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BASEBALL EXTRA | AROUND THE LEAGUE

Indians Remove Mesa as Closer

May 03, 1997|Times Wire Services

Cleveland Indian reliever Jose Mesa has lost his job as closer after giving up seven runs in his last two outings, Manager Mike Hargrove said.

"I don't know if we'd go to Jose in a close situation right now," Hargrove said before Friday night's game against the Detroit Tigers.

Mesa, who saved 85 games the last two seasons, began this year on the restricted list while on trial for charges of rape, gross sexual imposition and theft. He was found innocent of all charges April 9 and returned to the team two days later, recording three saves in six scoreless appearances.

But in his last two outings, Mesa has given up five earned runs and seven hits in one inning with an 0-2 record.

Mesa's pitches have been clocked in the 95-98 mph range, but with terrible location.

"I don't care if you throw it 198 mph. If you throw it over the middle of the plate, big league hitters are going to hit it," Hargrove said.

Hargrove said he would go to a bullpen-by-committee until Mesa works out his problems and that he didn't know how long Mesa would be kept out of save situations.

"I can't put a number on it," he said.

*

Baltimore pitcher Mike Mussina has reportedly agreed to a three-year contract extension of about $21 million with the Orioles.

The team's flagship station, WBAL, is reporting that Mussina has agreed to the deal, which will keep him in Baltimore through the 2000 season.

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