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Published: Saturday, 5/13/2006

Leyland solidly in Bonds' corner


CLEVELAND - If and when Barry Bonds passes Babe Ruth's home run mark, Tigers manager Jim Leyland will contact him to offer his congratulations.

"It's an unbelievable accomplishment," Leyland said at Jacobs Field last night. "I can't wait 'til he does it."

For the first seven years of Bonds' career, Leyland was his manager in Pittsburgh. He said the scrutiny Bonds has received regarding alleged steroid use as he tries to move into second place on the all-time home run list is unmerited. The San Francisco Giants slugger needs two more home runs to pass Ruth's mark of 714.

"I don't think there's anything tainted about it, nothing, absolutely nothing," Leyland said. "I think they've singled out Barry Bonds, I think it's totally unfair.

"Who knows how many home runs are hit with corked bats? How many teams are using stuff around the ballpark to tip pitches, using cameras to get signs? They should let it lie."

TRIBE BULLPEN SAGA: The first major change in the bullpen as promised by Indians general manager Mark Shapiro on Thursday was Cleveland re-calling Fausto Carmona from Buffalo and designating Danny Graves for assignment.

Graves was 2-1 with a 5.79 ERA in 13 appearances. Carmona has made three starts for the Indians and is 1-2 with a 7.94 ERA.

Also, the Indians will use setup man Guillermo Mota more frequently in the middle innings.

Wedge said he would try to give Jason Davis, Fernando Cabrera and Jeremy Guthrie more innings as well.

Injured reliever Rafael Betancourt could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday after a rehab start tomorrow in Akron.

YOUNG OUT: Tigers designated hitter Dmitri Young was out of the lineup last night with a strained right quadriceps, the same ailment that put him on the disabled list last month. Young and Leyland could decide over the weekend whether he will go back onto the DL.

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