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Indians notebook: Zach McAllister’s return fortifies starting rotation

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SEATTLE: The Indians starting rotation was fortified Tuesday when right-hander Zach McAllister was activated from the disabled list.

McAllister, recovered from a right middle finger sprain, entered Tuesday’s game against the Mariners with a 4-5 record and 3.43 ERA, but hadn’t pitched for the Indians since his last start June 2 against Tampa Bay.

“It’ll be fun,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s worked so hard and so diligently, we’re excited to have him back out there because he’s definitely a big part of our future. The fact that he came through this so well, because it wasn’t something to mess around with, he did a really good job with it.”

COMFORT ZONE – Whether it’s become a mental thing or not, there was no denying moving Nick Swisher up from the cleanup spot to second in the order Monday paid immediate dividends for the Indians’ struggling first baseman/outfielder.

“Maybe it’s a psychological thing, that being in the four-hole you feel you have to hit home runs,” Swisher said following his 2-for-4 performance in Monday’s game that included a home run in his first at-bat. “You go back to that two-hole where you just [relax]. I’ve got [speedy center fielder] Michael Bourn in front of me, I’ve got [All-Star second baseman Jason] Kipnis right behind me. I’m just trying to have quality at-bats.

“That first at-bat I just got a good pitch to hit, just trying to put the barrel on it. I don’t know if it had anything to do with going from four to two [in the lineup], but it felt nice to get back into the rhythm and get that power stroke back.”

Francona smiled at the mention of Swisher’s immediate show of production following the game, saying it was “very encouraging.”

WEDGE STILL SIDELINED – Marlins manager and former Tribe skipper Eric Wedge remained hospitalized Tuesday, a day after experiencing dizzy spells during his team’s batting practice.

After being checked by team doctors, Wedge was transported to a nearby hospital for further tests and observation. In his absence, bench coach Robbie Thompson was expected to serve as the Mariners manager for the second consecutive game.

“We’re probably all lunatics for wanting to do this job and sometimes it wears you down,” said Francona, who noted he wasn’t aware of the details of Wedge’s condition. “I know when the season’s over I collapse. Then I regroup and do it again.”

A major-league season can be so taxing that by the time it’s over, Francona said he needs at least a few days to himself.

“For a couple days I just hole up,” he said. “I need to it. Just try to get the tobacco out of my system and then you just collapse.”

— Stephanie Storm


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