April 19, 2014

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Indians notes: McAllister placed on DL with finger sprain

DETROIT — When it rains, it pours, and it’s torrential-downpour mode for the Indians right now.

Hours before the second game of the series in Detroit, Cleveland placed starting pitcher Zach McAllister on the Disabled List with a right middle finger sprain. The right-hander, one of the Indians’ most consistent starters this year, could miss as much as a month.

Though an MRI performed on McAllister (4-5, 3.43 ERA) came back negative, the Indians are proceeding with caution.

“We don’t want it to get worse,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We want to let this thing settle down, then when he comes back to pitch, he can use all his pitches and he can be effective.

“The timetable is when he feels better and nobody really knows. When it’s better, he’ll pitch. We don’t (know) exactly, neither does he, neither do the doctors, but when he’s good to go, he’ll pitch.”

To replace McAllister on the 25-man roster, Cleveland recalled right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who started Saturday, with the rest of the rotation moved back a day.

Carrasco drew an eight-game suspension in his last spot start for the Indians on April 9, but he was able to pitch because he is appealing the suspension. He is expected to drop the appeal and begin serving the suspension today.

McAllister said Saturday that he began feeling pain in the finger after his last outing Sunday in an 11-3 loss to Tampa Bay.

“It’s an injury I’ve never really felt before, so it’s always going to be a little different,” McAllister said. “I’m confident that we got it early. I don’t know the timetable but hopefully I’ll be back sooner rather than later.”

The Indians have deduced that it was the grip on McAllister’s curveball that caused the injury, not the new split-finger fastball he developed this spring.

Cleveland can be excused for over-protecting McAllister after the past experiences they’ve had with pitchers and serious finger issues — i.e. Adam Miller and Alex White.

“That why we’re DL-ing him,” Francona said. “We don’t want it to get to the point where it’s something that it shouldn’t become. If we need to be overly cautious, we will be.”

 

Swish shot

In Nick Swisher speak, the Indians’ first baseman entered Saturday afternoon in a “Bro-for-20” (hitless in last 20 at-bats) skid at the plate. It accounted for the second-longest skid of Swisher’s career, with 0-for-28 the lowest point.

“I think he’s probably trying a little too hard,” Francona said. “It’s a good quality, but he just needs to relax. He will.”

“I’m just a little off,” said Swisher, who had just eight hits in his last 51 at-bats through Friday. “You go through stretches like this during the season.”

Twice Swisher came up with runners in scoring position Friday and both times he failed, popping up on the first pitch in the fifth inning and then grounding out to end the game as the tying run.

“We love when he’s up in those situations,” Francona said. “That will turn.”

Compounding matters Friday night was two errors from the usually sure-handed Swisher. He laughed when it was suggested that his slump could be affecting his defense.

“It was just a bad night,” Swisher said. “You have to forget about those and move on.”

 

Wounded Wahoos

Closer Chris Perez (right shoulder soreness) has played catch twice, but is still at least a week away from beginning a minor league rehab assignment.

“He’s doing very well,” Francona said. “When he gets to the point when he’s ready to pitch, I think we’ll sit down with him, the trainers and (general manager) Chris (Antonetti) and see what’s not only in his best interests, but ours.”

Perez’s status is still in limbo after the pitcher was charged Friday with possession of marijuana.

(bullet) Brett Myers (right elbow tendinitis) returned to throwing Friday but there is still no timetable for the activation of the right-hander, who hasn’t pitched on the big league level since April 19.

Myers made two minor league rehab outings before being shut down with pain in the elbow.

 

Old friend

Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez used his former team to continue to emerge from a slump that has followed him for much of the season.

Martinez, an Indians staple for five-plus seasons, went 3-for-4 Friday and hit his third home run in six games — a towering solo shot — off Ubaldo Jimenez in a fateful second inning for Cleveland.

Martinez, who cried when the Indians traded him to Boston during the 2009 season entered Saturday batting .241 with five homers and 30 RBIs, but was hitting .333 (20-for-60) with three homers and 11 RBIs over his last 17 games. He missed all of last year with a knee injury.

“If he gets hitting like we know he can, we’re going to have a real good offense,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland told reporters.

 

Draft days

The Indians chose RHP Adam Plutko (11th round, UCLA), RF Heath Quinn (12th, Oak Mountain High School, Ala.), C Sicnarf Loopstok (13th, Western Oklahoma State), CF Silento Sayles (14th, Port Gibson High School, Miss.) and SS James Roberts (15th, USC) with their first five picks in the third and final day — rounds 11-40 — of MLB’s First-Year Player Draft.

Sayles set a Mississippi state record with 103 stolen bases in 104 attempts during his senior season this year.

 

Minor detail

Columbus’ Matt LaPorta was placed on the seven-day Disabled List with a hip strain. LaPorta, who went unclaimed on waivers this offseason before accepting a Triple-A assignment with Cleveland, is hitting .235 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 22 games for the Clippers.

LaPorta, 28, has been a bust since arriving in a high-profile trade with the Brewers for CC Sabathia in 2008. He owns a .235 batting average, 31 homers and 120 RBIs in 291 for Cleveland.

 

Roundin’ third

The Indians have used 19 pitchers (eight starters) this season. … At 42, Jason Giambi is the second-oldest player to hit a homer at Comerica Park, which opened in 2000. Omar Vizquel (43) is the oldest, accomplishing as much with the White Sox in 2010. … Today, 1:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM/WMMS 100.7-FM. Masterson (8-4, 3.57) vs. Alvarez (0-0, 0.00).

 

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.