BALTIMORE -- Esmil Rogers was hoping for a fresh start when he landed in an Indians uniform earlier this month. Since Colorado cut ties with the hard-throwing reliever, the change of scenery has done him wonders.
"Everything is great right now," Rogers said on Friday at Camden Yards. "Everything is back. My confidence is back and everything is in the zone, so I can throw any pitch I want in any count. Just getting this opportunity, I've gained confidence, and I think that's the key right now."
Cleveland acquired the 26-year-old Rogers in exchange for $150,000 on June 12 and immediately placed the right-hander in its bullpen. Entering Friday, Rogers had posted a 1.93 ERA through seven appearances, piling up 13 strikeouts without any walks issued across 9 1/3 innings.
It is a limited line of statistics, but the promise is undeniable.
"It's a small sample. You have to wait," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He spent a few years over there and they gave him an opportunity. It's not the easiest place -- probably didn't work for him. Hopefully we got out of him what a lot of people were envisioning out of him."
Before joining the Indians, Rogers had an 8.06 ERA in 23 games for the Rockies this season. In 25 2/3 innings, he struck out 29, walked 18 and posted a 2.10 WHIP. Rogers had a 7.05 ERA in 83 innings for Colorado in the 2011 season.
With the Tribe, Rogers has turned in a 0.54 WHIP and has averaged 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings with just 4.8 hits surrendered per nine innings. Earlier this season with the Rockies, the right-hander had averaged 10.2 strikeouts, 6.3 walks and 12.6 hits allowed per nine innings.
"He's done a nice job. He's been impressive," Acta said. "The fact that he has been able to stay in the strike zone and not walk guys, that's something that, if he's capable of controlling it, he'll be OK. He's got a power arm."
Indians plan to rest Santana until Sunday
BALTIMORE -- The Indians are providing banged-up catcher Carlos Santana with a couple more days of rest before inserting him back in the lineup.
On Friday, Santana was out of the batting order for the second straight game due to tightness in his back and right side. Indians manager Manny Acta said that Santana will rejoin the lineup for Sunday's game against the Orioles, barring any setbacks.
"We're shooting for Sunday," Acta said prior to Friday's contest in Baltimore. "He feels a lot better today and tested very well with [head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff]. He still feels it a little bit, but we don't want him to take a step back."
Soloff said Santana's side injury is not technically classified as an oblique issue, noting that the switch-hitter has soreness throughout his lower back and sides. Soloff added that the issue could stem from swinging too hard and said Santana has reported no post-concussion symptoms since coming off the seven-day concussion disabled list on June 5.
Santana did not take part in any baseball activities on Thursday or Friday, but was slated to resume throwing and hitting on Saturday. The catcher was pulled from Wednesday's game in New York in the ninth inning after the back tightness flared up.
Acta indicated that Santana would likely serve as the designated hitter on Sunday.
Beyond the health woes, Santana has also been struggling with a persistent slump. Through the first six games of the current road trip, he was mired in a 1-for-16 funk. Dating back to May 18, Santana has hit just .151 (14-for-93) across 27 games for Cleveland.
"They just wanted to give me another day to rest," Santana said on Friday. "I feel much better. I think I'll be all right."
Consistent McAllister earns regular role with Tribe
BALTIMORE -- Every time Zach McAllister has been summoned to the Indians, the right-hander knew a trip back to the Minor Leagues was likely around the bend. This time around, the plan is to keep McAllister in the rotation for a while.
That knowledge can be beneficial for any player trying to cut his teeth in the Majors.
"It is helpful," McAllister said. "But at the same time, I also know that if I don't do my job, I can get sent down. I definitely have that type of mindset of knowing that I have to perform. If I don't, it's not acceptable."
After all, that is why McAllister is up with the Indians right now.
Right-hander Jeanmar Gomez labored over his past six outings, posting a 7.92 ERA in that span, and he was sent packing for Triple-A Columbus on Monday. Gomez earned the fifth-starter's job with a stellar spring, but that role has been handed to McAllister.
So far, McAllister has provided some consistency in his time with the Tribe.
"He has given us an opportunity in all those outings that he's had," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He's a guy that continues to make improvements, not only command of his fastball, but also his secondary pitches."
On Thursday, McAllister beat the Orioles with a strong fastball and slider, limiting Baltimore to two runs over 5 2/3 innings. Over his last seven Major League starts, including his final two outings a year ago, McAllister has gone 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. In 41 innings during that span, the righty has collected 36 strikeouts with just nine walks issued.
In his past two Minor League seasons -- this year and last -- McAllister has gone a combined 17-5 with a 3.22 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and 180 strikeouts in 218 innings for Triple-A Columbus. He was 5-2 with a 2.98 ERA through 11 starts for the Clippers at the time of his latest promotion.
Outfielder Tyler Naquin, who was Cleveland's top pick (15th overall in the first round) in the First-Year Player Draft earlier this month, is off to a strong start with Class A Mahoning Valley. Through his first five games, Naquin was hitting .400 (8-for-20) with two doubles, two walks, two RBIs, one stolen base and one run scored.
The Indians have assigned utility man Vinnie Rottino -- claimed off waivers from the Mets on Wednesday -- to Triple-A Columbus. To add Rottino to the 40-man roster, Cleveland designated Triple-A righty Chris Schwinden for assignment. Schwinden was subsequently claimed off waivers by the Yankees.
Double-A Akron knuckleballer Steven Wright, right-hander Kyle Landis, outfielder Thomas Neal and infielder Chun Chen have all been named to the Eastern League All-Star team. The annual Double-A showcase will take place on July 11 in Reading, Pa.
Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner, who is on the 15-day disabled list due to a right knee injury, is scheduled to play Minor League rehab games with Triple-A Columbus on Saturday and Sunday. He was originally scheduled to play Friday, but was given the day off. Hafner might be ready to be activated by Cleveland on Monday.
Quote to note
"I think these guys are better equipped to go through the second half and hang in there. We just have to go through this period right now where it's tough scheduling in June and tough pitching we're running into and some tough teams that we're playing. If we keep our head above water, I think we're going to be OK." -- Indians manager Manny Acta