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Clevinger to Make MLB Debut Wednesday as Indians Option Anderson, Activate Chisenhall

Clevinger to Make MLB Debut Wednesday as Indians Option Anderson, Activate Chisenhall

| On 17, May 2016

The Cleveland Indians announced several roster moves on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the final game of their homestand against the Cincinnati Reds.

Outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall has rejoined the club after missing the weekend while on bereavement. To create room on the roster for the Tribe’s fairly regular right fielder, Monday night’s starting pitcher Cody Anderson was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.

In what is a related move to some degree, the Indians have also announced that 25-year-old right-handed pitching prospect Mike Clevinger will continue his magical May by making his Major League debut on the mound on Wednesday when the Indians continue their series with the Reds in Cincinnati.

The Indians rotation will bump back one day, with Josh Tomlin now set to start Thursday’s finale against the Reds. Corey Kluber will avoid swinging the bat and will now pitch the opener at Fenway Park on Friday, with Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar (Tuesday’s starter) set to pitch the rest of the weekend.

Clevinger’s May was already one that he would never forget after the birth of his daughter, Penelope Grace, on May 2. His new title of “Dad” did nothing to take away from his other title as “Number Seven Indians Prospect”, according to MLBPipeline.com, as he allowed two runs on five hits in five innings in a win in Toledo in his first start after her birth and followed it with a quality start against Lehigh Valley, allowing two runs on three hits over six innings with a season-high tying seven strikeouts in the win.

He was 5-0 for Columbus in seven starts, his first regular season starts at the Triple-A level after being promoted during the Clippers playoff run last season while announcing his presence with several dominant pitching performances as Columbus raced to claim the Governors’ Cup. He has thrown one complete game, has an ERA of 3.03, a WHIP of 1.26, and has struck out 36 batters in 35 2/3 innings.

Clevinger was a fourth round draft pick by the Los Angeles Angels in 2011. He came to the Indians organization on August 7, 2014, after Cleveland traded fan favorite reliever Vinnie Pestano to the Angels.

Clevinger will wear Pestano’s old number 52 in his MLB debut on Wednesday.

The Indians will need to make a roster move to formally add Clevinger to the team on Wednesday. Utility man Michael Martinez would seemingly be the front runner, despite playing well in his limited action with the club since being brought up on Saturday to replace the injured Michael Brantley. Center fielder Tyler Naquin could again be a candidate, but he has continued to hit well since rejoining the Tribe on Friday night when Chisenhall was placed on the bereavement list.

Anderson’s demotion back to Columbus again highlights his continued struggles on the mound. With two more home runs allowed in the game on Monday, the 25-year-old has given up ten blasts this season in 32 2/3 innings, one more homer than he allowed in all of 2015 in 91 1/3 innings on the mound.

After going 7-3 in 15 starts last season with a 3.05 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and one complete game, Anderson has posted a 0-3 record with a 7.99 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, and has allowed a home run in each appearance of 2016.

The move of Anderson could be just a strategic one, as the Indians could recall him as the 26th man for their doubleheader on Monday in Chicago against the White Sox.

Chisenhall has appeared in 17 games this season after returning from his minor league rehab assignment in mid-April. He is hitting .255 on the season, but .276 in May with a .344 on-base percentage. He has two doubles, a triple, and three RBI to his credit this year. He has not appeared in a game since May 11, but has hits in his last two games and three of his last four.

Photo: Eric Albrecht/The Columbus Dispatch