Tribe's bullpen roles being defined
Laffey finding success as setup to closer Perez
CHICAGO -- When the Indians moved him to the bullpen, Aaron Laffey made it clear he wanted to pitch in meaningful situations. Two games into the season, it appears Laffey is getting his wish.For an Indians team trying to settle the setup roles that lead to closer Chris Perez (who is filling in for an injured Kerry Wood), it doesn't get much more meaningful than a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. That's the situation Laffey was handed Wednesday night, and he handled it well. He gave up a leadoff single to A.J. Pierzynski, but got Mark Teahen to ground into a double play and retired Alexei Ramirez to end the inning. He went on to retire Juan Pierre to open the eighth before handing the ball off to right-hander Joe Smith. "I definitely feel good about that," Laffey said. "That's the situation every guy wants to be in. Holds are becoming my thing I'm interested in, linking the starter to the closer. Every guy wants to be the guy called into those situations." Manager Manny Acta said to expect to see Laffey in plenty of those situations, as roles get established. And his faith in Smith was also rewarded, as the side-armer quickly retired the only two batters he faced, with Perez sealing the deal in the ninth. "This is a shutdown bullpen, I think," Laffey said. "With the quality of stuff we have, I think we'll be able to shut the door." Perez agreed. "We're trying to settle roles, but we have great camaraderie," he said. "I think the bullpen is going to be a strong point for this team."
Acta's first win in AL a milestone
CHICAGO -- The souvenirs of his first win with the Indians were sitting on Manny Acta's desk in the visitor's clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday.There was the ball closer Chris Perez used to record the final out in the 5-3 victory over the White Sox, and the lineup card Acta had filled out before the game. "We have a bonus room in our house in Florida with special stuff in it," Acta said. "This will go there." Acta joked that the mementos will mean a lot more to him if he wins 1,000 games in his tenure with the Tribe and not just 100. But Wednesday's win was special from a historical perspective, regardless of what happens from here. "I haven't done the research, but someone told me I'm the first Latin guy to manage and win in both leagues," Acta said. "So that's significant for me." A little research uncovered that Acta, who was 158-252 in two and a half years with the Nationals, was nearly accurate with that statement, but not completely. Cuban-born Cookie Rojas went 75-79 with the Angels in 1988 and 1-0 in one game as an interim manager with the Marlins in 2006.
Wood targeting bullpen session
CHICAGO -- Just because he's been on the disabled list 13 times in 12 seasons doesn't mean Kerry Wood is comfortable there.Wood, his start to the 2010 season delayed by a strained back muscle, is anxious to get back on the field. But all those past DL stints taught him the value of not rushing things. "It's hard to pace it, when I feel I should be out there," he said. "But we've got to be smart about it." Wood played catch out to 90 feet Wednesday and is expecting to throw out to 110 feet Friday in Detroit. He's targeting a bullpen session early next week. "Everything feels great," he said. It's been two and a half weeks since the Indians announced Wood would be out six to eight weeks with the strained latissimus dorsi.
Indians celebrate dubious mark
CHICAGO -- No matter the outcome Thursday or any other day this season, the Indians have already accomplished something in 2010 that they never sniffed in 2009.A .500 record. Wednesday's win over the White Sox put the Tribe at 1-1 in this young season. And while that's not exactly cause for celebration, it's been a long, long time since the Tribe attained such a level of prosperity. It came at the tail end of the 2008 season, when an Indians team that had an abysmal first half made a furious finish and ended up 81-81. Last season, the Indians started off 0-5 and never got on track. The closest they came to .500 was when they were within four wins of it three times, all in April. That team finished 65-97.
Infielder Anderson Hernandez and catcher Wyatt Toregas, who were both removed from the 40-man roster last week, cleared waivers. Hernandez was outrighted to Triple-A Columbus, while Toregas was sent to Double-A Akron. Why Akron for Toregas? So he can play. Carlos Santana is the starter behind the dish in Columbus. ... The two hits allowed by Tribe pitchers in Wednesday's win were the fewest allowed by a Tribe pitching staff in a single game since a two-hitter against the White Sox on Aug. 7, 2007. ... The Indians announced that their home opener Monday against the Rangers has sold out. It is the 17th straight year that the opener has sold out. ... Tim Mullender, 26, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was the big winner of an Indians FanCave experience by beating out his competition in the Wii Home Run Derby Finals at the Ironwood Bar in Westlake. He'll receive a ceremonial first pitch at the Tribe's home opener, a FanCave Suite for the opener and a visit with WMMS morning show personalities. The FanCave is available for rent with a food and beverage package for 12 people for $3,000 and includes sports-themed furniture, a pool/ping pong table and arcade games.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.