The transactions page on Indians.com remained active on Monday as the Tribe made three roster moves directly affecting the organization.
Cleveland activated first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Family Medical Emergency list, returning him to the 25-man roster. To make room, as expected, outfielder Greg Allen was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
In separate moves and maybe somewhat unsurprisingly, the Indians have comes to terms on a minor league contract with former Tribe southpaw Marc Rzepczynski. The 32-year-old will report to Columbus, looking to find his old form that made him one of the top matchup artists in baseball not too long ago. Outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was designated for assignment on Thursday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Columbus, but as a veteran with plenty of years of service, he has declined the assignment and elected to become a free agent.
Alonso missed the minimum three days required of his placement on the Family Medical Emergency list while tending to family matters. He has heated up a bit at the plate over the course of the last week and certainly over the course of the last month. The 31-year-old offseason addition is putting up a .248/.323/.446 line at the plate this season with 11 doubles, 11 homers, and 37 RBI. Over the last 30 days, he has slashed .294/.385/.471 with three homers and 16 RBI.
Allen was expected to be optioned on Friday when the Indians activated Tyler Naquin from the 10-day disabled list after missing 30 games, but remained with the club through Alonso’s absence. The 25-year-old switch-hitting outfielder had struggled to start the year, but when thrust into heavier duties when four different outfielders (Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall, Brandon Guyer, and Bradley Zimmer) landed on the disabled list with an array of injuries, Allen stepped up and performed better. Recently, he fell into a prolonged slump at the plate and with the return of so many players to the active roster, Allen will benefit from regular playing time in the Clippers lineup.
So far this season, Allen has appeared in 34 games, hitting .204 with a .248 on-base percentage, three doubles, two triples, a homer, and three RBI. He has drawn just five walks on the year and is averaging nearly a strikeout per game played (33). He is 4-for-4 stealing bases.
Rzepczynski started his tenth Major League season with the Seattle Mariners, his second in the Pacific Northwest, but he struggled to keep opposing teams off of the bases. In 18 games with the M’s, he posted a 9.39 ERA and a 2.87 WHIP, giving up 13 hits and nine walks in just seven and two-thirds innings. The bulk of the damage done against him, however, was against the splits. He had posted a 0.00 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP in six and one-third innings against left-handed hitters, allowing two unearned runs on six hits with four walks and nine strikeouts. Right-handers, in an inning and one-third, had driven in nine runs (eight earned) on seven hits with five walks and just one strikeout.
The Indians bullpen has been a source of concern all season long and that did not lessen at all over the weekend, when lefty Tyler Olson joined fellow southpaw Andrew Miller and right-hander Nick Goody on the DL while dealing with a left latissimus dorsi strain. The loss of the two lefties leaves just Oliver Perez, a fairly recent addition to the club, as a matchup option in manager Terry Francona’s bullpen.
Rzepczynski will get an opportunity to pitch his way back to Cleveland, where he was a member of the team from 2013 to 2015. He was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in a trade deadline deal during Francona’s first season in Cleveland for minor league infielder Juan Herrera and was shipped to San Diego just two years and one day later in exchange for outfielder Abraham Almonte.
He was a fantastic addition to the Tribe’s staff in 2013, posting a 0.89 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP in 27 games down the stretch for the Indians team that lost in the AL Wild Card play-in game to the Tampa Bay Rays. He went 0-3 with a 2.74 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP with a save in 73 games in 2014, then followed with a 2-3 record with a 4.43 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP in 45 games in 2015 before his trade west.
Rzepczynski’s trip to Triple-A will mark his first minor league activity since 2013 while with the Cardinals organization.
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