Anyone who has been around Terry Francona for even a little bit knows the veteran manager loves a deep bullpen.
That’s why it wasn’t very surprising when the Indians 25-roster was revealed Wednesday morning that it included 11 pitchers for Wednesday night’s one-game American League wild card playoff game against visiting Tampa Bay.
In addition to starting pitcher Danny Salazar, starters Scott Kazmir and Corey Kluber also made the Tribe’s 25-man roster to serve as possible relief options for the evening. Other avalible arms in the bullpen were right-handers Matt Albers, Cody Allen, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez, Joe Smith and Bryan Shaw and left-handers Rich Hill and Marc Rzepczynski.
As for position players, the roster included the usual starters along with reserves Jose Ramirez (infielder) and Matt Carson (outfielder).
Somewhat surprising was the decision to keep former closer Perez on the roster despite him recently being disposed of his ninth-inning role after another rough outing Thursday in Minnesota.
Francona clarified during a pre-game question and answer period Wednesday that Perez didn’t “bail” on his team as it may have come off to some. He said Perez told him “he didn’t want to cost the team” and was willing to do anything in any role to help the Indians down the stretch.
Since Perez’s demotion, the Indians have gone with the closer-by-committee approach. If the game is close tonight, Francona has a number of options. Oddly enough, his best bet might be Opening Day starter and team ace Masterson, who is in the bullpen because he’s not stretched out after a recent three-week disabled list stint with a starined oblique. More traditional ninth-inning options are usual set-up men Allen and Smith.