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Tribe notes: Always evaluating
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06/19/2003  1:57 PM ET 
Tribe notes: Always evaluating
Eric Wedge looking toward future with young team
Vote now for the 2003 All-Star game
Jason Davis, who tossed Cleveland's first complete game of the season Wednesday, ranks first among AL rookies with six wins. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)
DETROIT -- Make no mistake, Indians manager Eric Wedge wants to win every time his team takes the field.

Wedge, however, is a realist. He knows that he's been dealt a young and unproven team, but he isn't about to fold. Keeping that in mind, the first-year skipper is consistently keeping one eye toward the diamond and one eye toward the future.

"It's very important for us to get the best read we can on people and that takes time," Wedge said.

It also takes patience. Wedge, who spent last season managing a lot of the Indians' current players at Triple-A Buffalo, landed the Cleveland job this winter based on his ability to work with young players -- now he's being asked to do it on the big-league level.


"The more questions we answer this year, the better off we'll be going into the offseason and the better off we'll be going into next year."
-- Eric Wedge

"The more questions we answer this year, the better off we'll be going into the offseason and the better off we'll be going into next year," he explained.

The Indians know that they have a chance for a bright future. They have the top-ranked farm system according to Baseball America, and much of that strength is based on the depth of their starting pitching.

Rookie right-hander Jason Davis, who tossed Cleveland's first complete game of the season on Wednesday, ranks first among American League greenhorns with six wins. He has gone 4-1 with a 3.12 ERA over his last seven starts.

Rookie southpaws Billy Traber and Brian Tallet also currently find themselves in the rotation.

"We're giving them both the opportunity to be starting pitchers up here," Wedge said. "We'll see how it works out. It's not a one-time thing either. We're going to take some time to see it through."

But with highly-regarded prospects like Cliff Lee and Jeremy Guthrie -- who picked up his first win at Triple-A on Wednesday by tossing a three-hit complete game -- showing promise in the minors, not to mention injured starter Ricardo Rodriguez on his way back from the DL and ace lefty C.C. Sabathia already locked in the rotation, something has to give.

"Those guys all have potential to be Major League starters," Wedge said. "Potential is fine, but we're looking for consistency -- and beyond that, consistency over time.

"We're not going to take someone who's having success out of the rotation because we want to take a look at another guy. We'll only do that if it's a win-win situation."

And in baseball, winning is always the bottom line.

Remembering Doby: Hall of Famer Larry Doby, who died Wednesday, was the first black ballplayer to jump from the Negro Leagues to the Majors when he joined the Indians on July 5, 1947. Doby, an outfielder who was a seven-time All-Star and led the Indians to the World Series in 1948 and '54, will be missed throughout the Cleveland clubhouse.

      Milton Bradley   /   CF
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 190
Bats/Throws: S/R

More info:
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Dodgers site

"It's a sad time because he was one of the pioneers," said Milton Bradley. "He allowed me to be here today. I know everyone talks about Jackie Robinson, but Larry Doby was just as important.

"I don't think I'd be able to deal with what they went through to pave the way for us."

Quotable: "He was a good person. He helped me a lot as far as how to approach my game and be mentally tough. Larry, obviously, had to be as mentally tough as anyone -- and he was." -- Indians bench coach Buddy Bell on Doby's passing.

Signing spree: The Indians continue to sign picks from this year's First-Year Player Draft. Thursday's additions were: OF Juan Valdez -- fifth round; RHP Matt Davis -- seventh round; RHP Robert Ashabraner -- eighth round; OF Ryan Mulhern -- 11th round; RHP Adam Hanson -- 42nd round. The Indians have now signed 19 total picks and 12 of their 14 top choices.

Humble beginnings: The Tribe's first-round pick, Michael Aubrey, made his professional debut for the Single-A Lake County Captains on Wednesday night. The outfielder went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Coming up: The Indians will travel to PNC Park on Friday to kick off a three-game Interleague series with the Pirates. Tallet (0-1, 6.48 ERA) will face Pittsburgh's Josh Fogg (3-3, 4.56 ERA) in the opener at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Todd Lorenz is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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