CLEVELAND -- Josh Tomlin's Major League debut meant another demotion for Michael Brantley.
The Indians optioned Brantley to Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday, the second time they have done so this season.
Brantley, who was batting .235 (8-for-34) since the All-Star break, earned a spot on Cleveland's Opening Day roster before rejoining the Tribe on July 4, following Shin-Soo Choo's trip to the 15-day disabled list.
But Choo's return last week has created a surplus of outfielders at manager Manny Acta's disposal, with Trevor Crowe and Austin Kearns also in the mix.
Acta saw improvement from the 23-year-old Brantley in recent weeks.
"I thought he made more solid contact, had a better swing, worked the count and played very good defense," Acta said. "This decision is not based on performance. We're just loaded with outfielders.
"Michael will be back soon. He's done just about everything he can do in the Minor Leagues."
To make room for Tomlin on the 40-man roster, Cleveland designated Columbus infielder Wes Hodges for assignment.
Struggling Santana sits vs. Sabathia
CLEVELAND -- Embedded in his first Major League slump, Indians catcher Carlos Santana did not start Tuesday night's game against the Yankees at Progressive Field.
The rookie backstop began the day batting .229 (8-for-35) with one home run and five RBIs in 11 games since the All-Star break.
Manager Manny Acta's decision to sit Santana opposite CC Sabathia was hardly surprising. The switch-hitting Santana has a .143 average in 42 at-bats against left-handed pitching this season.
"The way things have gone, this would be the time to give him a day off," Acta said.
Chris Gimenez started behind the plate in place of the 24-year-old Santana, whose batting average (.269) has dipped below .270 for the first time since June 16, his fifth big league game.
"He's battling, but he's being pitched tough right now," Acta said. "He's like everybody else. He's going to get down, and then he's going to get right back up again. He just needs to be patient.
"He'll be all right. Things are not always going to be rosy for him."
Indians right-hander Anthony Reyes, working his way back from June 2009 Tommy John surgery, tossed three scoreless innings for Double-A Akron on Tuesday night. The 28-year-old allowed one hit and one walk with one strikeout in his third Minor League rehabilitation start. ... Indians reliever Kerry Wood, on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 12 with a blister on his right index finger, threw his second bullpen session in three days Tuesday. Manager Manny Acta said the response of Wood's blister would determine the next step of his rehabilitation. "If it's OK, then we'll put a plan together with [head athletic trainer] Lonnie [Soloff] whether he'll go pitch somewhere [in the Minor Leagues] or throw another bullpen [session]." ... Outfielder Austin Kearns returned to the Indians' lineup Tuesday after missing five of the past six games. He had suffered knee soreness resulting from a July 17 outfield dive and received stitches after getting spiked near his knee in Saturday's game against the Rays. ... Triple-A Columbus skipper Mike Sarbaugh will manage the Arizona Fall League's Peoria Javelinas this season. ... The Indians on Tuesday celebrated Freedom Night, honoring the International Justice Mission's 5 Weeks for Freedom campaign, which consists of 15 bicyclists riding 1,800 miles of the historic Underground Railroad from Alabama to New York. The tour has reached Cleveland, with 5 Weeks riders cycling inside Progressive Field as part of Tuesday's pregame ceremonies.
John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.