Notes: Wedge weighs in on sign-stealing
GM Shapiro surprised at resignation of Twins counterpart
CLEVELAND -- Manager Eric Wedge could only laugh as he recently watched a paranoid college football coach use multiple towel-hoisting assistants to shield him as he gave out signals.
Wedge, you see, is from an entirely opposite school. Even though sign-stealing is part of baseball and Wedge "can feel about 10 eyes on me when I give a sign," he cares little about such business.
"I don't give it a thought," Wedge said. "Never have. I'm not the guy hiding in the corner or who has towels put up around me."
It stands to reason, then, that Wedge had little to say about the spying incident with the NFL's New England Patriots. Coach Bill Belichick and the team were penalized after a team official was caught filming the New York Jets' defensive coaches during a game on Sunday.
"I don't know what to think about it," he said. "I know it's getting a lot of play."
Is there a baseball equivalent? Wedge laughed when asked if it would benefit a team to videotape an opposing team's third-base coach and then analyze a team's signals.
"If they want to work that hard to do that, if they want to spend all their time and energy on that, then go for it," he said. "We've got plenty of information. But how we use it, what we give to the players and how they use it is [most important]. You've got to be efficient."
Said general manager Mark Shapiro: "When you let that get in your head in baseball, it's going to be a negative."
A final push: Tigers manager Jim Leyland all but raised the divisional white flag last week.
"To be realistic, we are playing for the Wild Card," Leyland told the Detroit Free Press. "I'm sorry if people look at that and get mad and say that's negative. It's not negative. It's a fact."
Leyland's actions, however, are telling a different story. Presumably trying to make one final run at the Tribe, who entered Friday with a 5 1/2-game perch over the Tigers, Leyland has rearranged his rotation for next week's critical three-game set between the division rivals.
Kenny Rogers, who is 7-3 against the Indians since 2004, will receive two extra days of rest so that he can start Monday's opener in Cleveland. And Justin Verlander and Nate Robertson, Detroit's two other healthy starters, have been shuffled into the following two rotation slots.
Knowing the feeling: Shapiro expressed a sense of "surprise" upon hearing Twins GM Terry Ryan announce on Thursday that he was resigning after 13 years of leading Minnesota's front office.
But he could certainly empathize with the reasons given by the architect of the Twins' decade-long resurgence, the man whom Shapiro said he respects more than any other executive in baseball today.
Among Ryan's comments were that "the defeats are getting a little harder to take, and the wins aren't as much fun," particularly in a small market, where money can't erase mistakes.
"I think a lot of those frustrations are exacerbated in a market like ours," Shapiro said. "I certainly understand his comments."
Tribe tidbits: Former wrestling star and current WWE commentator Jerry "The King" Lawler visited with Travis Hafner and Aaron Fultz, among a few other of the Tribe's wrestling fans, during batting practice on Friday. ... Jeremy Sowers still looks to have the inside track to start one of the games of the Tribe's Sept. 26 doubleheader at Seattle, though Wedge indicated that Sowers would have little shot at supplanting rookie Aaron Laffey in the rotation. "[Laffey's] done a good job," Wedge said. ... Cliff Lee and his wife, Kristen, will be hosting the annual Northeast Ohio Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's annual celebrity bartending night at AJ Rocco's following Friday night's game. The drive to raise funds for blood-cancer research can also be supported by donating online at www.lightthenight.org/celebritybartending.
Down on the farm: Double-A Akron needs a win on Friday night to keep its season afloat after falling behind, 2-0, on Wednesday night in the best-of-five Eastern League Finals. Chuck Lofgren gave up one run on six hits over five innings and Trevor Crowe went 2-for-4, but the bullpen gave away a late lead in the Aeros' 3-2 loss at Trenton. Sowers will start Friday's game in Akron.
On deck: The Tribe continues its weekend set with the Royals on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET at Jacobs Field. Fausto Carmona (16-8, 3.20 ERA) will be opposed by Kansas City right-hander Zack Greinke (6-5, 3.99).
David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.