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Cleveland Indians

Shapiro fights to maintain normalcy

By Sheldon Published: July 6, 2009

Until this year, General Manager Mark Shapiro had never gone through a season in which the Indians' performance fell so totally below expectations and the heat on his manager, Eric Wedge, was so intense.

These kinds of seasons take a toll on all of the decision makers associated with a club. But maybe it's true that what wasn't doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

"It's not something I ever thought about, beccause i didn't think this outcome was a potential reality,'' Shapiro said of what is fast becoming a lost year for the Tribe.

"It's certainly not enjoyable, because I didn't want to see the focus put on any one but myself. But I accept it as the reality of this business, this game.''

For Shapiro, it's more important than ever to filter out the emotions -- his and the fans' -- from the way he goes about his tasks.

"I'm dealing with this the way I've dealt with everything else in my seven-plus years as general manager,'' he said. "There is a consistency in the way we make decisions and a consistency in the way we communicate with people.

"That's the right way to do business that I think ultimately leads to a better organization and better results. I think it's important not to deviate when emotions run high and disappointments are great. That'a not to say we don't go through a tremendous amount of self analysis and self criticism.''

Shapiro does not believe that Wedge will cave in to the criticism from the fans and media.

"Eric is strong,'' the GM said. "People can make a lot of accusations  at Eric, but if you spend any time with him, you recognize he's a tough individual, a strong individual.

"Behind closed doors he's largely the same guy he is out here. He's focused on the job, the task at hand, one day at a time.'' ¶

SIMPLE WISH LIST -- Shapiro doesn't know how active he will be in trade market the rest of the year, but he has one objective.

"Clearly, we're looking for pitching,'' he said. "Starting pitching, relief pitching, any way we can get it. Young pitchers, who we can control for multiple seasons.

"I don't know if we will be able to get that, because there are probably 26 teams looking for the same thing.''

REACTION IN THE CLUBHOUSE -- When Shapiro announced that Wedge would keep his job at least through the rest of the season, he was trying to avoid a potential distraction for the players.

"It wasn't a distraction for me,'' starting pitcher Cliff Lee said. "It's nothing that has anything to do with me.

"Wedge has been my manager since I've been here. He's what I'm used to. Until someone tells me different, he's my manager. To be honest, this isn't something I put too much thought into.''

First baseman Ryan Garko didn't see the speculation about Wedge's future as a distraction, either.

"As a player, you just go out and play,'' he said. ""It's out of our control, and it's part of the business.''

Does Garko think it's fair that Wedge has taken most of the criticism for the team's failure?

"It goes with the territory,'' he said. "He's the manager, the leader, and I know he's not scared to be in that positon.

"He's the only manager I've ever played for. We've had a lot of success with him here. He brought a lot of us to the big leagues and made us better players, so it's (Shapiro's announcement) is good to hear.''

OTHER STUFF -- Since coming off the disabled list June 23, center fielder Grady Sizemore is batting .268 with two home runs and 13 RBI in 11 games... During the six-game homestand, right fielder Shin-Soo Choo batted .333 with four doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI in 33 at-bats... out fielder Ben Francisco batted .409 in 22 at-bats during the homestand.

FARM FACTS -- Starting pitcher Fausto Carmona gave up one run and six hits, walking one and striking out five in five innings, as Columbus beat Toledo 8-1. reliever Rafael Betancourt threw one ining, striking out two.

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