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Published: Tuesday, 5/27/2003

Bere no stranger to pain

BY RON MUSSELMAN
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

DETROIT - Ten years ago, Jason Bere broke into the majors with the Chicago White Sox and quickly established himself as one of the most promising young pitchers in the league.

He was runner-up in the 1993 American League rookie of the year balloting after going 12-5 with a 3.47 ERA, and an All-Star the next year when he was 12-2 with a 3.81 ERA.

In 1995, elbow problems led to what was the first of many trips to the disabled list. Bere often tried to pitch in pain, but it only compounded the problem.

The veteran right-hander signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Cleveland Indians in December, but he landed on the DL once again in early April after experiencing discomfort in his right shoulder.

Bere, who turned 32 yesterday, finally made his long-awaited Indians debut Thursday at Jacobs Field against the Detroit Tigers - the same team he will face tonight at Comerica Park in his second start.

His first start produced a no decision against Detroit's Nate Cornejo (3-3, 3.23 ERA), whom he will oppose once again. Bere (0-0, 3.18) allowed just two runs and four hits in 52/3 innings in his first outing, which the Tigers won 3-2 in 11 innings.

“Bere did a great job,'' Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He was outstanding, especially since he had not pitched in so long.''

Bere, in his second stint with the Tribe, threw 88 pitches, including 49 strikes.

“I did get a little tried in the sixth,'' Bere said.

“There is a difference in the intensity level when you are down in rehabilitation [at Triple-A Buffalo] and back up here. There is a distinct difference.''

Bere, 71-65 in his career with a 5.14 ERA, has gone 15 starts without a victory dating to last season, when he was 1-10 with a 5.67 ERA with the Chicago Cubs.

The Indians signed him in the off-season thinking he would be able to pitch a lot of innings. Bere had already earned a spot in the starting rotation when his shoulder started aching late in spring training.

“It's not my sole job to eat up innings,'' he said. “I know that's part of it, but only part of it. You also have to pitch well. Probably 90 to 95 percent of the outcome of those games will be dictated by how you perform.

“If I do my job, my innings will mount.''

GETTING CLOSER: Detroit reliever Franklyn German worked a perfect ninth inning yesterday to earn his second save in three days.

He also extended his team-high scoreless streak to 102/3 innings.

“That's four good performances in a row,'' manager Alan Trammell said. “If he continues to pitch well, we'll consider him [for the closer's role].''

Trammell has been going with a bullpen-by-committee as of late. In addition to German, Steve Sparks and Chris Spurling have both registered saves in the last five days.

“I have to keep doing my job,'' German said. “When I do the job, that's another opportunity in a situation like that.''

ODDS & ENDS: Right-handed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, the Tribe's No. 1 pick last year, has been promoted from Double-A Akron to Triple-A Buffalo, where he will start tomorrow. Guthrie was one of the top pitchers in the Eastern League, going 6-2 with a 1.44 ERA. ... Indians outfielder Karim Garcia, who reported pain in his wrist two days in a row while rehabbing at Buffalo, was scheduled to meet with hand specialist Dr. Tom Graham yesterday in Baltimore. ... Cleveland outfielder Milton Bradley is 6-for-16 with a home run and seven RBIs in his last four games. ... Tigers outfielder Bobby Higginson has reached base in 24 of his last 28 games and is 35-for-100 during that span. ... Indians second baseman Brandon Phillips snapped an 0-for-13 hitless streak with his three-run homer in the seventh. ... The Indians activated first baseman Travis Hafner from the disabled list, and optioned him to Triple-A Buffalo.



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