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Published: Friday, 7/27/2007

Cleveland in the market for a hitter, a setup pitcher

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

CLEVELAND - The Indians have been active in trade talks leading up to next week's nonwaiver deadline, manager Eric Wedge acknowledged yesterday.

"Our guys are being as aggressive as they can be," Wedge said.

Cleveland likely is looking for two extra pieces: an outfielder who bats left and a reliever to work in a setup role ahead of Rafael Betancourt.

Wedge, who has daily discussions with Indians general manager Mark Shapiro and other front-office members to keep up to date, said he doesn't feel like anything is imminent.

"I get a sense that it's probably going to play out the final couple of days," Wedge said.

If Wedge doesn't have any new players by the deadline, he said he will not be disappointed.

"If we didn't do something it was not for lack of effort or being aggressive," Wedge said.

WHO'S THE BEST?: It seems as if C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona are trying to outdo each other.

Sabathia and Carmona each have 13 wins, which is tied for the best in baseball. They are both in the top 15 in the American League in ERA.

This week provided the most extreme example, when they had back-to-back brilliant outings on Tuesday and Wednesday. Sabathia gave up five hits in a 1-0 loss Tuesday, and Carmona followed it by allowing just four hits in a 1-0 victory the next night.

"I think it's very healthy when you have your starters having that silent competition with each other," Wedge said.

"You're all shooting for the same thing. To try to go out there and one-up the next guy, try to match up with them: It can only be a positive."

THE ONLY ONE: Franklin Gutierrez's home run Wednesday night made him the first player in team history to hit home runs in 1-0 victories in the same season. Gutierrez also hit the game-winner June 5 against Kansas City.

PITCHING NOTES: Reliever Aaron Fultz (rib strain) will face live hitters today in a simulated game.

If all goes well, he will make one or two rehab starts before he is activated from the disabled list. Fultz has been on the DL for a month. Jeremy Sowers, trying to find his way at Buffalo, has allowed just one earned run in his last two starts. If the Indians need to make a tweak in their rotation, Wedge said Sowers will be "involved in the conversations" of moving back up.

BUNTS: Wedge said he did not consider having Kelly Shoppach catch Cliff Lee last night after Lee and Victor Martinez argued last Saturday in Lee's last start. Former Indians player and manager Frank Robinson was honored before last night's game. Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a third-inning single. Dustin Pedroia was angered by a high and inside Carmona pitch to him Wednesday, but Wedge said there was no harm meant.

"We weren't trying to hit him when we have those two guys behind him," he said, referring to David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. The start of the game was delayed 34 minutes by rain.


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