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Tribe acquires Kubel in waiver deal with D-backs

DETROIT -- With all of the questions about the Indians' offensive struggles this month, the team is hoping outfielder Jason Kubel can help provide an answer. Cleveland announced Friday it acquired Kubel and cash in a trade with the D-backs for a player to be named.

Kubel was designated for assignment by the D-backs on Tuesday and will join the Indians in Detroit on Saturday. The Indians will need to make a move to clear a spot for him on the 25-man roster.

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This season has been a frustrating one for Kubel, who has battled a variety of leg ailments. After slugging 30 homers and compiling an .833 OPS for the D-backs in 2012, he slumped to a slash line of .220/.288/.324 this year.

"There were a lot of different factors in play, and I think the physical component was one," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "As he was working to try and get back with his swing, he just had trouble finding it. The more he worked, the more it became a challenge for him physically, so I think it snowballed on him a little bit."

Kubel, 31, is in the final year of a two-year, $16 million contract and is making $7.5 million in 2013. There is a mutual option for $7.5 million for '14, which includes a $1 million buyout. The Indians are on the hook for only $200,000 of Kubel's remaining salary.

"He's very underappreciated in my book," Nick Swisher said. "This dude hit 30 jacks last year, and no one knows who he is. That makes no sense to me.

"He's a guy that can DH for us, he can come off the bench, he can play outfield for us, he just gives [manager Terry] Francona depth. That's the best thing a manager can have."

Cleveland hasn't decided what role Kubel will fill during its push for a postseason berth, but he provides a left-handed bat that is stronger against right-handed pitching.

"When we get him here tomorrow, it's an added left-handed bat," Francona said. "I can't tell you when he's going to play. You know we have to see how healthy he is in the outfield. We all know [Yan Gomes], we love having [Gomes] do what he does, but he can't do it every day. It will be nice to have another bat here."

The Indians' offense has labored in August, ranking last in the AL in average (.227), on-base percentage (.295), slugging percentage (.354) and runs scored (85) for the month entering the weekend.

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for

Cleveland Indians, Jason Kubel