Tribe calls Jackson, not Laffey, to start
Former Crew prospect takes Byrd's spot; will pitch Thursday
CLEVELAND -- Aaron Laffey has a spot waiting for him back in the Indians' starting rotation. Just not at the moment.Left-hander Zach Jackson was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday to fill the void left by Paul Byrd, who was traded to the Red Sox on Tuesday for a player to be named or cash. Jackson will start Thursday's series finale with the Orioles at Progressive Field. "We wanted to take a look at him," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's been throwing the ball pretty, and obviously we like the guy, because we traded for him." On Tuesday, general manager Mark Shapiro said that whoever was called up to replace Byrd in the rotation would likely be with the club for the remainder of the season. "I'm just excited and really thankful for the opportunity," Jackson said. "It's go time." Considered a throw-in in the deal that sent CC Sabathia to the Brewers in early July, Jackson has been solid over the past five weeks with the Bisons and was added to their starting rotation July 21. In eight appearances, including four starts, the 25-year-old is 3-1 with a 4.05 ERA. He has struck out 20 while walking just five batters over 26 2/3 innings. Those numbers have significantly improved from his performance earlier in the season at Triple-A Nashville, where he was 1-5 with a 7.85 ERA in 22 appearances (eight starts). He was briefly recalled by the Brewers in May and made two appearances. Jackson owns a lifetime Major League record of 2-2 with a 5.36 ERA in 10 appearances, seven of which were starts. Not the flashiest pitcher, Jackson brings a standard repertoire of pitches that becomes enhanced with his 6-foot-5 height and him being left-handed. He's a guy, Wedge said, with "pitchability." "He has enough fastball, his secondary stuff is OK, and he can throw his curveball where he wants to," Wedge said. "He's had a little bit of an up-and-down experience, and we're excited to see him." Wedge had said earlier in the week that Laffey, who was demoted to Triple-A on July 26 after three months of regular starts with Cleveland, will be in the Indians' rotation "eventually." When Laffey was sent down, Wedge said that the left-hander needed to get back to doing what he did best, which centered on getting his sinker over the plate early in counts to induce ground-ball outs. Laffey's demotion came in the wake of his two worst starts of the season as well as the general inconsistency he had since late June. In his last five starts, the 23-year-old was 1-3 with an 8.37 ERA. Though he was pleased with Laffey's last start at Buffalo -- an eight-inning scoreless outing in which he allowed four hits -- Wedge said that Laffey needs a little more time in the Minors before he returns to the big leagues. "What we saw in his second start there is he needs to be consistent down in the zone, be as efficient as he can be and be aggressive in the zone," Wedge said. "If he does that, then his secondary stuff plays [well], so he's working in that direction."
Andrew Gribble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.