7/13/2013 8:25 P.M. ET
Allen masters multiple innings for Tribe's 'pen
By Mark Emery / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- In his last three trips to the mound, reliever Cody Allen has picked up two holds and a save.
During the process of closing out the Indians' 3-0 win over the Royals on Friday, Allen allowed two hits and one walk, but no runs. He also had three strikeouts, giving Allen 52 punchouts on the season. Through 39 2/3 innings over 40 appearances, Allen has a 2.27 ERA, five holds and two saves in four opportunities.
"I think he always handles himself fine," manager Terry Francona said. "I thought he made it a little harder than he needed to [on Friday]. In his defense, that ninth inning ... you're out there kind of on your own. He threw a lot of pitches, but all his pitches, they were fastballs over 96 [mph], breaking balls that were either in the zone, out of the zone. And when you get to a point in the game where one hit can tie you or beat you, you have to pitch a little differently. And he never gave in and got the last out."
With regular closer Chris Perez unavailable due to his recent workload, Allen knew it was a possibility that he'd pitch the ninth inning on Friday, though he figured the job would go to Joe Smith. Francona has gone to Smith a lot lately, too, and the manager thought Allen would be better prepared to handle a long inning.
In racking up his 52nd strikeout, Allen moved into a tie for fifth place on the list of Indians relievers with the most strikeouts in the first half since 1916. He's also averaging 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings, which is the fifth-best rate for a Tribe reliever in the first half over that same span.
Among Tribe relievers with 25 appearances, Allen has the lowest ERA and the most strikeouts. He's 4-1, while having allowed five home runs and 13 walks.
The only inning Allen hasn't pitched in this season is the first. He has made 18 appearances and thrown 12 2/3 innings during the seventh, the frame he's appeared in most. On Friday, Allen pitched in the ninth inning for the fifth time this season.
"I still honestly believe that three outs is three outs and an inning is an inning," Allen said. "Granted, their approaches change a little bit later in the game, because they're trying to manufacture runs. But, I feel comfortable out there. I felt comfortable out there the first time. I feel comfortable in the sixth. I feel comfortable in the seventh. I feel comfortable in the ninth."
Top prospect Lindor moving up to Double-A
CLEVELAND -- For Tribe fans in northeast Ohio, catching a glimpse of Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor is about to get a whole lot easier.
The club announced on Saturday that Lindor, the eighth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, will report to Double-A Akron on Monday. The promotion comes after the highly touted shortstop batted .306 with 26 extra-base hits (including six triples) and 20 stolen bases over 83 games for High Class A Carolina.
"What has he not accomplished? Kid does everything," Tribe manager Terry Francona said. "He plays defense, runs the bases, hits for average, impacts the game in every aspect he touches. He's one of the special prospects in all of baseball."
Lindor won't join the Aeros until after Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at New York's Citi Field. For the second year in a row, the 19-year-old was chosen to represent the Indians in Major League Baseball's most prestigious showcase for up-and-coming talents.
This season, Lindor has a .373 on-base percentage and .410 slugging percentage on his line. He's notched 27 RBIs, 51 runs scored, 19 doubles, six triples and one home run. Also, Lindor has drawn 35 walks while striking out 39 times. He is 20-for-25 in stolen bases, as well. Through 82 games at shortstop, Lindor has committed 18 errors and turned 51 double plays, compiling a .952 fielding percentage.
"You don't want to rush a kid too much," Francona said. "I don't doubt you could throw him in a Major League game and he'd look like he belongs. Now, could he hold his own enough to put up some numbers? Probably not yet, but the fact that he's been moved to Double-A is a significant step in his career.
"This is just another progression on his way to becoming a very good Major League player."
Tribe may push Masterson back after break
CLEVELAND -- After announcing that first-time All-Star Justin Masterson would likely make the first start of the second half, Indians manager Terry Francona revealed on Saturday that the club was reconsidering that notion.
With the All-Star Game on Tuesday and the Indians' first game after the break on Friday, Francona said, "We might back him up a day."
"We want him to be able to enjoy his experience there, be able to pitch, not have to worry about coming out of it three days later," Francona said. "We may redo that, but we should have it [figured out] tomorrow."
The Indians don't want any uncertainty regarding the rotation depending on whether Masterson -- who's 10-7 with a 3.72 ERA -- pitches during the Midsummer Classic at New York's Citi Field.
"We want it concrete regardless," Francona said.
The rotation already contains one question mark in the form of Zach McAllister, who made his first rehab start on Saturday as part of his recovery from a sprained right middle finger. McAllister, who hasn't pitched since June 2, compiled a 4-5 record and 3.43 ERA over 11 starts before landing on the disabled list.
McAllister is expected to make at least one more rehab start. The Indians haven't ruled out inserting him into the rotation at the start of the second half, though that seems unlikely.
"Things would have to go really well," Francona said. "And they might, but we'll see."
Quote to note
"Personally, I thought it was the biggest jump. I think you start to see guys that have Major League stuff. They don't always command it, and that doesn't always help, because you're getting a guy that throws 95 [mph] but if he isn't sure where it's going, that doesn't necessarily make it good."
-- manager Terry Francona, on the transition to Double-A.
• Zach McAllister's rehab outing for Double-A Akron on Saturday ended after 61 pitches (42 strikes) over 3 1/3 innings. The right-hander was charged with four hits and two runs, both of which scored after his exit. McAllister also walked one and struck out five.
McAllister, who is on the 15-day disabled list, hasn't pitched since June 2 as he recovers from a sprained right middle finger.
• The Indians are holding an optional workout for players on Thursday at Target Field. The next day, Cleveland begins its second half with a contest against Minnesota in the first of a six-game road swing that also includes Seattle.
• After Corey Kluber tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings in Friday's win, the Tribe's ERA among starters over the past six games fell to 1.64. Over that period, the rotation held opponents to a .172 average and two home runs.
• Cleveland has recorded 12 shutouts, which leads the American League and trails only Pittsburgh's 13. It's the most shutouts by an Indians team since the 2008 club's total of 13.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.