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Notes: Martinez letting bat do the talking

Notes: Martinez letting bat do the talking

CLEVELAND -- Victor Martinez doesn't really like to talk to reporters about his hitting when he's on a roll at the plate.

Is this is a matter of superstition?

"I don't knoooow," Martinez said, elongating the last word for comedic effect.

Yes, it probably doesn't do a superstitious person any good to discuss his superstition. But Martinez, who is batting .381 with five homers and 20 RBIs this season, has to be feeling good at the plate these days, right?

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel good," he said. "I've just put good swings on the ball."

And some good non-swings, too. For when Martinez hasn't been hitting, he has been drawing consistent walks. That's how, entering Tuesday, he has managed to reach base in 41 straight games, dating back to last Sept. 17. His streak is the longest in the big leagues since Albert Pujols got on base in 42 straight games between Sept. 24, 2004, and May 11, '05.

Martinez's hot start at the plate stands in stark contrast to his struggles of a year ago at this time, when he batted just .207 in April and .213 in May.

Manager Eric Wedge said part of the switch-hitting Martinez's success this season has come from his ability to use both sides of the field.

"He's definitely using the entire field a lot better than last year," Wedge said. "Last year, he hit a lot of pull-side groundballs. This year, he came out of the chute not trying to do too much."

And as a result, Martinez has done a lot. He just doesn't want to talk about it.

Slocum sent down: Brian Slocum knew his spot in the Indians bullpen was tenuous, but that didn't make his brief stay in the big leagues any less sweet.

When asked how he'd sum up his first stint in the Majors, Slocum, who was sent back to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for C.C. Sabathia on the active roster, offered the simplest phrases that come to the mind of a human being inspired by his surroundings.

"Unbelievable," he said. "It was awesome."

Slocum has room for improvement, of course. He posted a 7.71 ERA in four appearances, and he appeared to be overthinking on the mound when he made two errant throws on pickoff attempts in Monday's 8-6 loss to the White Sox.

But he'll go back to Buffalo, where he has a 1.93 ERA and one save in five appearances, knowing he's on the organizational radar and what he has to work on if he's going to make it in the bigs.

"The results weren't there, but the experience was the best," he said. "They want me to get ahead of hitters more, because I fell behind a lot of guys. But I'll keep working hard, and hopefully I'll be back."

Steal away: There's little more Wedge can say that hasn't been said already.

His Indians can't seem to keep the opposition from stealing base after base after base against them, and the Spring Training lessons in this department and the constant in-season reminders don't seem to be hitting home just yet.

"We can only stress it so much and work on it so much," Wedge said. "We have to keep going and grinding through it."

It's been a grind, for sure. The Indians have allowed 26 stolen bases in 27 games, and Martinez has yet to nab a single would-be stealer. He's 0-for-26 after the Sox nabbed six off him Monday.

"Victor made good throws," Wedge said, defending his catcher. "His [throwing] times were under two seconds."

Wedge has said all along that the stolen bases are as much the fault of the pitching staff as the catchers.

Here's the question: Two White Sox pitchers have thrown no-hitters against the Indians. Can you name them?

Catch the kids: The Cleveland Indians Charities High School Hardball Classic will be held Thursday and Friday at Jacobs Field.

The tournament gives high school teams a chance to play in the big-league ballpark, with the proceeds benefiting the numerous education and recreation programs funded by CIC.

Thursday's action, which begins at 3 p.m. ET, features games between Brush and Olmsted Falls, Poland and Canfield, and Walsh Jesuit and St. Edward's. The Walsh-St. Ed's game will be broadcast in HDTV by SportsTime Ohio at 7 p.m.

On Friday, Brecksville-Broadview Heights will take on North Royalton, Hudson will play Stow and Mentor will face Shaker Heights.

Tickets for the event are $5 online or $7 at the doors on the day of the games.

More information can be found at this site or by calling (216) 420-HITS.

Down on the farm: The Indians have signed 35-year-old left-hander Vic Darensbourg to a Minor League contract. Released by the Orioles at the end of Spring Training, Darensbourg is currently in extended Spring Training in Winter Haven, Fla. He split the '05 season between the Tigers, with whom he went 1-1 with a 2.82 ERA in 22 games, and Triple-A Toledo, where he went 2-0 with a 0.29 ERA in 44 games. ... Left-hander Jason Stanford gave up four runs, two of which were earned, on four hits with four strikeouts and no walks in six innings of Triple-A Buffalo's 6-2 loss to Charlotte on Monday.

Tribe tidbits: Monday night's three-hour, 44-minute game was the longest nine-inning Indians game since a four-hour contest with the Phillies on June 12, 2002. ... Voting is under way online for the All Star Game, which will be held in Pittsburgh on July 11. Fans can vote up to 25 times for their favorite player. In-park voting will begin at the start of the next homestand Friday, May 12, and will run 23 home dates through June 21. ... Coach Luis Rivera left the Indians on Tuesday due to a family emergency. Joel Skinner filled in as the club's first-base coach for the day. Rivera will join the club on the West Coast later this week. ... With the Cavaliers in the postseason, the Indians will have two more games this week -- Wednesday's 10:05 p.m. game against the A's and Friday's 10:05 p.m. game against the Mariners -- broadcast on WMMS 100.7 FM, instead of the club's flagship station, WTAM 1100.

And the answer is: Joe Benz threw a no-no against the Tribe on May 31, 1914, and Vern Kennedy threw one on Aug. 31, 1935. Both games were at Comiskey Park.

On deck: The Indians head west to begin an eight-game road trip with a two-game set against the A's starting at 10:05 p.m. on Wednesday. Right-hander Paul Byrd (3-2, 8.03 ERA) will go up against right-hander Dan Haren (1-2, 4.84 ERA).

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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