Indians Purchase Contract of Gonzalez from Columbus
Bob Toth | On 14, Apr 2019
The Cleveland Indians announced on Sunday morning that the contract of outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has been purchased from Triple-A Columbus.
In corresponding moves to get Gonzalez on the 25- and 40-man rosters, Saturday’s starting pitcher Jefry Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A, while injured starter Mike Clevinger was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list.
Gonzalez was a late addition to the Indians organization at the tail end of spring training, signing officially with the club on March 19, just over a week before the team headed north to Minnesota for the start of the 2019 schedule. In need of some time to get into game shape, he fulfilled the minor league portion of his contract by heading to Columbus to get in work with the Clippers.
In his first minor league work since 2014, the 33-year-old corner outfielder quickly showed that he was ready to go. In six games, he hit .348 with a .483 on-base percentage and .522 slugging mark with eight hits in 23 at bats, including a double and a home run. He showed a good eye on the farm as well, drawing six walks while striking out just five times.
Gonzalez opened his minor league work with back-to-back two-hit games on April 4 and 5. He took off the third game of the Clippers’ schedule on April 6 and went 0-for-3 with a walk in his return to the lineup on April 7. He appeared in two games against Louisville the following week, getting two singles and two walks in five trips on April 8 before going 0-for-3 with a walk on April 9. He remained with the Clippers as they began their road trip to Durham and was 2-for-5 with a single and a homer in what was his final game for the club, as the game the next day was rained out.
He joined the Indians in Kansas City on Saturday in preparation for his official return to the Majors on Sunday. He is batting third and getting the start in left field against Royals’ right-hander Jakob Junis.
Gonzalez, a veteran of eleven big league seasons, had spent the last ten years with the Colorado Rockies. He is a former National League batting title winner, a three-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner, and a two-time Silver Slugger. He has driven in 100 runs in a season as recently as 2016 and hit a career-high 40 homers the season before.
Rodriguez did everything that could have been asked of him in his audition for the fifth starter spot on Saturday. He allowed two runs on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts in five and two-thirds innings, but he took a tough-luck loss as the Indians offense failed to show up for the second straight day. He became an easily expendable piece for the Tribe, despite the results on the mound, as the team is not expected to need a fifth starter until the final week of the month. It remains to be seen if Rodriguez will be the one to get the call the next time around or if one of the other arms at Columbus will receive the promotion.
Clevinger was expected to be out at minimum six to eight weeks while dealing with a right upper back strain. That time table did not include getting back into game shape and rehabbing the injury, which would be expected to add several extra weeks to his absence.
Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images