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09/06/08 7:29 PM ET
Lewis could start in Reyes' place
Right-hander could rest elbow, though he's feeling better
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Anthony Reyes said the right elbow that stiffened up and limited him to three innings of work Friday night felt better Saturday. But that doesn't mean Reyes is a lock to make his next scheduled start in Baltimore on Wednesday. In fact, it's looking more likely the Indians won't start Reyes in that game and will instead turn to Double-A left-hander Scott Lewis. "There's a pretty good chance we'll skip [Reyes'] next start," manager Eric Wedge said. "We're not all the way there, but there's a chance we'll give him extra time." The Indians want to err on the side of caution with Reyes. For one, before his acquisition just before the July 31 Trade Deadline, Reyes was on the Cardinals' disabled list from June 16 to July 5 with a right elbow strain. And the standings aren't exactly pressuring the Indians to take chances with their players. The club employed a similar rationale with left-hander Aaron Laffey, who reported elbow soreness in his last two starts at Triple-A Buffalo. The Indians had considered bringing Laffey up and going with a six-man rotation in September. The elbow concern, while not considered serious, forced them to shut Laffey down, instead. Of course, not having Laffey around has given the Indians very limited options in the starting department. That's why Lewis, who is on the 40-man roster and still active in the postseason with the Akron Aeros, could take advantage of this situation to make his big league debut. Lewis was a third-round Draft pick out of Ohio State in 2004, but his career got off to a slow start because of Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery performed at the end of his college career and biceps tendinitis that limited him to seven appearances in 2005. But Lewis has, for the most part, remained healthy the last three seasons. He was 6-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 13 starts at Akron in the regular season and 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA in four starts at Buffalo. He gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings for a no-decision in the first game of the Aeros' best-of-five playoff set with Bowie on Wednesday. "If we need to [skip Reyes]," Wedge said, "[Lewis] would be the guy that's lined up." The Indians also have to line up their options for a day-night doubleheader scheduled with the Royals at Progressive Field next Saturday. Wedge said the Tribe has not made any decisions on that front, and he'd rather stay away from using a trail of relievers to start that game, as the Indians did in Texas on June 3. "That's not something I'm crazy about," Wedge said, "but that's a possibility." And there's still a possibility -- albeit, a remote one, given Wedge's words -- that Reyes, who is 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in six starts with the Tribe, will remain in the rotation for Wednesday's start against the Orioles. Wedge said the Indians will probably make their decision Sunday.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.