Tribe Makes Bullpen Change ... Vizquel Writes Book ... Diaz To Return

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Indians' bullpen got a lot taller.

Chad Paronto, a 6-foot-5 right-hander claimed off waivers in November, was recalled from Class Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday and Jerrod Riggan was sent to the minors.

Paronto didn't allow a run in 9 1-3 innings over six games with the Bisons. He went 0-1 with a 4.50 earned run average in three outings during spring training with the Indians.

Indians manager Charlie Manuel said Paronto, whose out pitch is a sinker, will be used in the middle innings.

Cleveland signed Paronto after he was released by Baltimore.

When Albert Belle retired last year, the Orioles had to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to make room for him.

They did it by releasing Paronto, 26, who went 1-3 with a 5.00 ERA in 26 games for Baltimore last season.

"I'm excited to be here," said Paronto, who if he hadn't been brought up would be making a 10-hour bus trip with the Bisons to play in Louisville.

"At least I got out of that," he said.

Paronto had a tender elbow which prevented him from pitching as well as he wanted to during spring training. He also didn't get to pitch as much as he wanted.

"Once I got down to minor league camp, the more comfortable I started to feel," he said.

Riggan appeared in seven games for the Indians, who got him from the New York Mets in the Roberto Alomar deal. The right-hander had a 5.56 ERA and never got comfortable in his role as a middle reliever.

"I think part of his problem was that he was trying too hard," Manuel said. "I'm sure sometime during the season he'll be back with us. He's still in our plans. I think it's just a matter of him getting some more work in."


SORRY, CHARLIE: Crew chief Chuck Meriwether admitted to Indians manager Charlie Manuel that the wrong call was made when umpire Jerry Runge got hit by a thrown ball.

During Monday night's game, Omar Vizquel stole second and took third when catcher Sandy Alomar's throw hit Runge in the foot.

After play was stopped, the umps sent Vizquel back to second, saying the ball was dead when it hit Runge.

However, Rule 5.08 says, "If a thrown ball accidentally touches a base coach, or a pitched or thrown ball touches an umpire, the ball is alive and in play."

"He (Meriwether) called me and explained what happened," Manuel said. "I thought all along the ball was in play."


SHORT STORY: Gold Glove shortstop. Clothing designer. And now, author.

It seems Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel can do it all.

An autobiography on Vizquel, "Omar! My Life On and Off the Field", written with reporter Bob Dyer, was released Wednesday.

Hundreds of fans came to a book signing attended by Vizquel at a downtown restaurant and stood in line for an autographed copy.

One of them was Indians owner Larry Dolan, who joined the fans in signing "happy birthday" to Vizquel, who turned 35.


BASELINES: Catcher Einar Diaz, who suffered a cracked rib in a home-plate collision in Minnesota, said he probably will play in Thursday's series finale against the White Sox. Diaz got injured when he got bowled over by Twins outfielder Bobby Kielty last weekend. X-rays revealed a cracked rib on his left side. He will wear a protective harness in games. ... RHP Jake Westbrook, who underwent elbow surgery this spring, has reported to Winter Haven, Fla., to continue his rehab program. Westbrook began throwing on April 15.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)