One day after allowing his 21st home run of the season, Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain.
Tuesday’s roster move was matched by the recalled of righty Adam Plutko from Triple-A Columbus.
Tomlin’s tumultuous season continued on Monday when he allowed a two-run home run in the ninth inning to the Cincinnati Reds. The late blast proved to be the difference in the contest as Cleveland rallied back with a four-run home half but fell two runs short in the 7-5 loss.
“Watching him, I’m kind of kicking myself a little bit because I knew something wasn’t right,” manager Terry Francona shared before the Tribe’s game with the Reds on Tuesday night. “On the one hand, you appreciate guys who’ll go out there. But it just was getting in the way.”
The 33-year-old lost his spot in the starting rotation six starts into the season as the ball was jumping all over the field and especially over the outfield walls of ballparks around the country. In his six starting nods, he posted an 0-3 record with an 8.10 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP in 30 innings, allowing 15 home runs in that span. In 17 relief appearances, he had been better, but not by much, going 0-2 with a 5.21 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP with six homers allowed over 19 innings. Three of those had come in his last five trips in from the bullpen.
For the year, Tomlin is 0-5 with a 6.98 ERA, a 1.49 WHIP, and a .300 batting average against, giving up 21 blasts in 49 innings of work, the highest home run rate in Major League history among pitchers to work in at least 40 innings (according to MLB.com). The longest tenured member of the Indians organization missed time last season with a left hamstring issue.
“I have no doubt he’ll find a way to contribute to our team, even on the DL, because that’s who he is,” said Francona.
Plutko returns to the Indians roster, but will stay out of the starting rotation for the time being. The team intends to keep him stretched out, but Francona noted that the team is trying to “protect the bullpen”. The Tribe could activate reliever Tyler Olson later this week, and fellow lefty Ryan Merritt has been working through his second rehab assignment with the Clippers and will need to be added to the 25-man roster or exposed to waivers as a player out of options. Either move could spell a return to the Columbus rotation for Plutko.
The 26-year-old has been back and forth between Cleveland and Triple-A Columbus quite a few times already over the course of the year. He has posted a 4-2 record in six starts and one relief appearance, earning a 4.66 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
With the Clippers, Plutko is 5-3 with a 1.94 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP in ten starts. He has thrown one complete game shutout – a no-hitter – and has flirted with a perfect game late in contests two different times this season for the Tribe’s top farm affiliate.
In other news and far more concerning to the everyday operation of the club, Lonnie Chisenhall’s second opinion on his left calf injury revealed a Grade 3 strain of the calf muscle. He is expected to miss eight to ten weeks with the injury, putting him on the shelf likely until the final month of the regular season at the earliest.
Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images