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Cleveland Indians

Shapiro emotional over Martinez trade

By sstorm Published: July 31, 2009

When Indians general manager Mark Shapiro went to bed late Thursday night, he had no intention of trading Tribe All-Star catcher Victor Martinez before baseball's trading deadline the next day.

But as Friday progressed, it became clear that trading Martinez was indeed the direction the Indians were headed. The deal was finally reached in the late afternoon just before the 4 p.m. deadline as Martinez was swapped for a trio of Boston pitchers, including major league right-hander Justin Masterson.

As hard as the move has been on Indians fans, Shapiro said it was equally difficult for himself personally.

"When (Martinez) and I talked today, I expressed something I truly feel - that in my 18 years in the game, I have not had the privilege to be around a finer person, a finer teammate, a finer father, husband and friend than Vic."

Shapiro went on to say:

"Obviously, the most difficult part of this job is balancing the personal side with the business side and professional side. So it certainly a challenging personal moment for me, as well as for (assistant general manager) Chris (Antonetti) and many others in the organization."

Shapiro said he'd been with Martinez, 30, for every step of his career - until now.

"Vic's a guy for whom I was there the first week we signed him in Venezuela, followed him in his minor league career and watched him accomplish great things. And I plan to watch him accomplish great things again."

It's just to bad it will have to be with a team other than the one who signed Martinez as a free agent in 1996.

In his pre-game meeting with the media before the dismantled Indians took on visiting Detroit, Shapiro spent a bulk of the discussion talking about all the new players the Indians received - not just for Martinez, but for reigning Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee two days earlier as well and 11 overall - including nine pitchers.

"The work that we've done now in the past month or so has helped us line pitchers and position players so we can have a good core of players for years to come."

Not long ago, Martinez and Lee were "core" Tribe players. Now, they are centerfielder Grady Sizemore, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo.

Undoubtedly the Indians will strike it good with at least a few good players of the new group. But finding one capable of replacing Martinez - his bat in the Tribe lineup, his defense behind the plate and his leadership in the clubhouse - that will take some time.

In other Tribe-related news:

* Indians right-hander Jake Westbrook is scheduled to make a rehab start in Akron Tuesday. He is slated to throw three innings and 50 pitches.

* Former Aeros catcher Wyatt Toregas was called up to Cleveland, which will mark Toregas' Major League debut. He will take Martinez's spot on the roster.

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