|Yale graduate Craig Breslow determined to claim job in Indians bullpen|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 25 March 2008 23:53|
A life-changing experience at age 12, though, had the Cleveland Indians' new left-hander setting even loftier goals.
Breslow, a Yale graduate with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, recently formed a nonprofit foundation to help children with cancer.
``My sister Lesley was 14 at the time, two years older than me, when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer,'' Breslow said Tuesday. ``It was a scary time.
``She's a survivor and it has been 15 years, but ever since that day I have always wanted to do whatever I could to try and make a difference.''
The 27-year-old reliever's more immediate efforts, however are focused on trying to win a spot in Cleveland's bullpen after the Indians claimed him off waivers Sunday from the Boston Red Sox.
He struck out two in a perfect ninth inning Tuesday, getting the save in a 7-5 win over the New York Yankees in his Indians debut.
``I felt comfortable and confident for a change, which I think had a big impact on the way I threw,'' Breslow said. ``Getting a fresh start here helps. All my priorities are in this clubhouse and on the field. It's a big opportunity and I'm excited.''
One day after acquiring Breslow, the Indians told veteran lefty Aaron Fultz that he would not be breaking camp with the club. General manager Mark Shapiro said the job has not just been given to Breslow.
``It's too permanent to say that,'' Shapiro said. ``It's more appropriate to say Fultz moves out and Breslow gets the first chance.''
Breslow has bounced around baseball. Drafted by Milwaukee in 2002, he was released two years later and signed with an independent team. The San Diego Padres paid the grand sum of one dollar for his rights.
Breslow made his big-league debut in July 2005 for the Padres against Philadelphia and struck out the first batter he faced - new Indians teammate Jason Michaels.
He then signed with the Red Sox and split the last two years between Boston and Triple-A. His claim to fame a year ago was using his estimable intellect to settle a friendly wager between Boston's star right-hander Josh Beckett and catcher Doug Mirabelli.
``Josh wanted to know if I could figure out how many times a baseball spins on the way to the plate,'' Breslow said. ``There's a lot of variables, but I put in some figures and came up with answers for a fastball, curve or slider. It's rather simple once you do it.''
Because Breslow is out of options, the Indians must keep him on their roster or risk losing him on waivers. With Cleveland's season-opener on Monday, the left-hander must make a quick impression, though he's wise enough to know he should not try to pitch beyond his capacities.
``They told me they have two or three years of scouting reports on me,'' Breslow said. ``If that's the case, I don't think I'll show them anything this week they haven't seen before.''
Manager Eric Wedge said he'll try to use Breslow at least once and maybe twice more in Cleveland's four remaining spring games.
``We got a good look today and we'll try and run him out there again,'' Wedge said. ``He threw well.''