Miller nears return on next Tribe homestand

Indians add Drake to bullpen; Francona says Zimmer will be in lineup Wednesday

May 8th, 2018

MILWAUKEE -- Left-hander threw off the mound Tuesday afternoon at Miller Park and all went well. But he's going to need a few more days before he can return to Cleveland's bullpen.

"He looked really good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "When we get back home on Thursday, he'll get his strength measured, and as long as there's not much of a deficit, we'll get him going."

Cleveland's bullpen has struggled since losing Miller to the disabled list. The Tribe's relievers have posted a 10.06 ERA through the last 12 games entering Tuesday night's game against the Brewers, and not coincidentally, the Indians have gone 4-8 in those contests, with a number of late-inning losses.

"You go through ups and downs. That's part of the game," Francona said. "You just have to be patient when you don't want to be patient. The hard thing for me right now is figuring out how much rope to give guys, because when they're having a tough time, you don't want to just have a line moving out there, but we've been inconsistent this last week.

"We've got guys who have done it. They'll do it again."

To help out the relief corps, the team acquired right-hander from the Brewers after he was designated for assignment by Milwaukee on May 2.

Drake, who was added to the Indians' active roster Tuesday, posted a 6.39 ERA in 11 appearances for Milwaukee this season, but six of the nine earned runs he allowed this season came in a single outing on April 16 against the Reds. He followed that with three scoreless outings -- spanning 2 2/3 innings -- and gave up two runs on three hits in a 3-0 loss at Wrigley Field on April 28.

Francona said the team was encouraged by Drake's stuff. He's a fastball-splitter pitcher with a curveball in his arsenal, as well. He has held lefties to a .237 average over his career, while right-handers have hit him at a .288 clip.

"A lot of times, when you see good stuff and an inflated ERA, a new start [can help]," Francona said. "We'll get to know him as quick as we can."

The 31-year-old had been in Milwaukee since he was removed from the Brewers' roster and worked out Monday afternoon at Miller Park with Indians pitching coach Carl Willis.

"It was weird sitting in limbo the first couple days," Drake said. "But its unbelievably exciting to be joining a team like the Indians. The group they have in the 'pen is an impressive group. I'm looking forward to it."

Zimmer improving

Outfielder remained sidelined Tuesday, still sore after crashing into the wall chasing down 's double Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

"He's doing good," Francona said. "He'll be back in the lineup tomorrow."

Zimmer is batting .234 with two homers and nine RBIs in 31 games this season.

Upon further review

's batting average went up 10 points on Tuesday before he even took the field.

Major League Baseball reviewed Brantley's eighth-inning at-bat in Game 1 of a May 3 doubleheader against Toronto and credited him with an RBI double, reversing the original ruling of an error. Brantley's line for that game now includes four hits -- including three doubles -- both of which mark club highs in 2018.

The change also moves Brantley into eighth in the American League batting race.

Roster moves

• To make room for Drake on the roster, right-hander was optioned to Triple-A Columbus. Ogando made just one appearance for Cleveland, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks in a 7-6 loss to the Yankees on May 4.

• Matt Belisle elected to become a free agent on Tuesday. The 15-season veteran was designated for assignment on May 2 after posting a 5.06 ERA over eight appearances for Cleveland this season, striking out four with a walk over 10 2/3 innings.

• Left-hander Jeff Beliveau accepted an outright assignment and will report to Triple-A Columbus this week. Beliveau appeared in five games for Cleveland this season, posting a 10.80 ERA over 3 1/3 innings. He was designated for assignment on May 4.