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Off-field issues in the past, Hagadone focuses on 'pen

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Off-field issues in the past, Hagadone focuses on 'pen play video for Off-field issues in the past, Hagadone focuses on 'pen

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Left-hander Nick Hagadone has nothing other than competing for a spot in the Opening Day bullpen on his mind this spring. He can do that now that his off-field issues are firmly in the rearview mirror.

Earlier this offseason, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association found a resolution to the grievance Hagadone filed against the Indians during the 2012 season, and he was awarded big league service time and compensation for his stint on the Minor League disqualified list that year.

Hagadone broke his left forearm slamming a door following a July 6 outing against the Rays. Rather than place him on the disabled list, Cleveland optioned him to the Minors and put him on the disqualified list.

"We're very relieved to have it in the past," general manager Chris Antonetti said. "I think we continue to believe that Nick's going to be a big part of our bullpen and our team going forward. We can now put that issue behind us."

"I'm happy that it's not hanging over my head anymore," Hagadone said. "It's just over, and we can all move on and really just focus on baseball."

As camp opens, Hagadone is one of six lefties jockeying for position in the bullpen race. The top two lefties on the depth chart are Marc Rzepczynski and Josh Outman, but the Tribe will also look at Hagadone, Scott Barnes, Colt Hynes and Mike Zagurski.

"Zep did great for us, and we traded for Outman," manager Terry Francona said. "We'll try to get a handle on where we are with all of them. That's the goal of Spring Training. We're certainly not just going to make decisions on six, seven, eight, nine innings of Spring Training."

Last season the 28-year-old Hagadone recorded 30 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings and limited left-handed batters to a .211 average, but he ended with a 5.46 ERA and walked an average of six per nine innings. Over the winter he made some changes to his delivery -- widening his stance and increasing his tempo -- with the goal of improving his walk rate.

"It's just small adjustments that are going to help me be more athletic," Hagadone said, "and make my delivery more repeatable. It should make it easier for me to throw strikes. That's really what I need to do, just simplify things and go out and do it."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

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