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Cleveland Indians

Season of change for Sardinha

By sstorm Published: May 30, 2008

He was looking for a change of scenery, a different baseball organization to take a look at what he could do.

What outfielder Bronson Sardinha has gotten instead is released, unemployed and now, sent back to Double-A.

When Sardinha figured a little change would do him some good, he didn't mean playing for three different teams at two minor league levels in a matter of two months.

Yet, that is how the New Yankees' former first-round pick (34th overall in the 2001 draft) ended up in Akron Friday as his newest team opened a weekend series with division-foe Bowie.

"It's not been a good year,'' said the Aeros new right fielder, who finally made his major-league debut in pinstripes last year, batting .333 (3-for-9) in 10 games. "Nothing has gone the way I planned.''

It all began with the gutsy decision to leave the safety net of the Yankees, for whom Sardinha initially began as a strong-armed shortstop before being moved to the outfield.

"One of their main priorities was to get me signed in the off season,'' Sardinha, 25, said. "But they had to take me of the 40-man roster for Andy Pettit. But they said they still wanted me, and offered me a pretty good contract. But at the last minute, I decided to go for a change.''

But his first stop at Seattle's Triple-A Tacoma club didn't last long, despite Sardinha batting .323 (10-for-31) in seven games. He admits what got him released was his own fault, even if he's not willing to share the details.

"It was something off the field," Sardinha said. "A silly mistake on my part.''

After a three-week unwelcomed vacation in Fresno, Ca., (where the Rainiers had been playing when he was suddenly released), the Indians signed Sardinha and sent him to Triple-A Buffalo.

But that stint was also short - 10 games - in which he batted .300 (9-for-30) with two home runs and five RBI before being demoted to Double-A Akron earlier this week.

"I was getting some playing time (in Buffalo), but they had so many outfielders, especially with (Shin-Soo) Choo there on rehab,'' Sardinha said. "When they called me in, I'd had a real good game the day before and actually thought maybe they were going to call me up (to Cleveland). I wasn't expecting coming down here.''

Sardinha's first thought was that he should just ask for his release. But having just played that waiting game, he reconsidered.

"I like the Indians organization," said Sardinha, who is batting .143 (2-for-14) with three RBI in three games for the Aeros. "They seem like real good people who care about their players. They advised me not to ask for my release, and told me I'm in a good situation. I just need to relax, get my at-bats and you never know what can happen.''

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