Indians activate OF Michael Bourn, option Nyjer Morgan to Columbus
Michael Bourn was ready to return to the majors. Nasty weather delayed his plans.
Bourn, who missed Cleveland’s first 13 games with a strained left hamstring, was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday before the Indians’ series opener with the Tigers was postponed by cold weather.
Bourn had expected to make his season debut only to have it pushed back by temperatures in the low 30s and snow sitting on the outfield grass in Comerica Park.
"He was ready to go," Indians manager Terry Francona said of his speedy center fielder. "He wanted to play, but you can’t control the weather."
It’s the third postponement for the Indians, who already have been forced to play two doubleheaders this season because of rainouts. No makeup date was announced, but Francona believes the AL Central teams, who are scheduled to play 19 times, are eyeing a date in July.
The Indians return to Detroit for a three-game series from July 18-20 and Sept. 12-14.
Francona said right-hander Zach McAllister’s start will be pushed back to Wednesday. Danny Salazar will start Thursday, followed by Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco at home against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Bourn strained his hamstring while running the bases on March 16 during training camp in Arizona. Because he had surgery on the hamstring soon after last season ended, the Indians were cautious about bringing him back. Bourn had been eligible to be activated two weeks ago, but the Indians had him play in five minor league games to make sure he was 100 percent.
Francona said Bourn likely will play in consecutive games but may not appear in "three, four of five in a row" for a while.
The chilly weather doesn’t help, but Francona said it probably wouldn’t have kept Bourn out against the Tigers.
"I don’t think anyone feels good in the cold weather," Francona said. "But he’s healthy."
To make room for Bourn, the Indians optioned outfielder Nyjer Morgan to Triple-A Columbus.
Morgan, who signed a minor league deal with Cleveland in January, did a nice job filling in for Bourn. He batted .348 (8 of 23), scored four runs and had four RBIs in nine games.
Francona said the team decided to send down Morgan to keep an extra reliever in the bullpen.
"It wasn’t really a tough decision," Francona said. "It was difficult in the fact that he (Morgan) had done so well. I don’t think anybody thought he deserved to go to Triple-A, but when you look at the way our team is constituted, we needed to stay with the extra pitcher in the bullpen. With Bourn being a left-handed center fielder, it’s hard to keep both of them."