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Indians payroll drops about $20 million

By Sheldon Published: March 10, 2010

GOODYEAR, Ariz.: The Indians wrapped up signing season, announcing this morning that every player on the 40-man roster was no under contract.

The final active roster won't be chosen for a few more weeks, so we won't know how much the club will pay for its 25-man roster, the one the fans care about. However, it's becoming clear that the Tribe's obligation to those 25 players will be much less than last year's Opening Day total of $81 million.

Give or take a few hundred thousand dollars, depending on who latches onto the final utility spots, the 2010 Opening Day payroll will top out at about $61.1 million. If Austin Kearns wins a job as a reserve outfielder, he will earn more than, say, Trevor Crowe. If Mark Grudzielanek is awarded a backup infield position, he will make more than rookie Jason Donald.

It is instructive that nine players will earn an aggregate of $51.8 million, led by Travis Hafner ($11.5 million), Jake Westbrook ($11 million), Kerry Wood ($10.5 million), Grady Sizemore ($5.6 million), Fausto Carmona ($4.9 million) and Jhonny Peralta ($4.6 million).

But when everything shakes out, it appears that the team payroll will drop by about $20 million, compared to last year. Whether that wipes out a prospective loss triggered by diminished attendance and possibly a loss of sponsor dollars remains to be seen.

Back in Cleveland, Jordan Brown underwent successful surgery on the medial meniscus (cartilage) in his right knee. The operation was performed by Dr. Rick Parker at the Cleveland Clinic.

Brown will return to Goodyear on Monday for his rehab program and is expected to be back on the field in four to eight weeks.

Brown sustained the injury in a routine drill last week. He had gotten off to a fast start by hitting a home run in each of two intrasquad games but was scratched from the first exhibition game shortly after suffering the injury.

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