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Indians activate Jason Giambi from DL, demote Blake Wood to Columbus

The eight-man bullpen is dead (for now)

Jason Miller

The Indians have activated Jason Giambi from the disabled list, where he'd been since before the season began, due to a fractured rib. In order to make room for Giambi on the 25-man roster, right-handed reliever Blake Wood has been demoted to Triple-A Columbus.

Giambi is a former American League MVP and he had a few huge hits for the Indians last season, but he's also 43 years old, and his overall numbers last year were not good, so expectations for his production should be low. I expect him to start at DH occasionally, but mostly be used as a late-inning pinch hitter against righties. Only 14 players in MLB history have gotten 100+ plate appearances in their age-43 season, with Carlton Fisk and Carl Yastrzemski being the only ones who hit more than 6 home runs. His clubhouse presence couldn't be praised more highly than it already has been, so perhaps he'll help Carlos Santana and Nick Swisher somehow (maybe with a cool new handshake or something).

Giambi's return was expected, but there was uncertainty over who would be sent down to make room for him. Terry Francona has talked about liking an 8-man bullpen, which made it seem likely that a position player might be demoted, with Elliot Johnson seeming to be the most likely, but Francona said over the weekend that it could be a pitcher, and sure enough, it is.

Blake Wood has allowed 5 runs in 6.1 innings, while walking 7 batters, so it's not a big surprise that he was the one chosen. Nor should the team suffer too greatly from his absence (though this means the starting rotation needs to make fewer 5-inning appearances). Wood is 28, with below average numbers in 127 MLB innings. It won't surprised me if an injury causes him to be called back up, but he's also probably getting short on opportunities to prove himself.

If you're not excited about having Giambi holding down one of the 25 spots on the roster, I understand. You can make yourself feel better by watching this:

(and hoping he's got a couple more of those left up his sleeve)