Cleveland Indians' New Players - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Cleveland Indians' New Players

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Indians added some much needed experience and depth to their young bullpen Saturday, signing free agents Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Fultz to one-year contracts.

The deals for Hernandez, a 42-year-old right-hander, and Fultz, a 33-year-old lefty, include club options for 2008. Financial terms were not immediately available.

Hernandez went 0-3 with two saves and a 3.11 ERA in 68 appearances for Pittsburgh and the New York Mets last season. He began the year with the Pirates, who dealt him just before the July 31 trading deadline.

Hernandez, who made three appearances against St. Louis in the National League championship series, has 326 career saves, 10th most in league history. However, he is not expected to compete for the job as Cleveland's closer during spring training.

Cleveland had a major league-low 24 saves last season and general manager Mark Shapiro is exploring the free-agent market for someone to finish games. The Indians may choose not to sign a closer and conduct an open competition among its current relievers while in Florida next spring.

Hernandez was offered salary arbitration by the Mets, so signing him will cost the Indians a future draft pick.

Among active pitchers, the durable Hernandez is ranked fourth in career appearances (960) and third in saves.

Fultz, 33, went 3-1 with a 4.54 ERA in 66 appearances for Philadelphia in 2006. He did not allow a run in his final eight appearances in September.

The Indians didn't have an experienced left-handed setup-man on their roster for most of last season, making it difficult for manager Eric Wedge to match up against opposing teams in late-game situations.

Fultz has limited left-handed hitters to a .240 average during his career. He is 21-12 with three saves and a 4.37 ERA in 414 appearances. He made his major league debut with San Francisco in 2000 and has also pitched for Texas and Minnesota.

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