CLEVELAND -- The fifth spot in the Indians' rotation has been a revolving door for most of this season. It turned again on Saturday afternoon.
Prior to their game against the Twins, the Indians placed right-handed starter Cody Anderson on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained left oblique. With no need for a fifth starter until Aug. 15 -- thanks to team off-days this past Thursday and again on Monday -- Cleveland promoted reliever Shawn Armstrong from Triple-A Columbus to fill the vacated spot on the pitching staff.
"We got him an MRI this morning, and it's a low-grade strain, but it is a strain," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We need to have this thing go away, so we'll watch him for the next three, four, five days, and then hopefully it goes away, and then we'll get him back going."
Cleveland also optioned outfielder Tyler Holt to Triple-A and promoted outfielder Abraham Almonte from the same affiliate on Saturday.
The 24-year-old Anderson debuted on June 21 after the Indians had already cycled through TJ House, Zach McAllister, Bruce Chen and Shaun Marcum as back-end rotation options. The big right-hander enjoyed an incredible start to his career, spinning a 0.89 ERA with a .165 opponents' average in his first four starts (30 1/3 innings).
Over his past four outings, however, Anderson has turned in a 10.19 ERA with a .367 opponents' average across 17 2/3 innings of work. That included an abbreviated effort on Friday night, when he was charged with six runs on five hits in only 2 2/3 innings during the Tribe's 10-9 loss to the Twins.
Anderson said he felt something in his side during the third inning of Friday's outing.
"I just reached back to get a little extra on a fastball and kind of felt a little tweak in my side," Anderson said. "I've never felt anything on my left side before. It all happened pretty quick."
The hard-throwing Armstrong joined Cleveland's bullpen for his Major League debut after posting a 2.25 ERA in 40 appearances for Columbus this season. Armstrong -- selected in the 18th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Indians -- had 69 strikeouts and 22 walks in 44 innings this season for the Clippers, picking up 14 saves in the process.
"He's kind of pitched his way into where he's really confident," Francona said. "I think we're getting him at a good time and, hopefully, we'll get to see how he's been throwing, because his velocity has been really good. He's been throwing strikes. Hopefully, he'll come help us."
Almonte, 26, made his Indians debut after being acquired from the Padres in the July 31 trade that sent lefty Marc Rzepczynski to San Diego. The switch-hitting outfielder posted a .204 average in 31 games for the Padres earlier this year, but he performed well in Triple-A and can handle all three outfield spots. In 63 Triple-A games this season, Almonte hit .274/360/.417 with 25 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs, 45 runs and 11 stolen bases.
Both Armstrong and Almonte made impressive debuts for the Indians in Saturday's 17-4 rout of the Twins.
Almonte went 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles and three runs scored, becoming the first player to have at least three extra-base hits and four hits in his Cleveland debut since at least 1914 (per STATS Inc.).
Armstrong was handed the ball for the ninth, and the young righty shook off his nerves and responded with a one-two-three inning, including two strikeouts, to end the game.