- Eddy also reports that catcher Luke Carlin has signed a minor league deal with the Indians, but Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer clarifies that it’s a coaching gig (Twitter link). Carlin spent the 2010-14 seasons in the Cleveland organization and saw a bit of time in the Majors in 2010 and 2012. Carlin has 156 Major League plate appearances and has batted .179/.263/.286 in that time. He’s a career .239/.357/.350 hitter at the minor league level, where he’s prevented 31 percent of stolen base attempts and drawn consistently solid pitch-framing marks from Baseball Prospectus.
Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball:
- The Indians have placed catcher Roberto Perez on the disabled list with a thumb injury and recalled Adam Moore from Triple-A to take his place, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). Perez, Yan Gomes’ backup, was a 1.7-fWAR player in just 70 games last year, but he has only appeared in four contests this season, going without a hit in 15 PAs. In 287 big league PAs, the 31-year-old Moore and has hit a weak .201/.241/.309.
- The Nationals activated catcher Wilson Ramos from the bereavement list before their game against the Cardinals on Sunday and optioned backstop Pedro Severino to Triple-A, per Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com (on Twitter). Ramos, a career .259/.301/.413 hitter over 1,839 big league PAs, batted a solid .316/.328/.491 with two home runs and threw out four of eight base stealers in April. Severino appeared in only one game and logged three PAs in Ramos’ absence.
- The White Sox have activated closer David Robertson from the bereavement list and optioned right-hander Tommy Kahnle to Triple-A, reports Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago (Twitter link). Robertson, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, has converted eight of nine save opportunities this season in dominant fashion. The 31-year-old has racked up 13 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings of work while surrendering a single run. Kahnle threw an inning for the White Sox prior to today and walked two batters.
- The Braves recalled utilityman Emilio Bonifacio from Triple-A and optioned right-handed reliever Chris Withrow on Sunday morning. However, because of a rule technicality the Braves were unaware of, they can’t activate Bonifacio today, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Specifically, the Braves need to wait 30 days from the date they released Bonifacio (April 6) to activate him, per O’Brien (Twitter link). Atlanta brought back the switch-hitting Bonifacio on a minor league deal after it released him. He owns a career .259/.316/.337 line in 2,807 major league plate appearances and will lengthen the Braves’ bench if he’s ultimately activated. Atlanta needed reserve depth after it had utilized a 13-man pitching staff over the last couple weeks, as Mark Bowman of MLB.com wrote Saturday. Withrow, a former Dodger, threw seven innings with the Braves prior to today, striking out four and allowing three earned runs on five hits and five walks. Those seven frames were Withrow’s first in the majors since 2014, as he underwent Tommy John surgery that year and later required surgery on a herniated disk in his lower back.
Detwiler, 30, signed a minor league deal with Cleveland and made the club out of Spring Training but has struggled in the early stages of the ’16 campaign, allowing three runs on three hits and four walks with three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. Once a solid fifth starter for the Nationals, Detwiler was shifted to the bullpen in 2014, where he provided Washington with 63 innings of 4.00 ERA ball. That marked his last somewhat productive season in the Majors, though, as Detwiler was traded to the Rangers in the 2014-15 offseason and posted an unsightly 7.25 ERA in 58 1/3 innings split between the Rangers and the Braves.
Hunter, 29, signed with Cleveland this past offseason. While he originally had a reported two-year offer in the $11-12MM range agreed upon with the Yankees, New York backed out due to medical concerns, and Hunter would ultimately sign for a year and $2MM with the Indians. Hunter landed on the DL to open the season due to a groin injury and some lingering effects from offseason hernia surgery, but reports indicated that neither was the cause for New York’s apparent trepidation.
Hunter solidified himself as a reliable middle-relief/setup arm with a pair of strong seasons in Baltimore from 2013-14 (2.88 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 in 147 innings), but he was somewhat surprisingly traded from the Orioles to the Cubs last summer despite the fact that he’d again posted solid numbers and the Orioles made other win-now moves (i.e. acquiring Gerardo Parra from the Brewers). Hunter struggled with the Cubs, surrendering 10 runs on 20 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings. He’ll look to return to his 2013-14 form now as a member of a Cleveland ’pen that has seen its share of struggles (most notably among closer Cody Allen and setup man Bryan Shaw). With a nice showing in Cleveland, Hunter could work his way back toward the multi-year deal that so narrowly eluded him this past winter.
- Trevor Bauer will move back into the Indians rotation while Carlos Carrasco is on the shelf, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian tweets. The 25-year-old lost the competition for a starting job out of camp, with Josh Tomlin and Cody Anderson grabbing those spots. But it’s certainly possible to imagine him forcing his way back in even after Carrasco returns, particularly with Anderson off to a rough start.
TODAY: Carrasco is expected to be out for four to six weeks, the club has announced. Obviously, that’s just an estimate for an injury that will require quite a bit of careful monitoring, but it seems relatively promising news.
Cleveland has also activated outfielder Michael Brantley, who had opened the year on the DL.
YESTERDAY: Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco exited his start in Detroit on Sunday with a left hamstring injury and will be placed on the disabled list as a result, manager Terry Francona said (Twitter link via Zack Meisel of cleveland.com). Carrasco will return to Cleveland for an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.
Carrasco suffered the injury while running to cover first base on a ground ball during the third inning of the Indians’ 6-3 victory. He pulled up in pain before reaching the bag and grabbed the back of his leg, and had to be helped off the field, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Trevor Bauer then replaced Carrasco, and Bauer figures to take the now-vacant spot in Cleveland’s rotation. The former top prospect threw 329 frames of 4.38 ERA ball as a starter for the Indians from 2014-15 before shifting to the bullpen prior to this season. He tossed 3 1/3 innings and yielded two earned runs Sunday.
Regardless of how long he’s out, the loss of Carrasco represents a significant blow to the Indians’ pitching staff. Carrasco has emerged as one of baseball’s top starters over the last two-plus years, having put up a 3.15 ERA/2.79 FIP/2.70 xFIP with an outstanding 51.5 percent ground-ball rate in 337 innings since 2014. Carrasco ranks sixth among all starters in K/9 during that time frame (9.99) and has shown great control with a 2.06 BB/9. Along with Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar, he has given the Indians a premier triumvirate of starters.
Carrasco was off to another strong start this season with a 2.45 ERA in 22 innings prior to the injury, though FIP wasn’t as bullish on him as usual (4.31) and his 8.18 K/9 is lower than it has been in recent years. However, the 29-year-old has thus far posted a stellar 3.31 xFIP while continuing to limit walks (2.05 BB/9).
- Indians star left fielder Michael Brantley will rejoin the team Monday, manager Terry Francona said Sunday, and stands a good chance to be activated then, reports Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. The club could option outfielder Tyler Naquin to Triple-A in a corresponding move when it activates Brantley, per Bastian. Brantley has been working his way back from November right shoulder surgery and has played seven minor league rehab games since April 12. The 28-year-old’s return will be a significant boon to the Indians, as he emerged as one of the majors’ most dangerous offensive threats during the previous two seasons.
- Indians right-hander Cody Anderson could be pitching to retain his spot in the rotation in his next start, according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Anderson beat out Trevor Bauer for a rotation job during Spring Training and has opened the season with a 7.53 ERA/7.51 FIP/4.89 xFIP in three starts (14 1/3 innings). Anderson’s next scheduled start is Tuesday in Minnesota, and if he doesn’t significantly improve on his last two outings – during which he allowed 10 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings – he could end up in Triple-A and Bauer would replace him in the rotation. Despite Bauer’s 10 strikeouts in eight innings out of the Indians’ bullpen, he hasn’t been overly effective this season. The 25-year-old has yielded four earned runs, nine hits and four walks thus far.
- The Indians will activate right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall from the disabled list on Wednesday this week, writes Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com, which means a roster move is forthcoming. Of the team’s four outfielders — Rajai Davis, Collin Cowgill, Marlon Byrd and Tyler Naquin — only Naquin has options and can be sent down without being exposed to waivers. Looking at the pitching staff, Hoynes lists a number of arms that are safe but doesn’t apply that designation to Joba Chamberlain, Ross Detwiler or Dan Otero. Chamberlain and Otero have been strong thus far in the young season, whereas Detwiler has surrendered runs in two of his four appearances on the year.
A few notes from the American League…
- Standout Indians left fielder Michael Brantley will soon make his 2016 debut, according to manager Terry Francona. “He’s getting pretty close,” Francona said (link via Jordan Bastian of MLB.com). Brantley is likely to play consecutive games at Double-A Akron sometime during the upcoming week, per Bastian, as he works his way back from a right shoulder injury. Brantley emerged as one of the league’s most dangerous offensive threats during the previous two seasons, slashing a combined .319/.384/.494 with 35 homers and 38 steals, before undergoing shoulder surgery last November.
- Angels southpaw Andrew Heaney still has a ways to go to return from a left flexor muscle strain, manager Mike Scioscia told reporters, including Brian Hall of MLB.com. Heaney started for the Halos on April 5 and put up a decent line against the Cubs (six innings, seven strikeouts, no walks, seven hits, four runs), but his velocity dropped precipitously from the beginning of his outing to the end and he complained of left forearm tightness. The 24-year-old then landed on the disabled list the next day.
- The Athletics will continue using both right-hander Ryan Madson and lefty Sean Doolittle to close games, manager Bob Melvin told Willie Bans of MLB.com. “We’re just trying to do the best we can with, number one, matchups and, number two, with how guys are pitching,” he said. Madson has fared well this year (six innings, two earned runs, five strikeouts, one walk) while going 3 for 3 on save chances. On the other hand, Doolittle – one of the game’s top relievers from 2012-14 – has not bounced back nicely this season after missing nearly all of last season with a shoulder injury. Although Doolittle’s velocity has stayed in line with his career averages, the 29-year-old has yielded four earned runs and three homers in 5 2/3 innings this season.
- The Indians are expected to activate right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall on Wednesday after he plays a pair of rehab games with Double-A Akron on Monday and Tuesday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com was among those to report (Twitter link). Upon returning, Chisenhall – who has been on the disabled list since March with a left wrist injury – will vie for playing time in an Indians outfield that has mostly used Rajai Davis, Marlon Byrd and Jose Ramirez so far this year.