A busy week of roster transactions continued on Tuesday as the Cleveland Indians made five roster moves prior to their game with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The biggest of the moves is the promotion of top prospect Bradley Zimmer to the big league club. The addition of the fourth-year pro, who can play both center and right field, became a necessity when Abraham Almonte was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday with a right biceps strain.
Yandy Diaz got the phone call from the Cleveland Indians a little earlier than some might have expected when he was recalled earlier in the week to help the team replace Michael Brantley in the lineup for at least a few days on the turf in Toronto while he recouped from a sprained right ankle. An impressive hitting display by Diaz after his demotion to Triple-A Columbus on April 21 certainly merited that quick second look at the hot-hitting utility man by the Tribe.
The bat has normally not been the problem for Diaz during his professional career, but an inconsistent start with the stick and lingering questions about his ability to play an adequate defense at the Major League level left him in need of regular playing time somewhere, and such an opportunity did not exist with the Indians a few weeks into the regular season schedule.
Carlos Carrasco gave the Indians seven scoreless innings and his offense awoke from its road trip slumber with six big runs as Cleveland defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-0, in a four-hit shutout on Tuesday night.
The Indians improved to 18-14 with the win. They have a Major League best record of 16-3 when scoring three runs or more and topped the threshold for the first time in the month of May. The last time the offense exceeded three runs was on April 30 against Seattle, the final game of their last homestand before hitting the road for a three-city, ten-game trip.
The Columbus Clippers have now lost five straight series, dating back to their three-game sweep of Indianapolis from April 10-12, and have fallen to 9-14 on the 2017 season.
Despite the rough opening month of the season, the Clippers are just three and a half games behind the Toledo Mud Hens in the International League West Division. The division has struggled as a whole, as only the Mud Hens are above the .500 mark to start the season. The Clippers are tied with the Louisville Bats and are a game and a half in front of the last place Indians, who are 7-15 to start the season.
It will be a homecoming for Jason Kipnis this weekend as the Chicago area native was activated by the Indians from the 10-day disabled list prior to the start of their three-game series against the White Sox.
To make room on the 25-man roster, third baseman Yandy Diaz was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
The Cleveland offense could not figure out Tigers starter Daniel Norris on Friday night and a late rally off of the Detroit bullpen fell one run short as the Indians dropped a 7-6 decision in game one of a three-game weekend set.
Cleveland could not solve the left-handed Norris on the mound for six scoreless innings of work as each of the first eight men to the plate would be retired by the southpaw. Meanwhile, the Tigers were able to get an early run of support for him in the second inning off of Indians starter Trevor Bauer and would pile on in the middle innings.
Arizona’s rookie manager Torey Lovullo could not have scripted a better beginning to his managerial career as his Diamondback improved to 6-1 to start the season with a 3-2 win on Sunday to complete the sweep over the reigning American League champion Cleveland Indians.
The former Indians player and minor league manager has his team rolling. His offense, while extremely slow to start, makes up for it plenty in the middle and late innings. The D’Backs outscored the Indians 21-7 in the three-game series and are the most productive offense in the game with 48 runs scored on the young season. Their pitching has gotten the job done as well, as combined with the run production, the Diamondbacks have the top run differential in baseball.
Arizona left-hander Patrick Corbin stepped up big for the Diamondbacks, who were going up against last year’s third place finisher in the AL Cy Young voting in Corey Kluber. The Indians got a quality start from their right-hander, but the D’Backs got six scoreless from their former All-Star starter.
A ninth inning grand slam by Francisco Lindor off of closer Sam Dyson capped a five-run frame as the Cleveland Indians stunned the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night, 9-6, to complete the three-game season opening sweep over the reigning AL West champs.
As if the grand slam was not a special moment for the face of the Indians’ franchise, it was part of a three-hit, two-homer game for the young shortstop, who more than made up for a defensive miscue in the fifth inning that gave the Rangers a three-run inning and a 5-3 lead at the time.
The late Cleveland comeback was the second time this week that the team has stung Texas’ closer Dyson with a big loss. The Indians rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth against him on Monday in a 5-5 tie in the season opener and chased him early from the contest. He came in with a safer 6-4 lead on Wednesday, but it appears as though no lead is safe when facing the potent Indians lineup.
The Cleveland Indians used seven unanswered runs to overcome an early four-run deficit and defeat the Texas Rangers, 8-5, from Globe Life Park in Arlington in the 2017 regular season opener on Monday night.
In a matchup of staff aces, Yu Darvish and Corey Kluber took to the bump and showed that there was still some spring rust to knock off. Kluber worked out of a jam in the first inning after walking Carlos Gomez to start the game. He was caught stealing before a groundout by Shin-Soo Choo and a Nomar Mazara two-out double was wasted on a strikeout by Mike Napoli.
The Rangers would avoid run production issues to put up their first run of the season with the first batter of the second inning. Rougned Odor worked the count full before sending a slider over the fence for a solo home run to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
With just a matter of days until the Cleveland Indians open up their American League pennant defense, the final roster decisions have been made as the team announced on Thursday that prospect Yandy Diaz and veteran utility man Michael Martinez will be on the club’s Opening Day roster to start the 2017 season. It follows Wednesday’s news that outfielder Abraham Almonte will open the year with the Tribe with right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall set to land on the 10-day disabled list while dealing with a sprained shoulder.
The World Baseball Classic has deprived Major League spring training camps of countless players, but life carries on as the 30 teams prepare for the quickly approaching regular season slate of games.
The Indians, down eleven players from their organization, have continued on without some of the bigger names from their roster, including Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, and Andrew Miller. Despite the vacancies, the show must go on and the Tribe has put together a good stretch of play with their depleted roster, winning three straight over the weekend and four of their last five contests overall.
But with the good, generally comes the bad, and there was plenty of both over the course of the week.
The Cleveland Indians announced on Friday afternoon that the guest list for Spring Training at their Goodyear, Arizona, complex beginning in February has grown by eight.
The Tribe will welcome minor league pitchers Josh Martin and Tyler Olson, infielders Nellie Rodriguez, Ronny Rodriguez, and Eric Stamets, outfielders Greg Allen and Bradley Zimmer, and utility man Yandy Diaz to their spring camp on non-roster invites.
The eight will audition for jobs with the Indians while getting a good opportunity to warm up for the 2017 season against other Major League caliber competition.