8/6/2014 8:35 P.M. ET
Francona chalks up bizarre play to bad luck
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- One day after the bizarre play that took place in the seventh inning of Tuesday's loss to the Reds in Cleveland, Indians manager Terry Francona was not calling for Major League Baseball to amend any rules
Francona was content with chalking it up as historically bad luck.
"When you try to remedy that one fluke play that you see once in a lifetime," Francona said on Wednesday, "it may open up other things that you don't necessarily want to do. ... I think you just have to swallow it and say, 'We got unlucky.'"
With no outs in the seventh of the Tribe's 9-2 loss to Cincinnati, Cleveland had runners on first and second base and was trailing, 6-1. Yan Gomes sent a pitch from Reds starter Johnny Cueto to the wall in right-field for an RBI double, but an unusual scene quickly unfolded.
At the precise moment that Reds right fielder Jay Bruce retrieved the baseball, Cincinnati reliever Jumbo Diaz threw a wild pitch while warming up in the bullpen behind the right-field wall. Diaz's errant throw landed in the vicinity of cutoff man Kris Negron, who caught the relay throw from Bruce.
David Murphy advanced from first to third base and intended to stop, but took a few steps toward the plate after seeing a baseball (the one thrown by Diaz) in the outfield grass. Murphy was then thrown out by shortstop Zack Cozart while trying to dive back into third, creating a key out that helped the Reds end Cleveland's rally.
Francona discussed the situation with third-base umpire Gerry Davis, but there was nothing to be done.
"The play hadn't stopped. That was the thing," Francona said. "The [shortstop] looked like he was starting to call time, but then he realized they had Murph off the bag. If he flips his hands up and calls time, that play is done. But, [the umpires] can't stop it unless the lights go off or there's an injury. So, maybe if Murph grabbed his calf or something. I don't know."
One theory is that the play could have been treated like a ground-rule double, but Francona said the play was so fluky that he did not think it was worth trying to convince MLB to examine the rules in place.
"I don't think you'll see that again," Francona said. "We just got caught in a little bit of an unlucky situation. Nobody screwed us. That's just, take your medicine."
Carrasco an option, but fifth starter undecided
CINCINNATI -- Carlos Carrasco has found a home in the Indians' bullpen as an effective long reliever, but the club has never entirely closed the door on the pitcher's potential future as a starter. Carrasco remains willing to do whatever Cleveland asks of him.
"We lost one guy in Justin Masterson," said Carrasco, referring to the July 30 trade that sent the Tribe's Opening Day starter to the Cardinals. "We've got other guys, but if they need me, I'm going to do my job."
Now, the Indians are short another starting pitcher.
Prior to Wednesday's game against the Reds, Indians manager Terry Francona announced that struggling right-hander Josh Tomlin has been removed from the rotation and placed in the bullpen. Tomlin lasted only 4 1/3 innings in Tuesday's 9-2 loss to Cincinnati before Carrasco entered in relief and gave the Tribe four frames.
The Indians need a starter for Sunday's road game against the Yankees and -- with off-days coming up on Monday and Aug. 14 -- Carrasco is a realistic option to take the ball. Francona would only go as far as saying that the right-hander was indeed on the list of possibilities.
"Once we got into that game [Tuesday] night," Francona said, "for multiple reasons, we wanted to stretch Carlos out as much as we could. One, it leaves doors open. The other one was it really kept our bullpen in check. That's something we need to talk about, and we will."
Francona said he would likely announce Sunday's probable starter on Thursday.
Carrasco, who logged 59 pitches on Tuesday, went 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in four starts to open this season, prompting Cleveland to put him in the bullpen. Since the move, the righty has turned in a 2.30 ERA with a .217 opponents' average, 39 strikeouts and nine walks in 43 innings.
Tomlin -- sidelined for most of last season while returning from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow -- has gone 5-8 with a 4.75 ERA in 16 appearances for the Indians this season. Since his stellar one-hit shutout in Seattle on June 28, the right-hander has gone 0-3 wth a 7.09 ERA and a .967 opponents' OPS in five outings.
Last month, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti made it clear that the club still believes Carrasco has the makings of a solid starting pitcher.
"We'e been really pleased and encouraged by the progress Carlos has made in the bullpen," Antonetti said. "He's excelled in that role. We continue to think that, if there was an opportunity to start and we had a need, he potentially could go and succeed in that role."
Rzepczynski taking part in Big League Impact
CINCINNATI -- Marc Rzepczynski has yet to come up with a name for his fantasy football team, but the Indians' reliever is looking forward to taking on some teammates and fans in Cleveland's charity league this fall.
On Wednesday, the Indians announced that Rzepczynski will lead a unique initiative called "Tackle the Tribe," which will pit a select number of fans against the pitcher, along with Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, Bryan Shaw and Scott Atchison, in a fantasy football league during the upcoming NFL season.
"Obviously, it's for a good cause and it's fun, too," said Rzepczynski, who plans on being in four leagues this year. "You get a chance to interact with the fans and, at the same time, I love playing fantasy football. I'm not very good at it, but I love playing it."
Participants -- which can include one co-manager -- in "Tackle the Tribe" will make a one-time donation of $2,000 and will be able to take part in a draft day experience on Aug. 23 at Progressive Field. The draft event will feature a live moderated fantasy football draft with the players and some unannounced guests at the Terrace Club Pub at Cleveland's home ballpark.
The league members will also be given a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium, VIP access to batting practice and a ticket in the Champions Suite for the game against the Astros on the day of the draft.
Proceeds for the league will benefit the Greater Cleveland Foodbank, Cleveland Indians Charities and Big League Impact Basic Needs Initative, which has helped host similar fantasy football leagues in multiple MLB cities.
"I think all around it should be a good time," Rzepczynski said. "Hopefully, we get some guys to come out and I think it's going to fun at draft time, getting together, and the fans interacting with us then and in the offseason, too."
Quote to note
"It'll give Cincinnati an opportunity to show what kind of a baseball city it is. ... This is a wonderful place to play baseball. They love their team and they love baseball. Opening Day here is like no other. The kids used to get out of school. They have a parade. They just really like baseball here."
-- Francona, who played for the Reds in 1987, on the All-Star Game coming to Cincinnati in 2015
• Nick Swisher was sidelined for Cleveland's games against the Reds on Monday and Tuesday due to a sore right wrist, but returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday in Cincinnati. Swisher, who has mostly worked as a designated hitter of late, got the nod in left field for the first time since Sept. 1, 2009 (with the Yankees).
"I'm excited," Swisher said. "I'm doing whatever [Francona] needs me to do. For me, just getting back on the field, that's what I love the most. DH'ing is great, but being in the game and being able to impact the game offensively and defensively is a lot of fun. I want to win. Whatever we've got to do to make that happen, I'm down for."
• Indians center fielder Michael Bourn (on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring injury) went 0-for-3 and played five innings for Double-A Akron in the first game of his Minor League rehab assignment on Tuesday. Francona noted that Bourn felt good and is scheduled to have a day off on Wednesday before playing seven innings for Akron on Thursday.
• Tribe first baseman Carlos Santana (398 walks) entered Wednesday's game two walks shy of becoming only the 22nd player in Major League history to reach 400 walks in his first five seaons. Albert Pujols and Adam Dunn (both from 2001-05) were the last players to achieve the feat. The last Cleveland batter to have 400 walks in his first five seasons was Mike Hargrove (1974-78).