Moves give club nine relievers; McAllister likely to return to rotation Thursday
CLEVELAND -- T.J. House pitched well in place of Zach McAllister, but performance is not why he lost his spot in the rotation. The left-handed rookie was simply a victim of numbers.
The Indians optioned House, 24, to Triple-A Columbus on Monday and called up righty relief pitcher Mark Lowe to take his place on the roster. The move adds a ninth man to the team's bullpen, which was in need of bolstering after the group combined to pitch 15 2/3 innings over the last three games, and allows McAllister to rejoin the rotation and start Thursday's game against the Angels.
"With the extra innings [Sunday], we didn't feel like it was safe to not do something to our bullpen tonight," Tribe manager Terry Francona said. "We certainly tried to explain to T.J. that this was not an indictment on his pitching. Rather, we felt that he's doing an outstanding job. But these things happen. We have to protect our bullpen, so that was the move."
House posted a 4.88 ERA in six appearances dating to May 17, recording 17 strikeouts to eight walks over 27 2/3 innings. He pitched well to contact but also struggled with the occasional mistake pitch, allowing four home runs across his five starts with the Tribe.
"What stood out was his poise, because he's going to be a contact pitcher for the most part. When there was starting to be traffic on the bases, he could get the ground-ball double play by design," Francona said. "There were a lot of positives to take from what he did."
House made both his Major League debut and first career start this season.
McAllister, sent to the disabled list with a sore back on May 16, made his second rehab start with Columbus and third overall on Saturday. He worked four scoreless innings, scattered five hits and registered two strikeouts.
"I felt good. I was happy with it," McAllister said on Monday. "[I threw] 65 pitches, was able to throw about 70 percent strikes."
The time away from Cleveland was perhaps well-timed for McAllister, who stumbled through his first 10 starts to the tune of a 5.89 ERA and 3.61 walks per nine innings.
"It's always tough when guys get sent down, especially when they're throwing well. But it's part of the business, and I'll be ready whenever they tell me to [be]," McAllister said.
This will be the 31-year-old Lowe's second stint with the Tribe this season. He turned in a 2.08 ERA in four Major League appearances between May 22 and June 1 and spent the remainder in Triple-A, recording nine saves in 10 chances with a 3.48 ERA, 30 strikeouts and eight walks.
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com.