CLEVELAND (AP) — Bryan Shaw came to camp determined to show the Indians there were some quality innings left in that rubber right arm of his.
They believe him.
The 33-year-old right-hander, who signed a minor league deal with Cleveland this offseason, was told Wednesday by Chris Antonetti, the team’s president of baseball operations, that he will make the opening-day roster.
“It was awesome,” Shaw said of getting the news. “I mean, I kept giving him some crap every day, walking by (manager) Tito’s (Francona’s) office, saying, ‘Hey, we got a meeting today?’ for the past week or so, trying to see if they’d tell me one way or another.”
Shaw earned his spot in Cleveland’s bullpen, where he spent 2013-17 and took the ball from Francona as often as needed.
He’ll get a one-year contract paying a $1 million salary in the major leagues and $125,000 in the minors and will have the chance to earn $1.3 million in performance bonuses based on pitching appearances: $100,000 each for 35 and 40, $150,000 apiece for 45, 50 and 55, and $200,000 each for 60, 65, 70 and 75.
Shaw appeared in 378 games over five seasons with the Indians, and Francona didn’t hesitate to use him in consecutive games. And while he was a workhorse, Shaw was sometimes inconsistent and became a target for some fans.
But after leaving as a free agent and signing a lucrative deal with Colorado, he had two sup-par seasons before winding up Seattle last year. He pitched in only six games for the Mariners before spending much of 2020 in their alternate site.
He tinkered with his mechanics in the offseason, and is throwing as hard as ever.
“We got into a good spot,” Shaw said. “Once we even started this spring, we’ve tinkered with some different little grips and some different stuff and gotten a few pitchers actually better than they were when we came in. So I think everything’s at a really good spot right now going forward, and hopefully it stays that way.”
Shaw gives the Indians experience in the back end of their revamped bullpen, a veteran to help bring along young relievers like James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase.
“I told Bryan, ‘You’re home,’ and he said ‘I know,’” Francona said. “We’re happy. We’re happy for him, but we’re also happy for ourselves, because I think we all feel like he’s really going to help us.”
Shaw said he never considered retirement.
“Ha,” he said with a laugh. “That’s not gonna happen. Honest answer? What kept me going is Jesse Orosco Sr. has 1,254 games pitched in the big leagues. I think I have 619. That means I need 635 more. And then I’ll stop.”
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