Notes: Tribe cautiously eyeing market
With several teams needing upgrades, trade deadline coming
DETROIT -- The Indians consider themselves buyers in the July trading market. Now, it's just a matter of whether or not that market will have anything attractive to offer the first-place club."We're not against doing something," manager Eric Wedge said Thursday, "if we feel it makes the team better. We're only going to do it if it makes sense." Wedge and general manager Mark Shapiro have had conversations about what additions would make sense for the Tribe. For one, the Indians could benefit from the addition of a left-handed power bat in the corner outfield, especially with David Dellucci on the DL for a prolonged period. They could also use an experienced, reliable, late-inning bullpen arm. But as Wedge pointed out, who couldn't? "There's not a team out there not looking for an arm or a bat," Wedge said. "That's just the way it works." And with the Wild Card hunt persistently on the back of team's minds, the number of definitive sellers this time of year is always slim. "The tricky part is looking at what's out there," Wedge said. "It's not a long list, because there aren't many teams who may potentially move somebody. Mark and I talk about specific names, but not to the point where anything is imminent." The Indians have scouted Rangers relievers Eric Gagne and Akinori Otsuka, and they've also been reported to have an interest in Royals closer Octavio Dotel. Another proven right-handed bullpen arm could ease the burden on closer Joe Borowski and setup man Rafael Betancourt. But if it's not available, Wedge said the team will continue to evaluate the likes of Tom Mastny, Ed Mujica and Fernando Cabrera as possibilities for a prominent role, and top prospect Adam Miller, who is returning to starting at Triple-A Buffalo, is also under consideration for a bullpen callup. As far as the bat is concerned, well, Wedge didn't seem too optimistic in that department. "What everybody envisions for the trading deadline is just not out there," Wedge said. "The premier power bat and the front-line guys are just unrealistic to get." Here's the question: Thursday marked the 60th anniversary of Larry Doby's first appearance with the Indians. Doby was the Tribe's first black player and the first in the American League. Can you name the second? Still in the mix: Cabrera was once dubbed the Indians' closer of the future, but he's struggled the last two seasons, to the point that Wedge used him just five times in the month of June. But Wedge is encouraged by Cabrera's last two outings. The right-hander worked a scoreless inning against the Devil Rays on Monday and did likewise against the Tigers on Wednesday night. As for whether it's feasible for Cabrera, who carries a 4.45 ERA in 21 games, to work his way back into a prominent role, Wedge responded, "Oh, yeah. I've got a short memory. He's capable of helping us if he works his way back." Fultz feeling fine: Left-hander Aaron Fultz threw his first bullpen session Thursday since being placed on the 15-day DL with a rib strain. It was a 25-pitch effort, and Fultz felt no ill-effects. The next step for Fultz is a bullpen session Saturday in which a hitter will stand in the box but won't swing. He's then expected to throw a simulated game next Thursday, the last day of the All-Star break, and he should then be ready to be activated by the club without making any rehab appearances. "[The strain] didn't affect my throwing," Fultz said. "It didn't affect my delivery. It's one of those things I might have to [pitch through], as long as it doesn't affect my mechanics." Tribe tidbits: On Wednesday night, Travis Hafner did something he hasn't done much of this season, taking a left-handed pitcher deep to the opposite field with his two-run homer off Zach Miner in the seventh. "If I'm driving the ball the other way off a left-hander," said Hafner, "that's a good sign and something positive." ... Outfielder Ben Francisco was back in the starting lineup Thursday against Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander. Wedge has said that he likes the way Francisco, who is batting .500 (8-for-18) in his first nine games, swings the bat against right-handed pitching. ... Hall of Famer Bob Feller will hold a book signing for his children's book, "Hello, Slider!" on July 18 at Jacobs Field, during the Tribe's game against the White Sox. The signing will take place at the novelty stand adjacent to section 156 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET. Down on the farm: Left-hander Shawn Nottingham gave up just one run on two hits over five innings to get the victory in Double-A Akron's 8-6 win over Bowie on Wednesday. Third baseman Rodney Choy Foo homered twice and drove in four runs. ... Right-hander Steven Wright was tagged for six runs (four earned) on seven hits over four innings in Class A Kinston's 10-2 loss to Wilmington. ... No. 1 pick Beau Mills drove in two runs in Class A Lake County's 5-4 win over Lakewood. And the answer is: Satchel Paige became the Indians' and the AL's second black player in 1948. At age 42, he was the oldest player to make his debut in the Majors. On deck: The Indians open their final series before the All-Star break when they take on the Blue Jays at 7:07 p.m. ET on Friday at Rogers Centre. Left-hander Cliff Lee (5-4, 4.90 ERA) will oppose right-hander Roy Halladay (9-3, 4.27).
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.