TORONTO: Indians infielder Jesus Aguilar called his wife Suzanna, but then it was after midnight Wednesday when he reached his mother Maria in Venezuela with the news she’d long awaited.
“I said, ‘Your son is going to play in the big leagues,’ ” Aguilar said. “She was crying. It was a great moment for my family.”
On Thursday, the Indians called up Aguilar from Triple-A Columbus and placed outfielder Nyjer Morgan on the 15-day disabled list. Morgan sprained his right knee when he banged it on the turf in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s 15-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. He left Rogers Centre with his right leg in a brace and on crutches.
When Morgan’s knee was no better Thursday morning, the Indians flew him back to Cleveland for an MRI. Aguilar drove in from Rochester, N.Y., about 2½ hours away, with an Indians staff member after playing there Wednesday. He said he arrived about 3 p.m.
Aguilar made his major league debut against the Blue Jays Thursday night, taking the sixth spot in the order as the designated hitter. The Indians signed Aguilar, 23, as a non-drafted free agent in November, 2007.
When he talked to his family, Aguilar said he felt like he was in shock.
“When you sign, you think about big-league ball, but when they call you up, you say, ‘I’ve got to go there and do my thing,’ ” he said. “I’m excited. I’m not going to try to do too much. It’s baseball.”
For the Clippers, Aguilar was hitting .298 with eight doubles, seven home runs and 19 RBI in 37 games. Against left-handers, he compiled a .346 average with five doubles, four home runs and 9 RBI. The Tribe faced left-hander J.A. Happ Thursday.
But in May, Aguilar was hitting .182 with no homers and 3 RBI after batting .356 in April.
“When a guy gets called to the big leagues for the first time, I don’t think it matters what he hit last week,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s going to be geared for God and pretty fired up. Hopefully he’ll get a big hit or two to help us win a game.”
Aguilar said he is fully recovered from a recent collision at first base that left him with muscle soreness in his rib area. He said he missed only one game with it.
The Indians await word on Morgan’s prognosis. He was hurt fielding Adam Lind’s double to the left field corner in the sixth inning. Two batters later, when Brett Lawrie doubled to the gap in left center, Morgan said something popped in the knee. He finished the inning before coming out.
Making the team in spring training as a non-roster free agent, Morgan filled in until Michael Bourn returned from a hamstring injury. He was sent to Triple-A when Bourn returned, but recalled on May 4. He hit .341 in 15 games with 6 RBI for the Indians.
“He’s done a really good job, he’s enthusiastic, always upbeat, ready to play,” Francona said. “If anything I’m glad Nyjer was in the major leagues when it happened. I think he deserves that, rather than being on the Triple-A DL. Sometimes things happen when a guy is busting his butt and doing things right.”
Indians left fielder Michael Brantley sat out Thursday after being lifted after the fifth inning Wednesday with mid-back tightness. (Morgan entered as his replacement.) Francona said he didn’t want Brantley to play his sixth consecutive game on turf, but expects him in the lineup tonight when the Indians open a six-game homestand.
Marla Ridenour can be reached at email@example.com. Read the her blog at www.ohio.com/marla. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.