Prior to their 7-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox Tuesday, the Indians officially added outfielder Johnny Damon to their roster. To make room on the roster for Damon, the Indians designated infielder Jose Lopez for assignment.
The corresponding roster move to the addition of Damon, removing an infielder, was somewhat of a surprise. It was believed that outfielder Aaron Cunningham was the player most on the bubble, but Indians officials instead decided to keep a fifth outfielder and one less infielder.
The removal of Lopez leaves Jason Donald as the only utility infielder on the roster. Indians officials decided to keep Cunningham for a couple of reasons.
The first is that Cunningham is out of minor leaguer options and the Indians would have risked losing him had they tried to get him through waivers in order to send him to Class AAA Columbus. The second reason is Cunningham fills a couple of necessary roles on the roster.
Cunningham can back up all three outfield positions, particularly center field, where starter Michael Brantley will need occasional days off. Cunningham is also a very good outfielder, maybe the Indians' best all-around defensive outfielder.
In addition, Cunningham has been used as a pinch runner, plus he is a right-handed hitter, which the Indians also need. The three starting outfielders -- Damon, Brantley and Shin-Soo Choo -- are all left-handed hitters.
NOTES, QUOTESDamon added to Indians roster
--OF Johnny Damon was officially added to the roster Tuesday. He is expected to be in the starting lineup in left field, and hitting leadoff, Wednesday night in Chicago. Damon was signed by the Indians as a free agent on April 17 and spent two weeks working out at their spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz. "I feel I have a lot to give. I know I can play, and I want to play," said Damon. "I'm glad the process brought me here to be a Cleveland Indian."
--OF Shin-Soo Choo is expected to be in the starting lineup Wednesday. Choo has missed the last six games with a tight left hamstring. He might have started Tuesday night, but manager Manny Acta kept most of his left-handed hitters out of the lineup vs. White Sox LHP Chris Sale.
--RHP Ubaldo Jimenez had another disappointing start Tuesday, plagued again by a familiar problem -- too many pitches in too few innings. Jimenez threw 105 pitches in 4 23 innings in a 7-2 loss to the White Sox. "Ubaldo didn't throw enough strikes, only 50 percent, but we didn't play good defense behind him and it cost him a ton of pitches," said manager Manny Acta.
--2B Jason Kipnis, who only had five hits off left-handed pitchers all season coming into the game, had three hits vs. lefties during the Indians' 7-2 loss to the White Sox Tuesday night. Kipnis was 5-for-28 (.179) vs. left-handers entering the game.
--3B Jack Hannahan, a left-handed hitter, was not in the starting lineup Tuesday as manager Manny Acta decided to give some of his left-handed hitting regulars a night off vs. White Sox LHP Chris Sale. Ironically, the player who replaced Hannahan, right-handed hitting Jason Donald, came into the game hitting worse against left-handers (.133) than Hannahan (.167).
BY THE NUMBERS: 11 -- Consecutive games the Indians went without hitting a home run, prior to OF Shelley Duncan's blast in the seventh inning Tuesday night. That's the longest the Indians have gone without hitting a home run since they went 14 consecutive games without one in April of 1983.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know what was going on. It was weird. I would bump into friends and they would ask me if I had retired." -- OF Johnny Damon, who went unsigned as a free agent during the offseason until signing with the Indians on April 17.
ROSTER REPORTMEDICAL WATCH:
--OF Shin-Soo Choo (strained right hamstring) last played April 24. Choo went through some drills April 29. Manager Manny Acta said Choo could be in the starting lineup May 2.
--LHP Rafael Perez (strained left lat muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 26.
--OF Grady Sizemore (back surgery in March 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4. He was cleared to begin baseball activities in late April, and he might be able to return as soon as he is eligible.
--RHP Carlos Carrasco (Tommy John surgery in September 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 26. He might miss the entire season.