Tribe acquire Salas, demote Marte

Updated: February 19, 2009, 4:48 PM ET
Associated Press

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Cleveland Indians acquired reliever Juan Salas on Thursday in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and designated disappointing third baseman Andy Marte for assignment.

The Indians sent minor league infielder Isaias Velasquez to Tampa for Salas, a right-hander who made five appearances for the Rays in 2008. The 30-year-old had a 7.11 ERA in five games over two stints with the Rays. He went 4-5 with a 2.62 ERA and one save in 28 games for Triple-A Durham.

Drafted as an infielder in 1998, Salas was converted to a reliever in 2004. He was first called up by the Rays two years later and went 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA in 34 games for Tampa in 2007.

Salas will join a crowded field for the final spot in Cleveland's bullpen.

"He's in the mix," Indians manager Eric Wedge. "He's got a live arm and he has an option left."

Velasquez batted .281 with one homer and 18 RBIs for the Indians' Mahoning Valley (Class A) affiliate last season.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Salas, the Indians designated Marte, who has not fulfilled expectations since arriving from the Boston Red Sox in a 2006 trade. He batted .221 in 80 games last season and has hit only .219 with the Indians.

"He's still working to be a consistent hitter at the major league level," Wedge said. "That's been the stumbling block for Andy. But he's still a young man and maybe we'll get him back."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press