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.
The 24-year-old left-handed hitting Zimmer was playing his best baseball of the 2017 season for the Clippers. He had hit safely in each of his last eight games and had hits in nine of eleven games played in May. He was hitting .419 with a .514 on-base percentage and .710 slugging mark during the streak with three doubles, two homers, three stolen bases, six walks, and five runs batted in.
In 33 games this season, the 21st overall pick in the 2014 draft has put up a .294/.371/.532 line at the plate with eleven doubles, two triples, five homers, and 14 RBI while stealing nine bases in 12 attempts.
He will wear number 4 with the Indians, last worn in 2016 by Coco Crisp.
The 27-year-old Almonte re-aggravated a shoulder injury in Monday’s win. There is no timetable for a return for the switch-hitting outfielder, who was officially diagnosed with a right biceps strain. He joins outfielders Austin Jackson and Brandon Guyer on the disabled list.
In his 33 games with the Indians this season, Almonte was hitting .221 with a .323 OBP with three doubles, two triples, a homer, and six RBI.
The bullpen gained a reinforcement in the slew of moves made by the Tribe front office as well. Shawn Armstrong continues to wear down a path between Columbus and Cleveland as he was recalled to help out a bullpen that sustained some extra wear in Monday’s 8-7 over the Rays. Starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco was unable to finish the fourth inning in the contest due to a pectoral injury.
The right-handed Armstrong will be playing in his third stint on the Cleveland roster this season. He broke camp with the Indians but was optioned in the middle of April after working an impressive two and one-thirds innings of scoreless relief in a loss to Chicago, saving the bullpen from plenty of extra use in the game. He was recalled on May 2, but was optioned again on May 8 after making just one appearance.
In five games for Cleveland this season, he is 1-0 with a 5.63 ERA. Seven of his eight appearances for Columbus had been scoreless outings, as he was a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities with a 0.86 WHIP and a .125 batting average against in nine and one-third innings of work with 16 strikeouts and four walks.
Regarding Carrasco, manager Terry Francona shared with the media Tuesday afternoon that the right-hander will be pushed back two days to give him extra rest and that no disabled list trip appeared to be needed. With an off day on Thursday, it will allow Wednesday afternoon’s starter Josh Tomlin to pitch on normal rest in the series opener from Cincinnati on Monday before Carrasco makes the start on Tuesday.
Yandy Diaz, who had been recalled by Cleveland on May 8 when Michael Brantley tweaked his ankle during a series in Kansas City, was optioned back to Triple-A. After starting the season on the roster, he was sent back to Columbus when Jason Kipnis was activated from the disabled list on April 21. He reached base safely in all 12 appearances with the Clippers this season with seven- and four-game hitting streaks. He has a .395/.509/.558 slash with Columbus, but has hit just .203 with a .268 OBP in a dozen games with Cleveland.
Diaz was hitless in his most recent trip to the Indians roster, going 0-for-9 in ten trips with a walk, an RBI, and three strikeouts.
In a minor move, right-handed pitcher Carlos Frias was designated for assignment to make room for Zimmer on the 40-man roster. Acquired in the offseason from the Los Angeles Dodgers, the eleven-year pro was off to a poor start with the Clippers, posting a 9.00 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP with just eight strikeouts and nine walks in 17 innings over 12 games (including one start).
The 27-year-old Frias had appeared in each of the last three seasons for the Dodgers, earning a 6-6 career record with a 4.50 ERA in 33 games (15 starts).
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