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Cleveland Indians

New reliever ready to go

By Sheldon Published: August 5, 2009

CLEVELAND: Apparently, Jess Todd is quick study.

In his first two minor league seasons with the Cardinals, he was a starter almost exclusively. Then he came to the spring training this year and got the word.

"They told me I was going to the bullpen,'' Todd said Tuesday, after being recalled from Columbus by the Indians. ""I have no idea why they made the switch.''

Not that it mattered. Todd became a reliever at Triple-A Memphis and compiled a 4-2 record with 24 saves and a 2.20 earned-run average, walking 13 and striking out 59 in 49 innings.

"It doesn't feel like something new to me,'' Todd said of working out of the bullpen. "It didn't take me long to get used to it.''

He finds himself in Cleveland because of the June 27 trade that sent Mark DeRosa to St. Louis for Chris Perez and a player to be named. Todd is that player, though he had no inkling that he was one of a handful of players Tribe scouts were watching to complete the deal.

"I was pretty surprised,'' he said. "At first I didn't know what to think about it. I had never been traded before, and none of the people I knew had been traded. But now I'm excited to get this opportunity.''

Todd has made one big-league appearance, pitching 1 2/3 innings for the Cardinals on June 5 and giving up two runs, three hits and two walks to the Rockies.

"They needed a guy for the day,'' Todd said. "Luckily I was that guy, but I did have a lot of nervousness going on. I threw something like 40 pitches. I had a long at-bat against Todd Helton. That's what jumped my pitch count up there.''

Now that he is an Indian, Todd wants to pitcch as soon as possible.

"After being up here once,'' he said, ""I want to get in there right away. I hope I get to pitch tonight.''

Asked what he knew about Todd, Indians manager Eric Wedge sadid, "He pitched a great deal in the late innings in the minors and did a good job handling those kinds of situations. He also has the ability to strike someone out. So it was time to get him up here and see what he could do.''

Todd spoke to Wedge after he arrived at the ballpark, but the manager was intentionally vague in his remarks about how he would use the pitcher.

"He never really said anything,'' Todd said. ""Nothing is going to be set in stone. It depends on what I do. If I'm, lucky, I'll have a couple of good outings right away.''

MORE SURGERY FOR MILLER -- Adam Miller underwent a second surgery on the middle finger of his right hand to attempt to keep scar tissue from forming from the first (April 29) procedure and to reconstruct the flexor tendon in the finger.

Preventing scar tissue from building up in the finger is a key to keeping Miller's pitching career alive. If scar tissue forms in the confined area of the finger, it will limit Miller's ability to bend the finger and grip a baseball.

Tuesday's surgery was performed by Dr. Tom Graham at the Curtis National Hand Center in Baltimore. Graham  also did the first operation.

Miller already has begun rehabbing the finger and is hoping to pitch by next spring training.

THE WAY IT IS -- A weak relay from center field Tuesday night triggered a question about Grady Sizemore's injured elbow.

"Grady is not going to be OK this year,'' Wedge said. "There's no way of getting around that. But he feels like he can go out and help us, so he is continuing to play. If we felt he could hurt himself further by playing, you wouldn't see him out there. Now, at some point, we might have to shut him down (he has too much pain).''

Sizemore probably will have postseason surgery to eliminate the inflammation in the lining of his elbow. Recovery time is four to six weeks.

HAFNER SITS -- Travis Hafner was held out of the lineup Wednesday night, but he is expected to play this afternoon.

"It would be tough for him to play tonight and tomorrow at noon,'' Wedge said. ""Also, Francisco Liriano (a left-hander) is pitching tonight, so I'd rather have Hafner play against a right-hander (Nick Blackburn).''

FARM FACTS -- Paulo Espino gave up one run, one hit and one walk in 71/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 3.08, as Kinston defeated Lynchburg 2-1. Lonnie Chisenhall hit his 18th homer of the season, and Ole Sheldon hit his seventh... On Tuesday night, Bryan Price, obtained from Boston in the Victor Martinez deal, made his debut at Kinston and gave up one unearned run and six hits in six innings... Marty Popham (4-1, 2.16 ERA) gave up two runs and eight hits in six innings, as Mahoning Valley beat Tri-City 7-4.

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