CINCINNATI -- When the time came to make their latest roster decision, the Indians opted to keep more versatility on their roster.
Prior to Wednesday's game against the Reds, Cleveland optioned outfielder Tyler Naquin to Triple-A Columbus in order to officially promote starting pitcher Mike Clevinger from the same affiliate. Clevinger, who replaces Cody Anderson in the rotation, was called up to make his Major League debut on Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
The decision to send Naquin back to Triple-A means that utility man Michael Martinez remains on Cleveland's bench. With Michael Brantley (right shoulder) on the 15-day disabled list, and utility man Jose Ramirez a lineup regular at the moment, keeping Martinez in the fold gives the Tribe a backup option for a variety of positions in the infield and outfield.
"The ability to move Michael around I think can enhance the guys we have," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
The 33-year-old Martinez, who does not have any Minor League options left, had his contract selected from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday, when Brantley was placed on the DL. The switch-hitting Martinez can play second base, shortstop and third base, as well as all three outfield spots. He went 3-for-6 with a double in three games for Cleveland, entering Wednesday.
In 27 games at Columbus this year, Martinez hit .288 with 11 extra-base hits, 12 RBIs, 12 runs scored and a .793 OPS.
Naquin, 25, has posted a .317/.338/.413 slash line with four extra-base hits and 10 runs scored in 27 games for the Indians this year. The center fielder began this season on the Tribe's Opening Day roster, but he was optioned to Triple-A previously on May 7. In four games after being recalled on Friday, Naquin went 3-for-9 with one walk for the Indians.
While Naquin is back at Triple-A, the Indians want him to continue to make strides, defensively.
"We want him to play center field," Francona said. "We want him to work on his jumps and routes, because, as I was telling him last night ... if you look at the good teams, center fielders are elite, and he has that ability. We want him to continue to work on some of those things."
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.