Indians notes: Tribe off to another slow start

CLEVELAND – During spring training, Indians manager Manny Acta stressed the importance of getting off to a better start to the regular season.

The Indians didn’t, posting a 9-13 record over the first month, but Acta still wasn’t disappointed by the April results.

“I think we got everything out of every single hit and every single run,” he said. “Taking into consideration the way our offense is right now, I’ll take it.”

Cleveland’s offense, expected to be a strong suit for the club, struggled mightily out of the gate, especially with runners in scoring position, while the starting rotation, considered a weakness, carried the Indians.

The effort from his players has been there throughout, according to Acta.

“It hasn’t been a lack of effort,” he said. “It’s been a lack of doubles with the bases loaded.”

Since 2003, the Indians have produced just two winning records over the first month of the season, coming in consecutive years from 2006-07. Cleveland went 14-8 in ’07, its only playoff year since 2001. The Indians finished the first month at 8-14 last season in Eric Wedge’s final year as manager.


Wood’s world

Kerry Wood produced positive results in a bullpen session Friday at Progressive Field, and according to Acta, the right-hander could begin a minor-league rehab assignment soon.

“He could be going out this (upcoming) week,” Acta said.

Acta said it was safe to assume that Wood would need only one rehab appearance before being activated, if things go well. The rehab outing will most likely come at Double-A Akron.


Cabrera errors

Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera entered Saturday with four errors in 22 games, including a couple on routine plays.

“He’s made a lot of good plays for us,” Acta said. “I think he’s done a tremendous job defensively for us. Unfortunately, when you make an error, it can be costly.”


Goodbye, Niuman

The Indians traded minor league infielder Niuman Romero to the Red Sox for cash considerations. Romero was on the disabled list at Triple-A Columbus.

He made his big league debut for Cleveland last year, playing in 10 games and batting .143 (2-for-14).


Mauer mash

The Indians caught a break Saturday with Twins catcher Joe Mauer out of the lineup thanks to a sore left heel.

The defending AL MVP has tortured Cleveland pitching during his career, batting .342 with six homers, 30 RBIs and 44 walks. Since Sept. 15, 2008, Mauer is batting .475 (38-for-80) against the Indians, hitting safely in 20 of 21 games.

He went 2-for-5 with an RBI double in the series opener Friday.   


Minor details

One of Cleveland’s top pitching prospects, RHP Hector Rondon, has been getting lit up at Columbus. He fell to 0-3 with a 9.13 ERA Friday, allowing six runs on eight hits over five innings of a 9-2 loss to Charlotte. … Converted second baseman Jason Kipnis, a second-round draft pick last year, is off to a hot start for advanced Class A Kinston, entering Saturday with a .380 batting average (second in the Carolina League), two triples, three homers, nine RBIs and 16 runs in 19 games.


Roundin’ third

Jhonny Peralta has heated up recently, entering Saturday with a .385 batting average (10-for-26) over his last eight games. … Indians ace Jake Westbrook (0-2 with a 5.53 ERA in five starts this season) hasn’t won a game since April 8, 2008, when he pitched a complete game to beat the Angels in Anaheim, Calif. … Today, 1:05, Channel 3/WEOL 930-AM/WTAM 1100-AM. David Huff (1-3, 4.10) vs. Francisco Liriano (3-0, 0.93).  

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