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Tito: Deep '16 run not reason for so-so start

Team was 1-4 on recent road trip, but isn't far back of first in AL Central
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Neither the Indians nor Cubs have lived up to expectations more than two months into the season, adding fuel to the thought that there has been a carryover effect from their run to the World Series last fall. Tribe manager Terry Francona does not want to hear it.

"If there is a residual effect -- I'm not talking physical -- then shame on us," Francona said prior to Friday's game against the White Sox. "We're better than that. I know that we have guys in there that care. I've seen it. I've lived it with these guys for five years -- most of them. We've had very little turnover compared to probably most teams. That should be an advantage for us."

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CLEVELAND -- Neither the Indians nor Cubs have lived up to expectations more than two months into the season, adding fuel to the thought that there has been a carryover effect from their run to the World Series last fall. Tribe manager Terry Francona does not want to hear it.

"If there is a residual effect -- I'm not talking physical -- then shame on us," Francona said prior to Friday's game against the White Sox. "We're better than that. I know that we have guys in there that care. I've seen it. I've lived it with these guys for five years -- most of them. We've had very little turnover compared to probably most teams. That should be an advantage for us."

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Heading into this weekend's series with Chicago, the Indians were only one game over the break-even mark, with inconsistencies riddled throughout the roster. Coming off a 1-4 road trip through Kansas City and Colorado, Francona spent much of Thursday's off-day thinking about ways he can improve. On Friday, the manager met with the front office and also with the players, going over things that need to get better.

Francona felt the conversations were beneficial for everyone involved.

"To this point in the season, we've been extremely inconsistent," Francona said. "And in the past couple of days, I've probably had more meetings than I've had in years, because we want to get it right. I know that that group in there cares enough to want to get it right. Sometimes, for whatever reason, you go through periods where it just isn't very good. You're dealing with human beings, and no one is perfect, myself included."

One thing Francona said was discussed with the team was the fact that no one in the American League Central has separated itself from the pack. In one sense, that has been good for the Indians, who entered Friday just 1 1/2 games back of first place, even with the team's struggles. On the other hand, Francona feels his group needs to be the team that starts to pull away.

"We're very fortunate that somebody hasn't run away and hid," Francona said. "But, I don't think it's real healthy to look up every day and think, 'Well, the other teams lost.' I'm glad they did, but at some point, we need to pick up the pace. I think there's a way to do that."

Injury updates

• Indians starter Danny Salazar (10-day disabled list) continued to feel stiffness in his right shoulder during a recent throwing session while with Double-A Akron. Salazar returned to Cleveland and underwent an MRI, which showed inflammation, but nothing deemed serious. The Indians will determine what's next for Salazar in the coming days.

• Outfielder Abraham Almonte (10-day DL, right biceps strain) went 0-for-3 as the designated hitter in a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. Almonte was scheduled to go through some fielding drills on Friday in Cleveland, with the hope of playing the outfield in a Minor League game this weekend.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians