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Indians Name Kazmir Fifth Starter, Release Dice-K and Capps, Place Giambi on DL

Indians’ skipper Terry Francona picks Kazmir over Carlos Carrasco to round out rotation

 

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As Opening Day approaches, the Cleveland Indians needed to make a decision regarding the back end of their bullpen and on Monday they announced that Scott Kazmir will be the man who pitches out of the fifth spot in their starting rotation. Kazmir has not pitched in the majors in almost two years but has impressed the Indians’ front office this spring, going 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in four appearances in Cactus League play. Kazmir has pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels but last appeared in a major league game in July of 2010. Since then he has battled both injuries and control issues, but this spring he reported to camp in much better shape both physically and mentally, and the Indians are willing to give him a chance to toe the rubber every fifth day for them.

With Kazmir winning the final spot in the rotation, Carlos Carrasco will be sent to Triple-A Columbus, however he is expected to make the Opening Day roster so that he can serve a six-game suspension dating back to July 29, 2011 when he drilled Royals’ DH Billy Butler in his final game before undergoing Tommy John surgery which shut him down for the entire 2012 campaign. Following his suspension, Carrasco will pitch for the Clippers until his services are needed in Cleveland.

The Indians also announced that they have released starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka and reliever Matt Capps from their minor league contracts. Both were due $100,000 bonuses if they opted to remain under their current deals after signing minor league deals with the club this winter. Matsuzaka has expressed interest in remaining with the club in their minor league system to continue working his way back to 100% and hopefully joining the big league club at some point this season. Negotiations with Capps have been slower, but he may opt to sign a minor league deal with the club rather than testing the waters as a free agent. Capps was rocky this spring after returning to action from a shoulder injury, but he could certainly play a part in the Tribe’s bullpen down the road if he opts to stay with the organization.

The Indians also placed veteran Jason Giambi on the 15-day DL with a lower back strain. Giambi will make the club as a bench player once he returns to action and is expected to be used as a pinch hitter and a part-time DH to spell Mark Reynolds in the line-up. Giambi signed a minor league contract this February after he interviewed for but was not chosen to fill the vacant managerial role for the Colorado Rockies organization.

 

 

By Robert Gonzalez
Cleveland Indians Correspondent

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