KANSAS CITY, MO.: “Some teams pick each other apart, and some teams pick each other up,” Indians manager Terry Francona said, either coining a phrase or unknowingly copying someone else.
Francona didn’t know which.
“I’ve thought that before,” he said. “But I can’t imagine I’m the first one who said it.”
To emphasize his point, Francona added, “Ever hear the things at a funeral? You wish they said that stuff when the guy was alive. You’re sitting there thinking, ‘Is this the same guy?’ ”
MORE MASTERSON — Justin Masterson completed the long-toss part of his throwing program and will begin throwing bullpen sessions this week.
“He went out to 120 feet then threw 20-25 pitches — fastballs and sliders — on flat ground,” Francona said. “As long as there are no repercussions, he’ll throw a bullpen Friday, which is really exciting.”
Masterson has been down with a strained oblique since Sept. 2.
It’s unlikely that Masterson will get a start in the season’s final 10 games, but he might come out of the bullpen.
EITHER, OR — Jason Kubel hasn’t exactly been overused since coming to the Tribe on Aug. 30. Then again, he has not delivered at the plate, batting .167 in 18 at-bats.
Tribe deep thinkers weren’t expecting him to suddenly explode with a barrage of doubles and home runs, but he gives Francona another left-handed option on the bench.
So the manager has a choice between lefties Kubel and Jason Giambi.
“It gives me a chance to pick my spots, when each of them fits,” Francona said.
Tuesday night, he picked neither, inasmuch as starter Bruce Chen throws from the left side.
Going against the norm, however, Giambi is 6-for-16 (.375) against Chen with four home runs, and Kubel is 6-for-14 (.429) with one homer.
Of course, it matters how long ago those at-bats were taken.
— Sheldon Ocker