CLEVELAND -- The Indians hoped to see Cody Anderson take a step forward this season, following his impressive rookie debut last year. In light of the big right-hander's continued woes, however, Cleveland has decided to shake up its rotation.
Prior to Tuesday's game against the Reds, the Indians optioned Anderson to Triple-A Columbus and activated outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall from Major League Baseball's bereavement list. The Tribe also announced that starting pitching prospect Mike Clevinger will be added to the roster on Wednesday in order to make his big league debut against Cincinnati.
Indians manager Terry Francona said optioning the struggling Anderson was done with the pitcher's future in mind.
"Regardless of this kid going back to Triple-A," Francona said, "I think we've been pretty emphatic about how we feel about him. He's going to be successful here in Cleveland. ... I just think when you look at a kid and you feel like he needs to go back for his own good, you need to do it, even if it's not necessarily convenient."
When Clevinger is promoted to the Indians' active roster on Wednesday, a subsequent transaction will be required. With the right-hander joining the fold, Cleveland will shift its starting alignment. Righty Josh Tomlin is scheduled to start on Thursday on the road against the Reds, while Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar will be the probable starters (in that order) for the upcoming weekend series in Boston.
With a doubleheader coming up against the White Sox on Monday in Chicago, the Indians will need an extra starter. An optioned player is typically required to remain in the Minor Leagues for a minimum of 10 days, but that rule does not apply to MLB's 26th-man provision for doubleheaders. Anderson would be eligible to start for Cleveland on Monday.
"Rather than name a starter right now, [we'll wait]," Francona said. "I think it's pretty obvious somebody's going to pitch. We'll get there."
Clevinger, 25, is ranked as the Indians' seventh-best prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. The hard-throwing righty impressed the Indians as an invitee this spring and has continued to pitch well for Triple-A Columbus, going 5-0 with a 3.03 ERA, 36 strikeouts and 17 walks in 35 2/3 innings over seven outings for the Clippers.
"We're really excited to watch him," Francona said. "I don't think tomorrow's start is going to define his career, and I do think he's still developing. But there's a lot to like with a kid with that kind of breaking ball, that kind of velocity, that kind of competitiveness. I think you can still develop and win, and we're looking forward to it."
The 25-year-old Anderson has gone 0-3 with a 7.99 ERA in seven appearances for Cleveland this season. In Monday's 15-6 win over Cincinnati, his rough outing was overshadowed by the Tribe's offensive outpouring. Anderson lasted only 4 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits, including a pair of home runs. The right-hander has given up 10 homers in 32 2/3 innings on the season.
Last year, Anderson played a key role in the Indians' rotation down the stretch, ending the season 7-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 15 starts. That showing, combined with an impressive offseason and Spring Training, helped Anderson earn the No. 4 spot in Cleveland's rotation on Opening Day.
"Cody gets it more than most young players I've ever seen," Francona said. "His attitude is just unbelievable. All the things that we've said about him don't change. He just was getting hit. He's one of the hardest workers we've ever seen. He's a great teammate. He will go make it right."
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.