Right-handed reliever Adam Cimber's submarine delivery has always invited questions as to whether he can have sustained success against left-handed hitters. The irony of 2020 is that Cimber was effective against southpaws in a limited number of opportunities (.445 OPS in 14 plate appearances), but right-handers torched him to the tune of a .367 average and a .567 slugging percentage.
On Wednesday, Cleveland optioned Cimber to the alternate training site in Lake County, Ohio, and selected the contract of left-hander Kyle Nelson. Jefry Rodriguez (right shoulder strain) was moved to the 45-day injured list to accommodate Nelson on the 40-man roster.
Cimber's demotion came after he allowed three runs on four hits in a combined two-thirds of an inning in the first two games of this week’s series with the Royals.
“I don’t see a lot of run on his sinker, which doesn’t separate his slider,” acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said. “The sinker normally goes east to west, he can open up hitters to wipe them out. But the fastball was not really sinking too much. He was too much around the plate, and they were making contact.”
The hope is that an adjustment to Cimber’s release point at the alternate training site can still allow him to positively impact the ‘pen before season’s end.
Nelson had a 2.28 ERA in 42 appearances across each of the three levels in the Minors last season. This is his first promotion to the bigs. His arrival gives the Tribe three lefties in the ‘pen, along with Oliver Pérez and closer Brad Hand. A 15th-round pick in the 2017 Draft, Nelson was a UC Santa Barbara teammate of Shane Bieber.
“We’ve been really good friends from the start,” Nelson said. “Obviously, he’s a year older than me. But when I met him, we became really good friends, and that relationship has continued on to pro ball. To be on the same team is awesome and then finally joining each other in the big leagues is cool.”
Ramírez returns to lineup
José Ramírez, who was pulled from Monday’s game with left thumb discomfort and was absent from Tuesday’s game, was back in the starting lineup in Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the Royals. He went 0-for-2 with a walk.
Though the switch-hitting Ramírez is not completely healed, the issue only bothers him when swinging from the left-hand side. So with Royals lefty Danny Duffy on the hill, Ramírez was able to bat right-handed.
Alomar said Ramírez does not have structural damage to the thumb, just swelling.
Tribe honors Clemente
Roberto Pérez’s playing time has been somewhat sporadic in September due to right shoulder fatigue. But he was in the lineup Wednesday, and that meant the Puerto Rico native had the opportunity and the honor to wear Roberto Clemente’s No. 21 on the field.
“I get chills talking about it,” Pérez said.
Though Wednesday was the 19th annual celebration of Roberto Clemente Day across MLB, it marked the first time that all Puerto Rican-born players, including Pérez and shortstop Francisco Lindor, were permitted to wear his number. Additional 2020 Roberto Clemente Award nominees (including Hand), past Clemente Award recipients (including Tribe starter Carlos Carrasco) and Puerto Rican-born coaches (including Alomar and Victor Rodriguez) were also permitted to wear No. 21.
“He was a hero back home,” Pérez said. “You go to Puerto Rico and everybody has a story about him. I only watched videos, but the way he carried himself and the way he played the game was fun to watch. He played with joy, man. I look at my teammate, Francisco Lindor, and he plays the game kinda like that. Always fun and smiling. I’m just proud of being Puerto Rican, and I would love to be like him.”
Alomar on Francona
Tribe manager Terry Francona, still recovering from surgeries and a blood clotting issue, was in attendance for the games against the Royals on Tuesday and Wednesday. But Alomar did not have an update on when or whether he will be able to rejoin the team in an official capacity.
“I heard he came in and was hanging around in a suite, but I didn’t have a chance to talk to him,” Alomar said. “Honestly, I can’t wait for him to get back, too. I know he’s getting better, feeling better, but I don’t know exactly how much better that is.”