SEATTLE: The visiting clubhouse television was tuned into the MLB Network late Monday afternoon as a handful of Indians players lounged around the set and watched as news of Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun’s suspension broke.
Braun, the 2011 National League MVP, was suspended without pay for the remainder of the season (which amounts to 65 games) for his part in the latest performance-enhancing drug scandal coming out of Florida.
Having previously denied any ties to the now-closed anti-aging clinic Biogenesis of America, Braun released a statement that said in part, “I am not perfect, I realize now that I have made some mistakes.”
Although there were some snickers and plenty of side talk in the visitors locker room over the big news of the day, Indians players were in no mood to go on the record about the ongoing controversy staining the credibility of the nation’s pastime.
Both first baseman Nick Swisher and designated hitter Jason Giambi, two of the Tribe’s elder statesmen and usual locker room spokesmen, declined to speak on the sensitive subject.
Indians manager Terry Francona sounded like he would have preferred to plead the fifth as well, but knew as a veteran ambassador of the game, he needed to at least make a general statement.
“I don’t want to make too much of a comment because typically that’s not a very smart thing to do,” he said. “But I do know that I really care about our game. So I hope that at some point, we’re able as a game to get past this where we’re just talking about baseball.
“I know there’s a lot of people smarter than me trying to figure out how to do that. I also think that, because I’m around these guys so much, there are a lot of good people in this game. But our game’s no different than life. Athletes aren’t exempt from mistakes. But I do hope, for our game’s sake, that we figure this out.”
WEDGE SENT TO HOSPITAL — Mariners manager and former Indians skipper Eric Wedge experienced dizziness halfway through his team’s batting practice late Monday afternoon.
Wedge was helped off the field, evaluated by a team doctor and then transported to a Seattle hospital for further precautionary tests.
“Eric had dizzy spells during batting practice, but he’s fine,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “He’s been evaluated by doctors and everything looks good, real good. Everything seems to be normal. But what we’re doing is we’re going to be very cautious about this. So he’s going to get checked [Monday] night at the hospital to make sure we cover all our bases.”
Seattle bench coach Robbie Thompson managed the game in Wedge’s absence. Zduriencik said he expected Wedge to be back in the dugout in time for tonight’s game.
— Stephanie Storm