8/31/2013 7:59 P.M. ET
Brantley ranks among leaders in outfield assists
By Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Left fielder Michael Brantley caught Alex Avila between second and third base in the seventh inning Friday for his 11th outfield assist of the season, the second highest total in the Majors.
Brantley trails only Kansas City's Alex Gordon, who has 14 assists. Brantley had five assists each of the past two seasons, and wasn't quite sure why his total jumped this season.
"I don't know. I just know I want to make sure I take advantage of every opportunity to get to throw out somebody," Brantley said. "There's more that goes into it. Obviously, you have your infielders catching the ball, making great tags, and being in the right position at the right time."
Though Brantley has thrown out only four runners at Progressive Field this season, he credits his home park for giving him some extra opportunities.
"I think it's more of the opportunity. Just playing left field at home," Brantley said. "When they hit hard doubles off the wall, you have a chance to get a good hop and just make a good throw to second, and you have a chance. I just try to take advantage of every chance and opportunity I get."
Kubel joins Indians in Detroit, but not in starting lineup
DETROIT -- Jason Kubel was hanging out with his teammates in the Indians' clubhouse Saturday and hopes he can introduce himself to Cleveland fans with his play over the next month.
Kubel was held out of the starting lineup in his first game since the Indians acquired him from the D-backs, though he's available to pinch-hit.
"We'll let him kind of run around today, take [batting practice], work in the outfield and kind of get his feet under him a little bit," manager Terry Francona said. "I wouldn't be surprised if we play him [Sunday] somewhere, whether it's DH or in the outfield. I'm going to get a look at how he's moving around. I mean, it's been a few days."
Kubel said he doesn't have a preference of playing right or left field and also doesn't mind being a designated hitter.
"I mean, we're right in the middle of a playoff chase, we're not too far back," Kubel said. "I'm here to obviously help out and give it 100 percent every day. There's no holding back."
The 2013 season has been a frustrating one for Kubel, who has battled a variety of leg ailments. After slugging 30 homers and compiling an .833 on-base plus slugging for the D-backs in 2012, he slumped to a slash line of .220/.288/.324 this year.
"Dealing with a lot of injuries and inconsistent playing time," Kubel said. "Just not getting comfortable really. I'm feeling great now, got a little rest, and I'm ready to go."
Kubel believes his knee problems have subsided enough for him to make an impact in the field and at the plate.
"I think it also helps when I'm playing a lot, too," Kubel said. "It doesn't stiffen up on me. It stays loose. I don't think it's going to be much of a problem. I just had it drained three weeks ago, so it's good to go for another few months."
Indians option unavailable Carrasco to Triple-A
DETROIT -- The Indians optioned Carlos Carrasco to Triple-A Columbus to make room for Jason Kubel, but he will be back with the team Tuesday as an extra arm in the bullpen.
Carrasco was sent down because he wasn't available for Saturday's game after pitching 1 1/3 innings on Friday. In his last three appearances out of the bullpen, Carrasco has given up two hits, walked one and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings.
"It is very encouraging the way he pitched," manager Terry Francona said. "His aspirations are to be a starter and so are ours. I don't think it's really done anything to hurt his chances as a starter. I think it's actually enhanced it because he's pitching well. He was creating some confidence that can't hurt anything. But in the short term, he's really helped us in the bullpen and that's been great."
Carrasco struggled as a starter this season, allowing more than six runs in four of his seven starts.
"One of the things is when you're starting, you have five days to sit and think," Francona said. "Maybe that's something as you mature, you handle better. The other thing is the way he pitches, his stuff is so good that when he starts sometimes, he runs into a tough inning, maybe he goes away from his fastball. As a bullpen guy, when you're facing a hitter once, his stuff plays up so much."
Francona mentioned Curt Schilling as a pitcher that came out of the bullpen for a few seasons early in his career before transitioning successfully to the rotation. Schilling's first two full seasons in the big leagues were as a reliever, before he switched to a starter for the next 18 years.
"I definitely think [Carrasco has] been pounding the zone really well," Francona said. "But I don't know if that means he can't do it as a starter. It kind of seems to me like it's almost win-win. We put him in this role, and he's really done well. It can't hurt him going forward in any capacity."
Indians announce flurry of September callups
DETROIT -- The Indians will have more than a few extra bodies on the bench and in the bullpen for the rest of the season, once the rosters expand Sunday and they can bring up their September callups.
Manager Terry Francona said right-hander Preston Guilmet, left-hander Nick Hagadone, right-hander Blake Wood, infielder Jose Ramirez and catcher Kelly Shoppach will be promoted to the roster on Sunday.
Left-hander Clay Rapada will join the Tribe on Monday, while right-handers Josh Tomlin, Vinnie Pestano, C.C. Lee and Carlos Carrasco will be added on Tuesday.
"We're trying to keep an eye on Danny [Salazar]," Francona said. "[Corey] Kluber will be coming back, but he certainly will need to be stretched out. So maybe we can win games. Again, the games might be a little longer, because we'll have four lefties in the bullpen and we'll match up a little bit. If that's the way we need to win, that's the way we need to win."
While the Indians are trying to make their postseason push, they also hope being part of the big league club will give the younger players some experience to potentially help the team next season.
"C.C. Lee is a guy that I think we would hope next year would impact our bullpen," Francona said. "So if he can maybe get four, five, six appearances up here going into next year, that would be really beneficial to him."
Ramirez, who doesn't turn 21 until Sept. 17, will be the fourth youngest player in the Majors. While he can play all of the infield positions besides first base, he brings speed to the lineup with 38 stolen bases in 113 games this year at Double-A Akron. Ramirez is ranked as the 13th-best prospect in Cleveland's farm system.
"We have the guys to play, so he could fill a pretty nice spot on the bench and play occasionally, we'll see," Francona said. "But I think it would be good for him too. I don't think anybody in player development thought it was too much for him. Maybe it speeds up his development a little bit."
Quote to note
"We call him the silent assassin, because he doesn't say anything, but he speaks loud with his bat. That's what we used to call him when I was in Minnesota, and he's still doing the same thing. He can hit. I think he's gotten better on defense, so I think it's going to help them out a lot."
-- Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter, on the Indians adding Kubel, his former teammate with the Twins
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.