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Cleveland Indians

Sipp testing new weapon

By Sheldon Published: June 23, 2009

   PITTSBURGH: Round and round the roster moves go. Eventually, the merry-go-round dropped Tony Sipp off in Cleveland again. ¶
   Sipp was recalled by the Indians on Tuesday for the third time this season, and he joined the relief corps for the first of three games against the Pirates at PNC Park. ¶
   If not for the need to activate Joe Smith from the disabled list two weeks ago, Sipp never would have had to make a second trip to Columbus. ¶
   ""We would not have sent him back, and we told him that, too,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ""But I think every time he comes here, he's closer to staying for good.'' ¶
   That made the demotion to the minors easier to take for Sipp. ¶
   ""The last time they sent me down, they told me it was because they didn't have any room for me,'' he said. ""That made it better. I could just keep doing what I'd been doing.'' ¶
   Wedge might not be aware of it, but Sipp reported to work this time with a new weapon. ¶
   ""I got a new pitch, a split, working for me,'' he said. ""I threw it for one day (on the side) then brought it into a game at Columbus. I struck a guy.'' ¶
   Sipp's description of the split-finger fastball as a new pitch isn't quite accurate. ¶
   ""I had the pitch in college, so I was just going down memory lane to get it back,'' he said. ""I felt like it was a good pitch then, but it stopped sinking on me.'' ¶
   Apparently, the sink is back. Just ask catcher Damaso Espino, who didn't know it was coming when Sipp threw it in the Triple-A game. ¶
   ""I kind of put him in a weird situation,'' he said. ""I kept shaking him to the changeup. I figured that was about as close as I could get to what it was.'' ¶
   Sipp does not plan to throw the split in a big-league game for awhile. ¶
   ""Eventually,'' he said. ""Once I use it a little more on the side and get more control over it.'' ¶
    At Columbus, Sipp was 1-0 with one save and a 3.71 earned-run average in 12 outings. Lefties were batting only .105 against him in 19 at-bats. ¶
   In his previous two trips to Cleveland, Sipp made 10 appearances and gave up three runs in 82/3 innings, hardly a definitive test, particularly since this is his first year in the majors. ¶
   Despite his inexperience, Sipp has been used in some critical situations. ¶
   ""It's fun,'' he said. ""A reliever wants to be the guy that your teammates want to be out there. But the only way you know you can do it is to do it.'' ¶
   SIZEMORE RETURNS -- Manager Eric Wedge indicated that he would use Grady Sizemore cautiously for at least a little while, now that the Indians' center fielder has been activated from the disabled list after missing more than three weeks with inflammation of the lining of his left elbow. ¶
   ""This week I think we need to be careful,'' Wedge said. ""Grady won't play every day the first week. When we come back to playing the American League, he could get a few at-bats at DH.'' ¶
   Sizemore batted second Tuesday night, behind Jamey Carroll, who will be moved down the lineup when Asdrubal Cabrera comes off the DL this week. ¶
   ""We'll go back to Asdrubal at the top of the lineup, with Grady second,'' Wedge said. ""That worked out pretty well. Asdrubal might be back in a couple of days.'' ¶
   Cabrera reported to Akron Tuesday night for what is likely to be a brief rehab assignment. ¶
   ""He'll be there tonight and tomorrow,'' Wedge said. ""We'll evaluate from there, but he could be up here on Thursday night.'' ¶
   THE MOVES -- In addition to activating Sizemore, the Tribe summoned lefty Tony Sipp from Columbus, optioning Trevor Crowe to Triple-A and designated for assignment right-hander Luis Vizcaino. ¶
   In two stints with Cleveland, Crowe played in 30 games and batted .169 (11-for-65). Vizcaino was 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in 11 relief appearances. His biggest problem: control. He walked 12 in 112/3 innings. ¶
   The Indians have 10 days to trade Vizcaino or outright him to the minors if he clears waivers. ¶
   GARKO UPDATE -- Ryan Garko said he no longer has any problem with his left wrist that he sprained last Wednesday in a game against the Brewers. However, he was not in Tuesday night's lineup against the Pirates. Instead, Chris Gimenez played first. ¶
   HEAVY ON LEFTIES -- With the addition of Sipp, the Tribe has three left-handers in the bullpen, including Rafael Perez and Mike Gosling. ¶
   Having so many lefties among the relief corps was not planned, but Wedge isn't about to knock it, either. ¶
   ""It's nice to have that option,'' he said. ""We're just looking for the best options and for something to click.'' ¶
   None of the three is regarded as strictly a left-on-left situational pitcher. However, because Sipp is a raw rookie and has been especially effective on left-handed batters in the minors, he might be used in that fashion. ¶

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