Almonte makes incredible Indians debut

Center fielder goes 4-for-5 with two-run homer, two doubles

Almonte makes incredible Indians debut

CLEVELAND -- Abraham Almonte traveled a great distance in order to make his debut for the Indians, but it turned out that his services were not needed. Thinking they might need him at the time, Cleveland flew the outfielder to Anaheim earlier this week, only to ask him to turn around and head back to Triple-A Columbus.

On Saturday, the Indians came calling again, and this time they meant it.

It was worth the wait.

"Yeah, it was," Almonte said after Saturday's 17-4 victory over the Twins.

In his debut for the Tribe, Almonte, 26, churned out four hits, including a two-run home run and a pair of doubles. He manned center field, scored three runs and looked like a man on a mission to make a strong first impression on an Indians club that acquired him from the Padres in exchange for lefty Marc Rzepczynski before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Almonte -- slotted in as the center fielder a day after Michael Bourn was traded to the Braves -- doubled and scored in each of the second and third innings. He singled in the sixth and belted his first homer of the season off Minnesota reliever A.J. Achter. In doing so, Almonte became the first player since at least 1914 to have at least three extra-base hits and four hits in his Cleveland debut, according to STATS Inc.

Almonte's two-run jack

"It's awesome," said Indians starter Trevor Bauer, referring to watching one of the Tribe's new players have a breakout game. "If you're going to draw up your debut with a team, you can't really draw it up a lot better than that. I'm happy for him. Obviously, I'm happy for the team and the rest of the guys. I thought everyone played really well today."

Before Saturday, the switch-hitting Almonte had three extra-base hits all season for the Padres, with whom he hit just .204 in 31 games this year. Almonte showed more promise at Triple-A, where he turned in a .274/.360/.417 slash line with 25 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs, 45 runs and 11 steals in 63 games this year.

"That was great," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Almonte's Cleveland debut. "And I know one game doesn't define somebody's career, but at the same time, we're looking for reasons to be excited about guys and encouraged. If you can't be encouraged watching that ... He's got really good hitter's hands. And shoot, man, we're looking to have guys help us. That was exciting."

On Tuesday in Anaheim, Almonte was in California because the Indians were not sure if Lonnie Chisenhall -- banged up on a dive attempt the previous day -- would need to go on the disabled list. Chisenhall was cleared to remain active, and Almonte caught a flight back to Ohio.

When the second call to join the Tribe came, Almonte was thrilled to take advantage of the opportunity.

"We always work hard to see that kind of result," he said. "When you see it, you feel really excited."

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