CLEVELAND – Maximizing the versatility of a roster can be handy when three games are scheduled in a span of 24 hours.
Manager Terry Francona exemplified this practice to perfection on Saturday afternoon.
The Tribe recalled Giovanny Urshela from Triple-A to take the spot of Ryan Merritt, just moments after he fired 4.1 innings of two-run ball in Game 1 of the twin bill, a convincing 9-3 victory that evened the race for first place vs. Minnesota.
With Mike Clevinger representing the 26th man on the roster and Merritt only serving a temporary role, the decision to add a bonus fielder in place of an exhausted pitcher made sense.
“It allows us to maximize our roster,” said manager Terry Francona to reporters. “There will be a few moving parts as we go.”
Urshela will bat ninth and play third base at the big league level for the first time since October 4, 2015. He spent the entirety of the 2016 campaign with Columbus, primarily serving as third base depth behind higher tiered players in the MLB like Jose Ramirez, Juan Uribe and Michael Martinez.
More known for his defensive prowess, the 25-year-old out of Colombia has batted .272/.329/.375 with nine doubles, five home runs and 28 RBIs in 60 games (232 at-bats) on the Clippers this season.
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.