The Indians made a roster move today, designating Justin Germano for assignment and calling up Luis Valbuena from AAA Columbus. The Indians could use the additional bench support that Valbuena provides, since Travis Hafner is day-to-day after straining his right rib cage during Wednesday’s batting practice. The team also is without Travis Buck (injured big toe) and Orlando Cabrera, who went to South Carolina to become a United States citizen. Since Hafner, Buck, and Cabrera all remain on the active roster (and not the DL), someone needed to be removed in order to make room for Valbuena – that’s where Germano figured into the equation.
Germano was 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA; in nine innings he struck out five and walked five. It is possible that he clears waivers and accepts an assignment to AAA Columbus, but this may also mark the end of his tenure with the Tribe. Germano was solid in his most recent outing, a perfect inning during the Indians’ 19-1 victory against Kansas City on Monday night.
It is likely that Valbuena was selected because of his versatility; he’s played second base, shortstop, third base, outfield and DH so far this season at Columbus. Since the Indians are down a second baseman, a DH, and an outfielder, Valbuena could step into any of those roles. While he really struggled last season with the Indians (.191 average in 275 at-bats and 24 RBI), Valbuena was hitting .270 with 21 RBI at Columbus. I’m not sure how long Valbuena’s stay will be in Cleveland, it probably depends on whether or not Buck and/or Hafner are placed on the DL. Mitch Talbot is close to returning to Cleveland, so Germano was likely designated to accommodate for the additional pitcher. On a side note – I’m interested to see what the Indians do with the Talbot situation. They may not want to send Alex White back to the minors when he’s pitching so well; although White does have options remaining (Talbot does not). It’s also possible that Talbot is moved to the bullpen (I’ve heard that moving White to the bullpen is not considered an option).
In other Indians minor league news – earlier this week outfielder John Drennan was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for the banned substance Clomiphene, a female fertility drug used to start ovulation (this drug is also often connected to steroid use). Drennan was hitting .256 with 15 RBI for the AA Akron Aeros; he was the 33rd player taken overall in the 2005 draft.