MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians believe that they identified a flaw in Cody Anderson's delivery during his start against the Twins on Tuesday night. Cleveland is now giving the right-hander a chance to work on the issue at Triple-A Columbus before returning to the big leagues.
Prior to Wednesday's 6-5 win over Minnesota, the Indians optioned Anderson to Triple-A and promoted reliever Kyle Crockett from the same affiliate, adding a second lefty to the Tribe's eight-man bullpen. Under the current roster alignment, Cleveland will be temporarily operating with a four-man rotation. Crockett saw immediate action, striking out the only batter he faced.
With scheduled off-days coming on Thursday and Monday, the Indians do not require a fifth starter until their May 7 home game against the Royals. Barring an injury at the Major League level, an optioned player must remain in the Minors for a minimum of 10 days. That means, unless there are any weather issues or unexpected setbacks, Anderson will be recalled for that game against Kansas City.
"Obviously, you can't set anything in stone," pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "You never know what's going to happen. Right now, we told him, 'Hey, go down there, get your work in.' We've got some things we'd like him to work on that he can probably accomplish in one start that should help him. So, he'll go down there, work on that and we'll see where we're at 10 days from now and go from there."
The top-rotation alternatives at Triple-A are lefty TJ House and right-hander Mike Clevinger, who is ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Indians' No. 7 prospect.
Anderson, 25, allowed five runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings during Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Twins at Target Field. It marked the third straight start in which he gave up at least five runs and nine hits, and the big right-hander has gone 0-1 with a 7.65 ERA in four turns overall, yielding 17 runs on 34 hits in 20 innings.
"He had a few tough starts," Indians general manager Mike Chernoff said. "He's struggled a little bit in his last few starts. I don't think it's anything that necessarily went wrong or is indicative of any problem. This happens to young players all the time."
Anderson's early-season showing has been a stark contrast to 2015, when he went 7-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 15 starts as part of a strong rookie campaign. During Tuesday's start, though, Callaway and Kluber believe they found something within Anderson's stride that might explain the constant stream of elevated pitches through his first four starts.
"There were some things mechanically that he and Mickey kind of talked about," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "This will give him a chance to do that under a little bit different circumstances, where it's not a Major League game. So, that's good for him."
The 24-year-old Crockett joins Ross Detwiler as the only left-handers in Cleveland's crowded bullpen.
Crockett turned in a 1.29 ERA in six games for Triple-A Columbus this year, striking out three and giving up just five hits in seven innings of work. In parts of the past two seasons with the Indians, the young lefty posted a 2.64 ERA with 43 strikeouts against 15 walks in 74 games (47 2/3 innings). Crockett had a 4.08 ERA in 31 appearances for Cleveland last year.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.