Tony Sipp figured he was in big trouble Tuesday night.
Columbus manager Torey Lovullo phoned Sipp at his digs long after the game was over, asking him to drive back to the ballpark.
"I thought I did something wrong,'' said Sipp, who was summoned from Triple-A for the first time in his career to help settle the Indians' bullpen.
"I made it back to the park and Torey started smiling. I asked him, "What's so funny?' and he said, "I just wanted to see your face when I told you that you're going to the big leagues.' ''
After the bullpen took over with a 6-1 lead over the Royals in the seventh inning of Tuesday night's game, Joe Smith and Masa Kobayashi failed to retire any of the five batters they faced (giving up four runs). That's when manager Eric Wedge and General Manager Mark Shapiro felt they had to make a move.
It turned out to be calling up Sipp and optioning lefty Zach Jackson -- who hasn't been part of the problem -- to Triple-A. Jackson pitched only twice and gave up three runs in 42/3 innings.
"We're going to use Sipp against left-handers,'' Wedge said. "He was very impressive in the spring. I like his heartbeat. I like his competitive mindset. He likes to be in there when it counts.''
Sipp was a promising lefty until his stock slipped after he underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in 2007. But he has worked his way back into being one of the Tribe's better bullpen prospects.
"He's very similar to the way he was before surgery,'' Wedge said. "In a perfect world, you'd like to keep him in Triple-A a little more, but we think he's ready to be up here.
"There were people making arguments that he should make it in spring training.''
Sipp, 25, made four appearances for the Clippers, allowing three runs and eight hits in seven innings. He also walked five and struck out 10. Left-handed batters are 1-for-10 against him.
"They let me know how everything was in spring training, how they thought I did everything they could have asked for,'' Sipp said. "I knew I wasn't competing for a job, so we were on the same page.''
Asked if he had time to inform his family and friends of the uptick in his career, Sipp said, "I woke everybody up. It was about 11:30, but it wasn't as that bad because it was only 10:30 in Mississippi.''
That would be Moss Point, Miss., where everyone knows everyone else.
"Yeah, if I go to the grocery, I know a lot of people,'' Sipp said. "If we had a grocery.''
LEE ON BLOCK? -- According to a story on CBSSports.com, the Tribe is willing and maybe anxious to trade Cliff Lee.
To quote the article, ""Multiple officials familiar with the Indians said this week that they wouldn't be at all surprised to see Lee get traded if the Indians fell far out of the race.''
One of these officials was quoted as saying, ""I think they'd love to trade him.''
The story speculates that Tribe operatives aren't sure whether Lee is a legitimate No. 1 starter or middle of the rotation pitcher. Consequently, they aren't sure what kind of contract to offer him in the future.
"They might think this is the time to sell high on him,'' another baseball official was quoted.
Lee asked to negotiate a contract extension in spring training and was turned down, Shapiro telling Lee that the uncertain economy had put a hold on those kinds of talks.
The Indians have an option on Lee for 2010, so there would be no reason to rush to judgment.
TWENTY MEANS TWENTY -- Wedge said that David Dellucci (strained calf) might have to complete the entire 20 days of his rehab assignment in Columbus.
"There's a chance will happen,'' the manager said. "It's not because of his injury. He didn't have much spring training, and he needs the repetitions.''
ELECTION SEASON -- Voting on line for the All-Star Team began Wednesday.
Fans can log onto Indians.com and vote up to 25 times for their favorites. Balloting at the ballpark and in Indians Team Shops begins Tuesday.
Voting will continue through June 17. The All-Star Game is scheduled for July 14 in St. Louis.
FARM FACTS -- Wyatt Toregas hit two home runs and had four RBI in Columbus' 14-4 win over Louisville. Matt LaPorta had three hits to raise his average to .362... Lonnie Chisenhall hit a grand slam and drove in five runs in Kinston's 15-5 win over Myrtle Beach. Lucas Montero tripled, doubled and drove in two runs. Eric Berger (1-1, 1.93 ERA) allowed on hit in five innings.... Joe Mahalic worked five scoreless innings, giving up two hits, as Lake County blanked Lakewood 2-0.