Indians acquire reliever Sikorski

Indians acquire reliever Sikorski

ANAHEIM -- The Indians picked up an experienced reliever on Tuesday in order to give a youngster a chance to perfect his trade.

The Tribe acquired right-hander Brian Sikorski from the Padres in exchange for reliever Mike Adams. Sikorski, 31, had been with the Padres since May 31 until he was designated for assignment on Monday.

The Indians optioned left-handed reliever Rafael Perez to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for their newest bullpen member.

Sikorski, who will be used in middle relief, has pitched in parts of two seasons in the Major Leagues, compiling a 2-4 record with a 3.51 ERA. He appeared for the Rangers in 2000, then played in Japan from 2001 to 2005.

The reliever went 21-20 with a 3.51 ERA during his stint in the Far East. He struck out 382 batters during five seasons and walked 116. His best season was last year with the Tokyo Giants, when Sikorski appeared in a career-high 70 games and went 7-1 with a 3.29 ERA.

Sikorski tried to catch on with a Major League team after each season ended in Japan, but found the timing difficult to do so. The Japanese season ends in early October and, before any Major League teams had a chance to offer him a contract -- usually done weeks after the World Series -- his Japanese team forced him to make a decision on whether he wanted to play another year.

He only returned to the Majors when the Tokyo Giants, who had recently signed a new manager, released him. The Padres then sprung a deal for the reliever. Sikorski was glad to come back to the Majors because it gave his 6-year-old son a chance to start school in the United States.

Sikorski, who manager Eric Wedge said his team had been watching for a while, believes his experience in Japan only helped his evolution as a pitcher.

"It's not a power game over there, it's mostly just putting the ball in play and situational hitting," he said. "But playing there helped me become a better pitcher."

The Tribe decided to demote Perez to help the 24-year-old improve, even though it leaves the Indians without a left-hander in the bullpen.

"The best thing for Rafael is to go down right now," Wedge said. "He'll go down to familiarize himself with the bullpen and his routine. It only is going to help him develop that much quicker."

Perez appeared in 12 games during his first trip to the Major Leagues and is 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA. He allowed no runs in his first 5 2/3 innings with the Indians, but gave up four in his final three. The left-hander went from a starter at Double-A Akron to a reliever in the Major Leagues, the main reason the club decided to demote him to Buffalo.

The trip to the Minor Leagues will allow Perez to focus solely on pitching from the bullpen and learning how to master using his three pitches -- a fastball, slider and changeup -- in limited innings.

"He's proven he can get hitters out in the zone," Wedge said. "It's only going to help him to go down there and work on some things so we can get him back up here."

Adams, who was claimed off waivers from the Mets on July 7, will be part of his fourth organization this season. He began the year with the Brewers, where he appeared in two games and had an ERA of 11.57. The 27-year-old pitched in three contests for Buffalo and had an ERA of 1.93 (4 2/3 IP, 1 ER).

Greg Wagner is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.