Indians may face a roster logjam
Wedge could be forced into tough decision at second
CLEVELAND -- Manager Eric Wedge wants his trio of rehabbing players back as soon as possible.
But if Wedge gets all -- or even some -- of them back before the roster expands at the start of September, the Tribe manager could be faced with some tough decisions.
"I think time-wise we're going to be OK with that," Wedge said. "I'm not sure how I'm going to make all that work once we get those guys back. Come September, it's a challenge to get everyone work, but we'll do the best we can.
Travis Hafner (sore right shoulder) and Victor Martinez (right elbow, left hamstring) both have spots locked down on the Tribe's active roster when they conclude their respective rehab stints. But Josh Barfield's destination is still somewhat in the air, though it is likely he will also return to the big leagues, where the second baseman has played just three games this season.
"It's more than likely [Barfield] is going to be here," Wedge said.
Barfield spent the bulk of the year at Triple-A Buffalo, before he was recalled June 9 in lieu of Asdrubal Cabrera's demotion to the Minors. He sprained his middle finger three days later and has been on the disabled list ever since.
Assuming Andy Gonzalez gets sent back to Triple-A, Barfield, who has been on rehab assignments at Double-A Akron and Buffalo since Thursday, would give the Tribe three second basemen. The Indians had carried two players who could play second base on their active roster, until the Casey Blake trade in late July brought up Gonzalez, who can play every position except pitcher and catcher.
Cabrera, who is hitting .289 since he was called back up in mid-July and can also play shortstop, is considered a major part of the Indians' future. Barfield's inability to play another infield position doesn't help matters, which makes it tough to see where he will fit in when his rehab wraps up.
"Obviously, Asdrubal is a priority," Wedge said. "He's making some progress and he's been through a lot this year, too.
"We'll try to work it out the best we can."
Wedge said he liked what he saw during Spring Training from Barfield, who got sparse playing time near the end of the 2007 season. He was particularly impressed with Barfield's fielding ability, which seems to be what separates him and the slick-fielding Cabrera at this point.
"He's a guy that has everyday ability if he can put it all together," Wedge said.
Complicating matters just a bit more, Wedge said it is "definitely a possibility" that he will keep three catchers on the active roster when Martinez returns, depending how far along Martinez is in his rehab program.
Wedge has said that Martinez will not catch every day when he returns, bouncing from catcher, designated hitter and first base, along with getting an occasional off-day.
Andrew Gribble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.