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Published: Friday, 6/20/2003

Indians' sweep gets to Trammell

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

DETROIT - All-Star break hasn't even arrived and the frustrations of managing a team short on talent and fast on pace for a major league record-breaking mark in the loss column are already starting to show for Detroit's first-year manager Alan Trammell.

The Tigers, currently riding a four-game losing streak, dropped their third straight to American League Central rival Cleveland yesterday afternoon when the Indians came through with a 10-3 win at Comerica Park.

The Indians have Detroit to thank for more than a quarter of their wins this season. Only Detroit has a worse record than Cleveland does in the AL Central.

It's safe to say Trammell didn't imagine the Tigers' season to play out as it has. The former Tigers shortstop took over the job knowing he had his work cut out and growing pains would come with the new job.

However, it seems the pains are occurring more often and are more unpleasant than even he anticipated.

The loss was so painful for Trammell that he only answered two questions in his postgame press conference.

“We cracked today,” he said. “Games like this have been few and far between, but they don't sit well with me. Today is not a good day for me.”

Trammell's quiet post-game demeanor came fewer than 24 hours after he spoke about dealing with the Tigers' current struggles following a 4-1 loss on Wednesday night.

“I'm trying to weather this stuff and I'm trying to figure it all out,'' Trammell said. “That's just the way I am. I'll never stop trying. I don't care how bad it could get.

“I'll never stop trying. I'll never give in. That's just not my makeup.''

Signs of things getting better before they get any worse are hard to detect for the only team in the majors that hasn't reached 20 wins and has already recorded more than 50 defeats.

Trammell had hoped the Tigers would use the three-game homestand with the Indians as an opportunity to make some positive strides. However, the AL Central's fourth-place team made it look as if it were lightyears ahead of its rivals in the rebuilding process.

When asked about possible moves being made with the Tigers' lineup and batting order following the second game of the homestand, Trammell showed his bewilderment with what's taking place almost daily when the Tigers take the field - he said he didn't know what his plans were and hadn't really thought that far ahead.

Trammell said his approach is day-to-day.

“I will tell you that sometimes when you go through these tailspins my mind isn't as clear as I'd like for it to be,'' he said. “I think that's the human side - going through this stuff, gritting and bearing and taking the losses very tough and trying to handle all this stuff.''

HINCH STARTS SLOWLY: A.J. Hinch arrived in Detroit from Toledo two days ago to replace Brandon Inge, who was optioned to Toledo because of his anemic bat.

Through two games, Hinch is still in search of his first hit in a Tigers uniform. After going 0-for-4 on Wednesday night, he went 0-for-2 yesterday, with a sacrifice fly, before Matt Walbeck replaced him behind the plate.

Acquired from Cleveland in March, Hinch was quite familiar with the Indians roster, especially the pitching staff.

“I don't hold any grudges [with Cleveland] because I wasn't there long enough,'' he said. “But you do look ahead at the schedule and if you see any team that you've spent any extended period of time with, yeah, there's a pride issue, a feeling of, `I'll show you.'''

Besides trying to get himself going at the plate and learning the tendencies of each Tigers pitcher, Hinch, a Stanford graduate, has spent part of his spare time keeping an eye on the College World Series.

“I follow it [the College World Series] pretty closely,'' he said. “I'm still in touch with my college coaches. It's a perfect time to brag in the clubhouse.''


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