Outman ready to ply his trade with Indians

Left-handed reliever acquired in December trade with Rockies

Outman ready to ply his trade with Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Josh Outman had a feeling he might be traded when a member of the Rockies' training staff gave him a call out of the blue in December. The same thing happened two winters earlier with the A's, and he was dealt away one day later.

"I got a phone call from [Colorado's] assistant trainer,'" Outman said. "He was just saying, 'Hey, checking in.' It was kind of awkward. I was like, 'I'm getting traded here pretty soon.'"

Sure enough, Outman was sent packing one day later, in the Dec. 18 swap that put him in an Indians uniform and sent outfielder Drew Stubbs to the Rockies. This spring, the left-handed reliever heads into camp as a virtual lock for a spot in Cleveland's bullpen.

Outman is no stranger to trades. He was sent to Oakland by the Phillies in 2008 as a Minor Leaguer, and the A's shipped him to Colorado before the 2012 season. This time, Outman said he is looking forward to the change of scenery, especially because the Indians are coming off a postseason appearance and poised to again contend in the American League Central.

Outman said he's looking forward to pitching for manager Terry Francona and being reunited with veteran Jason Giambi, who was a teammate in both Oakland and Colorado.

"I saw the run that they had at the end of the season last year," Outman said. "It's a pretty young team that played really good baseball down the stretch. Obviously, with a manager like Tito, you have your leadership. And then with a guy like Giambi in the clubhouse, a leader who has been around the game for so long, you have all the pieces to be a really, really competitive team."

Last season, Outman worked exclusively as a reliever for the first time, turning in a 4.33 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 61 appearances (54 innings). The lefty limited left-handed batters to a .198 average (.539 OPS), which was only slightly above his career showing (.189 average and .523 OPS).

Francona said there is still plenty of time to determine Outman's role in the 'pen.

"He's got some velocity and a breaking ball," Francona said. "The more he commands, the better he's going to be. I don't think he has to be [just a lefty specialist]. Again, some of that depends on how they're throwing, how other guys are throwing, necessity of innings, and things like that."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.