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Indians back on field without Sabathia

Indians back on field without Sabathia
DETROIT (AP) - The Cleveland Indians learned CC Sabathia was going be traded during a flight home Sunday. It didn't really hit them until they came to the clubhouse Tuesday without the popular left-hander.

"It's tough," All-Star center fielder Grady Sizemore said before Tuesday's game against the Tigers. "He was a big part of this team.

"It's tough to say goodbye to a good teammate and a good friend, but that's part of baseball."

Sabathia officially was sent to Milwaukee on Monday for outfielder Matt LaPorta, pitchers Zach Jackson and Rob Bryson and a player to be named. All three new players were assigned to teams in the club's farm system.

The 6-7, 290-pound lefty left quite an impression on his teammates.

"You couldn't tell a lot about what was going on in his life because he was always smiling and laughing," third baseman Casey Blake said. "He was a good friend. You just liked being around him."

Sabathia went 19-7 last season with a 3.21 ERA and became the first Indians pitcher to win a Cy Young Award since 1972, but lost both his starts against Boston in the ALCS. He rejected Cleveland's $72 million, four-year extension offer during spring training and announced he wouldn't negotiate until after the season.

"I told him it was an honor to manage him and thanked him for all he'd done," manager Eric Wedge said of his last conversation with Sabathia. "He's got a chance to go over and impact another ballclub and another clubhouse and that's good for baseball."

Even with the star's future in doubt, Cleveland still expected to contend for the AL Central title and a pennant a season after winning 96 games and losing a seven-game championship series to the eventual world champion Red Sox.

Instead, the club arrived in Detroit last in the division, 14 games behind Chicago. The Indians are the league's worst road team (15-29) and are an AL-worst .246 at the plate.

Injuries have played a part in the disappointing first half: Starter Jake Westbrook was lost for the season with an elbow injury and designated hitter Travis Hafner (shoulder), reliever Fausto Carmona (hip) and catcher Victor Martinez (elbow) have missed long stretches.

"They haven't had Martinez, Carmona and they've been hit by the injury bug as much as anybody," said Detroit manager Jim Leyland, whose team went through its share of early-season disappointments. "That's tough."

Blake, a rumored trade possibility now that the Indians appear to be sellers as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline nears, said he's ignoring the talk.

"The Indians are paying my salary right now," he said. "I just have to come to the field and prepare myself the way I always do."

Sabathia had a slow start but is 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA and leads the majors in strikeouts (123). Cleveland scored two runs or fewer in 11 of his 18 starts. He's fifth on the club's all-time strikeouts (1,265) list.

Wedge used left-hander Jeremy Sowers (0-4) in Sabathia's place Tuesday but the manager wasn't sure who would start Saturday against visiting Tampa Bay.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: July 9, 2008

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