5/3/2014 6:10 P.M. ET
Indians designate Johnson, recall Hagadone
By Stephen Ellsesser / Special to MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- The Indians love Elliot Johnson's versatility, but they needed the roster spot more than they needed the super sub.
Johnson was designated for assignment Saturday, and left-handed reliever Nick Hagadone was called up from Triple-A Columbus to take his spot.
Johnson, who had started both games at second base since Jason Kipnis' injury, made two errors Friday night, but Tribe skipper Terry Francona said that Johnson's defensive mistakes are not what led to his being designated for assignment.
"[Friday's game] had nothing to do with it, first of all," Francona said.
Johnson was the Indians' emergency catcher and could play every defensive position. But he was hitting just .105 (2-for-19) in seven games when he was sent down.
"All along, I think we hoped we could keep Elliot, whether he hit or not," Francona said. "He can play every position, he can run. We never really got quite into that, where we could utilize him a lot. We also knew at some point, we might not be able to carry that guy."
Meanwhile, Hagadone's stay in Cleveland will be short. He gives Francona nine arms in the bullpen, the kind of depth Cleveland's manager loves to have, but when Josh Tomlin is called up to make a start Tuesday, Hagadone will be sent back to Triple-A Columbus.
"That will be only about three days," Francona said of Hagadone's stint with the Tribe. "It can't hurt to ever have an extra arm. … In a game, it may help. I see no reason it can hurt us."
Tribe chooses Tomlin to fill fifth rotation spot
CLEVELAND -- Josh Tomlin's bringing his scoreless-innings streak to the Majors.
Tribe manager Terry Francona announced that Tomlin would have the ball Tuesday against the Twins.
The No. 5 spot in Cleveland's rotation has been open since Carlos Carrasco was moved to the bullpen Monday, and Tomlin's 20-inning run of scoreless innings at Triple-A was too much for Francona and the front office to ignore.
"Josh's last two outings have been pretty good," Francona said. "We wanted to keep our [other starters] on their day. He pitched so well in Spring Training. He'll help us, I think, to win."
Tomlin threw a three-hit shutout on Thursday for Triple-A Columbus. He struck out 10 batters in that outing. He has not allowed a run in 20 innings, dating back to April 18.
Francona also considered Trevor Bauer and T.J. House for the start.
"There's about three guys [in Triple-A] throwing the ball well, which is nice," Francona said. "You know going through the season, you're going to need guys. Fortunately, that's a nice thing to have."
Gomes placed on paternity list
CLEVELAND -- Yan Gomes couldn't wait to get out of the Indians' clubhouse Friday night, for one of the very best reasons.
Gomes and his wife, Jenna, welcomed daughter Brooklyn Mae on Saturday, and the Indians placed him on the paternity list.
Gomes texted the news to manager Terry Francona, who didn't know when he would have his regular catcher back.
"When you have a baby, the first, I don't think he went to bed last night," Francona said. "He's got his hands full for a couple days."
In any event, Gomes' absence will most likely be of the short-term variety. A player can stay on the paternity list for a maximum of three days, which would have Gomes back in the clubhouse before the end of the current seven-game homestand.
Carlos Santana moved behind the plate to take Gomes' spot Saturday.
To fill Gomes' position on the roster, the Indians purchased the contract of George Kottaras from Triple-A Columbus. Kottaras signed with the Tribe after spending Spring Training with the Cubs. He has played in nine games in Columbus.
"We kind of told George, most likely, he's here temporarily," Francona said. "But things change, which we all know."
Rally Chickens make 2014 debut at Progressive
CLEVELAND -- Corey Kluber doesn't dispute that a couple of chickens more than six feet tall shagged flies in the outfield during pregame Friday.
After inspiring the Tribe to a 12-5 win Friday, the new Rally Chickens had already made the wall of photos in the hallway outside the team's clubhouse.
The Indians' official Twitter account identified Kluber and reliever Cody Allen as the Chickens in the Outfield, but that's where the mystery begins.
"I don't know if there were guys who were planning it, or if it was one of those things where a couple of chickens showed up," Kluber said. "I think it's one of those things where the chickens probably felt we needed to loosen up a little bit and saw it as an opportune time to make an appearance."
As pouring rain moved batting practice indoors Saturday, Kluber found himself impressed that the chickens apparently checked the weather report, choosing to appear Friday when it was dry.
"They probably checked the forecast and made sure it was going to be a good day, so they didn't come for nothing," Kluber said.
Last season, the Rally Chicken gave the Indians a boost on the way to clinching a Wild Card spot. Tribe manager Terry Francona said he would welcome any chicken, real or imaginary, if results like Friday's continue.
"If we win again, they can all show up and wear chicken outfits," Francona said.
Kluber may deny that he wore one of the chicken suits Friday, but no one can deny the effect it seemed to have on a team ready to move on from a tough road trip.
Quote to note
"You always want to pick each other up, 'cause the game's never perfect. But when you pick each other up, less is made of either an error or somebody not getting a guy over. That's certainly a good way to play." -- Francona, on the Tribe's 12-5 win on Friday
• Jose Ramirez made the start at second base Saturday. Mike Aviles has yet to start at second since Kipnis was injured Tuesday in Anaheim, but he will see his share of starts.
"Those are the only two," Francona said of Aviles and Ramirez, his options at second base. "We move Mikey around, anyway."
Aviles, who started at third base Friday, was not in the lineup Saturday.
"We definitely want Jose to play some, but Mikey always finds a way to get his at-bats, whether it's at short or third or left," Francona said. "That's never really been an issue. We'll do what we'll always do, play everyone and try to maximize our roster."
• Danny Salazar picked up his first win of 2014 Friday, and Francona said that the team is looking for continued growth from Salazar.
One key for Salazar, Francona said, would be a more aggressive approach. Rather than turning it on after he gets in a jam, Francona wants to see Salazar use his best stuff from the start.
"What we tried to talk to Danny about today, we didn't turn a couple of plays, but he also had a couple walks," Francona said. "Until he starts to get threatened, that's when you really see him start getting after it."
Salazar faced six leadoff batters Friday, and four of them reached base, including a pair of walks.
Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.