CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – With the bullpen expected to play a major role in Monday’s opener against the Houston Astros, the Indians have added some left-handed relief depth to provide extra protection.
Cleveland recalled lefty Kyle Crockett from Triple-A Columbus, the club announced on Monday afternoon. The 24-year-old southpaw will be available out of the bullpen during Monday’s relief-anchored day vs. Houston.
Mike Clevinger, who has recently been pitching out of the Tribe’s pen, will start the opener of the four-game series at Progressive Field, but the 25-year-old rookie is not expected to go deep into Monday’s contest.
The team will mix and match relievers once Clevinger exits the ballgame.
The righty assumed the spot vacated when the club opted to skip Josh Tomlin’s next scheduled start in the rotation due to some struggles in the month of August (11.48 ERA).
Crockett rejoins the Indians after appearing in 24 games for Cleveland throughout portions of the 2016 campaign. The lefty has posted a 5.65 ERA (2.80 FIP) in 14 1/3 big league innings this season, walking seven and striking out 13.
Despite throwing from the left side, left-handed hitters have actually performed better (.286/.342/.400) against Crockett than righties (.250/.360/.400) this season.
With rosters capable of expanding up to 40 players in the final month, Crockett’s presence will protect the Indians during Monday’s bullpen day.
The team also recently promoted relievers Joe Colon, Cody Anderson and Perci Garner to the active roster. With Monday’s promotion of Crockett, the club now has 12 relievers, including Clevinger and Tomlin, currently available to pitch in relief.
Corey Kluber will start Tuesday for Cleveland.
Fifth day: How will the Indians handle the fifth spot in their rotation in the near future? According to manager Terry Francona, the team will “keep their options open.”
Cleveland certainly likes the idea of keeping Clevinger in the bullpen, but it wouldn’t take much effort to extend him back to a starter’s length.
If they so choose, the team could also reinsert Tomlin back in the rotation, but the club would likely prefer to see some positive results before thrusting the righty back into the starting five.
The expanded rosters certainly help provide some flexibility, but for now, the Indians will continue evaluating the situation in the short-term before making any long-term decisions.
Receiving end: Indians catcher Yan Gomes (DL, separated shoulder) might not be too far away from catching in some upcoming games during his current Minor League rehab assignment.
Gomes has DH-ed in three of the past four games at Double-A Akron and is expected to resume DH duties, possibly at Triple-A Columbus, on Wednesday.
Respect: What makes Astros second baseman Jose Altuve so difficult to pitch to? It might be quicker to list what doesn’t make him a tough out.
The 26-year-old infielder has made himself an MVP candidate this season, slashing .346/.409/.557 with 22 homers, 90 RBI, 26 steals and 95 runs scored.
“When he’s hot, if he can reach [the pitch], he can hit it,” Terry Francona said.
Scratched: Kluber was set to square off against lefty Dallas Keuchel in a clash of former Cy Young Award winners on Tuesday, but the Astros’ lefty will miss his next two starts, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters on Monday.
The Astros named right-handed hurler Brad Peacock as Keuchel’s replacement. The 28-year-old Peacock has allowed three runs over five appearances this season, walking three and striking out seven over seven big league innings.