CLEVELAND — As expected, reliever Nick Hagadone was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Saturday, with left-hander Scott Barnes set to be recalled from the Clippers today for Cleveland’s final game before the All-Star break.
The rise and fall of Hagadone is a short story.
The 26-year-old left-hander was impressive upon his arrival, working his way into the back end of the bullpen, but he pitched his way off the 25-man roster with a disappointing stretch — 10.20 ERA over his last 18 games.
“Lack of command, and then just confidence, too,” manager Manny Acta said, when asked what was at the root of Hagadone’s downfall. “Once the success went away a little bit, the lack of confidence kind of came in. Command of the fastball is the No. 1 thing. He really struggled to throw his off-speed stuff over the plate. He still has a pretty good fastball and if you can locate and command it, you can get people out. He wasn’t capable of doing that, but we know that he will be able to do that for us.”
With Rafael Perez (strained left lat) on the shelf since April 26 and Tony Sipp struggling, the Indians have been without a reliable left-hander for much of the season.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle,” Acta said. “We have really missed Raffy, who has been a mainstay here for so long. I think (Barnes) has thrown the ball well in the limited outings that he has had up here, so coming up, he’s going to have an opportunity to see if he’s going to be part of that bullpen and improve that side of it.”
Barnes, 24, appeared in five games during his first stint with Cleveland this season, allowing six earned runs and striking out seven with five walks over seven innings. He is 0-2 with a 3.51 ERA in 16 games for Columbus.
With left-hander Matt Moore on the mound for Tampa Bay, second baseman Jason Kipnis and designated hitter Travis Hafner got days off.
Hafner (right knee surgery) played in three straight games since being activated from the disabled list, going 2-for-11 with a home run, two walks and an RBI.
“He helps take some pressure off those guys in the middle of our lineup,” Acta said. “He definitely changes the way the pitcher in the other dugout approaches our lineup. He’s a force in the middle of our lineup and he’s a guy who can, with one swing, change the score. I just hope we can have him the rest of the season.”
Third baseman Jack Hannahan has scuffled at the plate since returning from the disabled list, batting a paltry .178 (8-for-45) with one RBI over his last 15 games.
“It’s been an up-and-down type of thing for him,” Acta said of Hannahan, who entered Saturday hitting .247 with three homers and 19 RBIs in 46 games. “We have to take a step back and understand that Jack is just not going to all of a sudden turn into a batting champ over here. As long as he plays his good defense and gives us good at-bats, we’re going to be fine with him.”
The Indians entered Saturday owning the majors’ sixth-highest fielding percentage at .986 and having executed the third-most double plays (88). … Shin-Soo Choo had reached base 22 times in the first inning in 48 of his starts from the leadoff spot through Friday. He entered Saturday batting .330 with eight homers, 24 RBIs and an OPS of of .964 since moving into the leadoff spot. … Today, 1:05, Channel 3/WTAM 1100-AM. McAllister (3-1, 3.93) vs. Shields (8-5, 4.11).
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