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Cleveland Indians

Martinez: I wanted to stay

By Sheldon Published: October 2, 2009

BOSTON: Victor Martinez didn't get his wish, but maybe a he got something better: a trip to the playoffs and a chance to win the World Series.

If the Indians hadn't traded him to the Red Sox July 31, his season would be ending on Sunday rather than continuing with the Division Series against the Angels next week.

""I thought I was going to stay in Cleveland,'' Martinez said Friday. ""I made it clear I would stay, but the owner (Larry and Paul Dolan) was thinking something different. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't Mark Shapiro's fault or Eric Wedge's fault. But the owner wanted to take a different route.''

Martinez was a big supporter of Wedge, who was fired as manager Wednesday but agreed to finish out the season.

""It was very sad what happened,'' Martinez said. ""What happened there was not his fault or the fault of the coaches, but it's easier to blame one guy.''

After Thursday night's game, Martinez had a long chat with Wedge in the visiting manager's office.

""Victor came in last night around the time we were getting ready to take off,'' Wedge said. ""Some of the coaches were still here. We must have talked for a couple of hours.''

As he went through hs formative years in the majors, Martinez said he learned many things from Wedge.

""I have to thank Wedgie and coaches for me getting to be the player I am now,'' Martinez said. ""Wedgie got on me a lot, but that was only to make me better. Now I can appreciate what he did for me. He also made sure every player was ready to play a game, and that's big. Sometimes it's hard to hear the truth. But he would tell you the truth.''

Wedge doesn't allow even the smallest things to slide.

""I remember years ago, after a strikeout, I would throw the ball to third but not hard,'' Martinez said. ""Wedgie would tell me to throw it hard, to get used to making a real throw.''

Martinez seems to share the thoughts of many Tribe fans, who have become disenchanted with the breakup of the roster.

""If you want to compete in the big leagues you have to put a really good team together,'' he said. ""If you don't keep that team together -- I guess that's their (ownership's) choice.''

It didn't take Martinez long to feel like he was an integral part of the Red Sox.

""Coming into a new clubhouse, I didn't know what to expect,'' he said. ""I never thought I would feel so comfortable that quick. But everybody made me feel like I've been playing here for a couple of years.''

The acceptance of a new catcher by veteran Jason Varitek surprised Martinez.

""Even during a game I can ask him any question,'' Martinez said. ""He's a lot different when you play with him or play against him. Playing against him, I thought he was kind of mean. So it surprised me to see how he really is. He's really been great.''

STARTING OVER -- Jake Westbrook has become an expert at playing long toss. Since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, he has made three attempts at completing a throwing program, twice suffering minor setbacks.

His latest try began last Friday, throwing from 75 feet.

""I feel great,'' said Westbrook, who accompanied the Indians here. ""I'll go home to Georgia for two weeks and continue playing long toss (up to 180 feet) with my dad.''

Westbrook's father played basketball and pitched at the University of Georgia.

""He actually went on a football scholarship but didn't play football (quarterback) after his freshman year,'' Westbrook said.

Westbrook is scheduled to report to Goodyear, Ariz. on Oct. 18 to begin throwing off a mound. About a month later, he should be ready to pitch in a game.

""I might want to pitch in winter ball in Puerto Rico, two or three starts, just for my own peace of mind,'' he said. ""My elbow didn't get sore last time until I threw in game conditions.''

STRANGE NIGHT -- Jensen Lewis entered Thursday night's game with two on and walked the first batter to load the bases. The next batter was former Tribe catcher Victor Martinez.

""I didn't think I'd be facing Victor with the bases loaded and one out,'' Lewis said. ""It was weird. That was the last situation I wanted to be in, facing him.

""I was just hoping I would throw the right pitch, and he would guess wrong. He doesn't guess wrong much.''

Martinez flied out without the runner scoring from third.

INJURY UPDATES -- Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring) was pronounced available to pinch hit Friday night, and manager Eric Wedge said, ""I'm hoping he'll be back in there tomorrow.'' *elip Carlos Carrasco walked around the clubhouse with a wrap around his left leg, covering a contusion that resulted from getting hit with a line drive Thursday night.

""He's all right,'' Wedge said. ""He just has a nice little bruise there.''

Carrasco is not scheduled to pitch again this season.

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