The Indians made the somewhat surprising decision to option outfielder Tyler Naquin to Triple-A Columbus yesterday in order to clear a spot on the roster for the return of outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall. While some may raise an eyebrow at demoting a player who finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .296/.372/.514, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes that the Indians didn’t want Naquin to be playing sparingly in a bench role for now. “It was something that, when I say we stressed over it, I mean it was a lot,” manager Terry Francona tells Bastian. “…I don’t think coming off the bench necessarily suits Naquin right now. Nobody’s giving up on him being an everyday player.” For the time being, Cleveland will go with Michael Brantley, Chisenhall, Brandon Guyer, Austin Jackson and Abraham Almonte in its outfield mix. Interestingly, Chisenhall started in center field for Cleveland yesterday, so it seems he’ll be viewed as at least a temporary option there.
More from the American League Central…
- White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson appeared on the Baseball Tonight podcast with Buster Olney (audio link) and talked about his days as an amateur, his experience playing basketball in his youth and the decision to ink a six-year, $25MM contract extension before reaching one full year of Major League service time. “It was more so the security level had to meet where I wanted to feel secure with my family,” says Anderson. “It was an exciting moment. We went back and forth two or three weeks, and was able to get this thing — get it figured out and get it going. Just on my family’s side, my daughter and my wife, it was relieving just to be able to tell them and let them see that we’re going to be OK and be fine.” Sox fans will want to give the interview a listen, as it offers some good insight into the background of one of the team’s rising stars and core pieces.
- Chicago announced yesterday that catcher Geovany Soto was headed to the 10-day DL with elbow inflammation, summoning Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte to take his spot on the roster for the time being. Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago writes that while Soto experienced some abnormal discomfort when making a throw, an MRI revealed everything in his elbow to be “fairly OK” (Soto’s own words). Soto says there’s no tear in his arm but there are “a couple floaters” (presumably referring to spurs or loose bodies). He’ll rest the elbow and use medication to treat the issue, though there’s not yet a clear indication of when he’s expected to return to the White Sox.
- Though many Tigers fans were upset with the team’s decision to demote ballyhooed relief prospect Joe Jimenez after one appearance in the Majors, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press argues that the move represented a logical course of action for a club in need of temporarily lengthening its bullpen. Detroit would’ve been without a long reliever in the first game against the division-rival Indians and would have been exposed in the event of a short outing from starter Daniel Norris, Fenech writes. And the risk of further depleting the bullpen by having to turn to the likes of Francisco Rodriguez, Justin Wilson, Alex Wilson and Kyle Ryan in the first game of a series against their top competition in the AL Central wasn’t a scenario with which Detroit wanted to be faced. “If something happens tomorrow with Daniel Norris early in the game, we won’t make it nine innings unless Andrew Romine toes the rubber,” manager Brad Ausmus told reporters after the game. Jimenez figures to be back with the team in short order, according to Fenech, though he’ll need to spend at least 10 days in the minors. Fenech also adds that righty Anibal Sanchez “is not going anywhere” in the near future, as he’s the team’s most experienced piece of rotation depth and the club still believes he can get outs in the Majors, even if he won’t ever return to peak form.