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Saarloos vanquishes former teammates

By Sheldon Published: March 8, 2009

PHOENIX: Kirk Saarloos got a chance to face his former teammates from the Athletics and made the most of the opportunity Sunday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

In three innings, Saarloos yielded no runs two hits and two walks, but the Indians lost 8-5.

"I was really happy to be able to start a game, because that's what I want to do,'' the veteran right-hander said. ""When they told me I was going to start, I was pretty excited.''

Saarloos is in camp to win a berth on the staff, either as a starter or reliever. However, the field vying for the rotation has already drawn a crowd of five competitors.

Nevertheless, Saarloos is hoping to be viewed as a starter.

"I don't see why not, but I don't make the decisions,'' he said. ""I've done both, and the versatility should help me.''

In evaluating Saarloos' performance, manager Eric Wedge said, ""He was consistently down, and when he got behind, he challenged hitters. It was a good day for him.''

When the A's released Saarloos, he said Cleveland made almost immediate contact.

"They came at me pretty early, and it was a no-brainer for me,'' he said. ""I knew they had a good organization.''

Saarloos had had success against the Tribe, which might have been a factor in the club's interest in him.

"That was one of the first things they said to me,'' he said. ""I think I got my career strikeout game against them, something like 11.''
OVERWHELMING TASK -- With the pitching staff giving up an average of eight runs a game, it's tough for the offense to keep up.

Against the A's, Kelly Shoppach hit his second homer of the spring and Ryan Garko had two hits (including a double) and an RBI. Travis Hafner got his first hit of the spring, an RBI double.

GRADY A GO -- Grady Sizemore (strained groin) made two plate appearances as the designated hitter and slid into second base, breaking up a double play, with no ill effects.

"I didn't feel it today,'' said Sizemore, who probably will play the outfield for the first time some time mid week.

"I've already been out there running,'' he said.

THE TRAVELS OF CHOO -- Tribe team doctors will get a look at Shin-Soo Choo's elbow within the next week.

The South Korean entry in the World Baseball Classic qualified for the second round, scheduled to begin Sunday in San Diego. Before that, the team will work out in Arizona and Choo will visit the Indians' complex in Goodyear to be examined.

"We've got a pretty good idea of what's going on (with the elbow),'' Wedge said, "but it's not the same as having your own doctors look at him.''

THE SCHEDULE -- Adam Miller's (sore finger) span of idleness is about to end. After being shut down following a bullpen session more than a week ago, he will restart his throwing program on Wednesday...Joe Smith (viral infection) threw live batting practice on Sunday and probably throw again on Tuesday... Kerry Wood (back pain) will make his first exhibition game appearance Tuesday.

MARCHING ONWARD -- The Indians travel to Glendale to face the White Sox this afternoon. Fausto Carmona will make his third spring training appearance, with John Danks starting for Chicago. Anthony Reyes, Matt Herges, Vinny Chulk, Greg Aquino and Juan Salas will follow Carmona.

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