By Sheldon Ocker
Beacon Journal sports writer
MIAMI: Seems innocuous enough. Manager Terry Francona isn’t sure what his rotation will be when the Indians meet the Detroit Tigers for a four-game set starting Monday at Progressive Field.
Then again, why would it change from the current order of Corey Kluber, Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach McAllister and Scott Kazmir, who pitches today and wouldn’t face the Tigers unless he started on short rest, which is not going to happen?
“I want to sit down and talk about it a little,” Francona said Saturday. “There are a few different things to consider.”
Francona has set the first two starters in the series: Kluber against Anibal Sanchez and Masterson against Justin Verlander.
Beyond that, he wants to keep his options open. But what are his options? He can’t shift Jimenez or McAllister to different days without forcing one to pitch on three days of rest instead of four.
Are the Tribe’s deep thinkers contemplating bringing up Danny Salazar to replace either Jimenez or McAllister? Salazar, who has one big-league start on his resume, pitched Friday, so Wednesday would be his normal day to take the mound.
In his only major-league appearance, Salazar was dazzling, throwing a no-hitter for five innings and holding the Toronto Blue Jays to two hits and one run in six innings in Cleveland July 11.
If that is the plan, he would replace Jimenez, not only because Wednesday is his day to pitch, but because he had a shaky outing Friday night against the Miami Marlins, giving up two earned runs (five total) and nine hits, throwing 107 pitches in four innings.
Passes first test
Marc Rzepczynski, the Indians’ new matchup lefty, pitched for the first time Friday night since being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals last week.
Rzepczynski retired the side in order in the eighth inning and didn’t even face a left-handed batter.
“His velocity was good, and he threw a couple of pretty good breaking balls,” Francona said. “Actually, it was kind of what we expected stuff-wise. It will be interesting to see where it goes. I think he’s a nice addition to our organization.”
Nick Hagadone has been the Tribe’s man on the go this year, shuttling back and forth between Cleveland and Columbus, taking a demotion to Triple-A whenever the club needs a roster spot.
Has having a temp job in the big leagues affected the way he has pitched for the Indians?
“I think there were times when he was pitching not to get sent down,” Francona said. “That kind of thing affects some guys more than others.”
Hagadone is currently in Triple-A, sporting a 2.61 ERA in 16 appearances out of the bullpen.
Two minor-leaguers were involved in transactions Saturday.
Right-hander Fernando Nieve was traded to the Oakland Athletics for cash considerations, and right-hander Joe Martinez was outrighted to Columbus.
Nieve appeared in 22 games for Columbus (20 out of the bullpen) and compiled a 5-3 record and 1.81 ERA. He walked 12 and struck out 55 in 44⅔ innings.
Martinez, who was designated for assignment last week, is 2-6 in 19 appearances for the Clippers (16 starts) with a 5.88 ERA.
Danny Salazar (4-2, 2.73 ERA) pitched five hitless innings, walking one and striking out eight, as Columbus beat Buffalo 8-0. Tim Fedroff had two hits and four RBI. … Cole Cook gave up two earned runs (three total) and four hits in five innings in Carolina’s 4-3 loss to Frederick in Class A. Alex Lavisky hit his second homer of the year. … Richard Stock homered and doubled, driving in three runs, as Lake County lost to Fort Wayne 7-5 in Class A. … Joel Mejia had four hits in Mahoning Valley’s 4-3 win over Connecticut in Class A. Caleb Hamrick gave up one earned run (two total) and six hits in five innings.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.