05/05/12 11:55 PM ET
Indians acquire 7-foot pitcher from Angels
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
Van Mil, 27, will report to Double-A Akron. The native of Oss, Netherlands, was pitching for Triple-A Salt Lake, where he compiled a 1-0 record and 6.30 ERA in eight games. In 30 appearances for Double-A Arkansas last season, Van Mil went 3-5 with a 2.04 ERA.
Van Mil signed as a non-Drafted free agent with the Twins in 2005. He was traded to the Angels in 2010.
At 6-foot-11, Mets reliever Jon Rauch is the tallest player to ever appear in a Major League game.
McAllister will take ball in Monday's twin bill
CLEVELAND -- Starting pitcher Zach McAllister will make his season debut for the Indians on Monday, when the team hosts the White Sox for a day-night doubleheader.
Manager Manny Acta said the right-hander would likely start the first game of the twin bill. McAllister is 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Columbus. He has earned victories in each of his last three outings, allowing just three earned runs on 10 hits in 17 innings (1.59 ERA).
"He's thrown the ball well," Acta said. "His last outing was very good. He's keeping his fastball down and maintaining his velocity that he showed in Spring Training. His secondary pitches are coming around."
McAllister participated in an open competition in Spring Training for the No. 5 spot in the Tribe's rotation. He made three appearances, posting a 4.50 ERA in six innings, but Jeanmar Gomez won the job.
In four starts with the big league club last season, McAllister went 0-1 with a 6.11 ERA. A forgettable outing in the nightcap of an Aug. 23 doubleheader skewed his numbers a bit. In that contest, he surrendered 10 runs (eight earned) in 3 1/3 frames. He yielded a total of just four earned runs in his other three outings.
"He threw the ball well the last couple of outings he had up here last year," Acta said. "He didn't hurt his chances in Spring Training, either."
The Indians won't have to make a roster move to recall McAllister. A new rule included in the collective bargaining agreement states that teams can carry 26 players on their roster for the entirety of a doubleheader. The roster must return to the normal size of 25 players following the conclusion of the second game.
"I think it's a great rule," Acta said. "It really put teams in a tough spot sometimes, when you have to make a move and option a guy out, and sometimes keep a guy up here or not have a guy up here for 10 days that you wish to have up here. I think it was a great decision."
Josh Tomlin (1-2, 5.27 ERA) is expected to start the other game of the twin bill. Chicago is slated to send Philip Humber and Eric Stults to the mound.
Damon hoping to provide glove when needed
CLEVELAND -- Indians outfielder Johnny Damon knows he isn't going to win a Gold Glove. He just hopes he isn't a defensive liability.
After all, the 38-year-old played just 17 games in the field last year, spending the majority of his time as a designated hitter for the Rays.
"Obviously, I'm more here for my bat now more so than my defense," Damon said. "Hopefully my defense can be adequate or average, or a little bit better."
Damon played left field in his first action with the Indians on Wednesday. Manager Manny Acta used the veteran as the DH on Thursday, then placed Damon back in the outfield on Friday. He wasn't in the starting lineup on Saturday against the Rangers.
"I probably need to get used to the grind of playing the outfield again and get used to the humidity again," Damon said.
Acta said he doesn't expect Damon to wow anyone with his defensive prowess, but foresees Damon holding his own in the outfield because of his experience and the fact that he's in great physical condition. So far, Damon has only had one mishap.
Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland led off the third inning of Friday's contest with a double. As Damon chased after the fly ball, he initially turned the wrong way. By the time he positioned himself under the ball just in front of the left-field wall, the ball caromed off his mitt. Though it would have been a tough catch to corral, Damon said he felt responsible for Moreland eventually scoring.
"I'm feeling great except for that ball," Damon said. "I asked [center fielder Michael] Brantley what he thought about it and he even said he thought it was a home run. Then all of a sudden it died at the very end and when I turned, it was still a wingspan away. Obviously, I wish I could've came up with it, but that ball came back quite a bit.
"Those are some of the ones you don't really like to deal with, but it happened."
Kipnis displaying offensive prowess for Tribe
CLEVELAND -- Indians skipper Manny Acta said no player can keep up a .430 batting average for an entire season.
He'll take a two-week stretch, though.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis is hitting .444 over his last 12 games, with 20 hits and nine RBIs during the stretch. He carried an eight-game hitting streak into Saturday's contest against the Rangers.
At last, the Indians have some stability at second base. Since the club traded Roberto Alomar following the 2001 campaign, 34 different players have started a game at the position. Acta hopes that string stops with Kipnis.
"He's been a very good offensive player his whole career and we feel he can contribute a lot to our lineup," Acta said. "He did that last year in over 100 at-bats that he had. He gives us something that we didn't have in the past here, some stability at second base with some pop and some speed. We look forward to watching this guy play every day."
Kipnis played 36 games last year in his first tour of the big leagues. He batted .272 with seven homers and 19 RBIs, and became the second Tribe rookie in franchise history to homer in four straight games.
"He's going to be a double-digits homer guy who is going to pile up the doubles and the extra bases," Acta said. "That's what he's done his whole career. He has a chance to be a good hitter."
Overall this season, Kipnis was hitting .301 with four homers and a team-high 17 RBIs entering Saturday.
Quote to note
"It's too much to ask Johnny to play every single day." -- Indians manager Manny Acta on 38-year-old Johnny Damon, who didn't start Saturday's game against the Rangers.
Entering Saturday's action, the Indians had hit seven home runs -- by seven different players -- in their last four games.
Catcher Carlos Santana has thrown out five of 12 would-be basestealers (41.7 percent), which ranks third in the American League among catchers with at least 10 attempts against them.