Physical last step before Foulke joins Indians

Updated: January 3, 2007, 7:46 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Free agent reliever Keith Foulke arrived Tuesday to take his physical for the Cleveland Indians, the final step before the club can complete a one-year deal with the right-hander.

Foulke and his agent, Dan Horwits, have been in talks for several weeks with the club, which is believed to be offering a mutual option for 2008.

If he passes his physical -- the team may not have complete results for a few days -- Foulke would give the Indians another option at closer.

As long as he's deemed healthy, Foulke will join a revamped Cleveland bullpen that has been overhauled this offseason with the additions of Joe Borowski, Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Fultz -- all of whom agreed to one-year deals.

The 34-year-old Foulke went 3-1 with a 4.35 ERA but no saves in 44 games in 2006 for the Boston Red Sox, but lost his closer's job to rookie Jonathan Papelbon. Foulke was slowed by elbow and back troubles last season.

Two years ago, Foulke saved 32 games for Boston and fielded Edgar Renteria's grounder for the final out as the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years. In November, the club chose not to exercise its $7.5 million option.

Also on Tuesday, the Indians agreed to minor league contracts with free agent infielders Luis Rivas and Keith Ginter and invited them to their spring training camp.

The 27-year-old Rivas has a .262 career average with 30 homers, 177 RBI and 78 steals in 565 games with the Minnesota Twins from 2000-05. He had his best season as a rookie in 2001, batting .266 with seven homers, 47 RBI and 31 steals in 153 games.

Rivas hasn't played in the majors since 2005, when he hit .257 before becoming a free agent.

After signing with Tampa Bay last January, he spent the season with the Devil Rays' Triple-A affiliate in Durham, N.C. He missed the first two months with a broken knuckle that required surgery.

The 30-year-old Ginter spent last season with Oakland's Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento. He batted .268 with 13 homers and 68 RBI in 114 games. Ginter has also played for Houston and Milwaukee.

The Indians also remain interested in left-hander Mark Mulder, who has reportedly narrowed his choices to Cleveland, St. Louis and Texas.

Mulder is coming off shoulder surgery that ended his 2006 season with the Cardinals and is not expected to be ready to pitch until June.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press