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Indians Will Play Odd Twinbill

Let's play two is likely to have a new meaning for the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 25: two games against two teams.

Like it or not, the Indians probably will play both the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox on the same day.

After returning to Cleveland from a 12-game, 10-day road trip that includes consecutive day-night doubleheaders in Boston, the Indians probably will make up Sunday's rainout against the White Sox at Jacobs Field on the afternoon of Sept. 25. They'll play their regularly scheduled game against Minnesota that night.

"If we had our druthers, we'd rather see if it does mean anything or not. It was something that didn't make a lot of sense," Indians general manager John Hart said. "We're getting home at midnight from Kansas City, then prepare for the White Sox in the afternoon and the Twins at night. That's a tough row to hoe."

It would be the first time a major league team played two opponents on the same day since Sept. 13, 1951, when the St. Louis Cardinals were at home against the New York Giants and Boston Braves, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, baseball's statisticians.

"It's better to play the 25th just for the integrity of the game, but I'm sure the Indians aren't really fired up about playing three doubleheaders," said Chicago pitcher Mike Sirotka, the team's assistant player representative. "I can't blame them on that."

Chicago general manager Ron Schueler made the announcement Friday, then backtracked later in the evening, saying he was premature. An announcement is expected Monday, and a senior baseball official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the unusual doubleheader was likely to occur.

The Indians began Friday with a one-game lead in the AL wild card race, 8@1/2 games behind the first-place White Sox. The rainout might be needed to determine the wild card winner, or perhaps whether a tiebreaker playoff is needed.

If baseball waited and needed to reschedule the rainout on Oct. 2, the day after the regular season is to end, a tiebreaker might have to be played on the following day, when the AL playoffs are to start.

"I have great sympathy for Cleveland," said Gene Orza, the players' association official who approved the rescheduling. "While there is a substantial argument for waiting to see if it is needed, there are equally substantial and more persuasive arguments to not use that day after the season."

Also, if the Indians and White Sox waited until Oct. 2 for the makeup, the White Sox could heldetermine the wild card race by going with a strong or weak lineup against Cleveland.

"They're trying to eliminate the controversy the day after," White Sox general manager Ron Schueler said. "And maybe they don't want us to decide who the wild card will be."

The union gave its approval in consultation with the player reps on each team, but the players didn't take a vote.

"It doesn't sound like we have much of a say in the matter," Sirotka said.

Before the Indians played the Yankees on Friday night, Indians manager Charlie Manuel sounded as if the makeup wasn't going to happen.

"That would be kind of tough," he said.

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