Indians like their bullpen lineup sans Pestano
Francona to mix, match in seventh inning until his setup man returns
CLEVELAND -- The Indians will undoubtedly miss having Vinnie Pestano at the back end of the bullpen. That does not mean the the rest of Cleveland's relief corps lacks confidence in its ability to fill in for the setup man while he tends to his ailing right elbow.
"We're really confident," Indians sidearmer Joe Smith said. "We've got a lot of really good arms down there, and guys that are eager to prove themselves, like Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen and Nick Hagadone. We have guys that can really step in and help pick us up until Vinnie gets back.
"Everybody's got to step up and do a little more right now, but we really need to make sure he's healthy and ready to go."
The Indians placed Pestano on the 15-day disabled list on Monday and will be without their primary eighth-inning arm until at least May 16, when he is first eligible for activation. While Pestano is sidelined, Smith will shift into the main setup role for All-Star closer Chris Perez.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona will likely mix and match relievers in the seventh inning.
Pestano, who set a single-season club record with 36 holds last year, has posted a 2.25 ERA through eight appearances for the Tribe this season. So far this season, the quintet of Smith, Shaw, Allen, Hagadone and Rich Hill have combined for a 2.27 ERA with 63 strikeouts against 23 walks in 43 2/3 innings for the Indians.
As a whole, the bullpen has been strong enough to the point where Pestano took on a self-deprecating view of the situation.
"The great thing about this team and the way that we're built," Pestano said, "is we've got a bunch of capable guys in the bullpen. I think our seven-eight-nine [inning] guys have the worst stuff. We just got here first, so that's why we're in those spots. We've got some great guys down there and we're going to be able to fill in the gaps with no problem."
Indians let Chisenhall work behind scenes
CLEVELAND -- A poor performance in a game can sometimes take a toll on a hitter's psyche. That is one reason behind the Indians' decision to give third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall a couple of days to concentrate on his swing in the comfort of the batting cage.
On Tuesday, the left-handed-hitting Chisenhall was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game for the Indians, who faced A's lefty Tommy Milone. Tribe manager Terry Francona said Chisenhall was spending the two-game hiatus focusing on some fine-tuning.
"After the game on Sunday," Francona explained, "we told him that we wanted him to take two days with [hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo] and kind of hit until his heart was content. Hit, hit, hit, hit without the game hanging over him."
Francona added that Chisenhall would return to the lineup for Wednesday's game against Oakland.
On the season, the 24-year-old Chisenhall has hit .231 (18-for-78) with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 21 games for Cleveland. The third baseman has shown improvement of late by posting a .286 average over his past 11 games, but his struggles against left-handed pitching have been glaring.
Chisenhall has hit just .095 (2-for-21) against lefties compared to .281 (16-for-57) off right-handers.
Francona said Chisenhall has struggled uncharacteristically with fastballs early on this season.
"Fastballs are what he is going to make his living on," Francona said. "You see him foul them over the left field line as opposed to getting the head of the bat to it. I just think two days with Ty, mechanically [Chisenhall] will be in a much better position.
"Without the game hanging over your head mentally, you're able to work on things."
Hagadone rushed into action against A's
CLEVELAND -- Throughout the two-hour drive north on I-71 on Monday, Nick Hagadone and his wife, Pesarakphorn, tossed out potential excuses to provide the police.
Fortunately for them, their trip went uninterrupted by law enforcement. They never had to explain to the state highway patrol that Hagadone had been promoted to the big league squad at 5 p.m. ET, and they needed to rush from Columbus to Cleveland in time for the Indians' 7:05 start against the A's.
The Indians placed setup man Vinnie Pestano on the disabled list late Monday afternoon, and selected Hagadone as his replacement. Triple-A manager Chris Tremie informed the southpaw that he needed to head north right away. So Hagadone's wife packed up their apartment and Hagadone gathered his belongings at Huntington Park, and the family embarked on their journey toward Lake Erie.
Hagadone and his wife split the drive. She wore out the accelerator for the first half, and Hagadone took over behind the wheel after they stopped for gas halfway.
"We had a good system going," Hagadone said. "We were actually following a cop for about an hour and he was going 80 mph, so I figured if we follow him, we're not going to get a ticket."
Hagadone arrived at Progressive Field near the end of the third inning. Three frames later, he entered the game with the bases loaded and Cleveland clinging to a 4-2 lead. Who needs time to get acclimated?
"It was awesome to just get here, not have time to think about it, and get in and out," Hagadone said. "I didn't really have time to think about how rushed the whole day was. Coming in with the bases loaded, you don't have time to settle in; you have to get the job done right away."
Hagadone said he slept well on Monday night. That is, until his young daughter woke him up at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Still, he knew a leisurely morning awaited him before he made a much shorter trek to the ballpark.
"I'm just glad to be here again," Hagadone said.
Quote to note
"I think maybe you guys are getting more carried away with the homers than we are. What we care about is scoring runs and winning -- however we do it. Some nights it might be a home run. Some nights it could be a ball in the dirt and a guy moves up on a base hit. That's really what I care about."
--Indians manager Terry Francona.
• Nick Swisher has served as a designated hitter in three of four games since returning from a three-game break due to a sore left shoulder. In Monday's contest, Swisher was at first base. Swisher has not played right field since April 27, when he manned the outfield for the sixth time in a 10-game span. For now, Indians manager Terry Francona is hesitant to put Swisher back in right field.
"A little bit," Francona said. "We gave him the time off to try to help that [shoulder issue]. To throw him right back out there, I don't know that, even though it would make our lineup at times better, I'm not sure if it's in his best interest. So we'll see how that goes."
• Indians center fielder Michael Bourn -- on the 15-day disabled list with a right index finger injury -- had his Minor League rehab game with Triple-A Columbus postponed due to rain on Monday. On Tuesday, Bourn was scheduled to play seven innings in center in Game 1 of a doubleheader. The plan called for him to sit out the second game and serve as the DH for Columbus on Wednesday. The Indians will re-evaluate Bourn at that point.
• Indians left fielder Michael Brantley was not in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against the A's. It marked Brantey's first game off since April 7, but Francona indicated that it was just a scheduled day off rest for Cleveland's left fielder. With Brantley on the bench, utility man Mike Aviles got the nod in left.
• Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who was designated for assignment on Sunday, cleared waivers on Tuesday and was sent outright to Triple-A Columbus. First baseman Mike McDade (designated for assignment on Thursday) was claimed off waivers by the White Sox.
• On Tuesday, the Indians named Class A (high) Carolina shortstop Francisco Lindor the organization's Minor League Player of the Week for the period of April 29-May 5. During that span, Lindor (the Tribe's top pick in the 2011 Draft) hit .500 (13-for-26) with a 1.321 OPS over seven games.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.