DETROIT -- Even with the Indians trailing in the American League Central by 16 1/2 games, in no way does manager Manny Acta believe the games in this final month are meaningless.
The Tribe has nine series left in the season, five of which are against teams that entered Monday either in first place or in a tie for first place in their respective divisions -- two three-game sets against the Tigers, one against the Rangers and two against the White Sox. Acta sees that as opportunity.
"For us, it's going to be a good time to evaluate guys, because we're going to be playing a lot of meaningful games," Acta said prior to Monday's game in Detroit. "We're going to be playing, in our schedule, teams that are trying to win their division. So they're not throwing [September] callups against us."
One of those players the organization hopes to get a good read on is 26-year-old Russ Canzler, who was called up from Triple-A Columbus when the rosters expanded on Saturday.
Acta said that Canzler is going to get "plenty" of at-bats going forward, and he was in the lineup batting fifth and serving as the team's designated hitter on Monday.
"He's an interesting guy and we're going to give him an extended look," Acta said. "It's only been two games, but he's showing the ability to have a decent at-bat. He caused a bit of an impression in Spring Training, he tailed of at the end and he just had an OK season in Triple-A ... but we feel he can give us quality at-bats, so we're going to see."
For Canzler, it's not the first time he's been a September callup -- before being traded to the Tribe in January, he was in the Rays organization. However, it is his first time getting consistent at-bats in the Majors.
"I think in my first two games here I have more at-bats and plate appearances than all of September last year," said Canzler, who had three at-bats with Tampa Bay and had more with the Indians in his first game. "It's a good opportunity for me to get some playing time, and that's all you can really ask for. It's just my job to try not to do too much."
Canzler said that "trying to do too much" was his problem in Columbus this season. He knew he had a shot in Spring Training and when he was sent to Columbus, he pressed to repeat last year's success with the Rays -- hitting .314 with 18 home runs and 83 RBIs for Triple-A Durham -- too quickly.
"I put a little bit too much pressure on myself," he said. "I had a pretty good year last year and I think I tried to repeat those numbers in one month. I was definitely guilty of wanting to get back up here as soon as possible. I think that's one thing I learned this year is to not concern myself with the things that are out of my control and just do what I can."