Today is the 81st game of the regular season, which means that Abraham Almonte's suspension is over.
Before the beginning of the season Almonte tested positive for Boldenone, part of the banned substances list. As a first-time offender Almonte served an 80-game suspension, which put the Indians in an unfortunate situation. Two presumed starters would miss the beginning of the season, since Michael Brantley's return timetable wasn't certain. That Brantley's return is still uncertain continues to provide column fodder, but Almonte's return could be a shot in the arm for the Indians' lineup. It's the least he can do in exchange for his own....
The Indians won't waste any time with Almonte, who starts today's game in center field:
Whether or not Almonte continues to start, he gives the Indians some additional options in the outfield. His "rehab" assignment in Columbus appears to have gone quite well.
Last season for the Tribe, Almonte slashed 264/.321/.455 for the Tribe after San Diego traded him in exchange for Marc "Scrabble" Rzepczynski.
This move is not at all unexpected; when Shawn Morimando recieved the call yesterday, we knew he wouldn't spend more than a day with the team. Michael Martinez
signed his death warrant played himself out of the lineup with two missed sacrifice bunts on Friday, and optioning Morimando to AAA opens the lineup spot up. Also, it appears to be a promotion for the young pitcher, whose low 90s fastball and sharp breaking ball will be tested in Columbus.
The tricky roster moves still loom on the horizon for the Indians. Roberto Perez may begin his rehab assignment soon, and he belongs on the Indians' everyday roster. However, given the effectiveness of the Bauer-Gimenez battery and the ongoing struggle of Yan Gomes, which catcher should go to Columbus? Is it possible for the Indians to carry three backstops? Is it better in the long run for Gomes — a former Silver Slugger — to spend some time in the minors rebuilding a swing that has fallen apart as badly as Tiger's?
Add to this the eventual return of Michael Brantley. While the roster picture grows cloudy, it is clear that at least two players who have made major contributions to the roster this season may be jettisoned.