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Ex-Dodger Vande Berg Hopes to Give Indians Lift

March 01, 1987|Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. — While most of the Cleveland Indians look back at last season with good memories of a winning season, Ed Vande Berg would just rather file and forget his struggles as a Los Angeles Dodger.

The 28-year-old Vande Berg had a big challenge a year ago, having come to the Dodgers in a trade after four seasons with the Seattle Mariners. Vande Berg was set to be the Dodgers' left-handed stopper in the bullpen.

"I had a great spring training," Vande Berg said. "Then my first few outings, I blew a couple of save opportunities. After that, I didn't get any more opportunities."

Vande Berg finished the year with a 1-5 record, no saves and a 3.41 earned run average.

In late January, the Indians came to contract terms with the five-year major leaguer.

"I'm very happy to be here," he said before a recent workout. He said he was comfortable in working out a contract with Dan O'Brien, Indians' senior vice president, a baseball executive who also used to work in the Seattle organization.

"When I was talking contract with Dan, I assumed they needed someone for the short lefty role, somebody to pitch about 80 games. Plus, the way they play, they score a lot of runs," Vande Berg said.

Manager Pat Corrales said the Indians needed a left-hander with experience. Corrales is willing to overlook Vande Berg's troubles of last season.

"He gave us trouble whenever we faced him. Anytime a guy can do that to our offense, he's got something," Corrales said.

Vande Berg had success with Seattle in 1982. He set a major league record for a rookie pitcher by appearing in 78 games. That mark was broken last season by Mitch Williams of Texas, with 80 appearances.

Vande Berg was 9-4 with five saves and a 2.37 ERA in 76 innings in 1982.

In 1983, he slipped a bit. He went 2-4 with a 3.36 ERA and five saves.

In 1984, he was used as a starter and reliever, going 8-12 with a 4.76 ERA and seven saves.

He went back to the bullpen exclusively in 1985, still with Seattle. He was 2-1, with a 3.72 ERA and three saves.

"During the time I pitched well, my best pitch was the slider," Vande Berg said. "But the Dodgers weren't big on sliders. They felt it caused sore arms. They wanted me to rely on my fastball and curve, but I wasn't able to do that."

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