Capps out of bullpen running, may go to Minors

Capps out of bullpen running, may go to Minors

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reliever Matt Capps left the Indians' complex on Monday morning after being informed that he would not be making the club's Opening Day bullpen. Cleveland has expressed an interest in keeping Capps in the Minors, but the pitcher has yet to accept or decline that invitation.

"He's taking some time to think through it," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "We should have more information in the next day or two."

Capps entered Spring Training as a candidate for Cleveland's bullpen, which still has a couple vacancies with roughly two weeks left in camp. The Indians signed the 29-year-old right-hander to a Minor League contract over the offseason, hoping the former closer would be able to earn a role as a middle reliever.

If Capps chose to remain in the Tribe's farm system, he would be eligible to receive a $100,000 retention bonus and an opt-out clause for June 1.

Last season, Capps was limited to 30 games with the Twins due to issues with his right shoulder. He went 1-4 with a 3.68 over 29 1/3 innings, during which he had 18 strikeouts against four walks. Over eight seasons in the Majors, between tours with the Pirates, Nationals and Twins, Capps has fashioned a 3.52 ERA with 138 saves in 444 appearances.

Capps' best season came in 2010, when he had a 2.47 ERA to go along with 42 saves in 74 outings for the Nationals and Twins.

Antonetti said Capps (4.50 ERA through four Cactus League games) was feeling good with his shoulder this spring, but indicated that the pitcher had yet to reach full strength.

"He's feeling healthy," Antonetti said. "He's just working back to getting to the point where he has full strength in his shoulder and is capable of pitching the way he can pitch. We think he's headed in the right direction. We just felt there may be some other guys ahead of him come Opening Day."

As things stand, the Indians' Opening Day bullpen projects to include closer Chris Perez (if he can return in time from his right shoulder strain), setup man Vinnie Pestano, lefty Rich Hill and right-handers Cody Allen and Joe Smith. Righty Matt Albers is a leading candidate for a job, considering he is out of Minor League options. Other candidates include Nick Hagadone, Scott Barnes, Bryan Shaw and David Huff.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.