Huff to start first game of Monday's twin bill

BALTIMORE -- The Indians' options were limited in terms of promoting a starter for Monday's doubleheader against the Twins. A variety of issues left David Huff as the most realistic possibility.

On Sunday, Indians manager Manny Acta announced that Huff is indeed expected to be recalled from Triple-A Columbus in order to start the first game of Monday's twin bill in Minnesota. Acta also made it clear that -- no matter the circumstances -- Huff was deserving of the call.

"He's been pitching very well," Acta said. "He deserves to come up. He's made some adjustments down there and they're happy with the progress that he has made. We still believe in this guy."

It was easy, however, to see what led to the decision.

Right-hander Zach McAllister, who was optioned back to Triple-A on July 8, following a start for Cleveland, needs to remain with Columbus for one more day to complete the required minimum stay of 10 days. The Tribe is also short Triple-A lefty Scott Barnes, who is currently on the Minor League disabled list with a knee injury.

With Jeanmar Gomez -- officially recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Sunday for a start against Baltimore -- currently filling in for injured starter Mitch Talbot, Cleveland turned to Huff. Acta noted that the Indians are anticipating keeping Gomez in Talbot's spot, so Huff's appearance could be of the one-and-done variety.

That said, Acta is looking forward to seeing Huff pitch again in the big leagues.

"He's been very aggressive in the strike zone," Acta said. "Hopefully that will translate up here again."

This season at Triple-A, the 26-year-old Huff has gone 8-3 with a 3.86 ERA over 17 outings for the Clippers. The lefty has piled up 100 1/3 innings, striking out 63 and walking 28 along the way. Huff went 2-11 with a 6.21 ERA in 15 starts for Cleveland last season after going 11-8 with a 5.61 ERA in 23 starts for the Indians in 2009.

"They feel that he has made a lot of progress locating his fastball to the arm side," Acta said. "That's the key up here at this level, throwing the ball low and away, especially to right-handed hitters. They feel he's made progress with that."

Acta was not ready to reveal which player would be removed from the roster on Monday in order to vacate a spot for Huff's arrival. After the first game of the doubleheader at Target Field, the Indians will also need to make another transaction in order to activate righty Fausto Carmona from the 15-day disabled list to start the second game.

Huff's stay in the big leagues might be brief, but Acta reiterated that he deserved the promotion.

"It's the way he's been pitching down there," Acta said. "He's had some issues here in the past, but he's also pitched well."

Duncan sent down to make room for Gomez

BALTIMORE -- Something had to give on the Indians' roster on Sunday afternoon. In order to officially recall starter Jeanmar Gomez from Triple-A Columbus, Cleveland optioned outfielder Shelley Duncan to the same Minor League affiliate.

"We had to activate Gomez," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We have [Ezequiel Carrera] here who can play center field. We have [Austin] Kearns and we have [Travis] Buck, so it was a numbers game pretty much."

Gomez started on Sunday against the Orioles, replacing injured starter Mitch Talbot (back strain) in the rotation. Talbot was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday and Carrera was initially recalled to assume his spot on the Tribe's active roster.

For the time being, Carrera will remain with the Indians.

Duncan, 31, has hit .240 with three home runs, seven doubles, 11 runs scored and 20 RBIs in 36 games for Cleveland this season. In a previous stint with Columbus this year, Duncan hit .256 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 13 games.

"We're just trying to put the best team on the field on an everyday basis," Acta said. "He has contributed to our club over the last two years and we expect that, if the opportunity presents itself, that he'll contribute again. But there are no guarantees in this game."

Smoke signals

• Indians manager Manny Acta said on Sunday that sidelined right-hander Mitch Talbot, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury, is scheduled to resume throwing "in a couple days." Acta noted that Talbot -- placed on the DL on Wednesday -- will begin with light catch on flat ground.

• Outfielder Michael Brantley appears to be heating up at the plate. After posting a .231 average in June, Brantley has hit .328 (19-for-58) with one home run, three doubles, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored through the first 13 games of July. Entering Sunday, he was hitting .421 (16-for-38) in his past eight games, and he had at least two hits in six of the eight.

• Entering Sunday, reliever Joe Smith had not allowed an earned run in his past 27 games. That is the third-most games in a single season by an Indians pitcher since 1919, trailing only Paul Assenmacher (31 in 1997) and Jose Mesa (29 in 1995). Smith has not allowed any runs (earned or unearned) in his past 19 innings.