Graves, Karsay sign minor-league deals with Tribe

Updated: December 19, 2005, 3:26 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians turned to their past for help with their bullpen, agreeing Monday to minor league contracts with right-handed relievers Danny Graves and Steve Karsay.

 Steve Karsay
Karsay

 Danny Graves
Graves

Graves and Karsay previously pitched for the Indians, who need fill the setup spot vacated when Bob Howry agreed to a $12 million, three-year contract with the Chicago Cubs in November.

Graves, who holds Cincinnati's club record for saves (182), was released by the Reds in May, shortly after he made an obscene hand gesture to a fan following a poor ninth-inning performance.

He was signed by the New York Mets and went 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA in 40 appearances. If the 32-year-old Graves is added to Cleveland's 40-man roster in spring training, he would receive a one-year $575,000 contract.

When he was let go by the Reds, Graves insisted he had not fully recovered from 2003, when he agreed to try to help the club by becoming a starter for the first time. He went 4-15 and wore down, losing velocity off his fastball.

Graves was with the Indians from 1995-97 before being traded to Cincinnati on July 31, 1997, in a five-player deal. Cleveland originally picked Graves in the fourth round of the 1994 draft.

Karsay has been slowed by injuries to his back and shoulder in recent years, which has limited him to 27 appearances since 2003. The 33-year-old was released by the New York Yankees last season and finished the year with Texas Rangers.

Karsay, who began his career as a starter with Oakland, went 15-14 with 22 saves in 3½ seasons with the Indians. Off a successful 2001 season split between the Indians and Atlanta Braves, Karsay signed a $22.5 million, four-year deal to become the Yankees' setup man for Mariano Rivera.

He filled that role in 2002 by pitching in 78 games, but Karsay missed the entire 2003 season while recovering from surgery on his right shoulder.

Karsay would get a one-year, $600,000 deal if added to Cleveland's 40-man roster.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press