BALTIMORE -- After watching Zach McAllister allow 27 runs in his last six starts and 18 runs in his past 5 2/3 innings, the Indians placed their starter on the 15-day disabled list with a low back strain prior to Thursday's game against the Orioles.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona isn't quite sure when McAllister started being affected by the injury, but the Tribe had to put him on the DL before he continued to aggravate it.
"Guys like to pitch and they don't always say stuff," Francona said, "I think he's going to be OK, but I don't think this has been helping."
McAllister began the season 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA, but his 9.51 ERA over his past six starts has brought his record to 3-4 and his season ERA all the way up to 5.89.
McAllister will be replaced in the starting rotation by T.J. House, who was called up from Triple-A Columbus on Thursday and will start Friday. Relief pitcher Mark Lowe was also brought up from Triple-A and reliever Kyle Crockett was sent down to join the Clippers.
In a normal situation, McAllister may have been able to stay on the Major League roster and just miss a start, but after Wednesday's marathon that required nine pitchers, including two starters, the Tribe didn't have that luxury.
"We don't have the ability right now to push him just because of the amount of innings and everything, so we'll put him on the DL," Francona said, "We'll let that thing simmer down and then we'll get him going again."
House returns to Indians to make first start
BALTIMORE -- On Tuesday, in the midst of the Indians' three-game sweep of the Tigers, T.J. House made the three-hour drive from Cleveland to Columbus, unpacked his bags and got ready to rejoin the Triple-A Clippers just three days after leaving them for the big league club for the first time this season.
He got a chance to sleep and woke up to a call from the front office.
"They called me and was like, 'Hey, can you catch a flight in two hours?'" House said.
After the Tribe's 13-inning, 11-10 win against Detroit on Wednesday, the Indians' bullpen was spent, Thursday's starter was forced into the game and Cleveland needed some reinforcements.
"I had no problem doing that," House said.
Josh Tomlin, who was originally scheduled to start on Thursday, pitched three innings and earned the win on Wednesday, but it left the Tribe in need of some shuffling. Justin Masterson went on short rest on Thursday -- he was initially slated for Friday -- and House will get his first Major League start on Friday. The rest of the rotation will remain in order, including Tomlin on Monday.
House made his Major League debut last Thursday, pitching a perfect inning of relief in a loss to the Athletics, and has gone 1-2 with a 2.40 ERA in seven starts with Columbus this year.
"You're certainly not going to define someone's career on one inning, but we loved his poise," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "Your first inning's tough. He went out there and hounded the zone and looked like he had been there."
The Tribe sent lefty reliever Kyle Crockett down to Triple-A and placed struggling starter Zach McAllister on the 15-day disabled list to make room for House and righty reliever Mark Lowe.
It's been a long road for House to his first Major League start, but his family will take arguably an even longer path to see him debut. Seven of his relatives will make the 15-hour drive from Mississippi up to Baltimore -- his brother-in-law doesn't fly -- to watch him debut.
As long he didn't have to pitch again Thursday night -- Francona said he is an option, but one he hopes to avoid -- they'll be there with almost as many miles logged as the day's starter.
"They told me you better know we love you for doing this," House said. "They came up to Baltimore last year when I got called up and I never got in."
Masterson steps up by starting on short rest
BALTIMORE -- When the Indians used Josh Tomlin for three innings of their 11-10, 13-inning win against the Tigers on Wednesday, it meant they would need a replacement starter for Thursday. Justin Masterson was scheduled for Friday, but knew he could be ready a day early.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona and his staff were trying to figure out what to do not only for Thursday, but the entire weekend against the Orioles, when Masterson came to him and offered to go on short rest.
"That's not surprising," Francona said. "He actually did it the day before."
When the bullpen got thin Wednesday, Masterson was one of the pitchers who offered to come in if the game continued deeper into extra innings, but Francona immediately shot that down. A day later, though, Masterson had that extra bit of rest and the Tribe had the luxury to turn to its ace to open up a four-game series against the Orioles.
The Indians' other option would have been to use a call-up -- an option it will turn to when T.J. House starts on Friday. With House's addition and Masterson's willingness to start on Thursday, Cleveland at least knows how its rotation will shake out for the next few days.
"We were kind of going step by step, not just to know how to attack [Thursday's] game," Francona said, "but how to move forward the next couple days."
Lowe gets call to aid depleted bullpen
BALTIMORE -- There was always going to be a point when Mark Lowe would be needed by the Indians. After Cleveland needed 13 innings to scratch out an 11-10 win against the Tigers on Wednesday, the Tribe needed reinforcements in its bullpen.
Even then, though, the veteran Lowe didn't view anything as imminent.
"I told all the guys on the team [at Triple-A Columbus], 'I don't expect anything,'" Lowe said. "You can't play this game expecting stuff like that to happen. There are people running the team for a reason."
As it turned out, the 30-year-old Lowe was added to the 40-man roster and called up before Thursday's game against the Orioles.
Lowe posted a 3.86 ERA and struck out 21 batters in 16 1/3 innings with Columbus this year, and has been consistent since Spring Training. As a non-roster invitee with the Rays, Lowe allowed just 11 hits and one earned run in 10 1/3 innings during the spring, but didn't make the team.
"I feel like I've been pretty consistent since Day 1 of Spring Training," Lowe said. "I don't feel like I've thrown the ball this well in a couple years, so it's been a long road back."
Lowe wasn't overwhelmingly dominant for the Clippers, but the experienced righty is just what the Indians need to help out an exhausted bullpen. Cleveland had to send down lefty Kyle Crockett on Thursday to make room for Lowe's fresh arm.
"He's got Major League experience. Sometimes you catch a break with a guy, just like Atlanta caught a break with [Aaron] Harang, those things happen," Tribe manager Terry Francona said. "We get him and got him going, got him hot and we got him here at a time when we can really use him, and I don't doubt he's really going to help us."
• Asdrubal Cabrera was in the starting lineup on Thursday, batting second and playing shortstop a day after getting hit by a pitch on the side of his right knee during the 13th inning on Wednesday. "I was worried," Francona said. "He said he felt ready to go."
• The Indians transferred Nyjer Morgan from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL before Thursday's game in order to make room for Lowe on the 40-man roster. Morgan has been on the DL since May 15 with a sprained right knee.
• Crockett's demotion wasn't because of anything he did, Francona said on Thursday. The manager isn't even thinking of it as a demotion -- the rookie with the 2.08 ERA in 4 1/3 innings was simply a casualty of necessary roster moves. "This is not something that we wanted to do," Francona said. "I don't doubt that he's going to be back here and helping us win."
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.