Sunday, March 23, 2008

Final-Lee, Cliff steps up in the rotation race

One of the few things about being in Yankeeland is that the winters here aren't quiet as rough as in Cleveland, and seem to break a little earlier,

I don't think ever - in the 24 years I've lived here - have we had snow on Easter.

So for those of you living in the homeland, sorry about that!

I guess if you have to have snow it's better on Easter than on Opening Day, no?

There finally is some good news on the fifth-starter front.

Cliff Lee, with his five scoreless innings Saturday seems to have stepped to the forefront and now seems like the likely No. 5 starter. Lee, just a couple of seasons away from Cy Young consideration , has had trouble nailing down the spot.

Lee of course is competing with youngsters Aaron Laffey and Jeremy Sowers for the spinal spot in the Tribe rotation.

Laffey had a solid outing in his most-recent Florida start and they say Sowers is back up over 90 mph.

Since Lee has had considerable success in the past, I think it makes sense to give him the spot in the rotation. His spring has been as up-and-down as Laffey's and Sowers', and with the three of them picking it up lately it just makes sense to have Lee start the season on the Tribe's roster with the other two ready to take over if he falters.

A new arm

The Indians picked up a 27-year-old career minor leaguer off waivers today, and his presence may be a threat to Aaron Fultz.

The new arrival is Craig Breslow, who was let go by the Red Sox. He's out of options and would have to make the Tribe's 25-man roster if they are to keep him.

Breslow went 2-3 with a 4.06 ERA in 49 games at Pawtucket last year. He struck out 73 batters and walked 25 in 68 2/3 innings pitched.

Fultz, who was just OK prior to his arm injury last year and pretty much a disaster after coming back, is having an awful spring.

The Tribe seems married to the idea of having two lefties in the pen. Raffie Perez will be the main guy and - until today - it seemed Fultz had a spot wrapped up.

Tom Mastny, Jorge Julio and Scott Elarton - all right handers - are vying for the final spot assuming the Tribe insists on keeping two lefties.

I've said it before, I wouldn't mind seeing two of those three make the cut.

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