CLEVELAND -- Part of the learning process for a young pitcher on the big league stage is dealing with a larger workload each season. Indians rookie Zach McAllister is currently going through that process.
McAllister has moved into uncharted waters in terms of innings for one season, and the right-hander's results have become increasingly inconsistent. Manager Manny Acta feels McAllister might be dealing with some late-season fatigue.
"It's very late in the season," Acta said. "He could be fatigued. Some of these guys are playing an extra month than they have played in the past. We're still very impressed with the way he's gone about his business here every five days."
On the season, the 24-year-old McAllister is 5-8 with a 4.31 ERA in 20 starts for the Indians. Between Triple-A Columbus (63 1/3 innings) and Cleveland (112 2/3 innings), McAllister has logged a career-high 176 innings this year, with two starts likely remaining on his schedule.
McAllister worked 172 1/3 innings between Triple-A (154 2/3) and the Majors (17 2/3) a year ago.
Coincidence or not, McAllister has gone 1-6 with a 5.72 ERA in his past 10 starts (50 1/3 innings), compared to 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA in his first 10 outings (62 1/3).
The pitcher was not willing to blame his workload for his second-half slide, though.
"I don't know about that," McAllister said. "Last year was pretty close to the same amount of innings I have now, but obviously big league innings are different than Triple-A innings. I don't like to use that as an excuse for me. I expect to go out there and pitch well every time."
Despite the recent results, Acta said the team likes what it has seen from McAllister.
"We're very happy with the way he's thrown the ball here," Acta said. "But, obviously, the name of this game is consistency -- not only with your mechanics, but executing your pitches."
Versatile Rottino making impression on Acta
CLEVELAND -- Vinny Rottino is not a typical September callup. The Indians' utility man has spent a decade in the Minor Leagues and is long past the days of potentially being labeled as a prospect.
That is not stopping Cleveland from taking a close look at Rottino.
"We like him. That's why he's here," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Some people might second-guess a guy his age being up here in September and all that, but 32 is not old, and we like what he did in Triple-A."
Rottino showed what he brings to the table in Thursday's 4-3 extra-innings win over the Twins. With the game tied and a runner on first in the ninth, Chris Herrmann put a charge into the ball to right. Rottino made a leaping catch at the wall to preserve the tie and help send the game to extras.
Rottino also made an impact on Wednesday. In the third inning, he drew a walk, stole second base, moved to third on a groundout to shortstop and scored on a base hit. Rottino later doubled and scored in the eighth, a half-inning after making a great sliding catch in left to rob Joe Mauer of a hit.
"We like what he brings," Acta said. "He's very versatile and plays hard. He does all those little things that help you win games -- things you can't teach."
Rottino has played all nine positions throughout his professional career, but he is mostly viewed as an option for first base and the corner-outfield spots. He can also work as a catcher.
The Mets lost Rottino to Cleveland via waivers on June 27, and he responded by hitting .291 with five home runs, 18 doubles and 41 RBIs in 60 games for Triple-A Columbus. Over 96 Triple-A games between Buffalo (Mets) and Columbus, Rottino hit .297 with nine homers, 28 doubles and 66 RBIs.
"When he was put on waivers in New York," Acta said, "he had some good comments made about him, too. We like what we see. He can do some things."
Quote to note
"I've been through it before. Whatever I do to blow off steam, I just don't do it in front of you guys. I've made that clear to you guys in the past. That doesn't mean I don't throw stuff around here or there, or blow off steam. You do it, and then you move on."
-- Acta, on the losses piling up
As expected, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was out of the lineup on Thursday due to a sore right wrist. Cabrera, who has battled the issue all month, exited Wednesday's 6-4 loss to the Twins in the eighth inning.
Designated hitter Travis Hafner, who was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday following a bout with a back injury, received a scheduled day off on Thursday. Hafner will likely play three times per week down the stretch.
The Indians entered Thursday with a 24-35 record against the American League Central this season. Cleveland (with 13 division games remaining) has not ended a year with fewer than 30 wins within the division since going 21-30 in 2000.