Friday, February 16, 2007

Keith Foulke retiring?

WTAM and are reporting this morning that would-be Indians closer Keith Foulke is pulling a Bob Hallen and retiring one day after pitchers and catchers reported to spring training.

Foulke is 32 and has battled an assortment of injuries over the past couple of seasons. Needless to say, this would significantly alter the Indians' plans for their bullpen this season. Joe Borowski would be the undisputed closer and GM Mark Shapiro might be sent back out into the trade market to look for another veteran reliver.

The Indians signed former White Sox reliever Cliff Pollitte two days ago. Pollitte was a pillar of Chicago's 2005 championship bullpen and can pitch in both middle relief and setup. One has to wonder now if Shapiro signed Pollitte because he heard rumblings about Foulke hanging them up.

Before you start crying in your corn flakes over another unfortunate chapter entered into The Cleveland Experience log, look at it this way: If Foulke is retiring, at least he's doing it in February and not in July with the Indians in the heat of a division race. And if there is any question about his ability to stay healthy this season, it's best that the Indians don't put any stock in him.

But one still has to wonder about the initial psychological blow of losing a former World Series-winning closer on the second day of spring training. Very LeCharles Bentley of him.

Stay tuned.

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