WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Aaron Fultz has pitched himself off the Indians' roster. The Indians informed Fultz on Monday morning that he will not be a member of their club this year, despite the fact that they exercised his $1.5 million option for 2008. Craig Breslow, another left-handed reliever plucked off outright waivers by the Indians on Sunday, will get the first crack at taking his spot in the bullpen. Fultz, 34, had a rough spring, putting up an 11.88 ERA in seven Grapefruit League outings. He gave up 14 runs, 11 earned, on 16 hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. He was also dinged for four runs in two innings of a Minor League intrasquad game against Double-A Akron last week.
General manager Mark Shapiro said the Indians don't ordinarily make major decisions off Spring Training performance. But Fultz's outings and the relatively low value of his contract made Shapiro comfortable with this move. "It's never a decision you want to take lightly in this market," Shapiro said, "but the value of his option certainly factored into the decision." The Indians picked up Fultz's option after he went 4-3 with a 2.92 ERA in 49 appearances last season. He missed about five weeks midseason with a strained rib cage muscle. He allowed 14 of 45 inherited runners (31 percent) to score. "He was a guy who, prior to the injury, pitched effectively for us," Shapiro said. "He never really got back to that form after [the injury]. I'm sure he's a guy who can still help someone in the big leagues, but our desire was to take that spot in the bullpen and use that spot as an area where we try to get better."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.