CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Indians have endured a winter of bullpen flight with the free agent defections of Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Josh Tomlin and Oliver Perez. Miller is the only one to sign with a new team, but when the January wind whips off Lake Erie, it makes the holes in the Tribe’s bullpen whistle.
Perhaps they filled one of those openings Friday by claiming right-hander A.J. Cole, 27, on waivers from the Yankees. Cole’s addition put the Tribe’s 40-man roster at 39 players.
The 6-5, 238-pound Cole, with the exception of two appearances in the minors, spent last season in the big leagues with Washington and the Yankees. He opened the season as the fifth starter for the Nationals before the Yankees acquired him and put him in the bullpen. Cole went 4-2 with a 6.27 ERA in 42 combined appearances. He struck out 59 and walked 23 in 48 1/3 innings. He had trouble keeping the ball in the park, allowing 15 homers among the 55 hits he surrendered.
In 28 games with the Yankees, Cole posted a 4.26 ERA, averaging 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings (49 strikeouts and 16 walks in 38 innings).
The Indians, at this point of the offseason, will bring 29 pitchers to camp. Danny Salazar and Ben Taylor (right hip surgery) are the only ones not expected to be ready to open the season because of injury. Of the pitchers headed to Goodyear, Ariz., 21 — including Salazar and Goody — could be considered relievers.