The Cleveland Indians signed left-handed reliever Craig Breslow to a minor league deal on Friday.
The addition of the 37-year-old could add some depth to the Indians’ battered relief corps, which had seen extensive use all week long until a complete game three-hitter by Corey Kluber on Thursday night in the series opener against the New York Yankees. The bullpen took another hit on Wednesday when the club placed All-Star lefty Andrew Miller on the 10-day disabled list with right patellar tendinitis. Offseason addition Boone Logan is already on the 60-day disabled list with a lat strain that is expected to sideline him for the rest of the season.
Breslow is expected to report to Triple-A Columbus.
The southpaw was once a member of the Indians, but there is a chance that you may have blinked and missed his short stint with the organization. He took the mound for the club in seven games at the beginning of the 2008 season before being placed on waivers and claimed by the Minnesota Twins. He did not factor in a decision in his time with Cleveland, earning a 3.24 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP in eight and one-third innings. He allowed ten hits and five walks in the small body of work for the club.
He entered into pro baseball in 2002 when he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers. He would not appear for the club at the MLB level prior to his midseason release in 2004, but he would for the San Diego Padres, who signed him prior to the 2005 season. He signed with Boston in free agency after that season and spent two years in the Red Sox organization before he was claimed off of waivers by the Indians on March 23, 2008. He spent just over two months in the Cleveland organization before moving on to Minnesota.
He has bounced all over baseball since, spending time from 2009 to 2011 in Oakland before a trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks after the season. He was a trade deadline acquisition by the Red Sox in 2012 and remained with the club through the 2015 season. He split last season with the Miami and Texas organizations before returning to Minnesota on a minor league free agent deal in February of this season. He received $1.25 million guaranteed when he made the club out of spring training.
He started strong for the Twins but slowed as the season progressed, ultimately landing on the disabled list at the end of June with left thoracic rib cage soreness. He returned to the roster on July 18 from a rehab assignment, but was designated for assignment by the club on July 23 and was released outright on July 30.
While his 5.23 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 31 innings this season for the Twins hardly look enticing for the 12-year vet, the young club often pitched him against his strengths. Thought to be more of a specialist, especially at this juncture of his career, he saw right-handed hitters more than twice as often as same-siders. Righties mashed him to the tune of a .384/.404/.573 triple slash with six doubles, a triple, and four home runs with 13 strikeouts and eight walks in 99 plate appearances. Left-handed hitters did not fare nearly as well, putting up a .200/.279/.257 slash with two doubles, four walks, and five strikeouts in 44 plate appearances.
The Indians bullpen has just one left-hander in it in the unproven Tyler Olson, who bounced around several stops last season before landing with Columbus midseason. Cleveland also has Kyle Crockett at the top farm club and on the 40-man roster as depth, with other less likely options like lefty starting pitchers Ryan Merritt and Shawn Morimando, if the club gets desperate for help from portsiders.
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