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Tribe keeps Perez, non-tenders two

Tribe keeps Perez, non-tenders two

CLEVELAND -- The Tribe was active before Saturday's 11:59 p.m. ET non-tender deadline, as the club removed three players from its 40-man roster.

The Indians opted to retain arbitration-eligible reliever Rafael Perez, but their two other arbitration-eligibles, right-handed reliever Jose Veras and right-handed starter Anthony Reyes, were both non-tendered.

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Additionally, the Indians removed right-hander Adam Miller, who was not arbitration-eligible, from their 40-man roster. There are now 37 players on the Tribe's 40-man.

It's possible that Miller or Reyes could be re-signed to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training camp.

Veras, 29, was acquired by the Tribe after the Yankees designated him for assignment in June. He posted a 7.62 ERA in 12 appearances before being designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A Columbus in early August. Veras returned to the Major League club in September and showed dramatic improvement, posting a 0.77 ERA in 10 outings.

The Indians and Veras could not come to terms on a contract before the non-tender deadline, so he is no longer part of their bullpen mix.

Miller, 25, was once the top pitching prospect in the Indians' system and one of the top prospects in all of baseball. His blazing fastball was to make him a top-of-the-rotation arm at the Major League level.

But a finger injury that has affected Miller for the better part of the past two years appears to have brought those hopes to an inglorious end. Miller recently had his fourth surgery on the middle finger on his right hand in yet another effort to stabilize the flexor tendon. And an Indians team that once hoped to have Miller pitching again by Spring Training 2010 now has no timetable for his return to baseball activities.

Miller has pitched just 28 2/3 innings in the Minors over the past two years.

The removal of the 28-year-old Reyes from the 40-man was no shock, as he won't be healthy enough to pitch in the first half of the 2010 season.

The Indians acquired Reyes in a trade with the Cardinals just before the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2008, and he posted a 1.83 ERA in six August and September starts before getting shut down with right elbow trouble.

When the elbow began bothering Reyes again, eight starts into his 2009 season, it prompted both an ulnar nerve transposition surgery and Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. As a result, Reyes won't be ready to pitch in the big leagues again until midway through the '10 season at the earliest.

Perez is coming off a wayward '09 in which the former key cog in the back of the Tribe 'pen fell from grace and was demoted to Triple-A twice. Perez, who qualifies for arbitration through "Super 2" status, went 4-3 with a 7.31 in 54 appearances in 2009. Still, the Indians know that if he can get straightened out, the 27-year-old Perez can once again be a dominant option against left-handed hitters.

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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