CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Manny Acta made sure that Michael Brantley was not going to be in for a surprise when the young outfielder saw Grady Sizemore's name in the leadoff spot on the lineup card.
Brantley has filled in admirably as the Tribe's tablesetter, but the role was handed back to Sizemore when the center fielder was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Sunday. Sizemore had been sidelined since last June after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee.
Acta said Brantley knew about the change ahead of time and the outfielder took the news well.
"We spoke to Brantley," Acta said. "Brantley knew that for a while now. Grady's not going to play every day. It's impossible to ask him to play every single day coming back from this surgery right off the bat. When he's not playing, Michael is going to lead off again.
"Michael was great about it. Michael is the type of player that we want around here. He's unselfish. He just wants to do what's best for the team. He really doesn't care where he hits as long as he's contributing."
Brantley had a scheduled day off on Sunday, but he entered the day batting .302 with four doubles, six RBIs and a .367 on-base percentage. When Sizemore -- mostly a leadoff hitter throughout his career with Cleveland -- is in the lineup, Brantley will hit in the lower third of the order.
Gomez to get start on Tuesday in place of Talbot
CLEVELAND -- The Indians are planning on handing Jeanmar Gomez a spot start on Tuesday in Kansas City. The way Cleveland sees things right now, Gomez will be in the rotation to stay.
The Tribe has not officially announced the addition, but Indians manager Manny Acta said the team expects to call Gomez up from Triple-A Columbus to replace Talbot in the starting staff. Talbot was sent to the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain on Sunday.
Gomez made 11 starts as a rookie for the Tribe last season.
"It always helps to have experience," Acta said. "But I wish he comes up and throws like he did last year when he had no experience, because that first game was very good when he came up."
In Gomez's Major League debut a year ago, the right-hander logged seven innings in a win over the Tigers, giving up only two runs (none earned) on five hits. Overall, Gomez ended the season 4-5 with a 4.68 ERA in his stint with Cleveland.
Gomez was a contender for the lone vacancy in the Indians' rotation during Spring Training, but right-hander Josh Tomlin won that job. Through two outings with Triple-A Columbus, Gomez has gone 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA, striking out 11 and walking three over 12 2/3 innings.
Timing of Talbot's DL stint unfortunate
CLEVELAND -- The hardest part about landing on the disabled list right now for Mitch Talbot is the fact that the Indians are playing so well. Much of the early success has been due to the team's pitching, and Talbot was a part of that.
Now, Talbot is sidelined with a right elbow injury, forced into the role of spectator.
"I was just so confident," Talbot said. "I feel very, very comfortable out on the mound right now. Things were going well. That's one of the toughest parts. My goal this year was to get up to 200 innings, make all my starts.
"Two starts into the season, those goals are already gone."
On Sunday, the Indians placed Talbot on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain, and the starter is expected to miss at least three to four weeks. With Talbot out of the mix right now, Indians manager Manny Acta said the team expects to promote righty Jeanmar Gomez from Triple-A Columbus.
Talbot, who said he will be shut down from throwing for at least one week, opened the season as the Tribe's fifth starter and went 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA through his first two outings of the year. The right-hander went 10-13 with a 4.41 ERA as a rookie for the Indians last season.
Entering Sunday, the Indians' rotation had gone 8-1 with a 1.91 ERA over the club's past 12 games, and Talbot was a big part of that strong string of starts. In Talbot's last start on Monday, he blanked the Angels over eight innings.
"No team goes through the regular season with only five or six starters," Acta said. "You kind of have to prepare yourself for that. But it's so early in the year and those guys are doing so well, it's not good. Especially him, coming out of such a great start over there in Los Angeles."
A couple days ago, the Indians announced that Talbot -- after his 112-pitch outing in Anaheim -- would start on Tuesday, pushing his scheduled appearance back two days to give him some extra rest. Talbot continued to feel sore, though, and an MRI exam performed Friday revealed the elbow strain.
"After the start I felt a little bit sore," Talbot said. "I went deep into the game, threw a lot of pitches. I just thought it was regular soreness. Obviously, I thought it was just from going into the ninth inning. I let them know about that.
"They said, 'All right, we'll give you a couple extra days, let you recover and get back out there.' That was the game plan, but the next couple days it still didn't quite feel right."
Tribe offense putting runs on board early, often
CLEVELAND -- Scoring early and often has been an early trend for the surging Tribe.
Entering Sunday's game against the Orioles, the Indians had pounded out 42 of their 75 runs this season in the first four innings. The early cushions have helped their young pitching staff focus on pounding the strike zone, and has played a big role in the team opening with a 10-4 record.
"It feels like we get the momentum," Indians second baseman Orlando Cabrera said. "We score and we feel like it's going to take us through the whole game. It's important for us to feel confident early in the ballgame, to score runs like that and keep scoring through the game."
Indians manager Manny Acta said the early offense does wonders for the pitchers.
"It means the world," Acta said. "Last year we really struggled with that, and it really hurt us."