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Borowski pitches one inning, declares self ready to return to Tribe

By sstorm Published: May 21, 2008

Few people really appreciated him when he was healthy. Now that's he's been gone for nearly a month, those same folks can't wait until he returns.

Guess it's like the old adage - you don't know what you've got until it's gone.

That's the case with Indians fans and embattled closer Joe Borowski - a guy who admittedly makes it tough to watch - but ultimately tends to get the job done in the ninth.

How he does it is a whole other matter, which is why the veteran tends to make cause a lot of uneasy stomachs as he tight-rope walks through each and every save situation.

Of course, it wasn't that difficult Wednesday for Borowski in his one-inning major league rehab appearance with the Aeros in their 4-1 victory over Altoona Wednesday at Canal Park.

The Aeros defense was on their toes with the veteran big leaguer on the mound in the eighth inning.

Shortstop Josh Rodriguez sprinted out to shallow center to catch Luis Cruz's pop up for the first out, then right fielder Stephen Head made a diving catch to rob former Indians minor leaguer Brian Finegan of a hit for the second.

Curve catcher Milver Reyes managed a little two-out flare into shallow right center field for a base hit before Borowski bounced back to get Pedro Powell looking to end the brief outing.

Afterwards, a pumped up Borowski said he felt good, then shook hands with Indians general manager Mark Shaprio - who wanted to check on his closer in person before the decision is made in the next day or two whether or not to activate Borowski.

"This more than likely will be it,'' Borowksi said. "Anything could happen, but hopefully that's not the case and I can get back (to Cleveland).''

Although Borowski didn't bother to check how high his velocity registered, he felt it was within range based on the feel of the ball coming out of his hand.

"More than anything, I'm looking for location,'' said Borowski, who went on the disabled list April 15th with a strained right triceps - an injury he suffered in spring training but tried to pitch through.

"This is my second time throwing to hitters (his first outing was Monday at Class-A Lake County). Each time you throw your muscles become memory again and you get that free and easy feeling. I felt a big improvement just from the other day.''

Borowski led the American League in saves last year, converting 45 of 53 save opportunities (84.9%), finishing just one shy of tying Jose Mesa’s club record of 46 set in 1995.

Wednesday, his short stint came on the heels of a strong seven-inning start by left-hander David Huff, who limited the Curve to a run on four hits.

"Last year he wasn't as sharp as he has been here,'' Aeros manager Mike Sarbaugh said of the left-hander. "He's learned how to use his stuff more effectively to get more early contact, which has allowed him to go deeper in games.''


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