TUCSON — Cleveland Indians Manager Doc Edwards wants his club to develop an unselfish personality as it attempts to rebound from a disastrous 1987 campaign.
"I want it to be a 'we' and an 'us' type attitude. On our winter press tour I heard some guys say that we've got to be like what John Kennedy said--'Ask not what your team can do for you, ask what you can do for your team.' I like that," Edwards said in a telephone interview.
Pitchers and catchers reported to the Indians' training camp in Tucson last Thursday. The other players are due in camp Wednesday.
Edwards' task of molding a competitive club is not an easy one. Cleveland finished with the worst record in the majors last season, 61-101. They went 30-45 under Edwards, who replaced fired Pat Corrales after the All-Star break.
Cleveland's pitching staff compiled the highest earned-run average in the majors and the Indians had the lowest fielding percentage in the American League.
Edwards believes the pitching will improve. He's counting on Greg Swindell, Tom Candiotti, Scott Bailes, John Farrell and Rich Yett to form a respectable starting rotation.
Swindell missed the last half of 1987 with elbow problems. But, Edwards said: "He's been throwing the heck out of the ball. We've got some good arms out there and they're all young. Then we have the veteran pitchers like Dan Schatzeder, Bill Caudill, Ken Schrom, Bill Laskey and Doug Jones battling, which will help from the experience standpoint.
"We're not going to come out with Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn and Mike Garcia, but we will be better than in 87."
Edwards is hoping the defense will improve as Joe Carter settles into center field and Cory Snyder stays put in right, along with the emergence of Andy Allanson at catcher.
"We'll put Carter and Snyder out there and leave them in one position. They are great athletes who are going to get better in those positions," Edwards said. "Andy Allanson is a good quarterback. All the pitchers love to pitch to Allanson."
The Indians' offense struggled last season after ranking as baseball's best in 1986. Carter drove in 106 runs last year, but it took 196 at bats with runners in scoring position for him to accomplish that.
Snyder put together two slumps in which he batted .123 in a combined 202 at bats.
"I think Carter will come back and have a disciplined year like he did in 86. Cory has to improve but a young player needs at bats to improve at the plate, and he's had barely 1,600, even including the minor leagues," Edwards said.