It's been no secret the last few days that the Indians surprise starter for tonight's game against the Yankees is Triple-A Columbus RHP Josh Tomlin.
What has been surprising is the moves the Indians made to get the promising young pitcher on the team's 40-man roster.
First, to clear a 25-man roster spot, OF Michael Brantley was optioned back to Columbus for the second time this season, this time not long after recently being recalled. In 26 games for the Indians this season covering two stints, Brantley batted just .157 (16-for-102).
Secondly, to clear room on the Indians 40-man roster, Triple-A 1B/DH Wes Hodges was designated for assignment. That means the former third baseman will have to clear waivers in order to remain with the organization that drafted him in the second round of the 2006 draft out of Georgia Tech.
In 94 games with Columbus this season, Hodges was batting .270 with 23 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and 47 RBI.
With Columbus in need of a starter tonight, Akron LHP Eric Berger was promoted to the Clippers to take Tomlin's spot in the rotation. Tabbing Berger is a bit of a head scratcher in that he's 4-5 with a 5.07 EA in 15 games (14 starts) with the Aeros. In 71 innings he's struck out 58 batters, but also walked 41 and opponents were batting a healthy .260 against him.
Another option would have been 2009 first-round pick RHP Alex White, who is 6-4 with a sparkling 1.48 ERA in 12 starts with the Aeros. In 73 innings, White has struck out 49 while walking just 16. opponents are betting a mere .204 against him.
Anyway, while you're digesting all of that, here's some more background of Tomlin, who takes center stage tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Progressive Field:
The 25-year old went 8-4 with a 2.68 ERA with the Clippers, striking out 80 batters while issuing 33 walks in 20 games (17 starts). upon his promotion, he led the nternational League in average against (.212) and was second in hits per nine innings (6.96/9.0IP) and ERA (2.68).
Oddly enough, the I.L. All-Star opened the season in the Clippers bullpen, where he made three of his first four appearances before being inserted into the starting rotation April 28th.
Tomlin, who was the Indians 19th-round pick in the 2006 draft out of Texas Tech, has allowed 3 or fewer earned runs in 16 of his 17 starts this season. Since June 18th, Tomlin is 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA.