Indians pull out stops for free agent Nick Swisher

Indians pull out stops for free agent Nick Swisher

CLEVELAND (AP) The 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 on Tuesday at Progressive Field with Swisher, who is considering a multiyear contract offer from the Indians. Swisher would immediately 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.

The 32-year-old Swisher, who spent the past four seasons with the New York Yankees, arrived in Cleveland on Tuesday night 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, 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.''

A switch-hitter, Swisher batted .272 with 24 homers and 93 RBIs in 148 games last season, his fourth with the New York Yankees.

The Indians have been in the market for an outfielder throughout the offseason. They offered Shane Victorino a four-year contract worth a reported $44 million before he signed a three-year, $39 million deal with Boston.

Also, Cleveland officially signed free agent first baseman Mark Reynolds to a one-year, $6 million deal. He spent the past two seasons with Baltimore, batting .221 with 23 homers and 69 RBIs in 135 games last season.

``We feel Mark provides a great balance to our lineup, a right-handed hitter with some power, with the ability to get on base,'' Antonetti said. ``We feel he will help our offense.''

Reynolds passed a physical last week but his signing couldn't be announced until the Indians made a 40-man roster move. The club designated infielder Russ Canzler for assignment.

Tyler Wilson gets the start as Orioles try to make contact against Houston

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Tyler Wilson gets the start as Orioles try to make contact against Houston

Tonight's Game:

Baltimore Orioles (26-17) vs. Houston Astros (18-28), Minute Maid Park, Houston, 8:10 p.m.

Starting pitchers:

Tyler Wilson (2-2, 3.68) vs. Collin McHugh (4-4, 5.13)

Keys to the Game: 

Can the Orioles make contact against McHugh? They struck out 19 times in Tuesday's game.

Can Wilson fool the Astros? He's yet to face them.

News and Notes:

The Orioles trail Boston by a full game, their widest deficit of the season. 

The Orioles were struck out 16 times in 7 1/3 innings by Astros relievers. According to Elias, that's a Houston team record. 

Mark Trumbo is 0-for-16 since homering on Friday against the Angels. 

In his last nine games, Matt Wieters is 15-for-33 to raise his average from .211 to .288.

RELATED: 

Orioles struck out late and often against Astros

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Orioles struck out late and often against Astros

Everyone knows the Orioles are going to strike out. I could say they’ll strike out early and often, but in Tuesday night’s game, they fanned 19 times in 13 innings, and most of those strikeouts were late in the game,

How bad was it? 

According to Elias, Houston Astros relievers set a team record by striking out 16 Orioles in 7 1/3 innings. 

Nine of the 12 Orioles’ outs in extra innings came on strikeouts.

At least it wasn’t an Orioles team record. On Sept. 12, 1962, Washington’s Tom Cheney struck out 21 Orioles in 16 innings. In a 1996 Division Series game, they struck an amazing 23 times in 10 innings, and still won. 

When the season began, there was hope that the Orioles weren’t going to strike out as often as in 2015, but even in their season opening seven game winning streak, they were fanned 10 or more times twice. 

In their more recent seven-game run earlier this month, they didn’t strike out in double figures at all. 

Over their last five games, they’ve struck out 54 times. In their 3-1 win on Saturday night, they struck out 13 times. 

As Adam Jones told reporters in Houston after Tuesday night’s game, it’s in the Orioles DNA to strike out.

Overall, the Orioles are only eighth in the American League in strikeouts. In their 43 games, they’re averaging 8.23 strikeouts a game, but they’re 11th in walking, getting an average of three bases on balls per game. 

Their on-base percentage has fallen since their torrid offensive start, but it’s still .322, which ranks fourth in the league, and well above recent years. 

But, they have players who strike out a lot. Chris Davis is on pace for his second straight 200 strikeout season. Mark Trumbo could strike out more than 180 times. Manny Machado, Joey Rickard and Jonathan Schoop are all on pace to strike out more than 100 times this season.

No one will complain about the strikeouts if they hit home runs and win. Their 65 home runs are tied with the New York Mets for the most in baseball, and until last night, they’d been at the top of the division for the bulk of the season. The Orioles are now in second place, and for the first time, they trail Boston by a full game. 

RELATED: ORIOLES LOSE THEIR LONGEST GAME OF 2016 IN 13 INNINGS

Orioles lose their longest game of 2016 in 13 innings

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Orioles lose their longest game of 2016 in 13 innings

Winner: Feliz (2-1)
Loser:   Bundy (0-1)

WHAT WENT WRONG: Dylan Bundy allowed a leadoff triple to Tony Kemp in the bottom of the 13th. After two intentional walks were issued to load the bases, Carlos Correa singled to center to win it for Houston. 

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Chris Tillman had won five straight, but added to his string of quality starts by allowing just two runs on three hits in seven innings. He’s thrown seven consecutive quality starts. 

GOING DEEP: The Orioles’ two runs were home runs. Pedro Alvarez hit his third in the fifth inning. Manny Machado slammed his 13th in the sixth. Both were hit off Astros starter Doug Fister. 

GOING LONG: The Orioles played their longest game of the season. They haven’t played past the 13th inning since Sept. 20, 2013 when they lost in 18 at Tampa Bay. It was their first four hour game of 2016. 

LOTS OF K’S: The Orioles struck out 19 times in 13 innings. 

LEAVING THEM ON: The Orioles twice left the bases loaded. In the second, Ryan Flaherty struck out, and in the ninth, Joey Rickard fanned. They left 11 runners on base. 

HOME RUNS AND TILLMAN: Luis Valbuena’s two run home run off Tillman was just the third he’s allowed in 11 starts, but the second in his last two games. 

THERE HE GOES: Matt Wieters stole his first base since May 26, 2013 in the ninth inning. He has seven stolen bases in his career. 

YOU’RE OUT: Houston’s Colby Rasmus, who visited with manager Buck Showalter in the winter of 2014 about joining the Orioles was ejected by home plate umpire Dana DeMuth for arguing balls and strikes in the sixth inning. 

UP NEXT: Tyler Wilson (2-2, 3.68) faces Collin McHugh (4-4, 5.13) on Wednesday night at 8:10 p.m.