A long road of ups and downs for Nick Hagadone
The arms in the bullpen at Huntington Park are used to waiting for a call into the game. One left handed closer in particular has become accustomed to a different type of call, the one from Cleveland, as Nick Hagadone has been recalled to Cleveland four times with a month left in the Clippers season.
The trip no longer fazes Hagadone or is family.
“It’s very busy being back and forth the whole year between here and Cleveland,” Hagadone said. “I think we’re used to packing a lot, we got it down to a science, just from the amount of times that we go back and forth.”
Hagadone originally entered the Indians system in 2009 along with Justin Masterson and Bryan Price after being acquired from the Boston Red Sox in a deal for catcher Victor Martinez. The starting pitcher kept pace moving through the farm system before transitioning to the bullpen late in the 2010 season.
After starting the season at Double-A Akron in 2011, the former first round pick made his major league debut in September at Progressive Field. The lefty remained in Cleveland for the rest of the season, pitching his final five games without allowing a hit or run.
The 2012 season proved to be full of turmoil for Hagadone. After starting the season in Columbus Hagadone continued to ricochet back and forth from the big leagues. While in Cleveland, after letting up two runs in two thirds of an inning against Tampa Bay in early July, Hagadone lost his cool resulting in a fractured left forearm. Hagadone had a 6.39 ERA in 27 appearances before his season ending injury.
Hagadone was immediately optioned to Columbus and placed on the minor league disqualification list. While on the list Hagadone did not get paid, nor did he receive major-league service time. This resulted in a grievance being filed against the Indians, an issue that has yet to be resolved.
The unresolved issue is not something that hangs over Hagadone’s head however.
“It’s not in my hands anymore, so I don’t worry about it," he said.
This season Hagadone was prepared to fight for a spot in Cleveland’s bullpen and was considered one of their top left-handed options at the outset of the season. Hagadone started the season with the Clippers, traveling north on a regular basis. While pitching relief in Cleveland he struggled to be effective.
“I think mostly consistency," Hagadone said when asked about what he struggled with most. "You know I’ll have some real good outings and then a couple bad ones.”
Although Hagadone is making progress the Indians could not wait for him nor really trust him in a key pen role down the stretch during a potential playoff run because he has struggled all season against left-handed hitters. As a result, a trade was recently made for left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski to try and help the situation.
Hagadone has taken his time in Columbus this season to adapt to a new role, that of a closer. As a closer Hagadone has a 1-2 record with a 2.61 ERA. The new position is one Hagadone is excited about and is enjoying
"He’s done a good job with it…he’s transitioning well he’s done a good job," Columbus manager Chris Tremie said. "Even the one game that he wasn’t successful in he threw the ball well. He’s responded really well to it and he’s ready to go and excited about it.”
The pressure of being a closer is something Hagadone doesn’t shy away from.
“It’s good...I like it because there’s always something on the line," he said. "If I give up a run or two then that ruins the game, so it makes it more interesting.”
Hagadone remains under the watchful eye of Cleveland and will most likely be making another trip up I-71 before the season is over, and might stay up in Cleveland once rosters expand in September.
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