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Cleveland Indians

Tribe adds new reliever, hopes

By Sheldon Published: June 19, 2009

CHICAGO: Mike Gosling wears No. 20 on the back of his jersey, but he ranks 23rd on the list of pitchers who have paraded to the mound wearing Indians uniforms in 2009.

After the disastrous three-game sweep by the Brewers in Cleveland, a series in which the Tribe bullpen gave up 18 runs and 14 walks in 14 innings, it was time for another change.

Or as manager Eric Wedge said on Friday, "We very easily could have sent two or three guys out. That's the reality. But you have to pick and choose.''

The choice this time was Greg Aquino, who pitched twice in the Milwaukee series, allowing three runs, three hits and four walks in two innings. In 10 appearances before being designated for assignment Friday, Aquino had a 1-2 record and 4.50 earned-run average. More telling, he walked 15 in 16 innings.

"We knew when he came up here he would have his good and bad days,'' Wedge said. ""As long as the good ones outweighed the bad ones, he made sense.''

For awhile, Aquino looked as if he might close one of the holes in the bullpen. In his first eight appearances after being called up from Columbus May 17, he gave up runs only once (four) in 11 innings. But even then, he demonstrated his Achilles heel by issuing 10 walks.

"You see guys have success in Triple-A and continue it up here,'' Wedge said. ""But after awhile it gets a little more real.''

Wedge has been on a crusade lately to change the character of a pitching staff that has persisted in falling on its sword by walking too many batters.

"We're just looking for people who will challenge guys,'' he said. ""It's a mindset, an approach. It takes guts and courage. Not to make it sound more important than it is, but next to faith and family, this probably should be important to these guys.''

Gosling, a 28-year-old left-hander, will be the 17th pitcher who tries to help settle the bullpen.

"He's not just a matchup guy,'' Wedge said. ""He's a strike thrower. He's a smart guy. He just has to trust his stuff.''

After being released June 2 by the Twins, Gosling was signed three days later and sent to Columbus, where he made three appearances, giving up one run in eight innings, walking only one and striking out eight.

His most recent big-league appearance came in 2007 with Cincinnati, where he posted a 2-0 record and 4.91 earned-run average in 23 appearances.

OVER BUT NOT FORGOTTEN -- The Indians played some of their ugliest baseball of the season in losing all three games to the Brewers earlier in the week.

The starting pitchers didn't give up a lot of runs, but none went past the fifth inning; play in the field was spotty, and the relief pitching was horrid.

"We gave away a couple of games,'' manager Eric Wedge said Friday. ""We won three series in a row, and if we'd played anywhere worth a damn, we'd have won that series too.

"That series should be a wakeup call for our guys.''

NO HARM TO GARKO -- Ryan Garko was ready to play Friday after twisting his ankle on a play in which he fell down rounding second Wednesday night against the Brewers.

MORE SIGNEES -- The Indians signed eight more players from this month's amateur draft, including third-round selection Joe Gardner, a right-hander from University of California-Santa Barbara.

Also agreeing to terms was fourth-round choice Kyle Bellows, an infielder from San Jose State University; 12th rounder Joseph Colon, a right-hander from Puerto Rico Community College; 15th round pick Mike Rayl, a left-hander from Palm Beach (Fla.) Community College; 19th-round choice Nick Kirk, a lefty from Northern Iowa University; 23rd-round selection Daniel Jimenez, a left-hander from John A. Logan College; 33rd-rounder Chris Kersten, an infielder from Louisiana Tech and 48th-round pick Vidal Nuno, a left-hander from Baker University.

The Tribe has signed 17 of 50 picks and 12 of its first 16.

FARM FACTS -- Michael Brantley had three hits in Columbus' 4-2 loss to Rochester. *elip Karexon Sanchez tripled, singled and drove in two runs, as Lake County blanked Dewlmarva 6-0.

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