CLEVELAND — Vinnie Pestano offered up an impressive performance to reclaim a spot in the Indians’ bullpen this spring. It was a fleeting moment of success for the former elite late-inning reliever.
After three disappointing appearances to start the season, Pestano was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday and replaced by right-hander C.C. Lee in Cleveland’s bullpen.
Pestano allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits over 2 2/3 innings of three forgettable outings this year. The right-hander wasn’t even able to pitch at mop-up time in the series opener against San Diego on Tuesday, allowing a home run to the first batter he faced — Xavier Nady — and two more runs before Cleveland had to employ closer John Axford to finish off an 8-6 win.
Lee, a 27-year-old native of Taiwan, is back for his second stint with the Indians this season after not making an appearance the first time around. He has posted a 3.38 ERA in two games for Columbus.
Center fielder Michael Bourn (left hamstring strain) speculated that he would be activated from the disabled list and rejoining the Indians on Sunday.
Bourn, who was in the clubhouse after the doubleheader Wednesday, has appeared in two minor league rehab games for Columbus, and is anxious to begin his big league season after starting the year on the DL.
“But at the same time I’m trying to be patient and trying to make the right decision and let my leg tell me what to do best,” Bourn said. “It’s still a long season. It’s early. Of course I want to be back out there playing.”
As expected, right-hander Trevor Bauer was promoted from Columbus to make a spot start in the second game of the doubleheader against San Diego.
Bauer served as the 26th man on Cleveland’s roster under MLB’s doubleheader rules, meaning the Indians were not required to make a corresponding move to activate him. He is expected to return to Columbus’ rotation.
Bauer allowed a run on two hits, while striking out nine over six innings of his first and only start for the Clippers.
The Indians are on the road until April 18, beginning a four-game series against the White Sox tonight (8:10).
Danny Salazar (0-0, 3.18 ERA) opens the set, opposing LHP John Danks (0-0, 3.86), while Carlos Carrasco (0-1, 6.35) goes for Cleveland on Friday (8:10 p.m.) against LHP Chris Sale (2-0, 1.76).
Justin Masterson (0-0, 4.22) starts for the Indians on Saturday (2:10 p.m.), while Chicago counters with RHP Felipe Paulino (0-1, 6.52). Corey Kluber (1-1, 7.71) starts the series finale Sunday (2:10 p.m.) against LHP Jose Quintana (1-0, 2.77).
Cleveland went 17-2 against Chicago last year, winning nine of 10 games at U.S Cellular Field.
First baseman/DH Jesus Aguilar has begun the season on a tear at Columbus, batting .563 (9-for-16) with three homers, and seven RBIs over his first five games through Tuesday. The 23-year-old Aguilar, a non-drafted free-agent acquisition in 2007 from Venezuela, went 2-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs Tuesday in the Clippers’ 6-5 win over Louisville.
* Double-A Akron catcher Tony Wolters had two of the Aeros’ six hits in a 4-3 loss to Altoona on Tuesday. Wolters, a third-round draft pick in 2010, entered Wednesday batting .467 (7-for-15) with a double and an RBI in four games.
* RHP Dylan Baker debuted with six scoreless innings and didn’t allow a hit Tuesday in Advanced Class A Carolina’s 7-0 win over Frederick. Baker, a fifth-round draft choice in 2012, was born and resides in Juneau, AK.
- The Indians own an 18-6 record in 12 doubleheaders from 2011-14, recording six sweeps and six splits.
- The baseball teams from Elyria Catholic and Avon Lake will participate in the 11th annual Cleveland Indians Charities Hardball Classic at Progressive Field on Friday. The Panthers play Highland in the first game at 3 p.m., while the Shoremen take on St. Ignatius at 5:30 p.m.
- Tonight, 8:10 vs. White Sox. STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM.