Morimando serves as bullpen reinforcement

July 2nd, 2016

TORONTO -- The Indians did not end up needing to kick down Shawn Morimando's apartment door. Maybe it would have come to that, if the clubhouse manager for Double-A Akron was not able to locate the pitcher's keys.

As Friday's 19-inning win was unfolding, Cleveland knew it needed to get Morimando to Toronto for Saturday's game against the Blue Jays. There was one major complication: Morimando was with Triple-A Columbus in Pawtucket, R.I., and his passport was back in Akron, Ohio. Somehow, Cleveland pulled it off and recalled Morimando prior to Saturday's tilt in Toronto.

"There was obviously some moving parts," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We were probably lucky."

After a whirlwind 24 hours, Morimando was standing in front of a freshly-filled locker inside the visitors' clubhouse at Rogers Centre.

An Indians intern drove from Cleveland to Akron on Friday night, where he met the RubberDucks' clubhouse manager, who found Morimando's keys in his locker and hunted down the passport at his apartment. The intern then got back in the car and drove back to Cleveland, where he met Morimando at an airport hotel following the pitcher's flight from Rhode Island. Finally, Morimando caught a 6:30 a.m. ET flight to Toronto on Saturday.

"It's been pretty crazy, I can't lie," Morimando said. "It's been awesome, though. It's a dream come true."

Morimando, 23, was technically recalled from Akron, where he has gone 10-3 with a 3.09 ERA in 16 starts this season. In order to add the lefty to the active roster, Cleveland designated utility man Michael Martinez for assignment. Morimando had just joined Columbus and was preparing to make his first start with the Clippers on Saturday.

Instead, Morimando made his Major League debut. The lefty entered Saturday's 9-6 loss in the third inning and gave Cleveland 3 2/3 innings. Morimando struck out four, including reigning American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson with a called third strike to end the fourth. The rookie's lone misstep came in the fifth, when Troy Tulowitzki belted a two-run home run for Toronto.

Even though Saturday was his normal day to start, the unique circumstances and hectic travel schedule led the Indians to name reliever Zach McAllister the starter for Saturday. Morimando was put in the bullpen to provide an arm capable of handling a heavy workload, following Friday's marathon that included nine pitchers.

"We didn't know when we could get Morimando here," Francona explained. "And I don't think any of us were comfortable rushing him from the airport and sending him out there."

Trevor Bauer, who was slated to start on Saturday, logged the last five innings of Friday's 2-1 win for the Indians. Cleveland did not allow Bauer to warm up for that appearance, however, until the team was confident it could get Morimando to Toronto. Around the 11th inning, assistant general manager Derek Falvey -- in Toronto with the team -- began the process of orchestrating the transaction, and tracking down Morimando's passport.

"There's a story there all by itself," Falvey said with a laugh.

In Pawtucket, Morimando was watching the Indians' game.

"We were all watching in the clubhouse," he said. "We were all just caught up in a normal day. And then we see it's in extra innings. And then you see Trevor Bauer warming up and you're like, 'Oh man, that's tomorrow's starter.' I had no idea [I'd be called up]."