Indians add reliever Armstrong, option Merritt

Indians add reliever Armstrong, option Merritt

CLEVELAND -- Prior to Tuesday's 7-3 loss to the Rangers, the Indians recalled right-hander Shawn Armstrong from Triple-A Columbus. Armstrong made his season debut in the ninth inning, giving up a run on two hits.

We [had to] get another arm just in case something would ever happen," manager Terry Francona said before the game. "Once you go too far in your bullpen, you can't take it back. You always want to take care of that when you can. So we got Armstrong here."

In 16 relief appearances for Columbus, Armstrong went 0-1 with a 2.50 ERA and three saves. He allowed six runs (five earned) on 12 hits over 18 innings, with 30 strikeouts and 17 walks. Opposing teams are hitting .188 off him this year.

The 25-year-old was taken in the 18th round of the 2011 Draft by the Indians and made his big league debut last season. He appeared in eight games for Cleveland, posting a 2.25 ERA.

"[He's been] somewhat inconsistent," Francona said. "Some good, some times [he] lost the strike zone a bit. In a situation like this, I think they played 14 innings last night and he didn't pitch. He's on the roster and we had him before. There were a number of reasons it made sense, but there have been inconsistencies there."

To make room for Armstong, the Indians optioned left-hander Ryan Merritt to Triple-A Columbus. In his Major League debut on Monday night, he spun 4 1/3 scoreless innings in a 9-2 loss to the Rangers.

"We really wanted to get Merritt into the game," Francona said. "I don't think we wanted to have a blowout game just so we could accomplish that. Since it was happening, it worked out really well for him. On one hand, he pitched, got lengthened out a bit and he pitched pretty well ..."

"Now we get him back to Triple-A and get him back on a routine starting, which is good for him. And he knew that."

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.