CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Indians moved left-hander Logan Allen from their taxi squad to the 28-man roster and optioned infielder Yu Chang prior to Friday’s series opener against Pittsburgh.
Allen could be in line to start Sunday’s regular-season finale at Progressive Field, but a final decision has not yet been made according to pitching coach Carl Willis.
“We’re going to see how the next couple of nights play out,” Willis said. “Obviously trying to manage our bullpen and not over-use guys that we’re going to be leaning on starting on Tuesday.”
Allen has not started a game for Cleveland this season, making two relief appearances with a 4.70 ERA and three strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. Adam Plutko is the other option to start Sunday. Plutko (1-2, 5.06) has appeared in nine games, starting four with one save in 26 2/3 innings.
Civale to the bullpen: Willis said starter Aaron Civale will be on a still-undetermined pitch count for his start Saturday night, and that the right-hander will move to the bullpen for at least the wild-card round.
Willis said Indians coaches talked to Civale about the move this week.
“It’s a tough situation when you have a three-game series and we feel like we have an advantage with the depth of our rotation, and having to make decisions with who’s not going to be a part of it in a three-game series,” Willis said. “We do think he has value in a short series for us in the bullpen.”
Willis said Civale’s role in the bullpen will not, however, be to simply give the Indians length in case they fall behind big early in a game.
“We see him as more than that,” Willis said. “He could potentially come in in leverage situations, and obviously, once we get beyond the wild-card round he’s back in the rotation as he will be next year.”
Strike a pose: The Indians’ team photo looks a little different this year than in seasons past, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to Friday’s game, players gathered in left-center field and stood several feet apart wearing masks as they posed for team photographer Dan Mendlik, who stood atop the bleachers to get the shot. Typically, the photo is taken with players standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the stands along the first-base line.
Best men: Willis was asked about his relationship with Pirates manager Derek Shelton, who served as hitting coach with the Indians when Willis was on Eric Wedge’s staff from 2005-09.
“I was actually in his wedding,” Willis said. “We’ve always stayed in touch and talked a lot. He’s just been really driven to continue to advance and I’ve been really excited for him.”
Willis said at times this season he will catch scores crawling across a TV screen or see the end of a Pitrates game at the team hotel and will send Shelton a text.
“It’s a rebuilding year, kind the start of a new regime over there and that can be difficult,” Willis said. “But I’m not surprised he’s in this position and I’m cheering for him – not this weekend – but I think he’s going to do very, very well.”
Noises off: The artificial crowd noise is starting to wear on Alomar, who said among the many adjustments he’s had to make this year, listening to the constant roar piped throughout otherwise empty stadiums has become tiresome.
“If you haven’t adjusted in 60 games, then I don’t know when you’re gonna adjust,” Alomar said. “I think José Ramírez has no problem with it. I’m kind of getting tired of it, but at the end of the day, I’d rather have some kind of noise out there.”
Load management: Being a former catcher, Alomar said at this point in the season catchers can use some extra rest heading into the playoffs, even if it’s just a mental health day.
“Normally you have to drag them off the field,” Alomar said. “They don’t want to come out. If they feel mentally they are strong, physically and mentally, you have to just let it ride. Hopefully we’ll find an at-bat here and there for the backup players.”
New Indians face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Cleveland Indians-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($14.99) and a 3-pack ($24.99). All MLB proceeds donated to charity.
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