Wickman to be examined

Wickman to be examined

<b> WINTER HAVEN, Fla. --</b> Bob Wickman will have his surgically-repaired right elbow examined Tuesday by Indians medical director Dr. Mark Schickendantz.

The right-hander, who had Tommy John surgery on his elbow after the 2002 season, experienced pain after throwing one inning in a simulated game Monday at Chain of Lakes Park. When his work was done, Wickman threw the baseball into the ground in apparent disgust and walked to the clubhouse with a scowl on his face.

The veteran reliever pitched only a few innings of rehabilitation work in the minors in 2003, but came to camp in good spirits and ready to reclaim his role as the team's closer.

"He had some discomfort in his elbow," pitching coach Carl Willis said. "Right now, it just looks like soreness from his rehab."

Wickman was looked at by team doctors, who found no damage Monday, but Schickendantz will take a closer look Tuesday.

David Riske, who went 7-for-7 in save opportunities at the end of last season, would take over the closer's role if Wickman is not ready.

The Indians also acquired two other relievers with closer's experience in the off-season. Right-hander Jose Jimenez, who had 20 saves (in 23 chances) for Colorado and lefty Scott Stewart, who had 17 saves for Montreal in 2002, were obtained to beef up the bullpen.

If Wickman could not start the season, that would open a spot in the bullpen. Rafael Betancourt and Jack Cressend are designated for middle relief roles and could be joined by rookie right-hander Kazuhito Tadano, former Padres right-hander Luther Hackman, or lefty Cliff Bartosh.

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