McAllister returns from DL as bullpen shuffles

Indians search for reinforcements; Manship placed on disabled list

McAllister returns from DL as bullpen shuffles

CLEVELAND -- The pitchers in the Indians' bullpen know that the team's front office has been working hard behind the scenes, searching for reinforcements for the relief corps. The group currently in Cleveland has been plagued with inconsistency and injury, and that continued on Friday.

Prior to the Tribe's game against the A's, the Indians activated right-hander Zach McAllister from the disabled list, but they placed righty Jeff Manship on the 15-day DL due to right wrist inflammation. It was the latest turn in the revolving bullpen door this season for Cleveland.

"That's just part of a bullpen," McAllister said of the issues that have hit the 'pen this year. "It's not every year that you're able to go out there and have every single guy down there having really good years. ... That's just part of it. But, everyone down there is confident in their abilities and what we can do. And we all have faith in each other."

Maybe so, but the Indians' decision-makers are doing what they can to find help.

Cleveland was in on closer Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees dealt the hard-throwing lefty to the Cubs for a four-player package. The Indians have also had talks with New York about setup man Andrew Miller, and they have looked into arms such as Rockies lefty Boone Logan and Brewers lefty Will Smith.

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On Friday, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported that Cleveland, along with San Francisco and Washington, have also inquired about Pirates closer Mark Melancon. Melancon, 31, carried a 1.51 ERA into Friday's action, and he is under contract for $9.6 million with free agency looming this winter. Pittsburgh is reportedly not just asking for prospect value, but for a Major League-ready reliever, too.

Last week, Indians closer Cody Allen said he was willing to move out of the ninth-inning role if it made it easier for Cleveland to acquire a late-inning impact arm. As it happens, Allen mentioned not only Chapman, but Melancon.

"If we have an opportunity to go get an Aroldis Chapman or a Mark Melancon," Allen said, "or somebody at the back end, then the rest of us will slide back. We'll do what we've got to do to kind of give our bullpen some length, because that makes us a better team."

Indians manager Terry Francona said Manship, whose ERA has climbed to 3.38 from 2.02 in his past five appearances, has been dealing with the wrist issue for some time. When healthy, Manship and McAllister have served as the Tribe's main bridges to setup man Bryan Shaw and Allen.

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"When he tries to get extension, he just can't quite get where he wants to," Francona said of Manship. "We haven't pitched him for three days. So, if we DL him, 12 days from now he's got a chance to come back and be the Manship that's getting the righties out, things like that."

McAllister has a 5.40 ERA in 30 appearances for Cleveland this season, though the bulk of the damage allowed by the righty came in the outings shortly before the DL stint. After opening the year with a 1.93 ERA through 17 games, McAllister posted a 9.24 ERA in the 13 games prior to being shelved with a right hip issue. The righty's velocity also dropped to 94.7 mph in July, following a 95.6 mph average in June and 96.1 mph average in May.

McAllister struck out three and walked none in four Minor League rehab innings between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.

"It's getting back into really being able to throw strikes consistently," McAllister said. "I thought I was able to do that, and with power [in the rehab outings]. I was able to find some little things delivery-wise. I think that'll definitely help me as well. I feel good and strong right now. I feel like the ball has good power and life to it."

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.