BOSTON -- Filling out the lineup isn't quite the easy task it once was for manager Eric Wedge. Back on Opening Day, Wedge had a pretty good idea who his regulars were. These days, the word "regular" barely applies. He needs a team of scientists and mathematicians to get the job done. OK, so it hasn't reached that point -- yet. But it is tricky.More
"It takes a little longer than it used to," Wedge said with a laugh. "The night before, you usually assess everything and go over everything and grind through it mentally." Casey Blake and Victor Martinez are sharing first base. Martinez and Kelly Shoppach are sharing the catcher's spot. Blake and Shin-Soo Choo are sharing right field. Jason Michaels and Todd Hollandsworth are both getting starts in left. And Joe Inglett can play four positions -- second base, shortstop, center field and left. Sunday's acquisition of utilityman Hector Luna further complicates the puzzle. Wedge said Luna and Inglett will share duties at second base, with Luna expected to get a slight edge in the number of starts. Either Luna or Inglett can spare shortstop Jhonny Peralta for a day or play in the outfield. "There are times they both will be in there," Wedge said. The Indians are not ruling out the possibility that either Luna or Inglett could emerge as the starting second baseman for '07, but Wedge made it clear the two are not competing or auditioning for the job in these last two months of the season. "It's more about them [showing what they can do] as individuals," Wedge said. "It's not about second base." Luna got the start at second base on Monday, his first day with his new club. Actually, the Indians are his old club, having lost him twice in the Rule 5 Draft -- first in 2002 and, after he was returned to Cleveland, again in 2003. Wedge didn't get a personal look at Luna when he was in the Tribe's farm system, but he said he's happy with the acquisition. "I'm anxious to see him play," Wedge said. "He played in a championship environment in some big games and handled it well." And if Luna handles his new situation well, maybe he'll make filling out the lineup card a little easier for Wedge. Coco in Beantown: Coco Crisp was shocked when the Indians traded him in January, and he's even more shocked to see how the club has played in his absence. "In the beginning, that team was supposed to do some damage," Crisp said. Instead, the Indians' poor start forced them to do to several others what they did to Crisp, shipping them off to other clubs. Crisp's tenure with the Sox has been a somewhat rocky one so far. He missed nearly two months with a finger fracture, lost his leadoff spot in the lineup and, this past weekend, heard rumors that the Sox were trying to trade him. Red Sox manager Terry Francona, though, ensured him the rumors were bogus. The January trade rumors, however, proved not to be bogus, to Crisp's surprise. "I was a little shocked, because I bled for them," Crisp said. "But I understand business is business. I enjoyed the fans and the company there. I thought I was one of those guys they'd keep around for a minute. It's definite a place I would have liked to stay, but I can have fun in multiple places." Here's the question: Who was the last Indians player to lead the American League in runs scored? (Answer below) Rough one: Before Monday's game, rookie closer Fausto Carmona was asked for his first impressions of Fenway Park. "After I pitch here, I'll tell you if I like it or don't like it," he said with his ever-present smile. Carmona was hoping his Fenway debut would go a little better than his unofficial closer's debut. Brought into Sunday's game with the game tied at 3, he got the last out of the eighth inning but gave up four runs in the ninth after walking the leadoff hitter. "Anytime you walk the leadoff hitter in the ninth, you're asking for trouble," Wedge said. "He understands that. My interest is seeing how he handles [the ninth inning] the next time." Down on the farm: Outfielder Jason Dubois homered twice, and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera had two hits and two runs scored in Triple-A Buffalo's 9-5 win over Pawtucket on Sunday. Right-hander Brian Slocum gave up three runs, none earned, on two hits over five innings to get the victory. ... Right-hander Sean Smith gave up four runs on six hits over five innings in Double-A Akron's 4-3 loss to Trenton. ... Right-hander Joe Ness allowed just two runs on three hits over six innings and eight of nine batters drove in at least one run in Class A Kinston's 14-5 win over Wilmington. ... Left fielder Juan Valdes hit a grand slam and catcher Max Ramirez hit a two-run shot to lead Class A Lake County to a 9-8 win over Kannapolis. ... Right-hander Michael Eisenberg pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in Game 1, and right-hander Joshua Tomlin pitched six scoreless innings in Game 2, as short-season Mahoning Valley swept a doubleheader against Batavia. Both wins were by 2-0 counts. Tribe tidbits: After Sunday's trade, the average age of an Indians player is now 27.98, ranking third-youngest in the Majors. ... The Indians didn't homer in any of the three games against the Mariners over the weekend. That's their longest stretch without a homer this season. ... Travis Hafner had one hit in his last 20 at-bats entering Monday. And the answer is: Roberto Alomar led the league in runs scored with 138 in 1999. On deck: The Indians continue their four-game set at Fenway with at 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Left-hander C.C. Sabathia (7-7, 3.82 ERA) will start for Cleveland, while the Red Sox starter will be announced after Monday's game.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less