BOSTON -- Dan Wheeler received handshakes and well wishes as he headed for the exit to the visitors' clubhouse at Fenway Park on Sunday. The veteran reliever had just pitched his way off the Indians' roster and into an uncertain future.
In the aftermath of an ugly 12-1 rout at the hands of the Red Sox, the Indians designated Wheeler for assignment. Before he left the ballclub, Wheeler was asked if he was given a reason for the team's decision to part ways with him.
"Did I really need to hear one?" Wheeler said.
Wheeler allowed six runs on five hits in a forgettable seventh inning, which broke the game wide open for Boston. The Red Sox collected four extra-bases hits, including a two-run home run by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, in the right-hander's lone inning of work.
"He's not making pitches," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "You need to make pitches."
During the one-inning disaster against the Red Sox, Wheeler's season ERA rose to 8.76 from 4.76 for his 12 relief appearances. Since posting a 3.68 ERA in eight April outings, the 34-year-old Wheeler posted a 16.20 ERA in four appearances in May. On the year, Wheeler had seven walks compared to only two strikeouts.
The Indians now have 10 days to either trade or release Wheeler. If he clears waivers, the club could also re-assign him to a Minor League affiliate. Cleveland has not yet announced which pitcher will be promoted to assume Wheeler's spot in the bullpen. Four candidates at Triple-A Columbus include right-handers Jeremy Accardo, Hector Ambriz, Frank Herrmann and Chris Ray.
Accardo has a 2.26 ERA with 16 strikeouts and seven walks in 16 1/3 innings, Ambriz has posted a 3.26 ERA with 20 strikeouts and 13 walks in 19 1/3 innings, Herrmann has a 4.11 ERA with 17 strikeouts and four walks in 15 1/3 innings and Ray has a 2.20 ERA with 13 strikeouts and seven walks in 16 1/3 innings.