Indians add Webb to bullpen, designate Sands

Indians add Webb to bullpen, designate Sands

CLEVELAND -- In an effort to help their beleaguered bullpen, the Indians purchased the contract of right-hander Ryan Webb from Triple-A Columbus prior to Wednesday's game against the Royals.

During Tuesday's 11-5 loss, Cleveland's bullpen gave up eight runs in three innings, pushing the group's ERA to an American League-high 4.59. Webb was signed to a Minor League deal on April 14, and he pitched well in a brief stint with Columbus. He offers a wealth of Major League experience for the Tribe.

"It was a guy that we wanted to get over here," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We just got to a point where -- whether it was some early outings from our starters, a guy getting sick, some early exits and then some inconsistencies in our bullpen -- we've been going through our bullpen a lot.

"We just felt like we needed the other arm. And we really were looking for a reason to kind of look at Ryan anyway."

In order to vacate a spot on both the 40-man and active rosters, the Indians designated outfielder Jerry Sands for assignment. Cleveland has 10 days to either trade or release Sands or reassign him to a Minor League affiliate if he clears waivers.

In five Triple-A appearances this year, the 29-year-old Webb posted a 1.13 ERA in eight innings, with five strikeouts and one walk. In that small early-season sample, the righty had limited right-handed batters to a 1-for-18 showing at the plate. By adding Webb to the mix, Francona has eight relievers in his bullpen.

In parts of six big league seasons with the Padres, Marlins and Orioles, Webb has turned in a 3.38 ERA in 317 games. Over the past two years, he fashioned a 3.26 ERA in 117 games (129 2/3 innings), recording 91 strikeouts, 39 walks and a 1.23 WHIP. In 2014 with Baltimore, Webb had a 3.83 ERA in 51 appearances (49 1/3 innings).

The 27-year-old Sands was called up from Triple-A on April 10 to provide some insurance while outfielder Michael Brantley dealt with a back issue. With Brantley (.891 OPS in 11 games since returning to the lineup) feeling healthy and veteran Ryan Raburn (1.083 OPS in 27 at-bats against lefties) performing well, Sands became the odd man out.

Sands hit .348 (8-for-23), including a .389 (7-for-18) average against left-handed pitching, in nine games.

"We did not want to designate Jerry," Francona said. "From Day 1 in Spring Training, he was nothing but professional and he kind of grew on everybody. But the fact of the matter is we needed the arm."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.