Jason Michaels

Michaels wants to return in ’07

ARLINGTON, Texas - Jason Michaels wants to stay with the Indians. He also wants to be an everyday player.

Can he do both? That is a question that will be on Michaels’ mind as he waits to see what direction Cleveland’s front office will take this winter.

“I know I would be a better everyday player next year than I was this year,” Cleveland’s left fielder said Saturday. “I’m not saying that to be arrogant. I’m saying that because I know it in my heart. I’m confident of it. I will be better next year, without a doubt.”

Tribe's chastened Jason now hastens to serve - His legal obligations met, Michaels happily keeps giving to kids

When outfielder Jason Michaels received the Roberto Clemente Award from the Indians last week, it showed that good can come from bad.

Michaels, while he played for the Phillies, was arrested for assaulting a Philadelphia policeman outside a nightclub at 3 a.m. on July 3, 2005. Michaels, already in an anger management program, was sentenced last January to six months probation and 100 hours of community service through the Police Athletic League.

A week later, Michaels was traded to the Indians to replace left fielder Coco Crisp. The obligation followed him.

"I wasn't sure what I'd have to do," Michaels said.

When Michaels found out he could work with children, he told John Carter, the Indians' director of community affairs, to put him on his speed dial.

"Jason turned out to be my go-to guy," said Carter, responsible for keeping track of Michaels' hours.

Michaels, 30, never became too involved in the Philadelphia community in his four seasons there. He had no choice with the Indians, and started working with the Boys and Girls Club in Winter Haven, Fla., in spring training.

"The kids came from some pretty tough family lives," Michaels said. "I talked to kids from 10 to their early 20s. They didn't have a whole lot.

Notes: Adjustment goes on for Michaels

CHICAGO -- Jason Michaels has been in the Majors for parts of the past five seasons.

But at times this year, he's felt like just as much of a rookie as the young kids he is now surrounded by in the Indians' clubhouse.

Between taking on an everyday role for the first time in his career and moving to the American League, Michaels has found 2006 to be a challenge.

"This whole year has been a big adjustment," he said. "I'm just trying to figure it out."
Acquired by the Phillies over the winter to replace Coco Crisp in left, Michaels has had sporadic success at the plate in the No. 2 spot of the order.

He's currently in an upswing, having hit in 11 of his last 15 games entering Friday, batting .333 (19-for-57) with eight RBIs in that span. He's now .

Michaels donates time to community - Indians outfielder nominated for 2006 Clemente Award

The thinking was that a visit from a Major League ballplayer would perk up some of the kids at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.

In reality, quite the opposite happened.

"They inspired me," said Indians left fielder Jason Michaels of the kids. "That's basically what it came down to. They inspired me."

That June visit to the hospital, which treats children with cancer, heart trouble, cystic fibrosis and other illnesses, was far from Michaels' only endeavor to help out in the community.

So when it came time for the Indians to select their nominee for the 2006 Roberto Clemente Award -- given annually to the player who best demonstrates the values Clemente displayed in his commitment to the community and helping others -- Michaels was an easy selection. This might be just his first year with the club, having been acquired in a winter trade with the Phillies, but he hasn't wasted any time making an impact on the Cleveland area.

"Coming to a new team," he said, "it's a good chance to get out in the community."