September Call Ups Force Tribe to Use Some Roster Creativity
Bob Toth | On 01, Sep 2019
The annual September call ups arrived to Tampa ahead of Sunday’s series finale with the Rays and the Cleveland Indians needed to get creative to get all the names onto the active roster.
The most notable of the moves were the additions of pitchers Carlos Carrasco (leukemia) and Dan Otero (right shoulder inflammation) from the 60-day injured list. Eric Haase joined the club in more conventional fashion as he was recalled for the second time this season from Triple-A Columbus. In addition, the Indians selected the contracts of right-handed reliever James Hoyt and utility man Ryan Flaherty from Columbus.
The Indians (with one spot available after Friday’s designation of minor league pitcher Jordan Stephens for assignment) needed to create spots on the 40-man roster to add in the reinforcements. Cleveland transferred pitchers A.J. Cole (right shoulder impingement) and Tyler Olson (non-baseball medical condition) and outfielder Tyler Naquin (torn right ACL) from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list to open up three of those spots.
A fourth was opened when reliever Jon Edwards was designated for assignment.
Carrasco last appeared on the mound for the Indians on May 30 before his battle with leukemia became public. He made four rehab appearances in August between Columbus and Double-A Akron, allowing a run on two hits with two walks and eight strikeouts over five innings (1.80 ERA, 0.80 WHIP). Through his first 12 starts of the season, Carrasco had posted a 4-6 record with a 4.98 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP with 79 strikeouts in 65 innings, but 14 homers allowed. He had a strong stretch from the middle of April into the middle of May before running into some tough outings prior to landing on the injured list.
Carrasco will work solely out of the bullpen for the Tribe down the stretch.
Otero landed on the injured list on June 2 (retroactive to May 31) with right shoulder inflammation after being tagged for four runs on five hits in an inning and two-thirds in Chicago against the White Sox on May 30.
The 34-year-old was shut down during a rehab assignment in the middle of July and was transferred to the 60-day IL on July 31. He resumed that rehab assignment in August and put together ten scoreless outings over 11 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and two walks while striking out seven in stops at three different levels of the minor league system.
Prior to his injury, Otero had struggled in 20 appearances for the Indians, posting a 4.56 ERA with a .317 batting average against and five homers allowed over 23 2/3 innings.
Haase had another strong season at the plate for the Columbus Clippers. Working 102 times in his third season of work at the top level of the farm system, Haase hit a career-high 28 home runs while driving in 60. He posted a .226/.315/.517 line at the plate, decreasing from his previous year’s average, but improving on his on-base percentage. His home run total was second on the club to Bobby Bradley, who led the team with 33.
Haase appeared in three games earlier in the year for Cleveland, going 0-for-6 with a walk and four strikeouts in that recall.
Hoyt made 40 relief appearances for the Clippers in his first full season with the club after being acquired last July from the Houston Astros. He played just two weeks with the Clippers last year before landing on the 7-day disabled list and he missed another month of action at the beginning of the 2019 campaign. He posted a 2-0 record over 42 innings of work, earning a 3.43 ERA, a 1.57 WHIP, and four saves in five opportunities while striking out 48 and walking 20.
Hoyt’s best work had come since the All-Star break (1-0, 2.33 ERA, 1.24 WHIP), and those numbers were highlighted by a perfect August, when he fired ten scoreless appearances with a win and two saves in two chances while allowing four hits and three walks and striking out 12 in 11 1/3 innings.
The veteran Flaherty, 33, gives the Indians some extra infield depth while Jason Kipnis deals with a wrist injury. A non-roster invitee during spring training, he left the organization for nearly two weeks when he did not make the Major League club, but rejoined the Indians on a new minor league deal at the beginning of April and spent the year with the Clippers. He appeared in 113 games, putting up a .263/.365/.466 slash with 23 doubles, two triples, 19 homers, and 73 RBI.
The 12-year pro played at all four infield spots for Columbus, primarily on the left side of the infield, and even made a relief appearance.
Edwards, 31, had spent parts of the last two seasons with the Clippers and the Indians. He opened the year with Cleveland but struggled with command, walking six and striking out five over eight innings of work in nine games. In 41 games for Columbus, he went 6-1 with three saves in six opportunities while posting a 4.22 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP with 62 strikeouts and 26 walks in 49 innings. He put up a strong strikeout rate of 11.4 per nine innings, but he also maintained his control problems with 4.8 walks per nine. He was also a victim of a career-high seven homers allowed, although that may have been more in line with elevated power numbers at the Triple-A level in general this season.
He was recalled by the Indians four separate times throughout the season, last at the end of June, but he had not pitched in a game for Cleveland since June 6.
More moves are expected in the coming days as Columbus finishes out its regular season and postseason schedule. Outfielder Jordan Luplow is expected to join the team in the coming days from his rehab assignment with the Clippers, while pitcher Logan Allen, the first baseman Bradley, and outfielder Bradley Zimmer could also join the Indians roster. The status of injured pitchers Corey Kluber, Olson, and Jefry Rodriguez (all on the 60-day IL) and Danny Salazar (10-day IL) could further affect that 40-man roster makeup.
Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images