KANSAS CITY -- Zach McAllister has developed into one of the Indians' most reliable starters this season, but there is one area in which the young right-hander routinely runs into trouble. McAllister is prone to allowing stolen bases.
In Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Royals, Kansas City swiped four bases on McAllister within the first two innings and turned each into a run to jump to an early lead. It has been a problem that has followed him throughout his professional career, and he is doing what he can to correct the issue.
"I need to mix up my times and my holds and try to be as quick to the plate as I can," McAllister said. "I try to slide step and mix up my times. To me, you have to realize who the baserunners are and who you can be a little slower with when they're on base."
In 11 starts for the Indians this season, the 24-year-old McAllister has allowed nine stolen bases in nine attempts. Dating to last year, the 6-foot-6, 240-pounder has allowed 45 stolen bases in 52 attempts between his Major League and Minor League appearances.
"It's something that, for the most part," McAllister said, "a lot of big guys have trouble with, being quick. I'm not saying that's an excuse or anything, but it's definitely a little bit harder to get going."
Acta equally puzzled by Lowe's struggles
KANSAS CITY -- Indians manager Manny Acta is as baffled as anyone else over Derek Lowe's sudden decline in performance. Age catches up with the best of people, but Lowe's regression was as swift as it was ugly.
"I don't have an answer for it," Acta said on Thursday. "I just don't know how it could happen in the middle of the season like that. I know we're all human and we all reach a point, but he was pretty good earlier in the year."
Cleveland officially designated the 39-year-old Lowe for assignment on Thursday, opening a roster spot for the promotion of Triple-A Columbus starter Corey Kluber, who technically replaced Josh Tomlin in the rotation. The Indians have not announced who will take Lowe's spot for Sunday's start against Detroit.
The Tribe has 10 days to trade or release Lowe, or the organization could outright him to a Minor League affiliate if he were to clear waivers. That last scenario seems unlikely, but Acta believes Lowe will latch on with another team.
"I think so," Acta said. "This guy is in very good shape. You should see what this guy does on those four days between starts. That's why I never felt that age or anything was an issue. This guy works like a beast preparing himself every five days."
The Orioles and Red Sox have already been reported as possible landing spots for Lowe. The sinkerballer planned on heading to Florida this week to work with pitching mechanics specialist Chris Correnti, who works in Baltimore's system. Lowe pitched for Boston from 1997-2004.
In 21 starts for the Indians this season, Lowe went 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA, which is a drastic drop-off from his stellar start. Lowe stormed out of the gates with a 6-1 record and an American League-leading 2.05 ERA through eight outings before the bottom fell out on his season.
Over his last 13 starts, Lowe went 2-9 with an 8.28 ERA, allowing 65 runs (61 earned) on 97 hits with 28 strikeouts and 28 walks over 66 1/3 innings.
"He was so good the first two months of the season for us," said Acta, who added that it was difficult to deliver the news to Lowe. "It is hard to break the news to everybody, but especially when it's a guy who has such a good career at the Major League level. It's something I've always dreaded."
Rottino wears gloves for every occasion
KANSAS CITY -- Vinny Rottino sat in front of his locker inside the visitors' clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium on Thursday morning, with a pair of overflowing equipment bags resting at his feet.
There are men of many hats. Rottino is a man of many gloves.
"I've got a lot of gloves," said Rottino, who is currently filling a utility role for the Indians. "I have one for catching, one for the outfield, first base, the infield, and I have backups for each. So, maybe eight?"
For Thursday's game against the Royals, Rottino needed his outfield gamer. Manager Manny Acta penciled Rottino in as Cleveland's left fielder and slotted him into the seven spot in the starting lineup.
Rottino, who was promoted to the big leagues on Wednesday after the Indians placed designated hitter Travis Hafner on Major League Baseball's paternity list, was happy to be thrown into the mix right away.
"Absolutely, yeah," Rottino said. "You don't want to sit around and wait. I'm ready to go. I've been playing well down in Columbus and I'm looking forward to this opportunity."
The Indians claimed the 32-year-old Rottino off waivers from the Mets on June 27 and he appeared in 30 games for Triple-A Columbus, hitting .299 with four home runs, nine doubles and 32 RBIs. He has hit .188 in parts of five big league seasons between tours with the Brewers, Marlins and Mets.
"He's got good energy," Acta said. "I know that some of the people with the Mets, when they lost him, they kind of felt like they lost a good player."
Acta noted that Hafner is scheduled to rejoin the Indians on Saturday in Detroit, and the club will need to make a roster move to activate him from the paternity list. If Rottino is the odd-man out, he will need to be designated for assignment, because he is out of options. Cleveland may, however, examine other alternatives for adding Hafner.
Quote to note
"I congratulated him about what he's been doing down there [in Triple-A] and just made sure to say that, 'Hey, you're coming over here to do your job, not to try to save the whole team. Just get out there and don't put any extra pressure on yourself.'"
-- Indians manager Manny Acta, on starter Corey Kluber
Acta said that sidelined center fielder Grady Sizemore, who turned 30 years old on Thursday, is slated to increase his ground running activities during the team's next homestand. Acta added that Cleveland is not yet considering shutting Sizemore (back/knees) down for the season.
"I don't think that's the plan with him or our medical staff," Acta said. "We're going to try up until the end."
The Indians have already reached down to their Triple-A Columbus roster to add the likes of McAllister, Cody Allen, Kluber and Rottino to the big league club. Acta indicated on Thursday that more Minor League callups could be coming.
"Yeah, at some point, we're going to have to give some of those kids an opportunity," Acta said. "And it's not about giving up or going young or anything like that, it's about trying to make us better."
Acta said lefty reliever Rafael Perez (on the 60-day disabled list due to a strained left lat) threw from a distance of 90 feet on Wednesday. Perez was shut down for a few days after experiencing shoulder fatigue, but is expected to resume his Minor League rehab soon.
Indians starter Roberto Hernandez is schedule to make his next Minor League rehab appearance on Sunday with Class A (low) Lake County. It is possible that it could be Hernandez's final Minor League outing, considering he will be eligible to rejoin Cleveland on Aug. 11, when his three-week suspension expires.