CLEVELAND — The ascension to the big leagues has been a quick one for Cody Allen, a 23-year-old right-hander chosen by the Indians in the 23rd round of the 2011 draft.
Allen, who began the season at Advanced Class A Carolina, was promoted from Triple-A Columbus on Friday, taking the roster spot of left-hander Scott Barnes. It will likely be a short stay for Allen, who is expected to be optioned back to Columbus once Rafael Perez (strained left lat) leaves the disabled list.
Still, his rapid rise through the minors has been impressive.
“It’s been a little bit surprising,” said Allen, who made his big league debut Friday night. “If you would’ve told me two years ago that I would be here, then I probably wouldn’t believe you.”
Allen has pitched on three different minor league levels this season, going a combined 3-2 with a 1.87 ERA in 31 relief appearances. He posted a 2.27 ERA in 24 outings for Columbus, while averaging 11 strikeouts per nine innings and limiting minor league hitters to a .166 batting average overall.
He is just the second player from the 2011 draft class to appear in the majors this year, joining Arizona RHP Trevor Bauer, who was recently demoted.
“He’s a guy that attacks the strike zone with a power arm and he has a good breaking ball,” manager Manny Acta said of Allen.
The Indians were high on Barnes after an impressive spring training performance, but he has struggled in two separate stints in Cleveland — 8.10 ERA over seven appearances covering 10 innings.
Perez threw a bullpen session Friday at Progressive Field and is expected to begin his minor league rehab assignment Monday at Double-A Akron.
Acta said Perez would either pitch an inning apiece Monday and Tuesday or two innings Monday, with his activation likely coming after.
A late-inning cog in Cleveland’s bullpen since 2007, Perez hasn’t pitched since April 25. He is 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA in eight games.
Center fielder Michael Brantley has been steady all season, but especially hot as of late, going 10-for-22 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and three RBIs during the Indians’ recent seven-game road trip.
Brantley (.299, 4 HR, 45 RBIs) entered Friday batting .408 in July (third-best in the American League), while posting a 1.243 OPS (second-best in the AL).
Cleveland’s home run king, Jim Thome, was back at Progressive Field, starting at designated hitter for Baltimore and receiving a subdued ovation from Indians fans.
Thome began the season with Philadelphia, joining the Orioles in a trade June 30. He entered Friday batting .238 with two RBIs in 11 games for Baltimore after hitting .242 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 30 games for the Phillies.
The Indians entered Friday as the only team in the majors to have gotten 40-plus RBIs from the catcher, second base, shortstop and center field positions, based in large part on the production of Carlos Santana (34 RBIs), Jason Kipnis (53), Asdrubal Cabrera (42) and Brantley (45). … In recognition of the shootings in Aurora, Col., the American flag at Progressive Field was at half-mast Friday. … Tonight, 7:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM. McAllister (4-1, 3.17) vs. Tillman (1-0, 0.00).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or email@example.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.