In late March, the Indians claimed reliever Craig Breslow off waivers from Boston. The acquisition of the Yale alumnus gave the Indians' bullpen an additional left-hander to go along with Rafael Perez. The 27-year-old, who was out of options, pitched in 49 games, including one start, last year with Triple-A Pawtucket and struck out 73 batters. He recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:
04/18/2008 12:51 PM ET
Q&A: Cleveland's Craig Breslow
Indians pitcher joined club during Spring Training
By Jeff Moeller / MLBPLAYERS.com
MLBPLAYERS.com: What was it like changing teams during Spring Training?
Breslow: It's been a whirlwind. I've been traveling around quite a bit, and obviously here I have 24 new teammates. Ultimately, and what is most important, is that I have ended up with a good opportunity and I'm happy to be where I am.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Having spent time with different teams in that past, did that experience help you with your adjustment?
Breslow: Every situation is unique, because you just don't know what kind of clubhouse you are going to. It was pretty apparent to me, however, and pretty apparent early on that they are a close-knit group here. I was welcomed right away and I've felt very comfortable since I arrived.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What went through your mind when you heard that Cleveland had claimed you?
Breslow: Given the situation I was in -- being out of options -- I was pretty excited. The logistics in Boston were that I had to make that team out of Spring Training or get exposed to waivers again. Having talked to some guys here, I understood that they wanted me here. The emotions were a combination of relief and joy and excitement.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How nice was it to go from one winner to another?
Breslow: It's a lot of fun to go from one winning team to another. Boston had a tremendous amount of success last year, obviously, and they are a perennial power. These guys have built a lot of momentum over the past few years and look to keep going forward. It's pretty exciting.
MLBPLAYERS.com: When you came here, how did you evaluate the bullpen situation?
Breslow: I try not to get too bogged down in who is doing what and who throws with what hand. I don't pay attention to too many statistics. If you worry about those types of things, you will run yourself into some deep trouble. I try and focus on the execution of my pitches. That should be enough.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How good is your new club's starting staff?
Breslow: I think we're very strong. A great example was the other night when Cliff Lee went out and threw a great game. He is our fifth starter, and I think that speaks to our depth and our talent. When he does that, it just gives us more of an edge. The strength of any team is in that team's starting pitching. We have guys in the staff and in the bullpen who will help lead us to a lot of success.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What is your role right now in the 'pen?
Breslow: I am left-handed, so along with that comes the expectation to get left-handed hitters out. Beyond that I think I can be successful in getting righties out as well. That might come along when I am asked to throw a couple of innings at a time. I don't think I have that truly defined role of lefty specialist, but I think that sort of speaks to my versatility. I can face one hitter or a number of hitters. I am ready for any situation.
MLBPLAYERS.com: After pitching for the Sox in 2006 you spent the whole 2007 season in Triple-A. When you factor in that Boston won the World Series, how did it feel not to be a part of that?
Breslow: I watched on TV, and it was kind of frustrating. Those were guys I had spent time with for a few years as a teammate and as a friend, so I obviously wished them well. At the same time, I thought there was going to be an opportunity to contribute myself and I wasn't able to do so. Personally, from a business standpoint, I was disappointed.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You spent a lot of time in the weight room this offseason. How has that helped you so far?
Breslow: I was a little disappointed last year with my second half. I come from that school that says all you can do is work hard. I spent some more time getting bigger and stronger, since I don't know how much fatigue hurt me late last year. I want to be sure that doesn't happen again this year.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.