LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Tribe's medical report on Joe Borowski wasn't any more assuring than the Phillies' assessment of that same player. The Indians aren't blue-skying themselves into thinking Borowski's throwing arm is free of risk. After all, this is the same Borowski who missed the better part of 2004 with a partial tear in his right rotator cuff and two months of '05 with a fractured right forearm.
Keep in mind, though, that it's also the same Borowski who saved a career-high 36 games last year, logging 69 2/3 innings pitched over 72 appearances. So with the risk and the performance equally in mind, the Indians took the relatively cautious route Wednesday in signing the 35-year-old Borowski to a one-year, $4 million contract with a club option for 2008. "Your medical assessments factor in not only what your medical report says but also what the guy accomplished last year," general manager Mark Shapiro said. "This guy's accomplishments last year were tremendous. We felt his confidence and his strike-throwing would be a good fit for our bullpen." It's a bullpen the Indians have been working overtime at the Winter Meetings trying to repair. And while Borowski may or may not be the savior in the closer's role, he'll at least be a late-inning option for manager Eric Wedge. "[The Indians] told me I would be pitching at the tail end of the game," Borowski said. "Whether that's the eighth or ninth inning, I've always stated in the past that it doesn't matter. I've never once said my job is going to be [closing] and that's all I'm going to do. As long as I'm pitching with the game on the line, it's fine." Borowski was on the verge of signing a two-year deal with the Phillies just last week to be the setup man for closer Tom Gordon. When the medical report had the Phillies rethinking that deal and changing their offer to a one-year commitment, Borowski considered his other options. That's when the Indians stepped in.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.