Ring or no ring, Shaw bringing serious heat

Since incident with Ausmus, Indians reliever improving results with increased velocity

Ring or no ring, Shaw bringing serious heat

CLEVELAND -- Bryan Shaw had five wedding bands on his left ring finger when reporters approached him at his locker on Tuesday night. Wearing a smirk, the Indians reliever wanted to make something crystal clear: He did not have a ring on under his glove during his brief outing against the Tigers.

After taking the mound in the eighth inning of the Indians' 7-3 win, Shaw removed the ring in case Detroit manager Brad Ausmus was monitoring the pitcher's left hand. During Shaw's previous appearance against the Tigers on April 24, Ausmus complained about the pitcher's rubber wedding band until the reliever slipped it off and stuffed it into his back pocket.

"I kind of forgot it was on there," Shaw said. "Brad made a stink about it last time, so when I got out there and realized I had it on, I took it off for him just to give him some peace of mind. He seems to be the only one with an issue with it, so whatever. I'll take it off when I play Detroit, and I'll put it on when I play everybody else."

Ring or no ring, Shaw made quick work of Detroit, retiring the only two batters he faced on Tuesday.

That brief showing gave Shaw 3 2/3 shutout innings since his April 24 outing in Detroit, and lowered his ERA to 1.35 over his last eight appearances. While Shaw's season ERA (9.00) remains bloated, the recent stretch has trimmed it down from 24.30 after his first four games. Along the way, Shaw has been displaying heightened velocity compared to last year.

"I know his ERA is kind of elevated because of the first couple weeks," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "But he's throwing the ball with more power than I've seen since we got him. I think that bodes well. We talk about hitters finding their level. He'll get there, too. And it'll be fun to watch."

Shaw has averaged at least 94.9 mph with his cut fastball in each of his past five games after topping a 94-mph average in only three of his 74 relief appearances last season. Shaw is averaging 94.1 mph with his cutter overall this season -- compared to 92.8 mph last year.

"The past few outings have felt really good," Shaw said. "I don't think it's a mechanical thing. It's just kind of the arm feels good, the body feels good."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.