Barnes Demotion Just The Next Step To Eventual Promotion
Demotions are always difficult pills to swallow, but after the spring Scott Barnes had with the Indians, his might be a little easier to endure. The left-handed starting pitcher was optioned to AAA-Columbus on Thursday, but not before receiving high praise from Indians management.
Barnes pitched seven shutout innings in Cactus League play this spring, and while some thought he was a dark horse to make the team as a fifth starter, Manny Acta confessed on Thursday that he was never considered for the role. Acta was quick to mention that they were impressed with his effort this spring and that Barnes could see his major league debut sometime this summer with the team. His final effort of the spring in big league camp was three scoreless innings against the Giants on Wednesday.
Had Barnes not suffered a strange leg injury last July, he may have already made his major league debut. He was had to have his ACL repaired after fielding a routine bunt last summer with Columbus. Before suffering the injury he was 7-4, with a 3.68 ERA at Columbus. The lefty was added to the Tribe’s 40-man roster at the end of the season, making sure he would not be available to other teams through the Rule V draft.
Barnes was an eighth round selection of the San Francisco Giants in 2008. After some success, going 12-3 with A-San Jose, he was traded to the Tribe for Ryan Garko in July 2009. However, that success did not translate to 2010 when Barnes struggled at Akron, going 6-11 with a 5.22 ERA. Last season Barnes began at Akron but quickly advanced to Columbus and excelled until he was injured in July.
Now, completely healthy, Barnes was one of the first options to minor league camp from the Tribe roster but he could also be one of the first recalled players this season. The team is very high on his potential to be a quality left-handed starter, something the Indians’ rotation could desperately need. It has been something David Huff has not been able to provide consistently.
While the Tribe’s battle for the fifth starter spot rages on—Acta admitting this week that Jeanmar Gomez is in the lead—the eventual winner may have to continue to fight off Barnes from taking that spot by summer.
Photo: Jordan Bastian/MLB.com