After Nearly 5 Years Away, Aven Rejoins Indians

CLEVELAND (AP) - Desperate for offensive help, the slumping Cleveland Indians purchased the contract of outfielder Bruce Aven from Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday.

Aven signed a free-agent contract with the Indians this winter, but couldn't win a major league spot and began the season with the Bisons. He previously played for Cleveland in 1997 before being claimed off waivers by Florida in 1998.

The 30-year-old Aven also has played for Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. He was batting .276 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 31 games for the Bisons.

The Indians have lost three straight games and are just 6-19 following an 11-1 start this season. Cleveland is averaging 4.2 runs per game -- more than two less than at this point last season -- and the Indians are batting just .248 as a team.

To make room for Aven, the Indians optioned left-hander Alex Herrera to Buffalo. Herrera was recalled last weekend when reliever Ricardo Rincon was excused to attend his son's christening in Mexico.

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