Indians set to roll with four-man rotation through June

Terry Francona has elected to go with the four-man rotation of Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer until a fifth starter is needed on July 1.

Jerome Miron/Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND — With two off days next week, the Indians will go with a four-man rotation until the end of the month. That is why they optioned Zach McAllister to Columbus and called up Vinnie Pestano.

Cleveland activated McAllister off the disabled list on Wednesday anticipating that he would start Thursday against the Angels. Wednesday’s game though was postponed due to rain and jumbled up the rotation. Justin Masterson started the series finale and Terry Francona decided to keep the status quo of Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin going against the Tigers.

The Indians do not need a fifth starter until July 1, which would be the second of a four-game series against the Dodgers.

"We can give every starter in a four-man rotation an extra day off and not two. (Pitching coach) Mickey Callaway was adamant that one is good and two is not," Francona said. "This way we can keep Zach on his regular turn (in Columbus). T.J. (House), who is already down there, is on his regular turn."

Indians recall Pestano, demote McAllister

McAllister (3-4, 5.89 ERA) had been on the disabled list since May 22 due to a low back strain. He made two rehab starts in Columbus and had one option remaining.

Pestano began the year in Cleveland but gave up six runs (four earned) in three appearances. In 2 2/3 innings, the right-hander also gave up eight hits and was optioned to Columbus. In his last 13 appearances with the Clippers, dating back to May 18, Pestano has not allowed a run. He has pitched 13 innings, allowing seven hits with 12 strikeouts and two walks.

"I got into a little bit of a groove down there. I found some mechanics that were consistent and repeatable and I just tried to keep doing that," Pestano said. "I got into a spot where right when I got down there and we started dissecting everything and really trying to figure out what the problems were, and it ended up being more than a couple.

"You can’t work on a bunch of different mechanical issues at once, so I kind of had to work on one and, when one felt like it was place, I worked on another. When that felt like it was in place, I’d go on to the next thing and the next thing. Now, I’ve just gotten to a point where I’m back to being comfortable on the mound. I don’t have to think about what my arm is doing here, what my legs are doing, and stuff like that. It’s been nice to go out there and be able to pitch without worrying about other things."

In 25 appearances with the Clippers, Pestano went 2-3 with a 1.78 ERA. Right-handers batted .125 against him (7 for 56) and opponents were 7 of 40 against him with runners on base.

Reasons to watch the Indians: Tackling the Tigers

BRANTLEY ON TRACK: Michael Brantley ran the bases and took batting practice on Friday. Francona said that doctors would reevaluate Brantley after batting practice and if everything checked out, he would return to the lineup on Saturday.

Brantley suffered a concussion on Monday while trying to break up a double play and has missed three straight games. Mike Aviles will play left tonight for the second straight game.

LOOKING BACK: According to Elias, Nick Swisher is the second player in the Majors over the past 10 years to hit two extra-inning, game-winning home runs in the span of five days.

Albert Pujols did it on June 4-5 three years ago when he was with the Cardinals against the Cubs. Before Swisher, the last Indians player to accomplish it was Albert belle on Aug. 30-31, 1995, against Toronto.

Of Swisher’s three hits since returning from the disabled list, two have been home runs — a solo shot in the 11th inning last Sunday at Boston and the walk off, grand slam in the 10th on Thursday against the Angels.