Catching up time:
Recalled RHP Tom Mastny from Buffalo (AAA)
Optioned 1B Michael Aubrey to Buffalo (AAA)
Released RHP Jorge Julio (DFAd on 5-28-08)
Even with Travis Hafner going on the DL, Aubrey wasn't going to get any playing time, and even if he did, it would probably be at the expense of Andy Marte. Besides, the Indians needed the extra arm because Jake Westbrook had just come down with a sore elbow.
Jorge Julio, who was DFAd to make room for Jake Westbrook when he originally came off the DL, sealed his fate with his outing against the Rangers on May 23rd (1.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO). Mark Shapiro had gone through this before, and he understood that if a reliever isn't good and it's the end of May, you cut bait without a second thought.
Placed RHP Jake Westbrook on the 15-Day Disabled List (right elbow)
Recalled RHP Jensen Lewis from Buffalo (AAA)
As we later found out, that elbow injury will require Tommy John surgery, sidelining Westbrook until at least June of next year. Realistically, the Indians aren't probably going to get Jake at full strength until the end of the 2009 season. It's a big blow to this year's chances, and it creates another 2009 rotation spot to fill.
Recalled RHP Brian Slocum from Buffalo (AAA)
Purchased the Contract of RHP Rick Bauer (AAA)
Optioned RHP Jensen Lewis and RHP Tom Mastny to Buffalo (AAA)
This was in the midst of the Texas series, and the day after Tom Mastny's 1.1 inning start. The Indians had to use four other relievers, two of which had to go more than two innings. As we'll see shortly, Slocum didn't last long in Cleveland, though Bauer has stuck around to the present day.
Rick Bauer has been in the majors on and off since 2001, when he broke in with Baltimore. After pitching 71 innings for Texas in 2006, he was released by the Rangers at the end of Spring Training of the following year. He split 2007 between the Phillies and Dodgers organizations, and didn't do much to deserve a trip back to the majors during the season. But, as he was healthy and had a history of tolerable major-league relief work, he got a Spring Training invite with the Indians. He started the season as Buffalo's closer, and cut down on his walks, his major weakness.
But Bauer hasn't carried over his success with the Bisons to Cleveland. He's given up 6 runs in 4 innings of work, unfortunately par for the course for this year's bullpen. As soon as another minor-league reliever catches the front offices' attention, he'll be gone.
Signed LHP John Halama to a minor-league contract; Assigned him to Buffalo (AAA)
Last seen in the majors mopping up games for Baltimore in 2006, Halama was pitching in the Atlantic League when the Indians signed him. He's AAA roster filler.
Recalled LHP Jeremy Sowers from Buffalo (AAA)
Optioned RHP Brian Slocum to Buffalo (AAA)
The Indians couldn't bring Sowers up to pitch in Westbrook's spot the start before since he had just started a game in Buffalo. He'll be in the rotation until Fausto Carmona comes off the Disabled List.
Recalled 2B Josh Barfield from Buffalo (AAA)
Optioned 2B/SS Asdrubal Cabrera to Buffalo (AAA)
This was more about Cabrera than Barfield. Asdrubal had certainly defended well enough, but the Indians' lineup couldn't carry a .184/.282/.247 in the lineup, not with everyone else struggling. This was also supposed to be an opportunity for Barfield to try to win back his starting job at second, but...
Placed 2B Josh Barfield on the 15-Day Disabled List (finger)
Placed C Victor Martinez on the 15-Day Disabled List (right elbow)
Transferred Jake Westbrook to the 60-day Disabled List (right elbow)
Purchased the Contracts of C Yamid Haad and IF Jorge Velandia from Buffalo (AAA)
Designed RHP Oneli Perez for Assignment
Victor Martinez had been trying to push through despite a bad hamstring, which explained his Tyner-like power, but the elbow injury finally forced the Indians to shelve Martinez. Apparently he had first injured the elbow a month before, but tried to play through it. An MRI revealed loose bodies in his elbow, which meant surgery and at best six weeks on the DL.
Barfield also had to have surgery, and also will be out for while. Josh strained a ligament in his middle left finger as he checked his swing. Like Martinez, his timetable for return will be 6-8 weeks. It was a really bad time for Josh to go down, since the Indians were committed to having Asdrubal Cabrera spend some time in Buffalo. By the time he returns, the Indians may have traded for a second baseman.
Haad didn't play an inning, as Kelly Shoppach has started every day since his callup, and today was designated for assignment. Velandia has fared slightly better; he's gotten one at-bat. The middle infielder has bounced between the majors and the minors for the last 11 seasons, with all his major-league stints being short. Like with Haad, he's probably here until the Indians can find someone better. Hopefully that won't take long.
Signed 1B/3B Morgan Ensberg to a minor-league contract; Assigned him to Buffalo (AAA)
Ensberg was dreadful with Yankees, even with getting regular playing time while Alex Rodriguez was on the DL. The signing is a nice gamble for the Indians; at the very least, he'll make the Bisons a better team. Ensberg as late as 2006 hit .235/.396/.463, which would have been one of the best offensive lines on this year's club.
Traded a PTBNL to the Atlanta Braves for The 'Stache
Designated C Yamid Haad for Assignment
With Victor Martinez out until at least late July, the Indians were looking for a better backup because Wyatt Toregas hasn't hit (he was recently demoted to Akron). So they traded a PTBNL (probably nothing or cash) for Sal Fasano, a journeyman backup who should at very least provide the young Indians with the secrets of '70s facial hair.