometimes you have to take one step back to go forward two steps.'' ¶
   In the meantime, Toma Ohka will take Carmona's spot in the rotation. Ohka has pitched only twice since being recalled from Triple-A, both times in relief of Carmona and both times for five innings. ¶
   It has not been determined where Ohka will be slotted. Because of Monday's off day, Cliff Lee will start Tuesday, Carl Pavano Wednesday with Thursday still in doubt. ¶
  TREAT GENTLY --  Until further notice, Hafner will come with a tagline: Handle With Care. ¶
   The designated hitter was activated from the disabled list, where he has been langoring since April 29 with a sore shoulder. ¶
   After spending time on a 20-day rehab assignment at Columbus -- interrupting the process twice because of an aching back and pain in his shoulder -- Hafner's name was written in the lineup against the White Sox Friday night. ¶
   Instead of batting in his customary No. 4 spot, Hafner was hitting sixth, with Shin-Soo Choo hitting in cleanup, as he has most of the time in Hafner's absence. ¶
   Wedge was hoping he could count on Hafner to play five days a week, but his expectations have diminished. ¶
   ""He's not going to go out and play three or four days in a row,'' Wedge said. ""We have give him days off. He'll play a couple of days, then be off, then play a couple more. Hopefully, as he gets further away from (October shoulder) surgery, he'll be able to ramp up from that.'' ¶
   Wedge also does not want Hafner to think he must return to his high production levels of 2006, at least not for awhile. ¶
   ""I told him this, too,'' the manager said. ""I don't expect Travis Hafner to be at that level. More important, he can't expect that. All we want him to do is to focus on putting up good at-bats.'' ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Prized right-handed starter Hector Rondon left Thursday night's game between Akron and Reading in the fourth inning with right biceps soreness. He is listed as day to day. ¶

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