Sauerbeck's Return All About Loyalty
Scott Sauerbeck:
Scott Sauerbeck: "This is a good fit."
Indians Ink
Posted Nov 7, 2005


Scott Sauerbeck wants to continue reclaiming his career in Cleveland with the team that gave him that opportunity. "It's a matter of loyalty," the left-hander said after signing a contract for 2006 that includes an option for 2007.

The 33-year-old reliever said he did not file for free agency out of respect for the Indians -- who were the only team to give him a chance after he had surgery on his pitching arm in January 2004.

"Where were those other teams when my arm was in a sling?" said Sauerbeck. "All the money I give up is a moot point.

"After surgery, my agent called all 30 teams and Cleveland was the only one that called back. They picked me up at the lowest point in my career. On my behalf, re-signing is a gesture. It's a thank you to them."

Sauerbeck sat out the entire 2004 season, but came back this past summer to work in 58 games -- though in a limited 35 2/3 innings, mostly as a specialist against lefty hitters. He was particularly effective in that role, limiting them to a .162 (12-for-74) batting average.

He wanted to do more, but came to realize that his physical condition would not allow it.

"They know I wasn't really happy with my role, especially down the stretch," Sauerbeck said. "But I could look at it two ways: I could get mad at them, or I could look in the mirror. I chose to do the latter and figure that if I did better against right-handers, I would have been used more."

Sauerbeck believes he will be a sturdier pitcher in 2006 and said he felt improvement as the 2005 season wore on.

"I was healthy and back, but I didn't really have all my stuff this year," he said. "The doctors said it is a two-year process. The second year, the velocity should pick up.

"When you are throwing 82-83 (mph) and your changeup comes in at 80 you might have a problem. There's a big difference if you can throw 88-89 with an 80-mph changeup. That makes it easier to get some hitters out. I competed with what I had."

Overall, he gave up 35 hits and 16 walks while striking out 35 in 2005. He allowed only seven of 45 (.155) inherited runners to score, the fourth lowest mark among AL relievers, and his first batter average against of .163 (8-for-49) was the fifth best mark in the league. He didn't allow a run in 47 of his 58 outings.

"We are excited that Scott will again be part of our club," said general manager Mark Shapiro. "Scott had a strong desire to stay in Cleveland and wanted to be a part of our future. We are looking forward to him again filling a crucial role in our bullpen."

Sauerbeck said he is eager to pitch more innings and realizes that chance could occur should either Bob Wickman or Bobby Howry -- or both -- leave as free agents.

"If both of those guys are not back, then yeah, the bullpen is not as strong. Obviously, we need somebody to close but even without them we still have a great bullpen.

"It would be a big blow to lose either one of them. They both had big seasons.

"But I feel like I have a lot to prove and I want to do it with the Indians. I didn't want to go to some other team where I could pitch a lot of innings, but be on a loser.

"This is a good fit for me."

SCOTT SAUERBECK'S MAJOR-LEAGUE CAREER

Yr

Team

Age

W

L

SV

ERA

G

IP

H

BB

SO

99

Pittsburgh

27

4

1

2

2.00

65

67.2

53

38

55

00

Pittsburgh

28

5

4

1

4.04

75

75.2

76

61

83

01

Pittsburgh

29

2

2

2

5.60

70

62.2

61

40

79

02

Pittsburgh

30

5

4

0

2.30

78

62.2

50

27

70

03

Pittsburgh

31

3

4

0

4.05

53

40

30

25

32

03

Boston

31

0

1

0

6.48

26

16.2

17

18

18

04

DNP - Injured

32

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

05

Cleveland

33

1

0

0

4.04

58

35.2

35

16

35

MLB Totals

20

16

5

3.74

425

361

322

225

372



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