The Indians have shaken their roster up, at least in a small sense, prior to Sunday’s series finale against the Twins.
The team recalled utility man Erik Gonzalez and OF Daniel Robertson. OF Brandon Guyer has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left wrist injury, while UT Michael Martinez has been designated for assignment.
Robertson will make his team debut Sunday, batting 8th and playing right field. The 31-year old spent the majority of the early season on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, but emerged by going 7-for-15 in four games in Columbus. He hit .328 in spring with two doubles, two triples and a home run before being injured.
Coupled with his hot start, Manager Terry Francona said Robertson brings energy, which is needed after an abysmal start to the home stand, offensively.
Even with his hot hitting, Robertson said his new manager’s assertion was more what the player was aiming for, himself.
“I didn’t even know the number, I didn’t know it was a small sample size, because down there (The Clippers) were struggling a bit,” Robertson said. “To me, it was important to come in and bring some energy to the team, find a way to make sure that winning was the most important thing, because at the end of the day, that’s really all the reason why you guys are here – for us to win.”
In order to fit Robertson on the 40-man roster, Martinez had to be removed, as he was designated for assignment. Martinez’s role as utility infielder was replaced by Gonzalez, who was hitting .269 (36-134) with 4 doubles, 3 triples, 5 home runs and 11 RBI in 32 games at Columbus. Defensively, he has appeared in 23 games at shortstop, 5 games at second base, 2 games at third base and 4 games in the outfield.
Francona said Gonzalez had versatility that made Martinez expendable.
“Well, I mean he’s such a good defender, especially in the infield – short and second – he’s a shortstop and he’s a really good defensive shortstop, but because of his skills he can move around and he’s pretty reliable,” the skipper said. “And even to the point where you could put him in the outfield. He’s pretty athletic.”
Guyer’s trip to the DL comes after some time trying the play through his wrist injury he sustained Friday during an at-bat. Francona said the outfielder was kept on the roster in case the injury took a positive turn, or in case he could pinch run, but Guyer underwent an MRI on Sunday. The results were a sprained wrist.
With the roster moves and a struggling offense came a shift to the lineup, with Jason Kipnis moving to the leadoff spot and Carlos Santana moving to the five spot.
Francona mentioned that the move had to do with the success of lefties against the Twins’ Sunday starter, lefty Hector Santiago, but mainly other factors.
“One, I thought maybe it would be good for Kip, maybe give him a little jump-start,” Francona said. “I don’t know, nobody has a crystal ball, but I also want to keep someone behind Edwin where, we don’t want to hurt his chances of getting hot, ever. We can’t swing for him, I know that, but I don’t want to make it harder. So you always want somebody behind him that you feel like they want to make sure they think about it. That was kind of the idea today.
“It’s been not a very good ten days offensively. I just thought this made sense. We’ll see moving forward.”