Fryman Prepared For Rebuilding Of Indians ... Sabathia Looks Solid - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Fryman Prepared For Rebuilding Of Indians ... Sabathia Looks Solid

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) - During his baseball career, Travis Fryman has seen what it is like to be part of a young team trying to put together a winning combination.

He has also been a cog on a winning team composed of veterans.

Now the Cleveland Indians are somewhere in between. They still have a fair share of veterans, such as Fryman, but are starting to give more opportunities to players still learning what it takes to win in the majors.

"I don't have a problem with rebuilding or transition," Fryman said. "I never felt a desire to go somewhere else and jump onto the coattails of what was built before I got there. It's more gratifying to endure hardship. Then, if you do make it to the World Series, you are really reaping the reward."

Fryman got much of his seasoning during eight years with the Detroit Tigers, where teams rebuilding and in transition were common. Fryman came to the Indians in 1998 after he was briefly on the roster of the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks. Cleveland has six American League Central Division titles in seven years, but no World Series championship.

Cleveland allowed three experienced outfielders -- Marty Cordova, Kenny Lofton and Juan Gonzalez -- to walk away via free agency, declined to exercise pitcher Dave Burba's contract option and traded All-Star second baseman Robbie Alomar to the New York Mets.

"Trading Robbie Alomar was a surprise to me, because I was under the impression we were going to keep the infield intact," Fryman said. "The complete mystery, to me, was how easily we gave up on Dave Burba."

New general manager Mark Shapiro has a vision to transform the Indians from a collection of power hitters to an organization that emphasizes young, talented pitching.

He also has an edict from owner Larry Dolan to trim the club's payroll from $93 million last year to around $82 million in 2002. Fryman approves of the new philosophy.

"I was on a Detroit team that scored 900 runs, and we didn't even win our division," he said. "We had teams here in Cleveland that could outslug anybody, but didn't get to the World Series.

"The teams that have the best starting pitching and bullpen and get timely hitting and good defense are the teams that win. You don't have to be an offensive juggernaut to win the World Series. You do need great pitching. When you play teams with great pitching in the postseason, offense gets shut down."

The 33-year-old three-time All-Star is coming off a 2001 season in which his productivity took a nosedive due to a torn ligament in his right elbow. Fryman played through the pain, but compensating for the elbow helped lead to shoulder surgery.

"I'm throwing the ball better than at any point during the season last year," Fryman said. "It's holding up pretty well. The irritation in the elbow is pretty much what I expected so far."

Indians manager Charlie Manuel said Fryman appears healthy and strong this spring, but he is off to a rough start. Fryman was batting .063 (2-for-32) through Wednesday.

"He's trying too hard right now," Manuel said. "You can tell he has a lot on his mind. It's just a matter of time before Travis starts to hit."

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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) - C.C. Sabathia shut out New York for four innings Wednesday as the Cleveland Indians defeated a Yankees split squad 11-5.

Sabathia has not allowed a run in two appearances totaling seven innings. Jim Leyritz got the only hit off the left-hander.

The Indians, aided by shortstop Erick Almonte's throwing error, scored three unearned runs off Lilly in the second inning. Milton Bradley hit an RBI double and Omar Vizquel followed two batters later with a two-run double to make it 3-0.

Lilly had 11 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run before the Indians scored twice in the fourth, which included Bradley's first homer of spring training.

Yankees pitcher Bo Donaldson gave up homers in the eighth to Karim Garcia and Earl Snyder. Snyder has three home runs this spring.

Almonte hit two RBI singles. Jorge Posada, Shane Spencer and Gerald Williams also drove in runs for the Yankees.

Cleveland rookie Josh Bard was 2-for-4, improving his spring average to .421 (8-for-19). Injuries to backup catchers Eddie Taubensee and Tim Laker may allow the switch-hitting Bard an opportunity to earn a spot on the Indians' opening-day roster.

Notes: The Indians are without starting C Einar Diaz and Taubensee. Diaz was bruised last Friday when he fouled a ball off his left wrist, but X-rays revealed no broken bones. The club is awaiting a second medical opinion on the pain that has limited Taubensee to four appearances this spring and none since March 6. Taubensee has a degenerative disk condition in his lower back. ... Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro said new Boston manager Grady Little has not asked permission to interview anyone in the Indians organization about joining the Red Sox coaching staff. Little was Cleveland's bench coach before being hired Monday to manage the Red Sox.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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