CLEVELAND -- The Indians believe they have addressed an issue in acquiring left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczysnki in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals for minor league infielder Juan Herrera.
“In acquiring Marc, we feel like we’ve gotten a left-handed reliever that has been very effective at getting left-handed hitters out at the major league level,” Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. “In addition to that, he has postseason experience and has pitched in some very pressurized games, in games that we aspire to play in.
“We think he addresses a need, both in the short and potentially long-term for the organization. I think he’ll fit in very well.”
Left-handers have provided little relief for the Indians this season, with Cleveland using a host of pitchers in the role, including Rich Hill, who is the only southpaw in the bullpen right now.
Antonetti sounded as though Rzepczynski would join the big league bullpen. The Indians designated Triple-A Columbus right-hander Joe Martinez for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster and Rzepczysnki is expected to be in Cleveland today.
Though Rzepczysnki, 27, has experience in the majors and postseason, this year has been a struggle. In 11 appearances for the Cardinals, he has posted a 7.84 ERA. St. Louis demoted him to the minors after he made an appearance Monday night.
Rzepczysnki owns a lifetime big league ERA of 4.20 in 177 games, his best season coming in 2011 when he posted a combined 3.34 ERA in 71 appearances for the Cardinals and Blue Jays. The Anaheim, Calif. native tossed two scoreless innings for the Cards in the World Series that year.
“He hasn’t been quite as successful at the major league level this year, but it’s been a very small sample,” Antonetti said. “His stuff’s still the same. He’s got a very good fastball. He gets ground balls and he has a good slider. He’s a guy we’ve had interest in for quite a while.”
Cleveland was also interested in lefty relievers Josh Outman (Colorado) and Javier Lopez (San Francisco), but the asking price was reportedly too high.
Antonetti hinted that the Indians might not be done, with potential moves still on the horizon before today’s 4 p.m. trade deadline.
“We’re still working to try to improve the team,” Antonetti said. “If there are guys out there that we think can improve upon the options that we have, we’ll explore it. But we do feel confident that Marc can help our team.”
Herrera, 20, was an undrafted free-agent acquisition in 2010. He has appeared in 39 games for Class A Mahoning Valley this season, batting .275 with a home run and 11 RBIs.
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