After a lengthy meeting Sunday morning to discuss upcoming roster decisions, the Indians told right-hander Aaron Harang he did not make the 25-man Opening Day roster.
Harang, 35, an 11-year veteran, was signed to a minor league free agent contract. He has an out in that deal Monday where he can elect to become a free agent and look for another major league job. If he doesn't opt out and decides to stay with the Indians in the minors, he will receive a $100,000 retention bonus and can opt out on June 1 if he has not been called up to the majors.
If he decides to explore his options and eventually re-signs with the Indians, he would not receive the bonus.
"We've expressed to Aaron how much we appreciate what he's done this spring on the field, the teammate he's been, the professional he's been," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "We'd love to keep him in the organization if he was open to it."
When the clubhouse re-opened after Harang received the news, his personal things were packed up and he had left the Indians' complex.
Manager Terry Francona said of Harang, "He was very professional, he pitched really well for the most part. After lengthy discusssions we came to the conclusion we have other guys ahead of him. I think we'll be surprised if he doesn't find a major league job, but if he didn't we'd love to have him back."
In nine innings of work in four spring appearances, Harang went 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA. He gave up eight hits and two earned runs, walking two and striking out six. Batters hit .222 against him. He also pitched in two 'B' games. Harang, who has pitched for the Oakland A's, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners and New York Mets, has a 110-116 career record and 4.28 ERA in 1,945.1 innings pitched.
"There's only so much of a percentage of what you can do and the rest is out of your control," Harang said Sunday before being told the news. "It's the same thing when you get on the field. As a pitcher, once you let go of that ball everything else is out of your control. Really it's the same thing with everything you do in life."
Harang said he has thought occaisionally about how much longer he wants to try to pitch in the majors, but didn't give himself a timetable.
"It runs through your mind every once in a while, especially when you know it's getting later in your career," he said. "When I'm done I'll know it. A lot of guys try and push it longer than they should. I want to go out when I'm ready to go out. I don't know if that mindset will be pushing it past when I need to walk away. When the time comes I think I'll know."
Harang said physically he feels "awesome."
"It's the most running and conditioning and stuff I've done outside in a few years," he said. "You get little aches and pains that pop up during spring and I didn'tt really have that as much this year. You get in an exciting clubhouse like this where you have the veteran guys and the younger guys, the younger guys bring out the exuberance in the older vets and the vets bring the knowledge to the younger guys."
The decision on Harang leaves Josh Tomlin, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer fighting for the final open spot in the rotation.
Francona said the Indians liked what they saw from Bauer on Thursday, when he struck out eight in a Triple-A game against the Angels.
"I don’t know if he was ever really out of it. I think we’ve been looking more at the big picture more than just the fifth spot or the last guy," Francona said. "We were really encouraged by his last outing. Obviously we’ve bought into Trevor for the long haul because we made a pretty big trade for him and we try never to lose sight of that. I think it’s really encouraging on a lot of fronts what he’s trying to do."
Game: 4:10 p.m. at Tempe Diablo Stadium
David Murphy RF
Nick Swisher DH
Carlos Santana C
Ryan Raburn LF
Lonnie Chisenhall 3B
Mike Aviles SS
Bryan LaHair 1B
Elliot Johnson 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Zach McAllister P
Available to follow McAllister: Marc Rzepczynski, John Axford, C.C. Lee
Kole Calhoun RF
Mike Trout CF
Albert Pujols 1B
Josh Hamilton LF
David Freese 3B
Raul Ibanez DH
Howie Kendrick 2B
Hank Conger C
Grant Green SS
Garrett Richards P