7/23/2014 1:40 P.M. ET
Indians recall infield prospect Ramirez, option House
By Alex M. Smith / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians recalled infielder Jose Ramirez from Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday, a move that gave the team a bit more depth before their series finale against the Twins. Cleveland made room on the roster for the 21-year-old utilityman by optioning rookie southpaw T.J. House to Columbus.
Ramirez, originally signed by the Indians out of the Dominican Republic, was batting .302 with 22 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs in 60 games for Columbus. The switch-hitter, who is ranked as the Indians' seventh-best prospect, has seen action with Cleveland in each of the past two seasons, batting .162 (6-for-37) in his brief audition entering Wednesday.
Wednesday's move was made necessary by Asdrubal Cabrera's lower back spasms during Monday's game. Manager Terry Francona said Cabrera is making good progress and that the bullpen is not overworked, so the team could afford to add Ramirez for a few days.
"That's why we waited until Danny [Salazar] pitched last night," Francona said. "We hadn't really gone through much of our bullpen. We were OK there. Then we knew after the game we could assess our pitching, see how Cabby was doing, and Cabby improved enough where if we got Ramirez here, we really don't need a pitcher until Saturday."
Ramirez has played five positions -- second base (35 games), shortstop (21), center field (three), left field (one) and third base (one) -- for Columbus this season. He's seen most of his time at second base over the past four seasons. He had gone 2-for-25 in 11 games with the Indians this year prior to the callup.
"I haven't seen him a ton at short," Francona said. "They say he's been playing pretty well there. So I'm kind of looking forward to it."
House had gone 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 appearances for the Indians, and he pitched five innings in a 4-3 loss to the Twins on Monday. House, who was drafted in the 16th round by Cleveland in 2008, has made nine starts for the Tribe this season, and he's pitched to a 1-3 record and a 3.20 ERA for Columbus.
"T.J.'s actually done a pretty good job," Francona said. "We may have some revolving starters. That may happen. We told T.J. that. With [Justin Masterson] going back to throw another start, you don't ever know guys' injuries, things like that.
"T.J. could actually go down and not throw a good game, and if there's a need, we know what he can do. So it's not really something he did wrong. It wasn't an indictment on his pitching."
Bourn back to running as he rehabs left hamstring
MINNEAPOLIS -- The next step for Michael Bourn is running without pain in his left hamstring.
Cleveland's speedy outfielder has been out of commission since re-injuring the hammy on July 5, an ailment that forced him to have surgery last year and kept him out of games earlier this season.
But he ran during pregame on Monday, hit on Tuesday and ran again on Wednesday, and he is happy with his progress.
"Hitting went fine," Bourn said. "I'm just going to take it one day at a time and just stick to the program. Hopefully, I can get close to playing again."
The 31-year-old is batting .267 in 66 games this season, and teammates are itching to get his energy back on the field.
"We get our leadoff hitter back," outfielder Michael Brantley said. "We get our center fielder back. He's a big part of what we do here. We're battling the best we can until he's healthy, and we look forward to having him back soon."
Still on the 15-day DL, Bourn is looking forward to getting back to his strength: sprinting.
"I want to get back to running without any pain," Bourn said. "Just stride out into a full sprint as close as I possibly can. The sooner I'll be able to do that, I'll be closer to coming back."
Masterson throws bullpen before last start in Minors
MINNEAPOLIS -- After pitching five innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Columbus on Sunday, Justin Masterson (right knee) wanted to rejoin the big league club.
He got his wish with a plane ticket to Minneapolis, but the short stay was simply to let him get a bullpen session in with pitching coach Mickey Callaway. Masterson will fly back to Columbus on Thursday and make one more start at the Triple-A level before the team decides he's ready for Major League hitters.
"It's an opportunity to ease all the kinks and get it out of there," Masterson said. "Going into the last start, it had been a week and a half or so since we'd faced hitters. What we really want to make sure is, when the game gets going and a guy or two gets on base -- OK, we can be consistent and we're not going to try to do too much."
Don't assume the 29-year-old righty is happy about making the extra Minor League start, though.
"I don't think any grown man wants to go on the DL," Masterson said. "As a competitor, I think any person needs to be talked into doing some things, whether they think it's good for them or not. But the idea is that when you are put there, you make good use of it. So it was needed in the end."
Manager Terry Francona said Masterson's bullpen session on Tuesday went well, and the righty was spotted kicking a soccer ball around the Target Field outfield during pregame.
"It's great for the rehab," Masterson said. "You've got to move around and make sure everything's OK."