CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians don’t plan on running away from Josh Tomlin because of his recent struggles, but in the meantime, they also have to do what is best for the entire squad.
And right now, that involves making a tough decision.
Cleveland will skip Tomlin’s next turn in the rotation, electing to give the right-hander a few down days in an attempt to “reset” and cure whatever currently ails the Tribe’s rotation arm.
“The one thing I would say is it doesn’t look like his tank is on empty,” manager Terry Francona said. “I know he feels good, which is really good. I think he’s gotten away from how he pitches.”
Over the last month, Tomlin has posted an 11.48 ERA in six starts, yielding 34 runs in 26 2/3 innings for Cleveland. During that stretch, the righty, who owned a 3.43 ERA over his first 19 outings of the campaign, has continued to be hurt by the multi-run homer and has failed to pitch at least five innings in all but one of his starts this month.
In his most recent outing, he allowed four runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings vs. Minnesota on Wednesday night.
Tomlin’s velocity has remained the same during the month of August, but Francona pointed to a change in specific pitch selection as a potential issue, noting that his fastball and cutter usage has “flip-flopped” over the last month.
That, among other things, will be at the center of the team’s extensive look at Tomlin’s issues.
“How to get him back the best way, we need to figure that out,” Francona said. “Is that bullpen sessions? Is that in the bullpen? We’ll get to that.”
As for Tomlin’s spot in the rotation, the team has yet to decide how they’ll handle it moving forward. Thursday’s off day and the upcoming expansion of rosters on Sept. 1 enables the club to have some flexibility, but how the next few games unfold will also help determine how the Indians approach the open slot.
Despite the need to deliver the tough news, Francona stressed the decision does not reflect a change in how they feel about the 31-year-old pitcher.
“If you’re looking to criticize him, you’re going the wrong direction,” Francona said of Tomlin. “This kid gives you everything he has and he’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever seen. And none of that changes because he’s gotten hit around a little bit the last 3-4 times. This is just part of baseball. And he’ll handle it.
“I’d be willing to bet he knows we care every bit about him as much today as we did yesterday or when he throws a complete game… We’ll get him figured out and get him back going. That’s the goal.”
Claim This: Despite acquiring outfielder Coco Crisp from the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday — a deal that happened after Crisp cleared waivers earlier this month — Indians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti has found it difficult to get much done through the waiver trade period of baseball’s season.
“It’s really, really challenging,” he said. “I think we put in — I’m not sure of the exact count — but over 100 claims, and we’re eligible for very, very, very few. That speaks to our position, especially if it’s a National League club, where it would have to go through the entire National League and almost all of the American League.
“Depending on the day, we were either second to last or third to last in claiming rights.”
Antonetti anticipates remaining active through Wednesday’s midnight deadline to acquire players still eligible to be added to possible playoff rosters. Under baseball’s current structure, to be eligible for a postseason roster, all players must be within the club’s organization prior to Sept. 1.
Gomes Rehab: To make room on the 40-man roster for reliever Perci Garner’s promotion, the team transferred catcher Yan Gomes (shoulder), in a strictly procedural move, to the 60-day disabled list.
Gomes is eligible to be activated from the DL on Sept. 16.
“It doesn’t really affect his timeframe at all,” Antonetti said. “He’s eligible to come off the DL on Sept. 16. And that was kind of within the range of timeframe that we were initially expecting — and that’s been reaffirmed with where he is in the rehab process.
“We expect that he’ll get out on a rehab in some way here within the next week.”
Gomes has been participating in on-field batting practice over the past week for Cleveland.
All Smiles: Francona had the quote of the day when it came to describing 27-year-old reliever Perci Garner, who was promoted to the big league club on Wednesday afternoon.
“He’s already leading the American League in smiles,” Francona said. “But it’s a good story. It’s also just starting.”
The 27-year-old Garner gets the call to the Majors after posting a 1.83 ERA in 41 games between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus this season.
In 27 1/3 innings with the Clippers, the graduate of Dover High School and Ball State University owns a 1.63 ERA and has held right-handed hitters to a .127 batting average.