CLEVELAND: Reliever C.C. Lee is one of the candidates to be sent down on Monday when designated hitter Jason Giambi is expected to be activated from the disabled list.
But on Friday night, in the Indians’ 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays, he was sent to the mound under some tough circumstances and responded well, according to manager Terry Francona.
Trailing 3-2 in the ninth inning, Francona went to the bullpen with a runner on first and two outs. He called Lee’s number to face Jose Bautista, one of the most dangerous hitters in the game.
Lee and Bautista battled over 10 pitches, but Lee finally got him to ground out to end the inning and keep it a one-run game.
“He had a good battle,” Francona said. “Bautista takes so many good swings. … I thought he did a really good job. I actually though Bautista had a good at-bat because I thought C.C. made a lot of good pitches. But when you get a hitter like that, that’s that dangerous, and they see that many pitches, they become more dangerous.”
Francona could have gone to Bryan Shaw, and said part of the reason he didn’t was simply a decision of trying to save the reliable Shaw and not overuse him, which Francona said is “not always the easiest decision.”
But regardless the reason, Lee came through, and now has a 2.70 ERA with in 3⅓ innings pitched.
Blake Wood, in contrast, has been hit hard and has an 8.44 ERA in 5⅓ innings pitched entering Saturday. But Wood also has two options left, while Lee has just one. But the extra option might not be enough to take Lee out of the bullpen while he’s pitching so well.
SET NO DATE — Shaun Marcum has no timetable for a return, according to Francona.
Marcum is recovering from surgery last July for thoracic outlet syndrome and has been throwing in Arizona. He threw three innings in extended spring training recently, received a few extra days off and will throw a side day on Saturday.
The Indians will see how he feels after that.
“I don’t know that we had a timeline,” Francona said. “It was depending on how he felt. We didn’t want to have a timeline and he’s not ready, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. We’re totally going off of how he feels.”
— Ryan Lewis