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MOVERS & SHAKERS // Cleveland adds more ammo to its rotation

The Cincinnati Reds needed pitching during the off-season and signed Trevor Wilson. The Kansas City Royals picked up Tim Belcher. The Chicago White Sox took a shot on Kevin Tapani.

The Cleveland Indians? All they did was go out and sign Jack McDowell.

The team with the best record and the top-rated pitching staff in the American League last season added the pitcher with the most wins in the American League in the 1990s.

Winning (and selling out every seat for the 1996 season) can pay dividends.

"You never know what a team is going to do," McDowell said. "I wouldn't say I was surprised. I think it was interesting coming where I came from that they would add on to a World Series team."

Cleveland GM John Hart makes it sound simple: After deciding not to re-sign Ken Hill, the Indians wanted a starting pitcher with star potential but didn't want to commit to more than a two-year deal.

McDowell, with his 106-68 record and average of 229 innings pitched over the past six seasons, was the perfect fit.

"Jack McDowell has always pitched big innings, he's won, he's 29 years old, and we've always loved the way he competes," Hart said. "Of all the pitchers out there, he was the guy we really liked."

McDowell, convinced the New York Yankees didn't want him back, didn't take long to accept a $10.15-million, two-year deal. He likes the town, and the fact he plays in a rock band and Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame didn't hurt.

He likes the idea of joining a rotation where there are other dependable stars, such as Orel Hershiser, Dennis Martinez and Charles Nagy.

He likes the potential the Indians have to get back to the World Series. "I think what everybody else thinks," he said. "All the pieces are there. It's just a matter of keeping everybody on the field."