On the first official day of spring training, Terry Francona speaks to the entire roster, including non-roster invites. The main subject of his talk is that every one of the players assembled has a good chance to contribute at some point during the season, even those who don’t make the opening day roster. With 10 players either on one of the Disabled Lists or out of action, that “at some point” is happening now. Tyler Olson, who was brought up after Boone Logan’s season-ending injury, is now pitching in high-leverage situations. Giovanny Urshela, who seemed to be hopelessly blocked at the beginning of the season, has appeared in 32 games now. Ryan Merritt will be making his third start of the season tonight.
Those peripheral players may not affect the entire season like an everyday player would, but given how baseball works, any contribution could be crucial. Merritt is going to pitch against the Kansas City Royals, who are 6 games behind the Indians in the AL Central. Even though the Indians do have a buffer right now, a 6-game lead is not a guarantee, even this late in the season. Last night Giovanny Urshela and Yandy Diaz (who after his disastrous April/May was relegated to that periphery) played against the Boston Red Sox, who the Indians are chasing for homefield advantage in the ALDS. The Indians caught and passed the Red Sox on the last weekend of the season last year, and I think that was a key reason why the Indians swept the series.
Activated LHP Andrew Miller from the 10-day disabled list
Placed OF Abraham Almonte (hamstring) on the 10-day disabled list
Placed RHP Danny Salazar (elbow) and LHP Andrew Miller (knee) on the 10-day disabled list
Recalled RHP Shawn Armstrong and 3B Yandy Diaz from Columbus (AAA)
Placed 2B Jason Kipnis on the 10-day disabled list (hamstring)
Recalled IF Erik Gonzalez from Columbus (AAA)
Latest 25-man/40-man roster
This week’s Santander Watch: Santander has appeared in two games (both in right field), and is hitting .250/.250/.250 in 8 Plate Appearances. The Orioles are amazingly still in contention for a Wild Card spot, so I don’t see him playing all that much.
Andrew Miller - Has met with Cavalier team doctors (who obviously work with tall athletes) and the initial prognosis is promising, though we don’t when he’ll return.
Lonnie Chisenhall - Will be rejoining the team after paternity leave, then will head back out on a rehab assignment. Should be activated next week.
Michael Brantley - Has been doing some baseball activities, but not yet ready for a rehab assignment.
Jason Kipnis - No official timetable for return, I’m guessing mid-September at the earliest.
Abe Almonte - Should be back after the rosters expand next week.
Danny Salazar - Received a lubricant injection in his right elbow after an MRI showed no structural damage.
Carlos Santana - should be back in the lineup tonight
Josh Tomlin - will pitch in Mahoning Valley tonight, and should be available to start one of the games in Detroit.
Cody Anderson and Boone Logan - Anderson is officially out for the year, Logan is almost certainly out for the year.
Today’s roster move
The Indians will need to recall Ryan Merritt for tonight’s game, so someone will need to return to Columbus. Before last night’s game I thought that someone would be Yandy Diaz, especially with Carlos Santana returning to the lineup. I still think sending down Diaz makes the most strategic sense, but perhaps they’ll opt to send Erik Gonzalez instead. I think Shawn Armstrong will stay because Merritt won’t have a very long leash (meaning that the bullpen will need to cover 4-5 innings). And perhaps both Merritt and Armstrong will be optioned to AAA after tonight’s game for additional arms, depending on how the game goes.