Indians final bullpen spot up for grabs
Wedge keeping open mind, looking at long list for role
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians have learned that they can't ever be sure what to expect from their bullpen in a given season.But 2009 is at least different from the standpoint that the club already has a good idea of who will be in the 'pen.
Six of the seven spots are already spoken for, as closer Kerry Wood and right-hander Joe Smith have been acquired to join Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Perez, Jensen Lewis and Masa Kobayashi.As for the seventh spot, take your pick from a long list of names, both veteran and otherwise. Top pitching prospect Adam Miller might be the favorite for the last spot, if he stays healthy for the duration of camp, but roster members John Meloan, Ed Mujica and lefty Rich Rundles are also in the mix, and non-roster invitees Matt Herges, Vinnie Chulk, Greg Aquino and Jack Cassel will all get at least a cursory glance. Manager Eric Wedge also said left-hander Zach Jackson and right-hander Kirk Saarloos, a non-roster invitee, strike him as potential bullpen candidates if they are not used as starters. "We want to keep our minds open," Wedge said. "A lot of it depends on what we're looking for in that role." The Indians will have a long time to look, if they so choose. The World Baseball Classic has expanded the exhibition slate by a week. But Wedge said he might not need as much time to make a decision that typically comes down to the last week of camp. "We're a little bit further along this year," he said. "There's only one spot left, and I think we're probably more defined in that area this year than maybe we ever have been."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.