CLEVELAND (AP) -Manager Eric Wedge received a three-year contract extension from the Cleveland Indians on Monday, an early reward for having his ballclub near the top in the AL Central.
Wedge, whose Indians didn't reach the playoffs in his first four seasons, was signed through the 2007 season with the club holding a club option for 2008 and 2009.
But with Cleveland (54-37) trailing the first-place Detroit Tigers by just one-half game entering the week and leading the wild-card chase, the Indians decided the time was right to extend Wedge's deal through the 2010 season.
Financial terms were not immediately available.
``Eric has clearly defined his leadership and vision during his tenure as manager of the Cleveland Indians,'' general manager Mark Shapiro said in a statement. ``He has consistently demonstrated a relentless work ethic and strong belief in his players and has placed us among the best records in baseball two of the past three seasons.
``I am confident that Eric is the right man to guide our team as we collectively pursue our ultimate goal of sustainable championship success.''
The Indians are 373-366 under the 39-year-old Wedge, who became the club's 39th manager before the 2003 season.
Wedge led the Indians to double-digit increases in wins in his first three seasons, the first Cleveland manager to do so since Lou Boudreau (1946-48). Only a final-week collapse in 2005 prevented the Indians, who have not won the World Series since 1948, from making the playoffs.
The Indians were expected to contend this season and they have, holding first place for 63 days and bouncing back from a 78-84 record and fourth-place finish in 2006.
Wedge's extension is the latest long-term commitment shown by the club.
Last week, designated hitter Travis Hafner signed a four-year, $57 million contract extension and earlier this season the club gave right-hander Jake Westbrook a three-year, $33 million package. Westbrook would have been eligible for free agency following this season.
Also, Shapiro, who in the past has referred to his working relationship with Wedge as a ``partnership,'' signed a five-year contract extension in March that will keep him in Cleveland through 2012.
Assistant GMs Chris Antonetti and John Mirabelli signed extensions in May.

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