CLEVELAND — Sunday is a big day for the Indians and relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano.
Pestano, who has been unavailable the past two games with what the club is calling right elbow tendonitis, played catch Saturday and threw 15 pitches in the bullpen prior to Cleveland’s 7-3 win over the Twins.
The right-hander said how he feels today will dictate whether or not he will be making his first career trip to the disabled list.
“The big thing is how it responds tomorrow,” said Pestano, who owns a 2.25 ERA in eight appearances this season. “If I come in and everything is fine, then we move forward. If not, then a decision has to be made.”
Manager Terry Francona alerted reporters to the injury Saturday in explaining why he had right-hander Joe Smith in line to pitch out of Pestano’s role Friday night in a 7-6 win over Minnesota. Francona said Pestano was dealing with a “cranky” elbow.
“It’s been something we’ve been monitoring the last two years,” Pestano said. “It’s something that crops up and I’m usually able to get through it. It just happened to flare up a little worse than we expected. It’s the first time I haven’t been able to answer the bell, so to speak.
“I don’t think it’s something that’s going to be a serious issue, but it’s one of those things that you never know how it’s going to respond.”
In other injury news, Nick Swisher (left shoulder soreness) returned to the lineup after a three-game absence. Swisher was expected to play in the series opener against Minnesota on Friday.
“You could accuse me of being overprotective,” Francona said. “I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Should Pestano miss extended time, the Indians do have late-inning depth in Cody Allen, Smith, Rich Hill, Bryan Shaw, Matt Albers and closer Chris Perez.
(bullet) Michael Bourn (right index finger laceration) took batting practice for the first time Friday and was expected to do the same Saturday. He will be re-evaluated Sunday and could begin a minor-league rehab assignment as early as Monday.
“He had a real good day,” Francona said of Bourn’s BP Friday. “I think he was excited with how he responded.”
(bullet) Right-hander Brett Myers (right elbow inflammation) played catch for the second straight day.
“You can tell he is throwing free and easy and it’s not hurting,” Francona said. “He’s already itching to get on the mound. That’s a little premature, but the fact that he’s talking like that is good. He needs probably a couple weeks of throwing.”
Myers (0-3, 8.02 ERA) will make a rehab stint before returning to the rotation. According to Francona, Myers has been dealing with elbow issues since spring training, with the right-hander posting a 2-3 record and 9.00 ERA this exhibition season.
“Usually he fights through it every spring, as a lot of guys do,” Francona said. “It just didn’t really ever turn the corner the way he wanted it to, matter of fact, it got a little worse. It was affecting his command.”
Prized shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor stayed hot with a 4-for-6 performance Friday in High A Carolina’s 4-3 loss to Frederick. Lindor ranked first in the Carolina League in hits (38) and triples (4), and second in batting average (.365) through Friday. … Triple-A Columbus’ Matt LaPorta homered for the second time in two games (his first two since being activated from the disabled list), going 2-for-4 with three RBIs Friday in the Clippers’ 5-1 win over Rochester.
The Indians’ rained out game against the White Sox in Chicago on April 23 will be made up as a traditional doubleheader, June 28, at U.S. Cellular Field. The first game is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. … Reliever Joe Smith allowed his first run in 11 appearances this season. … Mark Reynolds is the first Indians player with nine home runs by May 3 since Travis Hafner in 2006. … Drew Stubbs entered Saturday 9-for-13 with three doubles, a homer and three RBIs over his last three games to raise his average from .213 to .284 (9-for-13, 4RS, 3 2B, HR, 3RBI)… Today, 1:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM/WMMS 100.7-FM. Kluber (2-0, 2.25)vs. Pelfrey (2-3, 7.66).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.