CLEVELAND -- It's no mystery to Indians manager Manny Acta why David Huff has struggled in 2010.
"He needs to command his fastball, simple as that," Acta said. "We've said it over and over and over, but that's what he needs to do."
Huff hasn't commanded his fastball at nearly the rate Acta and pitching coach Tim Belcher would like, hence the 25-year-old lefty's second demotion of the season to Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday.
Cleveland recalled reliever Jess Todd from Columbus to replace Huff on its active roster. Todd's Major League stint could be brief, as Mitch Talbot is slated to start Saturday night in his return from the 15-day disabled list.
If Huff is to reclaim a spot in the rotation, he'll have to first regain the confidence of Acta and Belcher.
"He's got to work on keeping the ball down in the zone," Acta said. "Stats are not going to tell the whole story, because we already know he can go down to Triple-A and pitch well. He has to go down there and make adjustments. I think he understands that.
"Life is about adapting, adjusting and improvising. If it's not working, and obviously it's not right now, then he needs to change."
Coming off a rookie campaign in which he notched a team-leading 11 wins, Huff is 2-11 with a 6.21 ERA in 15 starts this season. He struggled in two appearances since his Aug. 3 recall, yielding eight earned runs -- including three home runs -- over 9 2/3 innings in losses to the Red Sox and Twins.
The Indians selected Huff out of UCLA with the 36th overall pick of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
"This is a guy who we need to be good," Acta said. "He's proven in the past that he has the stuff to have success up here. He's left-handed, has a nice, free delivery and can throw 91 mph for the duration of his outing, which is pretty good, if you can command it."
Of late, that command has eluded Huff.
"A lot of people don't realize that it's a big difference between Triple-A and the big leagues," Acta said. "This is the ultimate challenge up here. There's a reason why this is the top level and the elite guys are competing here every day. There are things down there that don't work up here.
"We need David to be successful, without a doubt. At this level, results count. Down there, you want to see development and all that, but when you're up here, results are what we look at."
Cabrera's defensive gem wows Acta
CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Manny Acta targeted his team's defense as the primary culprit in Tuesday night's 14-8 loss to the Orioles at Progressive Field.
He couldn't blame Asdrubal Cabrera.
The Tribe shortstop delivered a sensational play in the top of the fourth inning. With one out, Cabrera ranged to his right to barehand Felix Pie's ricocheted comebacker off Justin Masterson's left foot before throwing out Pie at first base from the seat of his pants.
"It was a very nice play," Acta said.
Cabrera somehow managed to toss a one-hopper playable for first baseman Matt LaPorta.
"I tried to throw it no problem and make it easy for him," Cabrera said. "I felt like I had a chance."
Cleveland manager Manny Acta said designated hitter Travis Hafner is expected to take batting practice this weekend. Hafner, placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 3 with right shoulder inflammation, has not played since July 28. ... The Indians on Wednesday announced the signing of outfielder Marcus Bradley, their 49th-round pick in June's First-Year Player Draft. A product of Central Arizona College, Bradley won the National Junior College Athletic Association Region I batting title last season with a .420 average. The Tribe has agreed to terms with 19 of its 50 selections. The deadline to sign '10 draftees is Aug. 16. ... Right fielder Shin-Soo Choo entered Wednesday's action having hit safely in his past eight games and 16 of 18 contests. ... For more on the Indians, visit the CastroTurf blog at http://castrovince.mlblogs.com.
John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.