Cleveland replaced Tomlin in the rotation with right-hander Corey Kluber, who will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus to make his season debut in Thursday night's season finale against the Royals at Kaufmann Stadium. The Indians have lost five consecutive games.
"He's going to get a legit opportunity," Indians manager Manny Acta said of Kluber. "Right now, Josh is in the bullpen, and we're not thinking about bringing him back to the rotation unless we have to."
Kluber, 26, has gone 11-7 with a 3.59 ERA in 21 starts for Columbus this season. He's been especially impressive lately, going 7-2 with a 2.90 ERA in his last 10 outings, with at least five strikeouts in nine of the 10.
Kluber made three appearances for the Indians in relief last season, posting an 8.31 ERA in 4 1/3 innings. He will be making his first Major League start against Kansas City. The Indians designated right-handed veteran Derek Lowe for assignment to make room for Kluber.
"They're really happy with the way he's attacking the strike zone, especially with his fastball," Acta said of the Columbus coaching staff. "Last year, that was a bit of an issue with him. This year, he's throwing a two-seam fastball that has helped him. They've been very impressed down there with the way he's throwing the ball."
The Royals will counter with left-hander Bruce Chen, who had a rough month of July. The 35-year-old veteran went 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in six starts last month after pitching well in May and June. Chen hasn't won since June 26 against Tampa Bay.
In his last outing, against Seattle, Chen allowed only three runs on seven hits over six innings in a losing effort. He also gave up a home run in the start, something that has plagued him during his recent struggles. Chen has given up 10 home runs in his last six starts.
"We're trying to do everything we can to get out of this funk," Chen said after the loss to the Mariners. "But you can't panic, you just have to do it one step at a time. I know I lost today, but I felt like it was a step in the right direction."
Chen is 7-9 with a 5.49 ERA in 22 starts this season.
Indians: Hafner placed on paternity list
The Indians placed designated hitter Travis Hafner on the paternity list prior to Wednesday night's game against the Royals. Hafner and his wife welcomed their second son into the world on Wednesday, and he will miss up to three days.
To replace Hafner on the active roster, Cleveland recalled Vinny Rottino from Columbus. The 32-year-old Rottino, who was claimed on outright waivers from the Mets on June 27, hit .299 (35-for-117) with four home runs and 32 RBIs in 30 games for the Clippers.
Rottino appeared in 18 games with New York this season, hitting .182 (6-for-33) in his short stay in the big leagues. Acta said Rottino will likely be in the lineup Thursday against Chen.
"Vinnie's going to be here a couple of days up until Hafner comes back, unless something changes," Acta said. "He's a guy that can play in the corners in the outfield, the corners in the infield and even catch. That's what he's going to do."
Catcher Carlos Santana's home run on Wednesday night was his fourth long ball in his last 14 games, entering Thursday. Santana had only six homers in his first 74 games this season.
Royals: Jeffress recalled to fill Broxton's spot
The Royals recalled right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress from Triple-A Omaha ahead of Wednesday's game against the Indians. Jeffress fills the roster spot left vacant when Jonathan Broxton was traded to Cincinnati on Tuesday.
In 37 games with Omaha this season, the 24-year-old Jeffress was 5-4 with a 4.97 ERA. He has struck out 61 batters in 58 innings. He made two appearances for the Royals in April.
"Command has been an issue, but consistency in command has been an issue," Yost said. "He's been a lot more consistent. He'll still have his hiccup here and there, but for the most part, he's been very consistent. ... We want to give him a look."
Center fielder Jarrod Dyson is 5-for-7 with two doubles and a triple in the first two games of the series against the Indians.
Chen has the most starting experience against the Indians of anyone on the Kansas City roster. He is 6-3 with a 4.84 ERA in nine career starts against Cleveland.
The Indians have scored three or fewer runs in 11 of their last 13 games, going 3-10 during that stretch.