CLEVELAND -- Guillermo Mota was considered by the Indians to be a key piece of January's trade that sent the popular Coco Crisp to the Red Sox. In fact, when the Indians had concerns about a physical Mota took at Jacobs Field while the trade was being worked out, it was considered, at the time, to be a deal-breaker. But the Tribe eventually decided to take a chance on him after an injury-plagued '05. On Friday, when the Indians needed some middle-infield depth in the wake of an injury to Joe Inglett, Mota was designated for assignment to make room for utilityman Ramon Vazquez.
The Indians tried all they could think of with Mota, but all he could muster was a 1-3 record and 6.21 ERA in 34 relief appearances. "It wasn't for lack of effort," manager Eric Wedge said. "This guy worked his tail off. He was the consummate pro from Day 1 all the way up to today. He just wasn't able to get the ball down." The Tribe now has 10 days to trade or release the 33-year-old Mota. The club tried to trade him before the July 31 non-waiver deadline, to no avail. Ironically, the injury bug the Indians feared so much with Mota wasn't an issue, but his location was the reason for his departure. "When he was healthy, he had some great years in the setup role," Wedge said of Mota. "He's been one of the better guys to do that. The way it worked out here, that didn't happen." Considering the Crisp trade was of such high-impact to the Indians, Mota was under scrutiny all year. "I wouldn't say we misjudged him," Wedge said. "It's just one of those things that didn't work out. Seeing a guy [struggle] like that with that velocity and stuff makes you scratch your head." Inglett update: Inglett remains day-to-day with the left foot sprain he suffered on Thursday night against the Angels. Contrary to what was previously speculated, the injury happened during Inglett's second-to-last at-bat of the ballgame, in the fourth inning. He actually remained in the game until the seventh, when it was determined that the sprain was affecting his mobility. "I took a swing, pushed on it and rolled it," said Inglett, who has suffered elbow and hamstring injuries in the Minor Leagues. "Every injury I've ever had is a freak injury." Considering the playing time Inglett has been getting since his promotion to the Majors on June 20, he's not exactly thrilled about the prospect of sitting out a day or two. "I don't want to be hurt at all," he said. "I'm just happy [the injury] is minor." Special guest: Paul Byrd might be the oldest member of the youthful Indians, but Skip Bertman remembers him when he was just a kid. Bertman was Byrd's college baseball coach at LSU, where he is now the athletic director. He was in town on Friday visiting Byrd, and he was quick to tell the tale of Byrd's first campus visit. "His first day there, he said, 'I want to go here,'" Bertman said. "I said, 'Paul, we haven't offered you a scholarship yet!' He was just so enthusiastic and nice." Bertman said Byrd had one of the best college curveballs he's ever seen. What he didn't possess, of course, was a blazing fastball. "For him to still be playing here today, with the stuff he has, is an indication of his heart and his head," Bertman said. Bertman also helped groom an Indians player who was a little less sound of mind -- Joey (later known as Albert) Belle. But Bertman said Belle wasn't much trouble to him. "He wasn't a very bad kid," Bertman said. "He was a good kid. He just didn't always run the ball out." Bertman did remember one time Belle intentionally spiked a Wichita State player in the foot. Later that game, the Wichita State catcher called for his pitcher to bean Belle. That catcher's name? Eric Wedge. Here's the question: What three things does Frank Robinson, a former player/manager with the Indians, have in common with Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Johnny Bench and Rod Carew? Injury updates: Six days after suffering a sprained right ankle in Detroit, Casey Blake is cruising along the rehab trail. "His ankle looks great," head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said. Blake has began aquatic therapy on the injury, which is expected to keep him out a total of two to four weeks. He's also begun to put weight on the ankle. "He's tolerating that well," Soloff said. Reliever Matt Miller, who's been out since late April after right elbow surgery, will throw a simulated game on Monday. The Indians still hope to get him out on a rehab assignment before the Minor League season ends. Down on the farm: Double-A Akron right-hander Adam Miller pitched a four-hit shutout Thursday night, leading the Aeros to a 2-0 victory. He struck out 11 batters for the third consecutive start. Over his last seven starts, he is 6-0 with a 0.39 ERA. Tribe tidbits: The Indians now have the second-youngest roster in the big leagues with an average age of 27.32. That trails only the Marlins (26.59). ... Vazquez was in the starting lineup at second base on Friday. ... Shin-Soo Choo had three hits both Wednesday and Thursday. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Choo is the one of just two AL rookies to achieve that feat. Baltimore's Nick Markakis is the other. And the answer is: Robinson, like the other six, are the only men in baseball who have all won Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Awards and are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Their select group should grow to eight next year when Cal Ripken Jr. joins them in Cooperstown. On deck: The Indians and Royals will play two Saturday, with a day-night doubleheader scheduled at 1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. ET. Left-hander C.C. Sabathia (8-8, 3.43 ERA) will oppose left-hander Odalis Perez (4-4, 6.85) in the first game. In the nightcap, right-hander Jeremy Guthrie will make his first big-league start against left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (3-3, 8.60). Drew Carey bobbleheads will be given away to fans attending the second game.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.