Notes: New spring home closer?

Notes: New spring home closer?

CLEVELAND -- The state of Arizona reached deep down in its pocket and found some extra cash. Now, the Indians might stand to benefit.

The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority claims it has enough money to fund proposed Spring Training facilities in both Goodyear and Glendale, according to a report in Tuesday's Arizona Republic. Previously, it had been speculated the sports authority would only be able to provide enough funding for one of the two projects.

This latest development is good news for the Indians, because it increases the odds they'll be able to move forward with their plan of moving their Spring Training operation from Winter Haven, Fla., to Goodyear by 2009.

Under previous financial forecasts, it was assumed the Indians and Dodgers, both looking to leave Florida, would be competing for funds.

"We're encouraged," said Bob DiBiasio, the Tribe's vice president of public relations, "but until it's absolutely a done deal, we really don't have much more to add."

The Indians, though, could have more to add in the coming days. The memorandum of understanding they reached with the city of Goodyear regarding the project expires at the end of the year.

Goodyear officials requested the sports authority fund roughly two-thirds of a $77.5 million two-team facility or a $56 million one-team facility. Thus far, the Indians are the only team to commit to moving to Goodyear. According to the report in the Republic, the sports authority has been in talks with the city of Goodyear about a 50-percent match in funding, which would be about $8 million less than requested.

It is the Tribe's preference to take over a one-team facility.

The Glendale facility -- an $80.7 million project for which $48 million in public funding would be needed -- would house the Dodgers and, most likely, the White Sox, though the Sox must find a team to replace themselves in Tucson.

If both the Indians and Dodgers make the move from Florida to Arizona, the Cactus League would have 14 teams. The sports authority is scheduled to have a board meeting Thursday, and more concrete action could very well take place then.

"We'll be able to achieve what's good for the Cactus League," board chairman Larry Landry told the Republic. "The Dodgers and Indians coming to Arizona."

Mulder watch: The Indians won't confirm it, but agent Gregg Clifton told he was to meet with the club Tuesday to discuss his client, free-agent left-hander Mark Mulder.

Mulder is coming off rotator cuff surgery, which kept him out of the second half of '06. He isn't expected to be ready to join a rotation until June, at the earliest.

In his seven-year career with the A's and Cardinals, the 29-year-old Mulder is 103-57 with a 4.11 ERA. He is reportedly being pursued by the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Rangers and Giants in addition to the Indians.

If the season began today, the Indians would already have a rotation of C.C. Sabathia, Jake Westbrook, Cliff Lee, Jeremy Sowers and Paul Byrd under contract. That's a rotation that already includes three left-handers.

General manager Mark Shapiro would not comment on Mulder.

Bullpen tinkering: Shapiro has signed three veteran relievers -- Joe Borowski, Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Fultz -- to one-year deals and exploring other avenues to beef up his beleaguered 'pen.

Former Red Sox closer Keith Foulke is also on the free-agent market, but he is reportedly interested in pitching closer to his home in Arizona.

The Pirates' Mike Gonzalez, who saved 24 games last year, and the Rangers' Akinori Otsuka, who saved 32, have found their names active in the trade rumor mill.

But without naming names, Shapiro said the trade market for back-end relief help is hardly robust.

"My guess is those names are probably just [a product of] the rumor mill," he said.

Last week, the Indians signed right-hander Jeff Harris, who pitched three games with the Mariners last season before being sent to Triple-A Tacoma, to a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training. Harris could provide help in the bullpen at some point, but he's coming off a season that saw him spend two months on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis.

"Initially, he'll come in behind Tom Mastny, as far as depth is concerned," Shapiro said. "We'll just see how he is."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.