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Westbrook awaits Trade Deadline fate

Westbrook awaits Trade Deadline fate

CLEVELAND -- Jake Westbrook would like nothing more than to win a World Series in an Indians uniform.

He's also a realist.

The 32-year-old right-hander has tried his best to block out the speculation surrounding whether he'll be dealt at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. But make no mistake, Westbrook would embrace the chance to join a contender.

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"That's why you play the game, to play in the playoffs and compete for a [World Series] championship," said Westbrook, who is eligible for free agency after the season. "That's what it's all about, so if given the opportunity, I'd definitely welcome that."

Of course, he'd just as easily welcome another crack at the postseason with the Cleveland organization he regards so highly.

"This is a place I've been pretty much my whole career and where I'm most comfortable," said Westbrook, a veteran of nine seasons with the Tribe. "It would be nice to win here, but we're starting to do the whole rebuilding process, which I was a part of earlier in my career as well.

"It's tough, because you would like to win it here. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do it in 2007, when we had the opportunity to get to the World Series. But we did get the opportunity to go to the playoffs, which is all you can ask for."

Since that '07 run, which came up one win short of an American League pennant, Westbrook has watched the Indians ship off teammates Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez and CC Sabathia in Trade Deadline deals.

This year, it could be Westbrook's turn.

"To watch all that go down was tough, because those are all my guys I came up with and had some great seasons with," said Westbrook, who missed most of the past two seasons recovering from June 2008 Tommy John surgery. "They were a big part of my career, so it was hard seeing them get traded. But I also understood the market the Indians are in, how good those guys are and the fact that they were going to become free agents at some point. You could kind of see it coming.

"I guess we're sitting in the same situation again now."

These days, Westbrook is focused on regaining the consistency that once made him a force in the Indians' rotation.

"My arm feels amazing," said Westbrook, who is 6-6 with a 4.74 ERA through 20 starts this season. "First and foremost, that's what I've cared most about. For me, it's about getting back to form and what I was in '04, '05 and '06, to be that guy they can count on to make every start and throw 200-plus innings. That's what I want to get back to."

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