Just when it looked like the Indians may have found an answer to a desperate need for another starting pitcher, Steve Karsay came up with a sore forearm.

After his first two starts of the season, during which Karsay gave up just one run in 10 innings to improve his record to 10-1, Karsay was hit hard Tuesday against Oakland.

"Now we've got to take two things into consideration," Indians Manager Mike Hargrove said. "A, the health of the pitcher, and B, what gives the club the best chance to win. It very well may be that this is a red flag that says Steve needs to go back to the bullpen."

A decision on whether Karsay will go on the disabled list is expected soon.

Hargrove's concern is that the strain of asking Karsay to be a starting pitcher may have caused the pain.

"There's no way to say this is the specific cause, but after being in the bullpen all year and then making two starts where he threw 57 and 92 pitches, that's a load," Hargrove said.

Karsay gave up five runs in three innings against the Athletics. . . .

Devil Rays P Dave Eiland left yesterday's game against the White Sox in the third inning with left hip soreness.

Tampa Bay said the injury is not considered serious and that Eiland should be ready for his next scheduled start.

Eiland was looking to win three consecutive starts for the first time. He had beaten the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 15 and 21 to pick up victories in back-to-back starts for the first time since September 1990.

MOVES: LHP Jim Poole, who had two previous stints with the Indians, agreed to a minor league contract with Cleveland.