The Indians had a couple of ways they could have gone before Tuesday’s game against the visiting Minnesota Twins with the need to clear a roster spot for the evening’s starting pitcher Josh Tomlin.
Ultimately, the complicated and multi-faceted decision came down to how well Michael Bourn’s pre-game hamstring test went, which involved the speedy centerfielder sprinting in the outfield at different speeds before batting practice. Afterwards, it was determined that Bourn was close enough to returning to the lineup that a second disabled list stint isn't needed.
However, the result was making the tough decision to designate catcher George Kottaras, despite the well-traveled veteran being out of options.
“We had to do it,” said Indians manager Terry Francona, noting that it appears like Bourn could return to the lineup in a few days. “We went around and around and around. That's part of why we (made the move) so late.”
It was one of those ironic moves packed with good and bad news, depending upon which angle it's looked at. The good news for the Indians was that Bourn looks like he'll avoid a second disabled list stint for the balky hamstring that required offseason surgery.
However, the bad news was Kottaras ended up becoming expandable with the need to hang onto Nyjer Morgan, who has options, but is replacing Bourn in the field and atop the lineup until the veteran is ready for game action.
“We don't want to force (Bourn) to the DL,” Francona said. “It's only been three days, and he's probably only two away.”
Kottaras, 30, had just joined the Tribe Saturday from Triple-A Columbus, giving the club catching insurance in the absence of starter Yan Gomes, who’d gone on the Paternity List for the birth of his daughter.
Although Kottaras played in just one game – Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the visiting Chicago White Sox - it was a memorable one, as he hit pair of solo home runs in his first two at-bats to become the first player in Indians franchise history to accomplish the feat.