Eyes On The Prize

Judy reaches his 2009 goal





CLEVELAND—Josh Judy had Akron on his radar screen at the beginning of last season. How quickly the 6-foot-4, righthander landed in the city just 35 miles south of Progressive Field in Cleveland stunned even himself.

Judy made just five appearances at high Class A Kinston where he started the 2009 season, recording three saves. He did not walk a batter and struck out seven in 4 2/3 innings. Not even a month into his stay in Kinston, N.C., Judy was promoted to Double-A Akron.

"I was looking forward to going to Akron for a couple reasons," Judy said. "I have some family in (nearby) Canton and the rest of my family in West Virginia would only have a two-and-a-half hour drive to come see me play instead of an eight-hour drive to Kinston."

Having arrived in Akron much earlier than expected, Judy didn't have the luxury of easing into a new role at the new level. Instead, when Aeros' closer Vinnie Pestano was lost for the season due to an arm injury, Judy was promptly thrust into the team's closer role.

"Vinnie was so dominate as a closer, I just wanted to come in and do my part," Judysaid. "Luckily, I had closed a few games at Kinston."

Judy went on to prove to be the team's bullpen savior, recording 11 saves while striking out 63 in 49 innings and holding opponents to a .198 average.

After the season ended, Judy went 2-2, 1.59 in the Arizona Fall League. Once again he dazzled scouts with his control, striking out 20 batters while walking just one.
Smoke signals

• The Indians acquired righthander Mitch Talbot from the Rays as the player to be named in the Dec. 1 trade that sent catcher Kelly Shoppach and cash to Tampa Bay.

• The Indians signed righthander Saul Rivera to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to spring training. The 32-year-old owns a career major league record of 13-15, 4.05 in 245 relief appearances with the Washington Nationals over the last four seasons.