The Cleveland Indians announced several roster moves on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the final game of their homestand against the Cincinnati Reds.
Outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall has rejoined the club after missing the weekend while on bereavement. To create room on the roster for the Tribe’s fairly regular right fielder, Monday night’s starting pitcher Cody Anderson was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
In what is a related move to some degree, the Indians have also announced that 25-year-old right-handed pitching prospect Mike Clevinger will continue his magical May by making his Major League debut on the mound on Wednesday when the Indians continue their series with the Reds in Cincinnati.
The 21-11 Columbus Clippers have a good thing going in their defense of the Governors’ Cup.
The Clippers improved to 6-4 in the month of May with a 10-2 win on Wednesday after their eleven-game winning streak came to an end on the first of May. They have now won eleven consecutive games at their home Huntington Park and improved to 13-3 playing in Columbus this season.
First place Columbus will continue their seven-game homestand with one more with Lehigh Valley on Thursday morning before hosting the second place Louisville Bats over the weekend. They will also host everyone’s favorite high school principal, Bayside High’s own Mr. Richard Belding (Dennis Haskins) from the beloved early 1990’s sitcom “Saved By The Bell” on Friday night.
In other Clippers news from the Ohio state capital:
If you have not paid attention to the results down in Columbus for the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A farm club, the Clippers, you have missed out on an impressive stretch of baseball being played right now.
Since a four-game losing streak in the days following four postponements in a five-day span and a pair of early April doubleheaders, the Clippers have sailed away to an incredible start. Since ending their losing skid against Indianapolis on April 16, the club has gone 16-4.
They dropped just two more games in the second half of April, losing a series in Louisville against the Bats. The Clippers then ripped off eleven straight wins before losing the series opener and the rubber match in Charlotte against the Knights. They got back onto the winning path on Friday with a 9-2 victory in Toledo over the Mud Hens in a well-pitched game from Indians pitching prospect Mike Clevinger, who improved to 4-0 in six starts this season with a 3.03 ERA.
After such a mild winter, few could have expected that the first week of both the Major League and Minor League schedules would be filled with cold and wet weather that would stand in the way of the national pastime.
While the Indians were dealt a pair of postponements in Cleveland and another over the weekend in Chicago, their Triple-A affiliate in Columbus has had almost no luck getting in baseball.
After losing three days of baseball to start the season, the Clippers again had to postpone a ball game as rain flooded the Columbus area and washed out the first game of their series with the Louisville Bats, the affiliates of the Cincinnati Reds.
If the Cleveland Indians think that they have had it bad with the weather in the first week of the season, one can only wonder how their Columbus Clippers affiliate feels after trying repeatedly to open their 2016 Triple-A schedule with a four-game series with the Indianapolis Indians.
The Clippers were set to host the Indianapolis club, their International League West rivals and opponent last season in the battle for the Governors’ Cup, one ultimately won in five games by Columbus. The team planned a championship ring ceremony prior to first pitch, but the problem was determining not what time, but what day, that the first pitch of the season was going to occur for the two clubs.
The Indians were not the only team in the organization to see its season and Home Opener spoiled by the weather in the region. The same thing happened to the Columbus Clippers on Thursday night as they tried to usher in the 2016 Triple-A season at Huntington Park.
The Clippers will try again on Friday to host the Indianapolis Indians, their playoff competition in the International League Finals in 2015. The Clippers defeated them in that series to claim the Governors’ Cup, only to lose in the Triple-A National Championship to the Fresno Grizzlies, affiliate of the Houston Astros, in the winner-take-all game.
Postponed home openers are not unfamiliar to those in the state capital. It is the third time in the last four years that it has happened to the Clippers. With the cancellation on Thursday, the team has revised their tentative schedule for the weekend.
When the Cleveland Indians traded reliever Vinnie Pestano to the Los Angeles Angels in 2014, a chunk of fans who were avid supporters of “VFP” were dealt a devastating blow. Pestano, who had struggled in his final two seasons for the club, would be remembered for his hard-charging ways out of the center field bullpen to the mound while working as one of the more reliable relievers in the league. His 36 holds in 2012 in his breakout campaign were the second most in baseball that season (Tampa Bay’s Joel Peralta – 37) and established a new club record, breaking Rafael Betancourt’s mark of 31 set in 2007.
The rapid descent of Pestano’s career in the Indians bullpen was a surprise, as was the notion that a man once thought to be a potential closer option if the team needed to replace Chris Perez was traded for a minor league pitcher in his fourth professional season and still pitching in A-ball.
Several seasons later, the move is looking more and more favorable for the Indians as right-handed starter Mike Clevinger impressed many in just his second full season in the minors and his first for the Indians organization. Not only is his name now on the radar as a top pitching prospect for the club, his long locks on the mound could get him a following from fans even greater than the numbers commanded by Pestano in the past.
The annual Winter Meetings wrapped up Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee, and while there have been a few trades and free agent signings of note around the league, things in particular for the Cleveland Indians have been active but, in the end, quiet.
Trade rumors swirled throughout the week, largely centered on the Indians big starting rotation pieces of Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. Reports of as many as a dozen different teams have reached out to inquire about the availability of the arms, but the message from the Cleveland front office was clear – we are listening, but we are in no hurry to just give away any pitcher without a solid and quality return of Major League ready pieces.
There is little argument that the roster as it presently stands is not the one that the Indians want to bring with them to Goodyear, Arizona, in just over two months time. The only thing that would be more foolish than that, however, would be to try to make a move just for the sake of making a move. That plays a big part in the difference between the staff paid to construct the roster and those who play the role of pseudo general manager behind Twitter avatars, in Facebook comments, and through their voices coming out of your radio during the rare moment Indians talk actually graces the airwaves.
“Pitching wins baseball,” as the old saying goes. You can never have enough pitching on a team, even with a rotation like the Indians have. After the emergence of Michael Clevinger in 2015, the depth of the Indians staff got quite a bit deeper.
Clevinger, 24, was acquired by the Indians from the Los Angeles Angels in 2014 for former Bullpen Mafia member Vinnie Pestano. Prior to being traded, Clevinger was having a rough go of it with LA. After posting an ERA of 1.88 in 5 games with their Low-A Burlington, he faltered in High-A Inland Empire with an ERA of 5.37 in 13 starts. After Pestano lost his role in Cleveland, the Tribe decided to let him have another opportunity to perform, and the Angels were interested. Thus, this allowed Cleveland to acquire Clevinger, the one time fourth round pick by the Angels in 2011.
It started out like most other days on August 7 for Michael Clevinger. The former fourth-round draft pick from Seminole Community College—by way of The Citadel—was at the ballpark going about his business when the news came.
“I actually thought I was in trouble at first,” Clevinger said. “I was doing my routine—I came in a couple hours before the game to do my lifting—then my pitching coach pulled me out and told me and said, ‘We have to talk.’”
As he unknowingly entered what would be a new phase in his professional career, Clevinger then was approached by a member of the front office from his parent club, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Director of Player Personnel Bobby Scales then clarified things for the right-hander.