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Cleveland Indians

DeRosa still seeking comfort level

By Sheldon Published: May 10, 2009

CLEVELAND: You can tell that Mark DeRosa is new to the Indians.

The Tribe third baseman didn't see much of the darker side of baseball in his years with the Braves and Cubs.

"I haven't gone through a record like this,'' he said after the Tribe's 5-3 loss to the Tigers Sunday at Progressive Field. ""When I was Atlanta, it seemed like we won every series. We did struggle at Chicago my first year, but we knew we had talented guys who would win. Kind of like here.''

Except that the Indians are not winning and after Saturday night's 4-0 defeat to Detroit, the players called a 40-minute meeting.

"It's about everybody looking at themselves in the mirror and being honest with themselves, realizing that everyone respects their teammates,'' DeRosa said. ""When you're scuffling, you carry the weight of the world. You feel like the whole city of Cleveland is watching you. But that's not the case.

"Baseball is a result oriented game. If the team is winning, the fans don't care how it's winning, so it's not really just you. It's an individual game, but it's the team part that counts. That's the biggest thing I've tried to get across.'' 

DeRosa went 0-for-4 Sunday and is batting a meager .238. After spending 17 games at the No. 2 spot in the lineup, his .203 average forced manager Eric Wedge to drop him down in the order and elevate Asdrubal Cabrera

However, since then, DeRosa has begun to have a positive impact on the offense, batting .296 with three home runs and six RBI in his past 13 games. 

"The other day in Boston, I went 3-for-4 (including a home run), but I was telling Kerry (Wood) that I felt terrrible at the plate,'' DeRosa said. ""It's like the world is coming to an end for us. A lot of guys are pressing, including me. I haven't felt comfortable all season, for whatever reason.''

DeRosa is all too aware that the club has failed to take advantage of opportunities.

"We're wasting good starts by our pitchers, and that's frustrating,'' he said. ""You have to move runners, get bunts down and execute sacrifice flies with guys on third, but there's been none of that. We try to rally in the ninth when we're a bunch of runs behind, hoping somebody pops one.''

It's unlikely that anyone in the Tribe clubhouse thought the team would be stuck with an 11-20 record after 31 games.

"A lot of guys are struggling at the plate,'' DeRosa said. ""It's very frustrating.We had high expectations coming out of spring training, like every team, but it hasn't happened for us.

"If our record is 20-11 and I'm not playing well, who cares? But if I'm scuffling and the team isn't winning, then you really feel bad about your individual performance, because you;re not helping win games.''

INEVITABLE QUESTION -- Two players were asked if manager Eric Wedge would end up getting fired because of the sins of his players.

Both Victor Martinez and Mark DeRosa were unequivocal in their answers. 

"It's not Wedge's fault,'' Martinez said. ""We take all the blame. He's not the one who's playing. We are the ones who do that. I see no reason why he would have to pay for stuff that we do.''

Added DeRosa, ""If there are fingers to be pointed, it's at the 25 guys on the roster.''

SHUTOUT FEVER -- The Tribe's three shutout losses are tied for second most in the American League. Being blanked consecutively (Friday, Saturday) hadn't happened to the club since July 21-22, 2004, against the White Sox. 

OTHER STUFF -- The Indians have scored three runs in their past 28 innings...The team is 0-13 when it scores three or fewer runs... In his past 12 games, Asdrubal Cabrera is batting .321 with seven RBI...David Dellucci snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a single in the sixth inning.

FARM FACTS -- Kirk Saarloos (2-4, 5.21 ERA) gave up one run and two hits in seven innings, as Columbus beat Pawtucket 7-2. Andy Marte's two singles lifted his average to .354...Matt McBride doubled and scored a run to extend his hitting streak to 23 games, longest in the minors this year, as Kinston edged Myrtle Beach 5-4. McBnride, who is hitting .415, was named Carolina League Batter of the Week....Donnie Webb tripled and singled, driving in three runs, as Lake County defeated Kannapolis 10-5. Karexon Sanchez had two singles and two RBI. Alexander Perez (2-0, 1.85 ERA) gave up three unearned runs and five hits in 61/3 innings.

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