Struggling Tomlin to be skipped in rotation

Right-hander has 7.96 ERA over last 10 starts

Struggling Tomlin to be skipped in rotation

CLEVELAND -- The Indians stuck by Josh Tomlin throughout his August struggles, but the situation reached a breaking point on Tuesday night. Now, Cleveland plans on skipping the right-hander in the rotation, while weighing what steps to take next.

Prior to Wednesday's game against the Twins, Indians manager Terry Francona announced that the team would bypass Tomlin's next turn, which would come up Monday against the Astros. With an off-day on Thursday, Cleveland could bring Corey Kluber back on Monday, delaying the need for a fifth starter until Tuesday's tilt against Houston.

"We're going to put our heads together," Francona said. "How to get him back the best way, we need to figure that out. Is it bullpen sessions? Is it in the bullpen? We'll get to that."

Tomlin is 11-8 with a 4.89 ERA in 25 starts, but it has been a tale of two seasons for the right-hander. Tomlin opened the campaign by going 9-1 with a 3.21 ERA in 15 starts, but has since gone 2-7 with a 7.96 ERA in his past 10 outings. That includes an 0-5 record and 11.48 ERA in six starts (26 2/3 innings) in August.

In Tuesday's 5-4 win over the Twins, Tomlin exited after allowing four runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings, marking the fifth time in six starts that he lasted fewer than five frames. After the win, Tomlin said he would understand if Francona decided to remove him from the rotation.

"It's tough, because it's not just me, personally, what I'm going through," Tomlin said on Tuesday. "It's just what I'm doing to the team every fifth day right now. It's not giving them a chance to win. It's putting them in a hole early. They're having to fight back a lot of the times that I go out there and pitch these last couple outings.

"We're in a playoff hunt. We're trying to get to October and play deep into October. [Pitching like] that right now is not putting us in a good position to do that."

Tomlin, who has dealt with various arm issues throughout his career, has indicated that he feels healthy, and his velocity readings would seem to back up that claim. Both Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway have noted that Tomlin's stuff does not look drastically different from previous stretches, either. On Tuesday, the pitcher said the results have been "very confusing" for him.

Francona and Callaway met with Tomlin on Wednesday morning and informed the pitcher that he would be skipped at least once in the rotation. The manager added that the righty would not throw for a couple days to "kind of reset" before getting back to work. It is possible that rookie righty Mike Clevinger (currently in the bullpen) will assume Tomlin's spot on the staff.

"One thing I will say," Francona said, "[Tomlin's] tank doesn't look like it's on empty. I know he feels good , which is really good. I think he's gotten away from the way he pitches."

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.