In the end, it boiled down to finding a workable solution to an unusual and imperfect problem, acknowledged Casey Blake, Cleveland's union representative.
"Neither team is going to be real comfortable with the solution," Blake said. "When you lose four games like that, you're going to have to sacrifice some things. There's really not a whole lot you can do about it. That's just the way it is. You try to come up with days on both sides and try to agree on something."
Seattle will travel to Jacobs Field for single games on May 21, June 11 and Aug. 30. The August date will necessitate further schedule shuffling -- a series against Minnesota, scheduled to play in Cleveland from Aug. 28-30, will begin Aug. 27 to open up Thursday. The fourth game will be made up Sept. 26 in Seattle, when the teams will play a traditional doubleheader that's anything but traditional. The Indians will serve as the home team in the opener, the Mariners will get that designation in the nightcap.
Indians manager Eric Wedge realizes none of his players will endorse the long-awaited decision, especially when the lost off-days will create marathon stretches. Losing May 21, means a 20-game binge without a break, while the Aug. 30 machinations will result in 23 consecutive games from Aug. 17-Sept. 12.
"We expected that. Now we'll just plan for it," Wedge said. "There's no reason for anybody to grumble about anything. They all know we're going to have to make those games up. We're all aware that most of them are going to be on off-days. It's just something you roll with."
Roll with, yes. But no one said the Indians had to like it.
"Off-days are extremely rare during the course of the season -- period," outfielder David Dellucci said. "Toward the end of the season, they are much more important to players and teams than they are in April and May, especially when a team is in a division race. That one day off is important to recoup, whether it's mentally or physically. Now we're having those taken away from us."
"It's going to make it difficult because of the travel, it's going to make it difficult because of the wear and tear on the body and it does no one any good when the games have to be replayed," Dellucci added. "It's even harder to accept when there was a retractable roof in Seattle sitting there with no one playing in it when we were being snowed out. It's 100 percent a scheduling flaw. Something needs to be taken account of next year."
The long uninterrupted stretches are what irk left-hander C.C. Sabathia most.
"We play every day -- that's really the only way I can explain it," Sabathia said. "Off-days are something we really cherish. For us to have to give them up late, it's tough. ... We always talk that we really hate having off-days early in the season because everybody's so ready to play. But we give them back at the end and it seems like this is happening to us again."
Westbrook ailing: Right-hander Jake Westbrook, who left Wednesday's game after two innings with abdominal tightness, has been diagnosed with a mild strain of the left internal oblique muscle and could miss three to five weeks, head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said Friday.
"We will have a better feel if it will be the shorter end of that estimate or the longer end based upon how he responds to treatments over the next five to seven days," Soloff said. "If symptoms resolve completely in the next five to seven days, we're optimistic that it will be a shorter rehab. However, if they persist, it could be closer to the five-week estimate."
Westbrook remained in Cleveland to begin the first stage of his rehabilitation, which entailed rest, ice, micro-stimulation of the affected area and conditioning of areas not affected by the injury. If he passes muster after five days, he can progress to baseball and cardiovascular activities, Soloff said.
Wedge indicated right-hander Fausto Carmona would be recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to take Westbrook's next scheduled start, Monday at Camden Yards. In his last start April 29, Carmona pitched 8 1/3 shutout innings before departing following an Aubrey Huff home run in a 6-1 victory.
"That would obviously be the plan," Wedge said. "I don't like to talk about three to five weeks from now, but obviously Fausto would be the guy."
The Indians may not make that move until Monday, and Wedge said he is still trying to shore up a tired bullpen. He'd also like to add another bench player, but said he can't do that until the bullpen situation is settled.
Last call? In the wake of news that St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of his death in a motor-vehicle accident April 29, Wedge said the Indians are re-examining whether to continue their policy of serving beer in the clubhouse.
"We're evaluating it. ... When something like that happens, it's only natural to evaluate everything."
Baltimore memory: Friday was second baseman Josh Barfield's first trip to Camden Yards as a player. But he's been to Oriole Park before, visiting during 1992, the stadium's debut year, when his father Jesse Barfield played for the New York Yankees.
The details are a little fuzzy for Barfield, but he'll never forget the souvenir he took home that day.
"I caught a Cal Ripken foul ball," he said.
Here's the question: Three players on the Indians' current roster have played for Baltimore. Can you name them?
Tribe tidbits: Right-hander Matt Miller, on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain, threw a pain-free, 18-pitch inning Friday at extended Spring Training in Winter Haven, Fla. Soloff said Miller would pitch next either in Cleveland or with an Indians affiliate. ... Entering Friday's game, opposing starting pitchers have worked into the seventh inning against Cleveland only four times in 24 starts this year. ... Barfield brought a seven-game hitting streak to Baltimore.
Down on the farm: Right-hander Jeff Harris lasted only 1 2/3 innings Thursday as Triple-A Buffalo was dealt an 8-3 loss at Syracuse. Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a seventh-inning single. ... Double-A Akron beat Harrisburg, 8-6. First baseman Jordan Brown had three singles, including an RBI go-ahead hit in the eighth. ... Class A Kinston was rained out Thursday, but catcher/designated hitter Chris Giminez has three homers over his last four games. ... Hickory edged Class A Lake County, 5-4, ending the Captains' four-game win streak. Third baseman Jared Goedert had two RBIs in the loss.
And the answer is: Dellucci made his Major League debut for the Orioles in 1997, playing 17 games before he was selected by Arizona in the expansion draft in the offseason. Closer Joe Borowski's career began in 1995 with the Orioles. But you'd miss Blake's time in Baltimore if you blinked. The Orioles claimed Blake on waivers from Minnesota on Sept 21, 2001, and Blake went back to the Twins on waivers on Oct. 12.
Coming up: Left-hander Jeremy Sowers (0-1, 4.40 ERA) tries again for his first victory of 2007 on Saturday in a 7:05 p.m. ET game. He'll be opposed by Orioles right-hander Daniel Cabrera (1-3, 4.50 ERA).
Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.