Adam Plutko was recalled from Triple-A to make the start in today’s ballgame for the Cleveland Indians, while Neil Ramirez was DFA’ed to make room, per The Athletic’s Zack Meisel (via Twitter). The team has announced the deal.
Plutko, 27, made 12 starts for the Indians last season, going 4-5 with a 5.28 ERA, 6.10 FIP, and 5.46 xFIP. An injury delayed his start to the season in Triple-A, but despite going 0-2 in his two starts with a 10.13 ERA, Cleveland apparently deems him ready. Still, they are likely to watch his pitch count today against Baltimore. With Corey Kluber on the shelf for potentially a month or so, there is need of a near-term solution for the Indians in the rotation. Jefry Rodriguez seems to have claimed the number four spot in the rotation after posting a 3.45 ERA in his first five starts, but the fifth spot in the rotation is there for the taking. Given Plutko’s usage last season, he would seem the logical candidate, though he’ll need to prove rather quickly that he’s fully up to speed. Cody Anderson could return despite his early struggles, and Chih-Wei Hu has also started slow in Triple-A with a 5.71 ERA thus far. A.J. Cole has starting experience as well, but he’s performed well out of the pen so far in 2019 and the Indians may not want to mess with a good thing there if they can help it.
Ramirez, 29, was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA across 16 appearances. Originally a Rangers farmhand, Ramirez has put together largely forgettable seasons after two strong years with the Cubs in 2014 and 2015. Ramirez bounced around with the Cubs, Brewers, Twins, Giants and Mets in 2016 and 2017 before joining the Indians last year. He was reasonably productive last season for the Tribe, with 11.02 K/9 versus 3.89 BB/9, a 2.83 K/BB ratio that was his best since the Chicago days (save for a 9-game stint with the Giants). This season, the strikeout rate went down, the walk rate up, and he surrendered five home runs in just 16 2/3 innings of work.