Rzepczynski eager to begin new chapter with Indians

Rzepczynski eager to begin new chapter with Indians

CLEVELAND -- Marc Rzepczynski has already found plenty to like about his new organization.

Rzepczynski, a left-handed reliever the Indians acquired from St. Louis on Tuesday, is excited to begin the Cleveland portion of his career with a fresh start, which must be made easier by the Tribe's easygoing roster.

"So far, the clubhouse has been great," Rzepczynski said. "It's a pretty relaxed group of guys, probably the most relaxed group I've ever played with."

Rzepczynski remembers visiting Cleveland once as a visiting player. In 2011, his Blue Jays played a series at Progressive Field shortly before the All-Star break. The time in town went quickly, though Rzepczynski recalls hurting his shoulder during the series.

Not long after, Toronto traded him to the Cardinals, whom he helped to a World Series title that year. This season, Rzepczynski was optioned to Triple-A Memphis in April after posting a 7.88 ERA over his first nine outings.

He assembled a 3.07 ERA and kept left-handed hitters to a .185 batting average across 32 Minor League appearances this year. The Cardinals recalled him on July 25, and in 2 1/3 innings over two outings, he gave up three hits and two runs, with a walk and a strikeout.

"He should help Cleveland," an American League scout said. "He knows how to get left-handed hitters out."

It's for that reason that Tribe general manager Chris Antonetti traded for Rzepczynski. Entering Thursday, the Indians' left-handed relievers had combined for a 6.47 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP in 65 1/3 innings.

"When I saw him earlier in St. Louis, it looked like his velocity was down a little bit. His out pitch is his slider, and he really wasn't getting to it ... he was behind a lot," the scout said. "To me, it looks like he's back a little bit. It looked like the slider was sharper. He had more command with his pitches."

In 155 Major League games, Rzepczynski has held left-handed hitters to a .224/.298/.310 line with 94 strikeouts and 30 walks. The Indians haven't seen him in action yet, but his time will likely come soon.

"I'm just hoping," Rzepczynski said, "whenever that phone rings, to go out there and do my job that they brought me here to do."

Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.