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Indians take a closer look at Mota

Adam Katz, agent for Guillermo Mota, denied a radio report out of Philadelphia Tuesday night that said Mota had failed his physical with the Indians. However, Katz acknowledged that the Indians raised issues with Mota's right shoulder, which could kill, or require revision to, the six-player deal that would bring Coco Crisp to Boston.

The Sox and Indians reached agreement in principle late last week on a deal that would send Andy Marte, Kelly Shoppach, and Mota to Cleveland for Crisp, reliever David Riske, and backup catcher Josh Bard.

However, that deal was contingent upon the resolution of two issues: 1. Mota had to pass his physical; 2. Physicals had to be passed in a separate deal, between the Indians and Phillies, that would send reliever Arthur Rhodes to Philadelphia for outfielder Jason Michaels, who would succeed Crisp in Cleveland.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, citing a major league source, is reporting that the Rhodes-for-Michaels deal is poised to go through. That would leave Mota's shoulder as the lone factor holding up the two deals.

Mota missed the last week of April and almost all of May last season with elbow inflammation and was shut down for two weeks in September with inflammation in his shoulder. But Katz said Mota's arm ''was good enough for Florida, good enough for Boston, and good enough for James Andrews, who cleared him."

By that, Katz meant that Florida allowed the 32-year-old Mota to resume pitching the last week of the season, the Sox accepted him in a deal, and Andrews, the noted orthopedist, cleared him following an examination (which Katz said took place before Mota was dealt to the Sox).

Andrews also saw Josh Beckett after the season and declared the 25-year-old's shoulder problems to be tendinitis and no more. Still, it's become readily apparent that the Sox, in the Beckett deal, took on two pitchers with arm concerns.

After viewing Beckett's medical records, the Sox considered scrapping the deal but ended up asking for Florida to sweeten the offer, which the Marlins did by adding Mota in exchange for the Sox adding Single A pitcher Harvey Garcia. And now it's possible that Cleveland asks the Sox to sweeten or alter this deal because of an injury concern.

Katz contended that Mota ''did not flunk his physical." Instead, Katz said, the acquiring club in these instances is ''allowed to have higher standards. It's their right and entitlement.

''He's working his tail off and will be fine for whichever team he's pitching for."

The Sox and Indians -- given the work they've put into this deal, the obvious commitment the Indians have to acquiring Marte, and the obvious need the Sox have atop the lineup and in center field -- figure to keep working toward a deal, whether it includes Mota or not.

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