8/1/2014 7:19 P.M. ET
Indians designate McAllister for assignment
By Alec Shirkey / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- The Indians remain hopeful that Zach McAllister can still return to the strong form he displayed earlier this season. Clearly, however, they do not feel the right-hander's current problems can be addressed at the Major League level.
The club designated McAllister for assignment on Friday with the intention of eventually optioning him to Triple-A Columbus. With a new waiver period now in effect following Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Indians need to wait two days in order to secure the 26-year-old's optional waivers and remove him from the 25-man roster, since it has been more than three years since his Major League debut (July 7, 2011). In essence, the transaction accomplishes the same as if the Indians had simply optioned McAllister to Columbus outright.
Regardless of technicalities, the move was a difficult one for the young pitcher to accept.
"We talked to Zach for probably an hour," Tribe manager Terry Francona said. "A lot of it was just trying to understand with young players, pitchers -- sometimes they want to be so good so bad that they lose track of how to get there. They want to stay in the Majors so bad -- as opposed to, 'How am I going to help our team win?'"
The Indians are expected to make another roster move on Saturday so that left-hander T.J. House (1-2, 4.50 ERA) can return from Columbus to make his scheduled start against the Rangers.
McAllister returns to the Minors after posting a 2.23 ERA across six starts with Columbus earlier this season, which came in the wake of a stay on the 15-day disabled list due to back soreness. His July 12 return to the Cleveland rotation began with promise, as he allowed just four runs in a combined 12 1/3 innings through his first two starts, but he has since struggled to locate his fastball and has gone no deeper than four innings in each of his past two outings.
"Baseball's a games of ups and downs, but you want to be as consistent as possible," said McAllister, who is 0-4 with a 9.88 ERA over his last seven outings. "Any time you put together a couple good starts and then have these two that I was obviously not happy with, it's not very fun to go through. But it's what you're able to do between starts that'll allow you to bounce back."
Francona mentioned McAllister's confidence when asked what was ailing his starting pitcher, and he believes further time in lower-pressure situations could help get the tall righty back on track.
"I think it's very important that he starts to pitch in Triple-A and not feel like he's on an island, not feel like he's alone doing it himself," Francona said.
Dickerson day to day with knee discomfort
CLEVELAND -- Tribe left fielder Chris Dickerson, who is day to day with left knee discomfort, was not in the lineup for Friday night's series opener vs. the Rangers.
Dickerson was removed from Thursday's game against Seattle after he came up limping while trying to field a Kendrys Morales double off the wall in the second inning. Dickerson finished out the frame but was later replaced by Mike Aviles in left field.
Manager Terry Francona said Dickerson's knee initially began bothering him after Wednesday's contest, when he made an impressive diving catch in left field.
"He said it didn't start hurting until he came in, and he said as he got closer to the game [on Thursday], it became worse and worse. I'm sure that [Morales double] didn't help," Francona said. "So he came in, they tried to stretch him and he couldn't get it going. We got him in here early, got him worked on, he'll continue to get treatment."
Francona added that the team believes Dickerson, batting .300 in 19 games since being acquired from the Pirates, could be back in the lineup as soon as Saturday.
With Dickerson unavailable for the time being, the Indians recalled Tyler Holt from Triple-A Columbus as insurance for their banged-up outfield. Holt fills the roster spot cleared by Zach McAllister's return to the Minors.
The move marks Holt's second stint with the Indians this season after he made his Major League debut with a defensive appearance on July 6. The 25-year-old outfielder was hitting .317 with a .425 on-base percentage and 19 stolen bases through 57 games with Columbus this season.
Quote to note
"Watching him hit, if you go to a game, you don't want to go eat when he's hitting. Because those are majestic, he takes some pretty healthy swings. For however many games I managed against teams he was on, I don't think there was probably one or two where he walked to the plate and I didn't give him the bunt sign, like 'Go ahead and lay one down.' And then he'd always kind of smile and hit one in the upper deck."
-- Francona, on former Indians slugger Jim Thome
• Right-hander Josh Tomlin worked five innings on 69 pitches for Columbus on Thursday, allowing a pair of runs -- both products of solo home runs -- while striking out five. Francona noted that the short outing was by design.
"Since we did send him down, we wanted to let him not get out there where he's getting taxed a lot," Francona said, "for all of the obvious reasons. He's coming off surgery, he's not the biggest guy in the world."
• Since being recalled from the Minors on July 8, lefty reliever Nick Hagadone has posted a 1.13 ERA and registered eight strikeouts to one walk across eight appearances. He also turned in a career-high 2 1/3 scoreless innings during Tuesday's loss to the Mariners.
"A lot in the past, I've just gotten locked in on throwing too many fastballs," Hagadone said Wednesday. "Being able to throw my breaking ball for strikes early in the count was really big last night, because then it helps with my fastball."
• Right-hander Shaun Marcum, who has spent nearly all of the season on the Columbus disabled list while recovering from shoulder surgery, began a rehab assignment with the Arizona League Indians on Friday.
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.