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Indians Have 12 Candidates For One Bullpen Spot



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Tim Cooney (Photo by John Williamson)[/caption]

CLEVELAND—By the end of last season, the Indians probably had the best bullpen in the game. The team rode those relievers hard to the seventh game of the World Series.

As good as that group was, the Indians feel it could be even better this year, with the addition of free agent lefthander Boone Logan.

"One of the things we sought to do this offseason was to find some balance for our bullpen, especially from the left side,” team president Chris Antonetti said. "We were trying to find the right guy to complement our pen, and we feel Boone was that guy.”

Logan gives the Indians another lethal lefty behind Andrew Miller. The addition of Logan also means the Indians went to camp with their bullpen virtually set, leaving few opportunities for prospects.

The team had only one open bullpen spot and 12 potential candidates on the 40-man roster: righthanders Cody Anderson, Shawn Armstrong, Mike Clevinger, Carlos Frias, Perci Garner, Nick Goody and Adam Plutko; plus lefthanders Tim Cooney, Kyle Crockett, Ryan Merritt, Hoby Milner and Shawn Morimando.

Also in camp were non-roster righties Travis Banwart, Steve Delabar and Josh Martin, plus lefties Chris Narveson, Tyler Olson and James Russell.

Gone from last year’s bullpen is Austin Adams, who made 19 appearances but was sold to the Angels to make room for Logan, and Jeff Manship, who was non-tendered and signed to play in Korea.

The Indians hope to generate the same all-for-one, one-for-all attitude in the bullpen that the relief corps had last year, particularly following the addition of Miller in July.

"All those guys bought into the collective nature of the bullpen and a team-first approach,” general manager Mike Chernoff said. "Without that mindset, it wouldn’t have worked.”

SMOKE SIGNALS

The Indians signed two players to minor league contracts on the eve of spring training whose last pro experience came in Japan: 32-year-old lefthander Luis Perez and 35-year-old outfielder Wily Mo Pena.

Eleven players from the organization will play for their countries in the World Baseball Classic, including Andrew Miller (U.S.), Francisco Lindor (Puerto Rico) and Carlos Santana (Dominican Republic).

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Erik Gonzalez Emerges As Utility Infielder

A pair of out-of-options combatants vied for the Indians' utility job, with Gonzalez outlasting the more experienced Gio Urshela.

— Jim Ingraham is a sports columnist for the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram/Medina Gazette

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