Tribe to add Plutko to bolster pitching depth

Tribe to add Plutko to bolster pitching depth

CLEVELAND -- Corey Kluber smiled when he saw the pair of nameplates that were placed above one locker inside Cleveland's crowded clubhouse. The Indians' ace remembers what it was like to share a stall with another player after being called up to the big leagues in September.

Kluber and former Indians outfielder Jerad Head occupied the same locker late during the 2011 season in the same clubhouse. This time around, Minor Leaguer Adam Plutko is being summoned to the Majors, where he will divvy up one cubby with fellow rookie pitcher Perci Garner.

"It wasn't too bad," Kluber said with a grin. "You can make it work. It's better than not being here."

The Indians have not officially purchased the contract of Plutko from Triple-A Columbus, though the right-hander was scheduled to land in Cleveland on Sunday afternoon. The pitcher was not expected to be available for the finale of the three-game series with Detroit, but he will offer the Indians some insurance in the wake of the injuries to Danny Salazar (right forearm) and Carlos Carrasco (right hand).

Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations, said the team was still working through the corresponding transaction that will allow for Plutko to be added to the 40-man roster.

Plutko, 24, is currently rated as the Tribe's 14th-best prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. In 161 2/3 innings between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus this year, the right-hander went 9-8 with a 3.73 ERA and 130 strikeouts against 46 walks. Plutko went 6-5 with a 4.10 ERA in 15 starts for Columbus.

As things currently stand, Cleveland's rotation now consists of Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger. The fifth spot will be come up on Saturday and again on Sept. 29, and the Indians plan on using the bullpen-day approach for at least the first of those two games. Righty Cody Anderson will start against the White Sox on Saturday, but will not pitch deep into the contest.

Plutko can potentially provide multi-inning insurance for a Tribe bullpen that has 14 arms at the moment. After Carrasco was injured on Saturday night, eight relievers were pressed into duty, logging 10 shutout innings to set the stage for a 1-0, 10-inning win over Detroit.

Plutko last pitched on Sept. 7 in Columbus' first-round playoff game against Gwinnett.

"There's a chance he hasn't really done anything," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "If he's been throwing a little bit, we might have a [simulated game on Monday]. If not, we'll just let him come in and play catch and start to let him get [prepared]."

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.