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Notes: Bullpen close to being settled03/12/2007 5:25 PM ET
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Eric Wedge knows better than to say he feels confident in his bullpen. The Indians' manager has been burned before. Several times, in fact. "We need to get into the season," Wedge said. "I do feel strong about the guys we've brought back. We'll see what happens." Wedge won't confirm it, but the bullpen looks set. It was known coming into camp that veteran additions Joe Borowski, Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Fultz would all be in the mix and that Rafael Betancourt would return. Jason Davis and Fernando Cabrera are both out of Minor League options and the Indians don't want to expose them to waivers, so they're safe bets to be on board. That leaves open the last spot, which was Matt Miller's to claim, depending on the health of his right elbow. The elbow hasn't been a problem at all for the 35-year-old Miller. He pitched in Monday's game against the Pirates, allowing two runs on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts, but those were the first runs he's allowed in five Grapefruit League outings. He's struck out 11 of the 24 batters he's faced. Before the game, Wedge stopped short of confirming Miller is on the club, as the organization has yet to finalize that decision. "I've got to get the go-ahead on that," he said. "But [Miller] has done everything we needed to see, and he needs to keep doing it." As for what he's seen from the newly acquired veterans, Wedge has been pleased. Closer Borowski has worked three innings in which he has yet to allow an earned run. Hernandez has pitched four scoreless innings. Fultz was roughed up on Friday against the Pirates, giving up three runs in 1 2/3 innings, but he recovered Monday against that same club, working a scoreless inning.
"As far as leadership, toughness and experience, they're bringing it," Wedge said of the three veterans. "They look good."
Davis, 26, and Cabrera, 25, need to bring more consistency to the table, Wedge said. Davis has given up a pair of runs in four innings, while Cabrera has given up four runs in five innings, walking two batters and striking out none.
If the season began today, right-hander Tom Mastny, who saved five games in the bigs last season, would be the first bullpen depth option in Triple-A Buffalo.
"He's at the top of the list, today," Wedge said. "His stuff is good, live and strong. He just needs to fine-tune himself a bit, which I expect to happen."
When Keith Foulke retired at the outset of camp, the Indians said they might pursue trade options for the 'pen if they didn't like what they saw from the internal candidates. For now, that doesn't appear to be on the horizon.
"We're always looking to get better," Wedge said. "But looking and finding are two different things. We're focused on the guys here. We need to make sure we bring the right guys out there."
Catching on: Pencil Mike Rose in as the Indians' third catcher.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.