Notes: Streak over, Blake gets a break
Third baseman given day off after hitting streak ends at 26
CLEVELAND -- Casey Blake's hitting streak ended at 26 games Monday night.
His reward: A day off Tuesday.
"He earned it," Tribe manager Eric Wedge said with a laugh.
For the past few weeks, Blake's hitting streak has been the offensive storyline on a team that's been struggling at the plate.
So go figure the run, which was the longest in the Majors this season, would come to an end Monday in Cleveland's 10-run offensive showing against Philadelphia, and with Blake just one batter away from a final shot to hit in the eighth.
"Just wasn't in the cards," Blake said. "That's why that streak is so amazing. It takes a lot of luck."
Not that Blake was too disappointed. Who was he to break Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, perhaps the game's most immortal record?
"I didn't want to break the record," Blake joked. "People would have been wondering 20 or 30 years down the road, 'Who is Casey Blake?' You want the big name in that spot."
Remarkably, Blake's average didn't shoot up much during the streak, going from .261 to .277. As Blake's quick to point out, he had just one hit in 19 of those 26 games.
But while the humble Blake brushed off the feat, that doesn't mean the club has to.
"It's something for him to be proud of," Wedge said. "It's an accomplishment at this level -- at any level."
Westbrook returns: Jake Westbrook will rejoin the Tribe's rotation and start Sunday after appearing strong in his fourth rehab start Monday night at Triple-A Buffalo.
In his best Minor League outing, Westbrook gave up one earned run on two hits over four innings. He walked four and threw only 40 of his 81 pitches for strikes, but most importantly, his arm felt fine.
"I felt good the whole way," Westbrook said. "Actually, I felt even stronger in the fourth inning when I had 80 pitches."
So strong, in fact, that he threw another 15 pitches in the bullpen after his night was over. Westbrook now expects to be able to throw 100-plus pitches Sunday.
Unsure future: It's uncertain where Westbrook's return leaves starter Jason Stanford.
Stanford, recalled last week from Triple-A Buffalo, will likely be the odd man out in the rotation. So a tough decision looks to await Wedge and his staff.
Stanford can either be moved to the bullpen, an option Wedge would not rule out, or he can be shipped back to Buffalo. But for that to happen, Stanford would have to clear waivers.
After the way he pitched in his win last week over Florida, that would almost certainly not happen.
"It's going to be a tough decision," Wedge said.
Reunited: Joe Borowski has converted 20 of his 22 save opportunities for one of the league's finest bullpens. The visiting Phillies, who the Tribe closer nearly joined in the offseason, have lost their closer and then replacement closer to injury.
Borowski wasn't about to rub in Philadelphia's woes this week, but he's still puzzled by what happened there.
The 36-year-old had agreed to a two-year, $9 million deal. But the Phillies backed off after claiming that an MRI revealed a "pre-existing" condition.
Philadelphia then tried to sign him to a one-year deal, but Borowski wanted little part of the Phillies.
"You don't want to be involved in stuff like that," Borowski said. "It left a bad taste in my mouth. It all could be innocent and coincidental, but I had my choice and I didn't want to go there."
So hello, Cleveland.
"Maybe [the experience] was just a way of saying I shouldn't have been there," Borowski said. "When I'm all done, I'm going to get my MRI framed and hang it up in my room."
Barfield redux: Josh Barfield made a second straight start in the No. 2 hole on Tuesday, though Wedge would not comment on whether it was a permanent move.
Blake has been solid in the No. 2 hole recently, but when the Tribe acquired Barfield in the offseason, many saw the player with speed and the ability to hit for average as an eventual fit at the top of the order.
In his debut in the second slot Monday night, Barfield had two hits and three RBIs. But as of this point, Wedge said it's only an experiment.
"We really haven't settled in on anybody yet up there," Wedge said. "I don't know where all this will end up."
Hot dog updates: On a more serious note, the latest voting updates in the race to find the "Signature Hot Dog" at Jacobs Field are in.
Frank, a traditional all-beef hot dog, has emerged as the leader over Smokey, a polish-style smoked sausage, and Burnie, a red-hot style dog.
Fans still have plenty of time to sway the vote. The polls -- or more precisely, hot dog taste-testing stands -- will close on July 2.
Tribe tidbits: Ever dreamed of playing on Jacobs Field? Fans will now have that chance with the debut of the One Day Baseball Experience. On Aug. 25, the Indians will be staging two games at the Jake for fans 25 and over. Participants will receive a replica jersey, baseball pants, hat, belt, socks and a commemorative gift. For more information, visit Indians.com or call 216-420-HITS. ... The Indians signed Garrison Campfield, a right-handed pitcher out of Texas A&M and the club's 12th round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, on Tuesday. Cleveland has now come to terms with seven of its top 12 draftees.
Quotable: "I ran out of players. That's the only reason we won. I couldn't make any more moves." -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, on the Tribe's 15-14 victory over Seattle in August 2001, in which the Tribe erased a 12-run deficit
Quotable Part II: "I would have to think about that." -- Wedge, on if he ever put together a two-game hitting streak in the big leagues. The Tribe manager saw 39 games in the Majors over nine professional seasons
On this date: In 1967, Tribe starter Steve Hargan traded zeroes with Oakland's Chuck Dobson into the ninth. Then realizing his teammates weren't planning to give him any help, Hargan hit his only career homer with two outs in the ninth inning to lift Cleveland to a 1-0 win.
On deck: Cleveland wraps up its three-game set with the Phillies on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. ET at Jacobs Field. Tribe ace C.C. Sabathia (9-2, 3.19 ERA) will be opposed by Philadelphia right-hander Jon Lieber (3-5, 4.21 ERA).
David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.