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The Cleveland Indians Monday suspended shortstop Julio Franco for...

By ROBERTO DIAS, UPI Sports Writer

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians Monday suspended shortstop Julio Franco for two games without pay, an amount just over $3,194, and fined him an additional $200 for missing Sunday's game with California.

Indians manager Pat Corrales said he spoke to Franco before Monday night's game with Oakland, and told the player to go back to his Westlake, Ohio, home.

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'He has personal problems, and I can't help him with those,' said Corrales. 'Explanations are up to him. If he'd asked me for the day off, I would've given it to him.'

Corrales emphatically stated that Franco's absence 'had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol.'

'He'll be eligible to return tomorrow night (Tuesday night),' Corrales said.'I expect him to play at that time.'

Franco, who lost an arbitration case this past winter and is making $575,000 per season, is batting .259 with four homers and 21 RBI.

Phone calls to Franco's home have gone answered.

This is the second time Franco has abandoned the team. He missed a game in New York last April, and subsequently was found at a friend's house in the Bronx by teammate Tony Bernazard.

'I didn't suspend him then,' said Corrales, 'because I felt a warning was good enough. But you can only carry this so far.'

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Corrales said Franco came to him before Sunday's game, and 'told me about his problems.'

'He said he would play, and I left the clubhouse to watch the fielding practice,' Corrales said. 'When I got back to the clubhouse, (coach) Johnny Goryl told me Julio had taken off his uniform and left.

'I told him and I told all the players that everybody's got problems, but you still have to do your jobs. I need every player. I can't help Julio, and I don't know if the front office can either. But he understands his responsibilities.'

Corrales started Fran Mullins in Franco's spot Tuesday night. Mullins played Sunday as well.

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