CLEVELAND — Indians manager Eric Wedge moved quickly to dispel speculation that Aaron Laffey would be promoted from Triple-A Buffalo to take the roster spot of struggling reliever Fernando Cabrera.
“There’s nothing going on with that,” Wedge said. “I don’t know where that’s coming from. We’re pleased with the way (Laffey’s) throwing the ball. But there’s nothing to that.”
Fueling the speculation was Laffey, Cleveland’s minor league leader with 11 wins, leaving his start with the Bisons on Sunday after just 22/3 innings and without a poor performance or injury — often a sign that a pitcher has been promoted.
And though Wedge said that wasn’t the case, he did admit that Laffey, a 16th-round draft pick in 2003, had at least made it onto the Indians’ radar.
“When you have a June like he does, you’re going to get recognized,” Wedge said of Laffey, who won all six of his June starts, posting an 0.87 ERA over the span, and is 7-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 12 games
(11 starts) for the Bisons after beginning the season at Double-A Akron.
Meanwhile, Cabrera has struggled mightily after being pegged for late-inning relief work out of spring training.
The right-hander entered Monday with a 5.79 ERA in 23 games, allowing 21 earned runs and 37 hits through 322/3 innings. He had made just two appearances since July 6.
The Indians have been reluctant to risk demoting Cabrera, because he is out of options and would have to clear waivers to accept a minor league assignment.
Wedge was an acquaintance of Double-A Tulsa first base coach Mike Coolbaugh, who was struck by a foul ball line drive and killed on Sunday.
“It’s a horrible, horrible thing,” said Wedge, who played against Coolbaugh’s older brother, Scott, in the minors. “It makes me sick to my stomach to think about it.”
Wedge said he was involved in a much less serious scrape while coaching third base as Buffalo manager in 2002, when he was hit by a foul ball that caused a hairline fracture in his foot.
Get some rest
Victor Martinez got the night off Monday and was out of the lineup for the first time in the last 18 games. He has started 88 of the Indians’ 98 games.
Martinez’s rest came at a good time, with the team arriving in Cleveland at 5 a.m. Monday after its 8:35 p.m. game in Texas on Sunday.
Wedge has been diligent in getting his players rest for the long haul.
“If I could, I would pitch C.C. (Sabathia) every game, nine innings,” Wedge said. “Victor would play every day. That’s just not realistic.”
The Red Sox brought quite a contingent of fans for the opener of the three-game series at Jacobs Field on Monday.
Boston fans filled the lower bowl from right to center field prior to the game and were plenty vocal during it, drowning out Indians fans on a number of occasions.
Red Sox fans got to see Coco Crisp make his first appearance at Jacobs Field since being traded from Cleveland to Boston prior to last season.
The Red Sox were in town for an early-season series last year, but Crisp was injured and did not make the trip. He entered Monday batting .259 (7-for-27) against the Indians.
Top pitching prospect Chuck Lofgren allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings Sunday, but did not figure in the decision of Akron’s 4-3 victory over Reading. Lofgren leads Cleveland’s minor league pitchers with 102 strikeouts.
l Akron outfielder Brian Barton entered Monday having been hit by pitches 27 times — tops among all minor leaguers. Barton, a non-drafted free agent, who is in his third professional season, ranked third in the Eastern League with a .417 on-base percentage.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.