7/26/2014 12:07 A.M. ET
Masterson may be ready to rejoin Tribe
By Jordan Bastian and Alec Shirkey / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Sinkerballer Justin Masterson has completed what could be his final step before rejoining the rotation.
On Friday night, Masterson made his second Minor League rehab appearance for Triple-A Columbus, logging 108 pitches in 6 2/3 innings against Norfolk. Prior to the outing, manager Terry Francona said the hope was that Masterson would now be ready to be activated from the 15-day disabled list and in line for his next start.
"We're hoping this is the last one," Francona said before the game against the Royals, a 6-4 loss. "I think we'd like him to kind of be ready to go. We'll see. We've got [Tim Belcher, a special assistant to baseball operations] there, and we'll kind of monitor things. We'll talk to Masty."
Masterson was not particularly sharp for Columbus, issuing six walks and ending with four strikeouts. He was charged with five runs, though three of them scored after he exited. The goal was to have him pitch deep into the game to test his right knee, and he accomplished that by working into the seventh.
Through 19 starts this season -- the last coming on July 7 -- Masterson went 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA, 93 strikeouts and 56 walks in 98 innings. As a first-time American League All-Star in 2013, he won 14 games, posted a 3.45 ERA and piled up 195 strikeouts in 193 innings.
Pitching coach Mickey Callaway said that Cleveland hopes that getting Masterson back to full strength and having Danny Salazar return to form can give the team a lift down the stretch.
"We'd like to get [Masterson] back in the rotation and pitching well," Callaway said. "If we can get him and Salazar going, we'd have a chance to make a run. They've both got to get going and pitch kind of like they did last year."
Tribe targeting Sunday for Asdrubal's return
KANSAS CITY -- The Indians have set Sunday as the target to have shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera return to the lineup following a bout with back spasms. That plan is very much subject to change, though, considering Cleveland has a scheduled off-day on Monday.
"If he's not quite ready, we have the [next] day off," manager Terry Francona said prior to Friday's game at Kauffman Stadium. "If he plays Sunday, he's feeling good, because with Monday off, we wouldn't rush him back. We'll keep monitoring him."
Francona noted that the Indians hope to have Cabrera available off the bench on Saturday.
Cabrera, who exited Monday's game in Minnesota with the back issue earlier on this road trip, has continued to increase his activity over the past few days. Francona indicated that Cabrera added baseball drills to his pregame workout on Friday and felt improvement physically.
"He's doing much better," Francona said. "He's moving around and doing some baseball stuff. Again, the idea would be where he could maybe be available and play Sunday."
Through 94 games, Cabrera has hit .247 with nine home runs, 22 doubles, 39 RBIs and 52 runs scored. With Cabrera sidelined, infielder Jose Ramirez has come up from Triple-A Columbus and handled the bulk of the duties at short.
Indians help with cleanup at Forest Hill Park
CLEVELAND -- On Friday, as the Indians continued their 11-game road trip in Kansas City, members of the front office were also active on the diamond. Rather than take part in a game, however, they cleaned up the fields at Forest Hill Park in East Cleveland so that the community's youth may play there again.
Approximately 300 volunteers participated in the service project, which was coordinated by BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence and included partnerships with the Indians and such local companies as Key Bank and FOX Sports Ohio. Much of the effort was galvanized by Valencia Kimbrough, the Indians' coordinator of facility maintenance and a native of East Cleveland. She attended Shaw High School, which plays its home baseball games at Forest Hill Park.
"There was a tarp just sitting [in the outfield] that nobody used," Kimbrough said. "The dugouts were falling apart. The field had more weeds on it than it had playing area. The weeds around the outside of the fence line were taller than me.
"My little brother wanted to play baseball, and there was no team for him to play on. They didn't have a team. My son plays pee-wee baseball. We came up here to practice one day and saw how horrible it looked.
Naturally, Kimbrough turned to her employers for support. Rebecca Kodysh, director of community outreach, reached out to BVU, which connected the Indians with a number of volunteers willing to help with the restoration. Soon after, Kimbrough's proposal became a reality, and she found herself picking weeds, raking, and painting dugouts and foul poles alongside a group of people that included everyone from coworkers to Shaw students.
"I was just tired of all the times in the media you always see something negative about East Cleveland. I wanted to bring a positive light," Kimbrough said. "I'm so happy, just from the kids that are all here, knowing they care about this community as much as I do."
Quote to note
"Not only has he pitched well for himself, but he's probably helped us out as a pitching staff more than it really seems, more than his numbers just say."
-- pitching coach Mickey Callaway, on Corey Kluber
• After Kluber logged 107 pitches over nine stellar innings on Thursday night, Francona said there was no temptation to send him out for a 10th frame. Not only was Kluber's pitch count over the century mark, Kansas City had the top of its lineup due to hit with the score tied at 1.
Dennis Martinez remains the last Cleveland starter to log at least 10 innings, doing so on May 6, 1994, against the Orioles.
• Center fielder Michael Bourn, on the 15-day disabled list (left hamstring) since July 6, did some running and agility drills in the Kauffman Stadium outfield prior to Friday's game. Cleveland still has not announced when he might be ready to head out on a Minor League rehab assignment.
"He just has to be ready to play," Francona said. "Then it's just a matter of not just getting his timing, but also getting to the point where he's comfortable. The biggest thing, I think, with Bourny is getting that last gear with his legs. So it might take a few days."
• The Indians plan to officially recall right-hander Zach McAllister from Triple-A Columbus prior to Saturday's game to make the start against the Royals, though he was in Kansas City with the club on Friday. Cleveland will need to make a subsequent transaction in order to add him to the roster.
• Over the past 100 seasons, there have been only seven games in which a team's pitching staff allowed no more than six baserunners in at least 14 innings. Cleveland allowed just six runners in Thursday's 2-1, 14-inning loss to Kansas City.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.