As you may know, the Indians were anticipating a roster move today since Josh Tomlin was going to be recalled from the DL to start. Zach McAllister was already sent down to Columbus, and Juan Diaz was called up from Akron to take his roster spot for the weekend. It was believed that he would then be sent down in order to make room for Tomlin.
That was before the lineup was decimated by injuries. Jack Hannahan (back), Travis Hafner (knee), and Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring) were not officially placed on the DL, but were day-to-day. Carlos Santana was placed on the 7-day DL for concussions, so Luke Carlin was called up from Columbus to take his place (Rafael Perez was moved to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster for him). It looked as if Diaz may have to stay for a little while longer, at least until something happened with the injured players not on the DL.
There was a flurry of activity today in addition to removing Tomlin from the DL. Jack Hannahan went to the DL with a calf strain; as Nick Camino from WTAM points out, this is the third injury for Hannahan so far this season (groin, back and calf). He was in the lineup for Saturday’s football score affair in Chicago, where he went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts. Hannahan is currently hitting .276/.353/.419 with 3 home runs and has made a number of great defensive plays at 3rd. I think the DL is probably the best place for him at this point, especially since the rest of the roster is banged up. Give him a chance to heal, and not aggravate any of these injuries any further.
Since that means the Indians would need another infielder, they recalled Lonnie Chisenhall from Columbus (my $5.99 Chisenhall shirt from the clearance rack in the team shop is looking like a pretty sweet deal right now). With the Clippers, Chisenhall was hitting .324/.353/.541 with 4 home runs; last year at the major league level he hit .255/.284/.415 with 7 home runs. Like Hannahan, he spent a brief amount of time on the minor league DL this season with a calf injury. We’ll see if Chisenhall is able to carve himself a more permanent spot on the roster this season, or if he will end up back in Columbus in the near future. He’s scheduled to be in the lineup today as the DH, batting 7th.
If you’ve been doing the math as I’ve written this (and if you haven’t already heard about the final roster move) you’ll realize that the Indians still need to clear a spot for Josh Tomlin. They announced that they designated right-handed reliever Jairo Asencio for assignment. Asencio is out of options, so he’ll have to clear waivers before he could accept the demotion to Columbus. This season, he was 1-1 with a 5.96 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 21 strikeouts in 25.2 innings pitched. He came to the Indians late in spring training for cash from the Atlanta Braves. Even though he had not played for the Tribe much this spring, they gave him one of the remaining two roster spots, along with Dan Wheeler (over the seemingly more deserving Jeremy Accardo and Nick Hagadone). Yesterday in the 12-6 loss to the White Sox, he gave up 3 runs on 5 hits in two innings pitched…it probably got to the point where they figured enough was enough. Yes, he was the innings-eater and the mop up guy, and yes, he did have a few good appearances so far this season. It’s just that they had gotten few and far between, and you could really only bring him into the game if the Indians were already way ahead, or way behind.
The only bad thing about the Indians cutting Asencio today, is that they’re now one-man short in a bullpen that has been taxed pretty heavily recently. Tomlin needs to give the Indians innings today; heck, they need innings from Justin Masterson and Jeanmar Gomez for the rest of this series as well. There are relief arms still down at Columbus, even though many of them don’t really appeal to me - you have a few spring training cast-offs in Chris Ray (0-3, 2.21 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 18 strikeouts in 20.1 innings pitched) and Chris Seddon (5-3, 4.30 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in 58.2 innings pitched), as well as guys who pitched in the majors for the Indians before in Frank Herrmann (1-1, 4.30 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched) and Hector Ambriz (0-0, 2.76 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 22 strikeouts in 29.1 innings pitched). Chen-Chang Lee, who saw a lot of action for the Indians this spring, is currently 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA, 0.85 WHIP with 8 strikeouts in 7 innings pitched, but is also on the DL at the moment (he’s been on the DL since April with right forearm tightness). Of all of those guys I just mentioned, only Frank Herrmann is currently on the 40-man roster. However, with Perez on the 60-day DL and Asencio designated for assignment, there should be a spot open until at least late June (when Perez is eligible to be removed from the 60-day). Please don’t forget that Dan Wheeler also remains at Columbus – he’s 0-0 with a 4.76 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, and 4 strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched at Columbus since his demotion. He was 0-0 with an 8.76 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, and 2 strikeouts in 12.1 innings pitched in the majors this season.
So while the team on the field this weekend in Chicago looked quite different from the team that swept the Tigers (the players and the quality of play), one bright spot is that the Indians did manage to get some production from the bottom of the lineup. They’re going to need it in order to get through this recent rash of injuries.