CLEVELAND -- The Indians added some right-handed power to the order on Friday, calling up first baseman Jesus Aguilar from Triple-A Columbus. The move offers manager Terry Francona a handful of options for his offense.
The Indians optioned lefty Kyle Crockett to Triple-A to vacate a spot for Aguilar.
"We were looking to maybe bring up a bat, a right-handed bat," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "We're going to be facing a number of left-handed pitchers here over the next few games. So, we thought it'd be a good opportunity to bring Jesus up and give him an opportunity up here. We already had a full complement of relievers in the bullpen and were carrying an extra reliever."
In Friday's 6-0 loss to the White Sox, Aguilar (1-for-3 with two strikeouts) was seventh in the batting order and got the nod at first base, while first baseman Carlos Santana shifted to designated hitter. Ryan Raburn, who has split DH duties primarily with David Murphy, started in right field. Mike Aviles played left and the Tribe's normal left fielder, Michael Brantley, moved to center field.
Aguilar, the 12th-ranked prospect in Cleveland's system, will presumably see the bulk of his time at either first base or DH, depending on which of those two positions Santana is filling for the Indians. That potentially opens the door for Raburn and Murphy to see more time in the corner-outfield spots. Brantley has already been handling more playing time in center field in place of Michael Bourn, who has seen his role reduced, especially against left-handed pitching.
The 25-year-old Aguilar, who spent 19 games with the Indians last season, has turned in a .255/.318/.410 slash line with 13 home runs, 15 doubles, 31 walks, 38 runs and 66 RBIs in 93 games at Triple-A Columbus this season.
"We're looking for a way to get him here," Francona said. "You take everything into account. Crockett, we'd really like to see him work ahead, work down more. If we run into a pitching problem, we can make a change if we need to, but for the near future we'd really like to watch [Aguilar] play. Especially with the lefties coming up, it seemed like a great time to get him here."
During Spring Training, the first baseman was in the running for a bench spot on the Opening Day roster. He hit .304 with 19 homers and a .905 OPS in 118 games at Triple-A last season. Aguilar only hit .121 in his stint with Cleveland last year, but said that experience can only help him now.
"I was here last year a little bit," Aguilar said. "So, I kind of know how I've got to play the [game] here. I'll try to go out there and try to have fun and try to help my team the right way."