Indians acquire D-backs' Kubel for stretch run
The Cleveland Indians added an outfield bat for the stretch drive Thursday night when they acquired Jason Kubel from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
CLEVELAND -- The Indians found someone to boost their sagging offense. They now have to hope it's not too late.
After scoring just three runs in three games while being swept in Atlanta, the Indians acquired outfielder Jason Kubel on Friday from Arizona to help their playoff push.
Kubel, who hit 30 homers last season for the Diamondbacks, has struggled in 2013, his second year with Arizona. He was designated for assignment earlier this week.
In exchange for Kubel, the Diamondbacks will receive a player to be named or cash. Arizona will pay the "vast majority" of Kubel's remaining salary and buyout and would get a lower-tier prospect from Cleveland, a Major League Baseball source told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
Cleveland picked up the left-handed hitter the day it opens a three-game series in Detroit. The Indians trail the AL Central-leading Tigers by 6.5 games and are four back in the wild-card chase.
"We're excited to bring him back to the American League and give him a chance to contribute," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said.
Kubel, 31, was batting .220 with five homers and 32 RBIs in 89 games and had been reduced to mainly pinch-hitting duties as Gerardo Parra, Adam Eaton, A.J. Pollock and Tony Campana logged the bulk of the outfield at-bats for manager Kirk Gibson.
The Indians went 0-for-18 with runners in scoring position against the Braves, and everyone in Cleveland's lineup is underperforming. The Indians are batting .238 since the All-Star break and .227 in August. Their leading hitter, All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis, is batting .285 entering the weekend.
"He's another left-handed bat," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "We don't know how much he'll play."
Antonetti said Kubel can play some outfield and will be used as a designated hitter and to pinch-hit over the season's final month -- and hopefully in the playoffs.
"It'll be nice to have another bat here," Francona said. "If he gets a big hit or two, it won't bother us."
Kubel, who is not expected to join the Indians until Saturday, spent seven seasons with Minnesota before signing as a free agent with Arizona in 2011. He's making $7.5 million this year with a club option worth $7.5 million for next season.
Kubel's familiarity with the AL Central is another reason the Indians acquired him. Of Cleveland's final 29 games, 19 are against divisional opponents.
Also, the Indians signed free-agent catcher Kelly Shoppach to a minor league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Columbus.
Shoppach spent four seasons (2006-09) with the Indians after he was acquired in a trade from Boston. The 33-year-old spent the first 2.5 months with Seattle, batting .196 with three homers and nine RBIs in 35 games before he was released on June 20.
"Kelly offers us an opportunity to improve our depth," Antonetti said. "He's a veteran catcher who has had success at the big league level. He can still run a game, handle a pitching staff and control the running game."
Shoppach was also with Washington's and Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliates this season.
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.
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