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Whispers: Indians fading with Hafner out

The Indians have come back to the pack because Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana failed to pick up the slack when Travis Hafner was sidelined. They entered the weekend 8-13 since Hafner went out, averaging 1.4 runs in the 13 losses. They promoted rookie Cord Phelps to play second base because Orlando Cabrera is hitting .213 since May1. … Mets President Sandy Alderson, a former first lieutenant who spent eight months in Vietnam, is making a big impression by taking time to visit Veterans Administration hospitals during his baseball travels. He says the key to getting the most out of visits is to be a good listener. … When the Yankees traded Ian Kennedy to get Curtis Granderson, they were counting on Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain but have lost both to injuries. Chamberlain will undergo Tommy John surgery despite the organization babying him when he got to the big leagues. Hughes also was coddled. There might be a lesson here. "Ninety-five percent of the things in this game don't really work out the way they are planned to be," says Chamberlain, speaking the truth. … Teams are making it tough for Ichiro Suzuki to continue his 200-hit streak by playing him shallower all the time. He hasn't hit the ball with any authority this season and is playing poorly in the field to boot. Mariners manager Eric Wedge played him twice at DH last week and did not start him Friday night. … The Pirates think No. 1 pick Gerrit Cole could be the fourth potential No. 1 starter they have added in the last year. They drafted Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie a year ago and outbid several other teams to sign Luis Heredia. … A's manager Bob Geren became the third manager/executive in three years fired immediately after a loss in Baltimore. Losing to the Orioles was also the last straw for Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi in 2009 and Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez in 2010.

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