CLEVELAND — Zach McAllister has taken another step back in his progression as a big league starting pitcher.
The right-hander, who began the season well — 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA over his first four starts — was designated for assignment prior to the series opener with Texas on Friday. It came on the heels of a second straight poor performance Thursday from McAllister, who hasn’t posted a win since April 26 — a string of 10 straight starts.
The DFA was procedural due to McAllister’s three years of service time in the majors since making his debut, and Cleveland is expected to option him to Triple-A Columbus in the next few days.
The Indians promoted outfielder Tyler Holt from Columbus to take McAllister’s spot on the 25-man roster. Cleveland will have to add a starting pitcher Tuesday to replace McAllister in the rotation. It is expected to be right-hander Josh Tomlin or possibly right-hander Tyler Cloyd, who is 9-5 with a 3.91 ERA in 21 starts for Columbus and threw a no-hitter his last time out.
McAllister (3-6, 5.91 ERA in 14 starts) produced an impressive 2013 season — 9-9, 3.75 ERA in 24 starts — and earned a spot on the starting staff this year. But he’s been back and forth between the minors, missed time with an injury and has been ineffective overall.
“I think a lot of it is at times confidence,” manager Terry Francona said. “When you see Zach really good, he’s driving his fastball down in the zone. Everything revolves off of that. That’s the first thing, and probably the biggest.”
Chris Dickerson (left knee soreness) was out of the lineup, but Francona said he was hopeful the outfielder could return tonight.
Francona said Dickerson, who left Thursday’s game in the second inning, actually sustained the injury on a diving catch the night before.
Dickerson has looked shaky defensively at times.
“I think he has the abilities to be a good outfielder. He demonstrates that,” Francona said. “I think there’s also some consistency there that could get better.”
It was not a sweet homecoming for Midview High School product Ryan Feierabend after all.
The 28-year-old left-hander, who made seven relief appearances for the Rangers — five earned runs on 12 hits over 7 1/3 innings — did not make the trip to Cleveland after being designated for assignment Friday afternoon.
Feierabend, who lives in Strongsville, had made it all the way back to the majors after reconstructive elbow surgery in 2009 and considering retirement in 2012.
A third-round draft pick of Seattle’s out of high school in 2003, Feierabend made 25 appearances — 19 starts — for the Mariners from 2006-08. He owns a career 2-11 record and 7.15 ERA in 31 major league games.
Ironically enough, Columbus-born RHP Phil Klein, who starred at Youngstown State University, was promoted to take Feierabend’s roster spot.
The Indians will unveil the Jim Thome statue in ceremonies before tonight’s game.
Thome, Cleveland’s all-time leading home run hitter, will be in attendance to greet many of his admirers.
“He just had an infectious personality and obvious love for the game, especially hitting,” Francona said of Thome, who retired in 2013, following a 22-year career. “He’s so easy to like. He’s always happy. Nothing has changed him. He treats people great. That’s probably part of why they’re having a statue. I don’t think it’s just numbers. He’s a pretty awesome guy.”
Francona also admired the way Thome played.
“If you go to a game, you don’t really want to go eat when he’s hitting because those are some majestic … he takes some pretty healthy swings. For however many games I managed against teams he was on, I don’t think there was probably (more than) one or two times when he walked to the plate and I didn’t give him the bunt sign, ‘Go ahead and lay one down.’ And he’d just smile and then hit one into the upper deck.”
- T.J. House will be recalled from Columbus to start tonight. The left-hander is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) for Cleveland this year.
- The Indians recognized longtime radio play-by-play man Tom Hamilton prior to Friday’s game. Hamilton, an Avon Lake resident, has called Cleveland’s games for 25 seasons. He was flanked by his family and former members of the Indians organization — John Hart, Charlie Manuel, Mark Clark, Carlos Baerga, Mike Hargrove, Travis Hafner, Kenny Lofton and Thome.
- The Indians went 14-12 in July.