Following Josh Tomlin’s 1 2/3 inning outing on Thursday night, it was apparent that the Indians would need to re-shuffle their overworked bullpen.
They did just that, optioning RHP Shawn Armstrong to Triple-A Columbus, despite the righty showing promise, especially in relief of Tomlin.
What made Armstrong expendable was that he had minor league options available. Every player enters their career with three options, which are used when a player is sent to the minor leagues for a stretch greater than 20 days. Only one option can be used per season.
Nick Goody, who was called up in Armstrong’s stead, understood the move.
“Armstrong came up here and dealt,” he said. “When you have options, that’s what happens. We both knew that. I saw him walking out and I was like — he killed it last night. It is what it is.”
The fallout of a lack of bullpen arms was seen en masse last season when the Indians won a 19-inning game over Toronto. While the team was carrying a slew of relievers, but they were hamstrung by a lack of options.
“…We knew for about the next week, it was going to be a struggle,” Manager Terry Francona said. “And our guys didn’t have (options). It was Joba (Chamberlain), so we had to end up letting guys go. We didn’t really want to do that. But there were no options.”
With that in mind, the Indians brain-trust entered the season by putting themselves in a position to where they would not have to release players again.
“Chris and I, we met with, I think it was six or seven guys – the guys with options,” Tito added. “It was (Kyle) Crockett, Goody, Armstrong, (Joe) Colon, that group of guys.
“A lot of times, when you send them down, what they hear is they’re going to Triple-A. And they miss the rest of it. This was at a point where there was no anxiety. There was no emotion. We were just explaining to them what happens sometimes. We weren’t sure if we should do it or not and seeing Armstrong’s reaction, I’m glad we did. He understood, he was professional.”
Goody looked solid in his Indians debut, as that fresh arm was needed in relief of Trevor Bauer.
Friday, the righty tossed two innings, allowing one hit and striking out two.
“That was good to see,” Francona said. “When we acquired him, we were trying to kind of identify maybe what he could be, and we kept coming back to the (Jeff) Manship role. A guy who can face right-handers and be pretty tough on them. In a game like tonight, you can’t really pick your spots. Fortunately he faced more of the right – he really did a good job.”
In 4 1/3 IP with the Clippers, Goody struck out 10 of the 17 batters he faced, allowing just one hit and an intentional walk.