Because both Michael Bourn (finger) and Jason Kipnis (elbow) are not going to be in the lineup in the near future, the Indians today made a roster move to strengthen the bench:
Indians have recalled INF Cord Phelps from AAA. C Omir Santos optioned to AAA. RHP Robert Whitenack outrighted to AA.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) April 16, 2013
Whitenack is a separate issue, so I'll leave off talking about him for now.
The good news is that Carlos Santana is healthy enough to play, and he's in the lineup tonight at catcher. The bad news is that Jason Kipnis isn't in the lineup, and that Michael Bourn is headed to the DL. But because both players are still on the active 25-man roster, the Indians needed to add a player to their bench.
So because Santana has been cleared to play, they optioned Omir Santos to Columbus (instead of DFAing him, which is interesting), and recalled Cord Phelps, who just recently was activated off the AAA DL (hamstring). Phelps is being groomed as the club's next utility man, and he's capable of playing several infield positions (second, short, third) as well as some outfield if necessary. With Ryan Raburn becoming more or the less the everyday right fielder for the next two weeks and Jason Kipnis still out (making Mike Aviles the starter at second), the Indians needed another infielder on the roster.
It is interesting that the Indians optioned Santos down instead of Gomes; that could mean that Gomes will be playing some first and third base, and giving Terry Francona even more flexibility with this roster.
The Indians were also able to get Robert Whitenack through waivers, and he'll return to the Akron rotation. That's a nice acquisition for an organization that lost two high-minors starters via Rule 5 (Hector Rondon and TJ McFarland) as well as another one (Steven Wright) via trade. If Whitenack works out this year, the Indians will need to add him back to the 40-man roster after the season, as he would be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft.
Latest 25-man/40-man roster: