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Cleveland Indians supplied aces Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia to World Series foes

NEW YORK — Before CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee throw their first pitches in tonight's World Series opener, the Cleveland Indians are already the big losers.

That's because the Indians traded away both pitchers, and now — having lost 97 games and fired manager Eric Wedge — have to watch their pair of former aces in the spotlight.

"They can't be feeling too good about it," Lee said. "I mean, it's two guys they could have had on their team that are now on different teams facing each other in the World Series. That's the way this game works sometimes, though."

Sabathia was traded to Milwaukee last season then signed with the Yankees. Lee was dealt to the Phillies this July. They became close friends in Cleveland and stayed in touch this season, usually exchanging text messages.

"It's going to be a lot of fun facing him," Sabathia said. "We did it opening day, opened up the (new Yankee) stadium, and that was pretty cool. It's just weird because a couple years ago we were talking about maybe pitching in a World Series together, now we're in different clubhouses. It's just a little weird, but it'll be fun."

Both have excelled for their new teams, exceeding all expectations. Now they'll enjoy the payoff.

"It's been a great opportunity for me, and CC, as well, signing with the Yankees and making it to the World Series his first year there," Lee said. "That's a big accomplishment for him, and for me to get traded to the Phillies, the defending world champions, and jump on board with them and end up back in the World Series for a second consecutive year is special, and it's something that I'm proud to be a part of."

WHO'S YOUR DADDY: The Phillies set up what should be an electrifying scene by naming RHP Pedro Martinez — the long-time Yankee antagonist — to start Game 2 on Thursday.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he did so because he wanted to split lefties Lee and Cole Hamels, but he didn't deny the appeal of putting Martinez on the Yankee Stadium stage.

"This is going to be a real big moment for him, and he's used to it and he's done it before, and I think he's the guy that's more apt to handle it good," Manuel said. "I think this is a perfect setting for him."

Manuel named only his first three starters, meaning he could be considering bringing back Lee on three days' rest for Game 4. The Yankees seem likely to use a similar plan with Sabathia, as manager Joe Girardi similarly went only as far as naming RHP A.J. Burnett to start Game 2 and LHP Andy Pettitte Game 3.

PERSONNEL DEPT.: Final rosters are due today, but Manuel said the Phillies plan to add RHP Brett Myers and drop INF/OF Miguel Cairo, the ex-Ray. … Girardi said they'll "probably" make some changes — possibly adding OF Eric Hinske, also an ex-Ray — but would wait until today. … With the DH in play for the New York games, Manuel said Ben Francisco will be in the lineup tonight but wouldn't say whether he'd play left and Raul Ibanez would DH or the other way around. … Girardi said usual DH Hideki Matsui could play the outfield during the games in Philadelphia.

MISCELLANY: Rain — no surprise — is expected most of the day and night in New York, with a 50 percent chance of showers and temperatures in the low 50s forecast for game time. As a result, the Jay-Z/Alicia Keys pregame performance was moved to Thursday. … Manuel said the Phillies "need to play the Yankees" because they want to face the best.

Cleveland Indians supplied aces Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia to World Series foes 10/27/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 11:00am]
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