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Indians notebook: Tribe kangaroo court dishes out justice, fun

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Indians clubhouse is hopping once again, thanks to the kangaroo court.

The kangaroo court, a longtime baseball tradition dealing with fantasy justice, had been missing from the Cleveland clubhouse for quite some time.

It certainly would not have been a very big hit during the Albert Belle years.

However, if you are an Indians player and are guilty this season, don't expect any leniency from Steve Reed or Ellis Burks.

They were appointed judges by Roberto Alomar and Kenny Lofton, who thought the kangaroo court was a good idea.

“It's kind of fun to get ragged on by your peers, especially for things that don't involve giving up a three-run home run,” Reed said. “It holds guys accountable for giving up home runs on 0-2 counts, not moving the runner over from second base, not getting the guy in from third ... or if you do something stupid.”

Indians manager Charlie Manuel recently was fined $5 for calling Justin Speier by the wrong name. Players also are generally fined $5, but can be docked more depending on the seriousness of the offense.

“Sometimes it's good, some it's bad,” Manuel said. “Sometimes you have to break up fights. So far, it's been good. Guys are having a lot of fun with it.”

Reed had previous experience on the bench, having worn a powdered wig and brandishing a gavel while performing the same duties as chief justice for the Colorado Rockies in 1995.

He said not every player liked the kangaroo court.

“When I was in Colorado, John Vander Wal loved fast food,” Reed said. “We were in a hotel in Pittsburgh, and he tried to sneak through the lobby with a plastic laundry bag filled with Big Macs and french fries.

“He got caught, we fined him. He got mad and fought it. He ended up paying double. We were getting $70 a day meal money, and he's buying Happy Meals.”

Reed said all the money collected from fines this season will be used for a team party in September.

FRYMAN UPDATE: Travis Fryman, on the disabled list with a strained ligament in his throwing elbow, will begin a rehab assignment when he reports to Double-A Akron Monday.

Manuel said Fryman will spend three days at Akron before moving onto Triple-A Buffalo, where he is scheduled to DH and play third base on alternate days.

The Tribe has targeted June 1 as Fryman's return date to the majors.

NAGY SHARP: Right-hander Charles Nagy, who pitched 82/3 innings in a 3-0 shutout win against the Mud Hens yesterday, has allowed just one run in his last 152/3 innings for Triple-A Buffalo.

Manuel said he received reports that Nagy threw between 85 and 86 mph.

“He's not far from where he was a couple of years ago when he won 16 games (actually 17 in 1999),” Manuel said. “How much difference that makes, I don't know. He was throwing 87 to 88 then.”

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