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Cleveland Indians

Shapiro weighs in on Wedge controversy

By Sheldon Published: June 26, 2009

CLEVELAND: The hot topic? How about the hot seat? That would be wherever Eric Wedge sits. ¶
   The Indians' manager is under duress, thanks to his team's woeful record, and when General Manager Mark Shapiro showed up to talk to the media Friday, Wedge's job status was an obvious topic. [ep
   Or as it was presented to Shapiro, Wedge being in the hot seat. [ep
   ""I don't really know what that is,'' the GM said. ""In this business, every single one of us has a sense of urgency about his job, a real sense of accountability. We all go through junctures where we're evaluated. [ep
   ""I feel the same now as I did 10 days ago when I said that accountablilty and responsibility for what is becoming a bad year has to be shared. The arrow should point to a broad spectrum -- the players, the staff, Eric and myself. I think that I'm accountable for all of those groups.'' [ep
   That does not answer the burning question: Will Wedge be fired?  When he was asked about the manager as week ago, Shapiro said that Wedge did not deserve to lose his job. [ep
   Shapiro indicated that when the two men talk, the subject of the manager's job security is not the elephant in the room that is pointedly ignored. [ep
   ""Eric and I have very consistent communication and very open communication,'' the GM said. ""Our focus is on today, winning now, winning series. But we have conversations beyond that. We address everything.'' [ep
   Shapiro was not about to give any clues about the nature of those chats or the degree to which Wedge is under fire. [ep
   ""If there is an announcement to make, then we'll make an announcement,'' the GM said. ""But I've never been in the habit of updating people about our decisions or about the progress of those decisions. We conduct those discussions internally, and obviously ownership is also involved.'' [ep
   In other words, Larry Dolan and his son Paul, team president, are hardly out of the loop. [ep
   ""Paul, Larry and I talk at regular junctures,'' Shapiro said. ""One of the topics is the performance of the manager, the staff, the front office and the players. Evaluations of everything.'' [ep
   Meanwhile, can all the talk about Wedge's job status be anything but a distraction to the team? [ep
   ""There's a lot speculation about me, which I can understand,'' the manager said. ""But all teams have distractions. You have to stiff arm those, blank them out. As for me, I'm a big boy. When I got the job, I knew I'd be taking the good, the bad and the ugly that goes with it.'' [ep
   THE EXPLANATION -- There was criticism galore when Matt LaPorta was called up from Columbus to make his major-league debut and played in only about half the games before he was sent back to Triple-A. ¶
   Lots of fans felt that if a touted rookie is summoned to the big leagues, he should play every day rather than sit for half the time. But the Indians had a plan. ¶
   ""We brought up LaParta because we had an injury to Travis Hafner, General Manager Mark Shapiro said Friday. ""He didn't get much of a look, but Eric (Wedge) and I talked. He asked who was the best player to bring up? I told him the best hitter was LaPorta. ¶
   ""At that point, we decided to bring him up, but I told Eric to put his best lineup on the field every day to help us win.'' ¶
   In other words, LaPorta was filling a roster spot for Wedge to call on if he needed a bat. He was not being groomed as an everyday player. ¶
   ""There are different junctures in a season when you bring up a guy, and he needs to play,'' Shapiro said. ""But with Hafner hurt, this was just an opportunity to give someone a look.'' ¶
    MOVE COMING? -- Asdrubal Cabrera worked out with the team Friday, after which Wedge and his staff were to decide if he's ready to come off the disabled list today or go back in a rehab assignment. [ep
   The big question is how will Luis Valbuena, Jamey Carroll and Cabrera divide up duties at shortstop and second base? [ep
   Who is likely to be sent to Columbus to make room for Cabrera? As usual, that would be Josh Barfield, whose job has become either to fill out the roster or vacate a roster position for someone else. [ep
   GOOD KARMA FOR CARMONA? -- The next stop for Fausto Carmona has yet to be determined.    After giving up one hit and one walk in 61/3 innings at Lake County Thursday night, Tribe officials are deciding if he should stay with the Captains for another start or move up the minor-league ladder. [ep
   ""That was a good step he took yesterday,'' Wedge said. ""I know they're meeting today about him. It's possible that Fausto will go somewhere else.'' [ep
   FARM FACTS -- Andy Marte doubled, singled twice and drove in four runs, but Columbus lost to Rochester 8-7. Matt LaPorta doubled, singled and drove in one run. In his past three games, LaPorta is 7-for-13 with one home run, two doubles and five RBI. He is batting .330 with seven homers and 16 RBI in June; his .545 slugging percentage and .930 OPS are both third in the International League. *elip Clayton Cook threw six shutout innings, allowing six hits, as Mahoning Valley beat Williamsport 6-1. [ep

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