Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting the Indians are in a three-team chase for free agent Russell Branyan, who can play outfield, third base and first base. The other interested teams are believed to be the Rays and Red Sox.
Drafted in the seventh round in 1994, Branyan started his career with the Indians. The left-handed hitter played one game in 1998, followed by 11 games in '99, 67 in 2000, 113 in '01 and 50 in '02 before being dealt to the Cincinnati Reds.
Branyan, 34, had a career year last season, hitting career-bests 31 homers and 76 RBI with a 2.51 batting average in just 116 games with the Seattle Mariners. A bad back kept him from playing a full season and is likely the reason the Mariners weren't willing to offer a multiyear deal.
The Plain Dealer is also reporting the Indians are looking at free agents Hank Blalock (.234, 25 homers, 66 RBI last year) and Jermaine Dye (.250, 27, 81).