Cleveland manager Terry Francona explained that, while Merritt is back at full health, he’s showing diminished velocity. The club evidently decided against activating the out-of-options hurler.
Merritt, 26, has only allowed six earned runs in 31 2/3 career MLB innings and gave the Indians a sparkling ALCS outing in 2016. Despite exhibiting impeccable control, though, Merritt only has managed 3.7 K/9 in the majors.
On a rehab assignment this year, Merritt took the ball for 26 innings over six starts at Triple-A. While he recorded a 20:1 K/BB ratio, he also coughed up 42 hits and six long balls en route to a 5.88 ERA.