Rottino called up as Hafner placed on paternity list
KANSAS CITY -- The Indians placed Travis Hafner on Major League Baseball's paternity list on Wednesday, giving the veteran designated hitter between one to three days to be with his family for the birth of their second son.
Cleveland promoted utility man Vinnie Rottino from Triple-A Columbus to temporarily take Hafner's spot on the roster.
"Vinnie's going to be here a couple of days up until Hafner comes back, unless something changes," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He's a guy that can play in the corners in the outfield, the corners in the infield and even catch. That's what he's going to do."
Acta added that Rottino will probably be in the lineup on Thursday, when the Indians are scheduled to face Royals lefty Bruce Chen.
The Indians claimed the 32-year-old Rottino off waivers from the Mets on June 27 and he has since played 30 games for Triple-A Columbus in Cleveland's system. With the Clippers, Rottino has hit .299 with four home runs, nine doubles and 32 RBIs.
"He's playing well down there in Triple-A," Acta said. "He's a guy who has a lot of energy."
Rottino -- a right-handed hitter whose main positions are first base and corner outfield -- has hit .188 in parts of five Major League seasons between stints with the Brewers, Marlins and Mets. He appeared in 18 games with New York this season, hitting .182 (6-for-33) in his short stay in The Show.
Hafner has hit .230 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs in 59 games for the Indians this season. The DH has hit just .203 (13-for-64) in 20 games since returning from a six-week stint on the disabled list, following surgery on his right knee.
Tomlin discusses move to bullpen
KANSAS CITY -- Josh Tomlin was understandably disappointed when the Indians informed him that he was being pulled out of the rotation and placed in the bullpen. The pitcher understood why the move had to be made, though.
"I wasn't performing as a starter," Tomlin said on Wednesday. "I wasn't performing up to my expectations or the team's expectations. Every fifth day, you don't know what you're going to get out there. It's kind of tough to put that burden on the team.
"No one is more upset about it than I am, but it's the reality of the game. It's a business and that's the kind of stuff that needs to be done if you want to win."
Tomlin was one of Cleveland's most consistent starters a season ago, when he tied for the team high in wins (12) and finished with a 4.25 ERA. This season, the right-hander has struggled to command the strike zone, and he has not featured the changeup that was so effective last year.
This season, Tomlin has gone 5-8 with a 5.81 ERA in 18 appearances. The pitcher had gone 2-5 with a 7.02 ERA in his last eight starts, necessitating the move to the bullpen, where Tomlin will stay for the foreseeable future.
"I think that he can be very helpful here out of the 'pen for us," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "It's something in the past a lot of people had envisioned him doing if he didn't pan out as a starter up here. That's not to say that he's not going to start again.
"But, for the rest of the season, unless we're pressed into some type of emergency, he's going to continue to pitch out of the 'pen for now."
The Indians had been outscored, 36-9, over the first four games of this road trip for an average score of roughly 9-2. Indians manager Manny Acta said large deficits such as the ones faced in those four games against the Twins and Royals take a toll on a team's typical approach.
"It changes the way you're going to play the game right away," Acta said. "When you're trying to catch up down by five or six runs, you don't play the game the same way. You're not as aggressive running the bases. You're down by a ton of runs. You're not going to be bunting. It's just a difficult game. It changes the dynamic of how you can play the game."
The Royals changed their probable starter for Thursday to left-hander Bruce Chen, who has gone 6-1 with a 3.74 ERA over the past three years against the Indians. Why the switch? Beyond having issues against Chen, Cleveland is 10-22 against left-handed starters this season and ranks last in the American League with a .219 team average against lefties.
Indians catcher Carlos Santana has reached base via a hit or walk in 22 of 24 games since July 1. Over that span, Santana has hit .276 with four homers, eight doubles and 12 RBIs for the Tribe. Entering Wednesday, the catcher had hit .300 (15-for-50) in his last 15 games.
Quote to note
"I definitely would like to be a starter again, but right now my job is to go out there and get guys out whenever they hand me the ball. That's what I'm going to go out there and try to do."
--Indians pitcher Josh Tomlin, who has been moved to the bullpen