The Indians haven’t yet ascertained the source of starting pitcher Josh Tomlin’s issues lately, but they will be giving him some time to regain his form.
Per Indians manager Terry Francona, the Indians will be skipping Tomlin’s next start and have him take a couple of lighter days than his normal throwing program to try to help him “reset.” Tomlin had an abysmal month of August, owning an 11.48 ERA.
“We’re going to kind of put our heads together—by that I mean [pitching coach Mickey Callaway] mostly and [bullpen coach Jason Bere]—how we think it’s best to get him back to being Tomlin,” Francona said. “The one thing I would say is it doesn’t look like his tank is on empty.”
Tomlin had been a stabilizing force as the No. 5 pitcher in the starting rotation all season prior to August, giving the Indians a lift while Trevor Bauer worked his way back, Cody Anderson struggled to regain his 2015 form and Carlos Carrasco landed on the disabled list. But in his last six starts, he’s struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark or get through a lineup more than once.
Tomlin has long been called by Francona one of the best teammates he’s ever been around.
“I mean if you’re looking to criticize him, you’re going the wrong direction,” Francona said. “This kid gives you everything he has, he’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever seen, and none of that changes because he’s gotten hit around a little bit the last three, four times. This is just part of baseball. He’ll handle it.”
Tomlin held himself accountable after Tuesday’s start, saying if the Indians made a move with the rotation, he’s understand.
"I don't know how I could be disappointed about that, I don’t,” Tomlin said. “Whatever move he makes I understand. It's not like I'm going out there and throwing eight shutout every time now. I'm struggling. I know I’m struggling. I take full ownership in that. It's my fault. I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm anxious to back here tomorrow and try to figure it out.”
Tomlin added that he hasn’t yet been able to identity a trend in his poor starts. But something has clearly been off.
The Indians don’t have a clear plan, yet, of how to handle Tomlin’s skipped start. The off-day on Thursday affords them some options, or they could call up a pitcher from Triple-A with rosters expanding on Thursday.
The Indians on Wednesday promoted pitcher Perci Garner from Triple-A Columbus and demoted Shawn Armstrong to Class-A Lake County.
Garner gives the Indians some protection in the bullpen after Armstrong threw in Tuesday’s game. Armstrong will be eligible to return to the Indians when Lake County’s season ends on Sept. 5.
The Indians had to purchase Garner’s contract, as he wasn’t on the 40-man roster. To make room, Yan Gomes was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Per the club, Gomes could go on a rehab assignment within the next week or so and is eligible to come off the DL on Sept. 16.