Optioned RHP Fausto Carmona to Buffalo (AAA)
In order to make sense of this move, let's review the ways in which the Indians could have kept Carmona on the roster.
Option #1: Trade a starter. This early in the season, it doesn't make sense to trade anyone with any kind of track record, unless the deal fills a much-needed hole. Those deals tend to happen in the off-season, when teams are willing to create a hole to fill one, because they have time to get a replacement. Given the unlikelihood of this happening now, you'd be trading a pitcher just to get rid of him, and there's no one on the roster that needs to be gotten rid of, a la Danny Graves. Revisit this in June or July, especially with Paul Byrd, but it's way too early to be making unforced major roster moves.
Option #2: Move him to the bullpen. This would not only be a massive misuse of his talent, it would dilute the starter depth the team currently has. Once he goes to the bullpen, it'll take time for him to ramp back up to starting. And if he goes into the rotation in future years, he probably wouldn't be able to pitch a full season thanks to inning restrictions brought about by that bullpen stint. If you think his future is as a starter, then you keep him a starter, especially since you may need him to start again this year. The bullpen currently looks solid, and even if injuries or ineffectiveness occur, there are better reliever options in AAA.
Option #3: Demote a current starter. Since four of the five current starters cannot go to the minors without passing through waivers, that leaves Jeremy Sowers. This may be the most reasoned of the three options, since Sowers has only thrown 117 major-league innings, only 16 more than Carmona. The problem is that Sowers has been very effective, meaning that there's currently little justification to send him down. That view could change in a month, but remember, we're talking about keeping Carmona in the rotation given the information we currently have.
So yes, it's a not a good thing that the Indians have to option down their second-best starter, but it's certainly the best option of what's possible.
Recalled OF Ben Francisco from Buffalo (MLB Debut)
Because Casey Blake is now an everyday third baseman until Andy Marte gets straightened out in Buffalo, there's a need for a right-handed outfielder. Francisco makes a nice complement to the makeup of the roster: he hits left-handed pitching well, can play all three outfield positions, and can serve as a late-inning pinch runner. The Indians will need to make another roster move when Cliff Lee comes off the Disabled List, and that will probably mean that Shin-Soo Choo goes to Buffalo.