MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians are in the thick of things when it comes to the two American League Wild Card spots. Just don't go asking Tribe manager Manny Acta about it.
"What is the Wild Card?" Acta asked facetiously on Saturday afternoon. "I don't know about the Wild Card. I'm trying to win the division."
Entering Saturday, the Indians sat in third place in the American League Central, but just 4 1/2 games behind the first-place White Sox. Cleveland trails second-place Detroit by two games. With two months to play, Acta wants his team focusing on its deficit in the Central.
In the Wild Card standings, though, Cleveland also sits 4 1/2 games off the pace set by the A's, who currently lead the pack for the second spot. Including the current Wild Card leaders (the Angels hold the top spot), there are eight clubs within six games of the two postseason slots. Six teams are ahead of the Indians.
Acta does not want to hear about that.
"I don't want to hear about the Wild Card, please guys," Acta said. "Don't talk to me about the Wild Card until I've been eliminated from winning my division. The Wild Card should be a fallback for teams that don't win their division. You can quote me on that. Are you kidding me? Five games out and people want you to change your goals already to the Wild Card.
"I'm dead serious, too. I don't want to hear another Wild Card question until we're eliminated from our division. I'm not even keeping track of that. Wouldn't it be nice if at the end of the season, you're like, 'God, I didn't win my division.' And then somebody wakes you up and says, 'Hey! Guess what? You won the Wild Card!'
"What? We're going to the playoffs? Champagne all over!"
Acta paused and let out a laugh.
"That's the way I approach it," he continued. "I'm not looking at the Wild Card. No way, Jose."