Indians’ Waddell Agrees to Go to Maine in Hopes of a Return to Cleveland
Last Wednesday, Tom Waddell left for a three-week visit to picturesque Old Orchard Beach, Me.
During his stay, Cleveland’s 27-year-old right-hander plans to enjoy some lobsters, some fishing and even some baseball on a rehabilitative basis with the Maine Guides of the International League.
“It sounds like a contradiction, but to stay in Cleveland, I have to go to Maine,” Waddell said. “I suppose this is part of recovering from injury.”
Waddell underwent surgery last Sept. 23 to remove bone spurs in his right arm and subsequent soreness limited his efforts in spring training.
“I got placed on the 15-day disabled list at the end of spring training, but I’ve been throwing regularly,” he said. “My arm feels great now.”
When Dickie Noles was diagnosed as having a hairline fracture in his left foot last week, Waddell went to Indians Manager Pat Corrales and pleaded for a chance to pitch.
“I told him my arm felt fine, that I was ready to go,” Waddell said. “But Pat said no. He said he didn’t want me in the bullpen. He said he wants me to start in the rotation, and that the only way for me to do that was to go to Maine and get 15 to 18 innings out of three starts.”
Waddell initially balked at the demotion, but has resigned himself to pitching for the Guides.
“Corrales said I’d only get an inning or two with the Indians until I proved I could pitch,” he said. “I don’t want to be bounced around from reliever to starter like I was last year. I’d prefer a constant role.”
After a 7-4 rookie season in 1984, Waddell was 8-6 last season with a 4.87 earned-run average. He started nine games, going 4-1, and notched nine saves in 14 save situations.
“I had some really good starts, beating both Ron Guidry and Dave Stieb,” he said. “But I wonder where I’ll fit in, considering our rotation now.”
Scuttlebutt around the Cleveland clubhouse has Waddell possibly replacing Neal Heaton as the spot starter. Corrales waves aside such rumors.
“We only want the best rotation possible,” said the manager. “We feel Tom makes a better starter. In Maine, he’ll be able to get some work. I don’t expect he’ll have to stay the entire 20 days. But I do want him to show the arm is fine again.”
Waddell is a native of Dundee, Scotland, but grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Manhattan College in 1980.
He was signed as a free agent by Hank Aaron and spent three years in the Atlanta organization before being drafted by Cleveland at the 1983 winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn.
“At the time, I was a little disappointed because I’d hoped to make it to the Braves in ’84,” he said. “I figured I’d have to start all over with the Indians.
“But I made the major league roster and I’ve learned something since--you have to keep proving yourself on a game-by-game basis. It’s the only way to keep on your toes.”