Dellucci to DL; Hernandez ousted
CLEVELAND — The Indians made a pair of significant moves Wednesday, placing outfielder David Dellucci on the disabled list and designating relief pitcher Roberto Hernandez for assignment.
Dellucci sustained a strained left hamstring while running to first base Tuesday in a 9-6 loss to the Phillies. The Indians were awaiting results from a Wednesday morning MRI performed on Dellucci, but were expecting the worst.
“We don’t know a great deal yet,” said Cleveland manager Eric Wedge. “We think it’s fairly serious, just a matter of to what degree.”
Designating Hernandez was the more surprising transaction. Though the veteran right-hander had not pitched well, it cost the Indians $3 million to sign him in the offseason.
The move was orchestrated more to hold onto Jason Stanford, who pitched well in two spot starts for Jeremy Sowers but will leave the rotation when Jake Westbrook is activated from the disabled list to start Sunday against the Nationals. Stanford, who was out of minor league options and would have had to clear waivers if he was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo, will move to the bullpen and handle the long-relief role and provide insurance in the starting department.
The 42-year-old Hernandez, who pitched well in 68 games for the Pirates and Mets last year, was never able to find it in Cleveland, posting a 6.23 ERA in 28 appearances, while allowing 33 hits and 16 walks in 26 innings.
“His arm was still strong, his stuff was still good. It’s hard to say (why he struggled),” said Indians general manager Mark Shapiro, who indicated that the team is still looking for late-inning relief assistance. “Despite his age, he doesn’t appear to be a guy that’s done.
“We just didn’t get consistent enough effectiveness to stick with him.”
To replace Dellucci, the Indians promoted Buffalo outfielder Ben Francisco, while calling up Bisons reliever Edward Mujica to fill Hernandez’s spot for now. Mujica is expected to be sent back down when Westbrook is activated Sunday.
Cleveland would have most likely promoted Buffalo outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to take Dellucci’s place, but he is on the disabled list with a strained elbow and is not expected to return until mid-August.
The Indians are expected to use a number of outfielders in the absence of Dellucci, who has spent the majority of the season platooning in left field with Jason Michaels, while hitting .234 with four home runs and 20 RBIs in 54 games. Michaels and Franklin Gutierrez are expected to see the majority of time in left, with Francisco able to play there as well, but there is no set pattern.
“We’re not going to predetermine how this is going to play out in our outfield,” Wedge said. “I don’t think that we’re going to put a specific plan in place.”
Rehabbing reliever Cliff Pollitte suffered a setback in his attempted comeback from shoulder surgery, experiencing soreness in his right shoulder, following his third appearance for Double-A Akron.
Pollitte, a key member of the White Sox bullpen from 2004-05, has been shut down, but is expected to begin throwing again in 10-15 days.
Phillies manager and former Cleveland skipper Charlie Manuel wasn’t sure what to make of the Indians before the season, but he was pretty certain they would have plenty of offense.
“I knew they’d hit,” Manuel said. “I was a little concerned about their starting pitching, but it looks like their bullpen is better.”
The Indians are off today, beginning a three-game series at Washington — the last of interleague play — Friday night at 7:05.
Fausto Carmona (8-2, 3.12) opens the set, opposing left-hander Micah Bowie (4-2, 3.78).
Paul Byrd (6-3, 4.81) and Westbrook (1-2, 7.90) are the scheduled starters Saturday (7:05) and Sunday (1:35), while the Nationals counter with lefty Matt Chico (3-5, 5.35) and right-hander Jason Simontacchi (4-5, 6.31).
The first-ever meeting between the two teams is a family trip for Indians players, who are permitted to bring their wives and children.
Buffalo third baseman Andy Marte entered Wednesday hitting .302
(16-for-53) with four homers and 15 RBIs in June.
l Four players — catcher Max Ramirez, infielder Chris Gimenez, pitchers James Deters and Frank Herrmann — and manager Mike Saurbaugh represented Class A Kinston and the Carolina League in a 10-5 All-Star Game loss to the California League in Stockton, Calif., on Tuesday night. Gimenez, a California native, won the home run derby contest prior to the game.
The Indians have a record of 101-89 since interleague play began in 1997. Of the nine teams with triple-digit win totals in interleague play, eight are from the American League.
l The Indians are 38-11 when scoring four runs or more, 4-18 when scoring three or less.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.