Smith could make Tribe bullpen even better
The Indians used a day off Thursday to tinker slightly with their bullpen, an area of the team that has been a strength so far. The Indians optioned right-hander Frank Herrmann to Class AAA Columbus.
The corresponding move to that one is expected to come Friday, when right-hander Joe Smith will be activated from the disabled list. Smith has been out since the start of the season because of a strained abdominal muscle.
When healthy, Smith not only brings dependable production to the bullpen, but also a different look. Smith's side-arm delivery is a nice change of pace from the other relievers in the Indians' bullpen.
Herrmann, who has yet to spend a full season in the major leagues, is still a work in progress. He appeared in four games and had an 8.31 ERA.
Smith joins an Indians bullpen that has been very solid the first two weeks of the season.
Anchored by closer Chris Perez left-handers Tony Sipp and Rafael Perez, and rookie right-hander Vinnie Pestano, the bullpen has been rock solid in support of a rotation that also has pitched well.
The two Perezes, Sipp and Pestano have a combined 0.00 ERA. In a combined 21 innings over 21 appearances they have allowed no earned runs on five hits. Opposing batters are hitting a combined .072 vs. those four relievers.
--RHP Frank Herrmann was optioned to Class AAA Columbus on Thursday. Herrmann appeared in four games and had an 8.31 ERA. In 4 1/3 innings he allowed six hits, recording seven strikeouts and one walk.
--RHP Joe Smith will be activated off the disabled list Friday. Smith, who had been out since opening day because of a strained abdominal muscle, will take the place on the roster of RHP Frank Herrmann, who was optioned to Class AAA Columbus on Thursday.
--RHP Vinnie Pestano, who was impressive in a late season call-up last year, has continued to pitch well this season. In four appearances, Pestano has not allowed a run, while striking out six, with no walks. He has held opposing batters to a .077 batting average (1-for-13).
--RHP Justin Masterson, who will start Friday night against Baltimore, has quietly carried over his strong finish to 2010 into this season. Since last Aug. 4, Masterson is 5-3, with a 2.57 ERA in 15 games, 10 of them starts.
--OF Shin-Soo Choo appears to be coming out of his early slump. Choo was batting .083 on April 7. But in his last six games, he is hitting .333 (7-for-21).
BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- Teams, prior to the Indians doing it this year, who had won eight games in a row after losing their first two games of the season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "If I spend five minutes worrying about our attendance, that's five minutes I'm taking away from my preparation to make this team better." -- Manager Manny Acta, on the Indians' poor attendance so far this season.
--RHP Joe Smith (strained abdominal muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA Akron on April 7. Smith could be activated off the disabled list in time for the April 15 game with Baltimore.
--CF Grady Sizemore (left knee surgery in June 2010) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 29. He had been at Class AA Akron on an injury-rehab assignment and has been moved to Class AAA Columbus to continue his rehab.
--3B Jason Donald (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA Akron on April 10, and he was scheduled to move to Class AAA Columbus on April 14. He likely will miss the season's first month.
--OF Trevor Crowe (right shoulder surgery in March 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 30. He will be out until at least late July.