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Wedge contract option exercised

July 25, 2003 at 12:52 PM

CLEVELAND, July 25 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Indians Friday exercised the two-year club option on Manager Eric Wedge, who now is under contract though the 2006 season.

The Indians have used as many as 11 rookies this season, and are fourth in the American League Central at 42-60. Despite losing veterans such as Ellis Burks, Omar Vizquel, Matt Lawton, and Bob Wickman to injuries, they are 35-40 since May 1.

"Eric has exceeded even our highest expectations from a communication and leadership standpoint during his first season managing in the major leagues," said General Manager Mark Shapiro.

Wedge, 35, became baseball's youngest manager in October. He signed a two-year contract with a two-year club option after spending the previous two seasons as manager of the team's Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo.

In Cleveland, he has been faced with nurturing a young team in the rebuilding stage. Players who have departed included Bartolo Colon, Chuck Finley, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Juan Gonzalez, Roberto Alomar, and Kenny Lofton in the last few years.

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