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Indians continue to make pitching moves

Indians continue to make pitching moves

ARLINGTON -- The revolving door continues to twirl outside the Indians' clubhouse.

"We've got a lot of moving parts right now," manager Eric Wedge said. "A lot of balls in the air and irons in the fire."

The moving parts on Wednesday were relievers Tom Mastny and Jensen Lewis, both of whom were optioned to Triple-A Buffalo after working in Tuesday's 12-7 loss to the Rangers.

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In their place will be right-handers Rick Bauer and Brian Slocum. Bauer's contract was purchased from Buffalo, as he takes the open 40-man spot Jorge Julio left behind. Slocum, who was 3-4 with a 5.66 ERA in 11 starts at Buffalo, will be used as a long reliever.

If his numbers at Buffalo are any indication, the 31-year-old Bauer could have an opportunity to be a significant contributor in the bullpen's back end. He was the closer for the Bisons, posting a 1.54 ERA, 15 saves in 17 opportunities and 30 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings.

"He threw well," Wedge said. "He made a good impression on us this spring. He was very consistent late in the game."

Bauer was a non-roster invitee to the Tribe's Spring Training camp. He last pitched in the Majors with the Rangers in 2006.

"I have a lot of good friends over there," Bauer said. "[Closer] C.J. Wilson actually just sent me a text the other day saying, 'We're going to do our best to get you called up by knocking [the Indians' pitchers] around.'"

Wilson's forecast was accurate. The Indians, caught off guard by an injury to Jake Westbrook, were forced to start Mastny on Tuesday, and he surrendered five runs in 1 1/3 innings of work.

Lewis fared quite a bit better in his three innings of work, giving up a pair of runs. He was still in the Indians' clubhouse on Wednesday afternoon, as the Indians waited until shortly before the game against the Rangers to officially make the roster moves. Lewis nearly stayed on because right-hander Rafael Betancourt was dealing with tightness in his back.

But after Betancourt tossed a successful bullpen session, Lewis was optioned out. He'll continue to work on refining his mechanics and getting his velocity back to where it was in '07.

"Obviously, he's made a lot of progress in a short period," Wedge said of Lewis, who was originally optioned to the Bisons on May 24. "We want him to keep going with that."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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