Indians claim Butler off waivers from Rays

Indians claim Butler off waivers from Rays

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Carlos Carrasco flirted with a no-hitter against the Rays last summer, coming within one strike of etching his name into Indians lore. The hard-throwing right-hander's bid at history was halted by outfielder Joey Butler.

The good news for Carrasco is he might not have to face Butler again next year. On Monday, Cleveland claimed Butler off waivers from Tampa Bay, adding another player to the mix for a spot in the Tribe's depleted outfield. Carrasco was not consulted about the transaction.

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"We didn't check with him," Indians general manager Mike Chernoff said with a laugh. "Hey, he had a smile on his face when he hit that."

Indeed, when Butler broke up Carrasco's no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth inning on July 1, the pitcher stood on the field and threw his head back and laughed. After the game, Carrasco admitted that he was already thinking ahead to how he was going to celebrate his feat before uncorking the ill-fated offering to Butler.

After learning that Butler was acquired, Carrasco welcomed the outfielder to the Indians on Twitter, adding: "I forgive you for that single in the 9th!"

Cleveland designated left-hander Jayson Aquino for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

The Indians are trying to build up outfield depth in the wake of the injury to left fielder Michael Brantley, who could be sidelined until late April or May after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder in November. Lonnie Chisenhall in right field, Abraham Almonte in center and Collin Cowgill offering a backup option for all three spots.

Butler joins outfielders Jerry Sands, Tyler Naquin and James Ramsey on the 40-man roster, too. The Indians also have Michael Choice and Shane Robinson in the fold as non-roster invitees for Spring Training.

Butler, who will turn 30 years old in March, has hit .274/.330/.412 in 102 career Major League games between stints with the Rangers (2013), Cardinals ('14) and Rays ('15). Last year, the right-handed hitter turned in a .276/.326/.416 slash line with eight homers, 12 doubles and 30 RBIs in 88 games with Tampa Bay. In his career, he has hit .289 (.773 OPS) against righties and .259 (.699) against lefties.

Defensively, Butler rates as a slightly above average corner outfielder. In 198 innings in left last year, he posted two Defensive Runs Saved and a 3.8 UZR/150. Butler has an 11.1 UZR/150 in his career for left and right field combined.

"[He] will come in and compete for a spot on the team," Chernoff said. "He still has [one Minor League] option remaining, so he provides some versatility and depth for us. He had a good year up and down with Tampa [Bay] last year, had a really good offensive year in the time he was in the Major Leagues, especially early on, and is a guy who could fill one of our spots in the outfield."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for 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.