Zach McAllister will officially return from the disabled list and start for the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday in Seattle, manager Terry Francona confirmed to the media today.
The move had been rumored for the past several days, especially on the heels of McAllister’s impressive performance on Thursday night for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. He has been on the disabled list since June 8 with a sprained right middle finger. After his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday went smoothly, the team made the announcement.
Before the All-Star break arrived, the Indians reset their starting rotation to be, in order: Scott Kazmir on Friday, Corey Kluber on Saturday, Justin Masterson on Sunday and Ubaldo Jimenez on Monday. The team was still waiting to confirm McAllister’s status as of last week, as they could have again called up another one of the many young Clippers pitching prospects to start Tuesday.
The return of the 25-year-old former Yankees prospect should be a huge sigh of relief for Indians fans. In his 11 starts in 2013, he had a 4-5 record with a 3.43 ERA, striking out 45 against 22 walks in 65.2 IP. He seemed to provide an excellent balance with ace Masterson. With the emergence of Kluber as well, this will likely be the strongest and healthiest the Indians rotation has been all season.
Earlier on Saturday, Cleveland was listed as a potential trade fit for Houston Astros starter Bud Norris by ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. The team also has been connected to the ongoing rumors surrounding Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza. Certainly, McAllister’s addition is cheaper than either of those two possible trades.
The excellent statistic below from MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian highlights the struggles of the Tribe to replace McAllister over the last six weeks. Dating even further back, the Indians have struggled to receive consistent performances from anyone outside of these five pitchers in the current rotation, adding hope for the team’s second-half stretch run.
Think Indians are happy to be getting McAllister back? Rotation fill-ins (Salazar, Bauer, Carrasco) went 1-3 with 7.96 ERA while he was out.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 20, 2013
[Related: The Indians and the 2013 Trade Deadline: Decisions Abound]