December 19, 2012

Major League Notebook: Indians making a big pitch for Swisher

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Indians called upon a proven recruiter to land free agent outfielder Nick Swisher.

Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was among a group who had lunch Tuesday at Progressive Field with Swisher, who is considering a multiyear contract offer from the Indians. Swisher would fill a hole in right field for Cleveland, which traded Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati last week and has been trying to improve a team that collapsed in August and finished 68-94.

Swisher, 32, who spent the past four seasons with the New York Yankees, arrived Monday night in Cleveland and went to dinner with new manager Terry Francona, team president Mark Shapiro and General Manager Chris Antonetti. Last week, Antonetti said he intended to add a corner outfielder and the Indians are pulling out all the stops to add Swisher.

He and his wife, the actress JoAnna Garcia, who is expecting the couple's first child in May, arrived at Progressive Field at 10:15 a.m. and toured the club's family room. They were shown a suite and the team's clubhouse before the Indians tugged at Swisher's Ohio State connections to convince him Cleveland should be his next baseball home. Swisher played baseball for the Buckeyes.

The Indians played a video on their scoreboard that featured current Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and basketball coach Thad Matta, who encouraged Swisher to join the Indians. Swisher was moved by the gesture and didn't expect to see Tressel at lunch in the stadium's Terrace Club.

Tressel won a national title at Ohio State but was forced to resign amid a scandal. His new position is Akron's vice president of strategic engagement.

Following the lunch, which also included Francona, Swisher met with Shapiro and members of the club's marketing department. He left at 2:45 p.m. without giving the Indians an answer. Swisher is expected to visit with other teams before making a decision. Seattle, Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco are among the teams who have shown interest in him.

"It was great to connect," Antonetti said. "We had a chance to share our thoughts on the organization and where we are, and were able to answer any questions he may have had."

 

GIANTS: Right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla agreed to a $15 million, three-year contract.

 

WHITE SOX: Britt Burns, a former Chicago pitcher, and Vance Law, a former outfielder, are returning to the organization as members of the minor league staff.

 

RAYS: Tampa Bay signed right-hander Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona.

 

TIGERS: The team's deal with right-hander Anibal Sanchez could be worth $91 million if it decides to keep him for a sixth year.

 

MATT BUSH, 27, a former top overall major league draft pick, was sentenced in Punta Gorda, Fla., to four years and three months in prison for a drunken driving hit-and-run crash.

 

ATHLETICS: Oakland finalized a $6.5 million, two-year contract with Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, filling a void created by the departures of Cliff Pennington and Stephen Drew.

 

PHILLIES: Pitcher John Lannan and the team finalized a $2.5 million, one-year contract.

 

METS-ATHLETICS: New York obtained outfielder Collin Cowgill from Oakland for minor league infielder Jefry Marte.

 

ANGELS: The team will pay $2 million directly to outfielder Josh Hamilton's charitable foundation under his $125 million contract,

 

TWINS: The team reached an agreement with right-hander Mike Pelfrey on a $4 million, one-year contract.

 

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