CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona has raved about Shane Bieber's poise and composure on the mound, and the rookie right-hander will have a chance to keep impressing his club in the second half.In the meantime, Francisco Mejia -- the Tribe's top prospect and the No. 15 prospect in the
CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona has raved about Shane Bieber's poise and composure on the mound, and the rookie right-hander will have a chance to keep impressing his club in the second half.
In the meantime, Francisco Mejia -- the Tribe's top prospect and the No. 15 prospect in the game, according to MLB Pipeline -- is coming back to the Major Leagues.
Prior to Saturday's game against the Yankees, the Indians optioned Bieber to Triple-A Columbus and recalled Mejia from the same affiliate. The switch-hitting Mejia, the top-ranked catching prospect in baseball, batted sixth and served as the Tribe's designated hitter for Saturday's game against New York. Francona said the plan is to option Mejia back to Triple-A after Sunday, so he can keep playing with the Clippers, who are currently on their All-Star break.
"Tomorrow, maybe he pinch-hits or something, we'll see," Francona said Saturday. "Then we'll send him back. He knows that. We don't want him sitting over break and we just thought we could expand our roster a little bit."
Mejia has also been receiving playing time in the outfield. In 11 games with the Indians last year, he hit .154 with one RBI and one run scored. In Triple-A this season, he's played in 40 games as a catcher, 29 as an outfielder and 11 as a DH. Mejia, 22, is slashing .279/.329/.428 through 326 plate appearances with the Clippers. In June, Mejia hit .455 with a 1.193 OPS, four homers, 23 RBIs and 14 strikeouts.
During Mejia's brief stint with the Tribe last season, he said he learned a lot from hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo and assistant Victor Rodriguez. When slumping earlier this year, he resorted to what he learned in Cleveland.
"I took that advice they were giving me and translated it over there and started to work on the stuff I needed to improve." Mejia said via a translator. "Then it came into place."
Given Mejia's progression lately, Francona said it's a great reminder for the prospect that the big leagues may soon be on the horizon.
"They're only like a phone call away," Francona said. "One day you can be in Columbus or wherever, the next day you're in Chicago. I think that sometimes can serve to give them some hope, especially when you're struggling like that. Like 'Hey, I'm actually pretty well thought of.' Yeah, I think it can be good for guys."
Bieber (5-1) went seven-plus innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts in Friday's 6-5 win over the Yankees. Due to the timing of the All-Star break, the move to send Bieber down will allow the right-hander to keep his routine in preparation for returning to Cleveland's rotation. His next start projects to be July 24 against the Pirates.
"Bieber has known for quite a while, so he could plan also," Francona said.
Francona also said starter Carlos Carrasco will be available out of the bullpen Saturday and possibly Sunday, depending on how he's used. The right-hander threw five innings against the Reds on Wednesday, allowing one run on five hits. Francona also said the order of the pitching rotation after the All-Star break is still to be determined and depends on whether Trevor Bauer will throw during the Midsummer Classic.
Should Bauer -- who's scheduled to pitch Sunday -- decide to throw on Tuesday, it gives Francona the option to go with another starter. One possibility is Corey Kluber, who received a gel injection in his knee Friday following his start Thursday, when he gave up six runs on eight hits across 7 1/3 innings against the Yankees.
"That's part of why Kluber wasn't DL'd," Francona said. "Just to keep our options open."
Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.