CLEVELAND — Fan favorite Vinnie Pestano is returning to the minor leagues.
Pestano, who worked his way back to the majors after a disappointing start to the season, was optioned to Triple-A Columbus to clear a roster spot for Saturday’s starting pitcher, Zach McAllister.
Pestano, who returned to form with the Clippers, pitched well after his recall to the big leagues, June 20. His first eight outings were scoreless before the right-hander surrendered a game-winning home run to Jacoby Ellsbury in a 14-inning loss to the Yankees on Wednesday.
The move came as a mild surprise, with the Indians expected to option right-hander Austin Adams back to Columbus to open a spot for McAllister. Adams, a fifth-round draft pick in 2009, was promoted Friday, with left-hander T.J. House optioned to Columbus, since Cleveland doesn’t need a full starting staff prior to the All-Star break (Monday through Thursday).
Leaders of the pack
- Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall entered Saturday ranked fourth in the American League with a .328 batting average over 77 games, while outfielder Michael Brantley ranked sixth at .327 in 88 games.
- Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera led all American League shortstops through Friday with eight home runs, while ranking second with 50 runs and fourth with a .715 OPS. Cabrera also entered Saturday leading the AL with 14 errors, though he had committed just one in his last 19 games.
- Class A Lake County center fielder Clint Frazier had a monster game Friday in a 14-3 win over Great Lakes. Frazier, Cleveland’s first-round draft pick last year (fifth overall), went 5-for-5 with a pair of homers, three RBIs and four runs. He entered Saturday batting .266 with nine homers and 30 RBIs in 74 games.
- The top three hitters in Columbus’ batting order Friday — Jose Ramirez, Tyler Holt and Jesus Aguilar — accounted for seven of the Clippers’ nine hits in a 5-4 win at Indianapolis. Holt and Aguilar drove in two runs apiece.
- Double-A Akron shortstop Franciso Lindor went 2-for-4 with an RBI Friday in a 5-4, 10-inning loss at Trenton. It raised Lindor’s season average to .284 in 82 games. He had committed 13 errors through Friday.
- Advanced Class A Carolina right-hander Adam Plutko allowed just a run on five hits, while striking out nine over seven innings of a 9-2 win over Winston-Salem on Friday. Plutko, an 11th-round draft pick last year, is 5-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 19 starts for Carolina and Class A Lake County.
- The Indians entered Saturday with a .500 record (46-46) for the first time since June 20 (37-37).
- Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer threw out the ceremonial first pitch to a rousing ovation.
- Today, 1:05, STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM. Bauer (3-4, 4.23) vs. Danks (8-6 4.15).