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Sunday Roundup

Platoon a dirty, relevant word for Tribe. Paul Hoynes, PD

A platoon has been a dirty word for baseball observers. It signifies either that the team has no one good enough to play every day at a position, that the team doesn't have the wherewithal to bring in an everyday player, or both. Yet it is possible to get more out of platoon than said everyday player  if the two platooners are exceptionally good batting against a right-handed or left-handed pitcher.

Eric Wedge, though, has to deal with the players on an everyday basis, so he doesn't like to use the dreaded word openly:

Wedge doesn't like the word because he feels it slights the player in a sport where the ability to cope daily with the long season is revered.

 "I know it's the proper terminology for what we're doing, but I still look at those players as everyday players," said Wedge.

Trot Nixon, David Dellucci, and Jason Michaels have been used as platoon players for most of their careers, so it shouldn't be much of an issue for them, and they have publicly stated their willingness to do so:

"The platoon can work," said Nixon. "It worked for us in Boston. It can work here. You have to have guys with the right mind set."


 "You have to keep it simple and have a positive mental attitude," said Michaels. "There might be times where you don't play for four days, but there's always a chance you can pinch-hit late in a game. So you have to stay ready."

Westbrook gives Tribe a chance. Terry Pluto, ABJ

Jake Westbrook is saying all the right things about his pending free agency:

The good news is Westbrook is not obsessed with free agency. Nor does he have any issues with staying in Cleveland.

Just the opposite.

``I moved around a lot early in my career,'' he said. ``This is the organization that gave me a chance. I really do love it here.''

Approaching this from a more cynical perspective, Westbrook is also keeping all his options open. The last thing he needs to be doing is to alienate a possible bidder for his future services.

This may be Westbrook's best opportunity to make his fortune as a major-league pitcher. A four-year deal is probably assured for him, provided he makes it through the season healthy. And an eight-figure annual salary is not a stretch, given what inferior pitchers fetched on the open market. He's nothing more than a good innings-eater, but even those are prized in today's game.

For Red Sox, Manny is a Keeper. Ken Rosenthal,

Rosenthal on the Indians' middle infield situation:

It's early, but the Indians are encouraged by the progress of shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who needs to rebound both offensively and defensively. Manager Eric Wedge also is excited by the team's deep, NL-style roster; when the Indians face a left-handed starter, Wedge could wait to unload his left-handed hitting outfielders, Trot Nixon and David Dellucci, on a right-handed closer.

The Indians need utility-infield help, and former Twins second baseman Luis Rivas is making a strong early impression. Rivas, 27, suffered a broken hand in Devil Rays' camp last spring and spent the rest of the season at Class AAA, batting only .218 in 69 games. He originally was a shortstop and could offer speed off the bench.

It's hard to believe that Rivas is still only 27, younger than Joe Inglett and just six months older than Hector Luna, the other two serious contenders for the utility spot. Luna should be the front-runner, but made a major mistake in coming into camp overweight. Rivas is a poor hitter even by middle-infield standards, and hasn't played much shortstop at all in his major-league career. And Joe Inglett, who hits left-handed, is probably the worst fielder of the trio. Of course, if these guys were good all-around players, they wouldn't be pegged as utility infielders.