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Indians notebook: Terry Francona downplays poor fielding on trip

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CLEVELAND: On the Indians’ six-game trip to Minnesota and Seattle, Tribe fielders committed nine errors (four by Lonnie Chisenhall) that led to five unearned runs out of a total of 14 scored by the opposition.

Asked if this might become a trend, manager Terry Francona said, “It better not be. No, no.”

Chisenhall doubled his error total for the season to eight on the trip, but Francona minimized the significance of the fielding gaffes.

“Especially with youth, the games can move very fast,” he said. “Lonnie still has the tools — the arm strength — to be a good major-league third baseman.”

Fielding practice was on the agenda for Friday, but does that really help?

“Taking ground balls reinforces good habits,” Francona said. “A big part of winning in my opinion is to play clean baseball. For us to be a good team, we have to play clean baseball, and that’s OK. We’re not going to mash you to death.”

AS I WAS SAYING — General Manager Chris Antonetti reiterated what Francona said Thursday about Triple-A Columbus starter Danny Salazar.

“Our expectation is that he can impact us this year, either in the rotation or in the bullpen if he’s needed,” Antonetti said. “But we think he’s a starter [long term].”

Salazar made his major-league debut July 11 as a spot starter against the Toronto Blue Jays and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He earned a 4-2 win, giving up two hits and one run in six innings.

“We think that’s the type of pitcher he’s going to be,” Antonetti said. “So what he did up here was not surprising.”

AWARD TIME — Jason Kipnis is the Tribe winner of the Heart and Hustle Award for 2013, given by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.

Each big-league team will be represented and an overall winner will be announced Nov. 9.

Team winners are selected for their passion, desire and work ethic on and off the field.

FARM FACTS — Juan Diaz doubled twice and drove in two runs, as Columbus lost 7-6 to Buffalo. Carlos Carrasco gave up three unearned runs and four hits in five innings, striking out 10. … Paddy Matera had two hits and three RBI in Carolina’s 5-4 win over Winston-Salem in Class A. Joe Colon (2-3, 4.15 ERA) gave up two runs in five innings.

— Sheldon Ocker


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