CINCINNATI -- In his last outing, Ubaldo Jimenez accomplished something for the first time since donning an Indians uniform. Cleveland can only hope he is becoming the type of front-line pitcher the club felt it acquired last season.
"He didn't have any walks," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That was the first time since June of last year."
On Sunday in St. Louis, Jimenez surrendered just one run with seven strikeouts and no walks over seven innings of a win over the Cardinals. It marked the first time since June 7 of last season, when Jimenez was still pitching for the Rockies, that he issued no free passes in an outing.
Jimenez walked at least one in each of his 11 starts after being traded to the Indians last season and he had at least one free pass in his first 11 outings this year. The right-hander's progress goes beyond just walks, though.
Over his past two appearances, Jimenez has given up just two runs on 10 hits with 11 strikeouts and one walk over 13 2/3 innings. That marks the most innings, as well as the fewest runs allowed or walks issued, in consecutive starts for Jimenez since being acquired by the Tribe at the July 31 Trade Deadline last summer.
Prior to his past two starts, Jimenez had posted an 8.85 ERA with 20 earned runs allowed on 26 hits over 20 1/3 innings. In that stretch, the righty struck out 13 and walked 17.
The strides made by Jimenez and Opening Day starter Justin Masterson of late have been encouraging developments for Cleveland.
"It's good," Acta said. "The fact that Ubaldo and Justin pitched back-to-back good games, it was just nice to see. It was good. We really need those two guys if we're going anywhere."
Tribe acquires righty reliever Rogers from Rox
CINCINNATI -- Esmil Rogers took over on the mound for a rattled Ubaldo Jimenez on the eve of the Trade Deadline last season. Now, Rogers will be joining Jimenez in the Indians' clubhouse.
On Tuesday, Cleveland announced that it has acquired Rogers from the Rockies in exchange for cash considerations. Rogers is expected to join the Indians within the next couple of days, and the Tribe will need to make a subsequent roster move to add the right-handed reliever to the 25-man roster.
In order to place Rogers, who is out of Minor League options, on the 40-man roster, the Indians designated Triple-A catcher Luke Carlin for assignment.
Rogers, 26, has an 8.06 ERA in 23 appearances for Colorado this season. Across 25 2/3 innings, the righty has 29 strikeouts against 18 walks with a 2.10 WHIP. Over the past three seasons with the Rockies, Rogers has posted a 6.82 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP in 69 games, including 21 starts.
On July 30 last season, when the Indians were on the verge of acquiring Jimenez in a blockbuster deal with the Rockies, Rogers entered in relief in the second inning. Jimenez was shaken up by the pressure of knowing he was about to be dealt to the Tribe, and Rogers turned in five innings after the starter's exit.
The 31-year-old Carlin went 3-for-14 in a four-game stay with the Indians earlier this season and hit .231 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 23 games with Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland has 10 days to either trade or release Carlin, or the club can assign him to a Minor League affiliate if he clears waivers.
Acta adjusts accordingly for Reds' ballpark
CINCINNATI -- The Indians do not boast one of the game's most powerful lineups, but that matters little inside Great American Ball Park. On the banks of the Ohio River, most anyone can become a home run hitter.
"You don't have to do much to hit the ball out of the park here," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "If you use the whole field, it'll go out. It's not comfortable for me. I've been coming here for years."
Acta saw plenty of the Reds' home stadium when he managed Washington in the National League prior to joining the Indians as manager three seasons ago. Now, Acta gets to see Great American Ball Park each season as part of Cleveland's in-state Interleague rivalry with Cincinnati.
Acta said the homer-happy ballpark can influence a manager's decisions.
"It's like when you go to Colorado," said Acta, referring to Coors Field. "There was a time there when I brought my closer in when we were up by four runs."
Entering Tuesday's game between the Indians and Reds, there had been at least one home run in 56 consecutive games at Cincinnati's home park, dating back to July 29, 2011. That marked the longest active homer streak for any ballpark in the Majors. In the 761-game history of Great American Ball Park, there has never been a homerless stretch of three games.
Acta said teams play for the big inning, when possible.
"Yeah," he said. "You're not going to bunt a guy over in the fourth inning thinking you're going to be able to hold a one-run lead. Not here."
Hannahan, Pronk both making progress
CINCINNATI -- Indians third baseman Jack Hannahan and designated hitter Travis Hafner continue to make progress in their respective comebacks from injury.
Tribe manager Manny Acta indicated that Hannahan, who has been sidelined with a lower back and left calf issues since May 28, was scheduled to play third base for six innings with Class A Lake County on Tuesday. Hannahan went 0-for-4 as a designated hitter in a Minor League rehab game with Triple-A Columbus on Monday.
Acta said the current plan calls for Hannahan to take the day off on Wednesday before testing his back and legs with nine innings on Thursday with a Minor League affiliate. The reports from Monday's game came back clean.
"It was nothing out of the ordinary," Acta said.
As for Hafner, who underwent a right medial meniscectomy for his knee on May 31, Acta said the veteran DH has been taking part in some light hitting drills. The expected timetable for recovery was announced by the Indians as four to six weeks.
"Haf is doing well," Acta said. "He's already taking some swings off a tee. It's going well. That's all I can tell you right now."
Indians center fielder Michael Brantley entered Tuesday's game with the Reds riding an 18-game hitting streak. During that run, Brantley hit .357 (25-for-70) with five extra-base hits, 11 runs and 15 RBIs. Brantley's streak was the longest active run in the Majors and the longest for an Indians player since Brantley had a 19-game hitting streak from Aug. 30-Sept. 19, 2010. He is the first Tribe hitter with multiple hitting streaks of at least 18 games since Manny Ramirez (18 games in 1997 and 20 games in 2000).
On Tuesday, the Indians named Class A Lake County right-hander Mason Radeke the organization's Minor League Player of the Week for the period of June 4-11. During that span, Radeke went 1-0 with 8 1/3 shutout innings. The righty struck out 13, scattered four hits and issued just one walk in a pair of long-relief appearances.
The Indians announced on Tuesday that they have signed nine players from this year's First-Year Player Draft class. Among the signees were second baseman Joseph Wendle (sixth round), righty Jacob Lee (ninth), righty Josh Martin (10th), catcher Jeremy Lucas (12th), righty Scott Peoples (14th), righty Cody Penny (16th), righty Louis Head (18th), righty Nicholas Pasquale (20th) and righty Joshua Nervis (38th).
With a 3-2 win over Oregon on Monday, the Kent State University baseball team earned a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Kent State, located roughly 40 miles southeast of Cleveland, is the first team from the Mid-American Athletic Conference to reach the CWS since 1976. Nick Hamilton, the son of Indians play-by-play man Tom Hamilton and a 35th-round pick by the Tribe in last week's First-Year Player Draft, plays for Kent State.
Quote to note: "It's a really beautiful, great ballpark. It must be fun to watch a ballgame from those [right-field] bleachers. I think they're probably the best in the big leagues. But I'm on the edge of my seat for every pitch. That's something that isn't very comforting." --Indians manager Manny Acta, on hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park