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Tribe utilizes twin-bill rules to bolster roster

Merritt up for G1, optioned for Urshela; Clevinger starts G2
MLB.com @MLBastian

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians arrived in the Twin Cities with at least four players who were not on the team's active roster. It is possible that even more are hidden around Minneapolis, given Cleveland's maneuvering the past two days.

On Saturday, the Indians recalled both lefty Ryan Merritt and righty Mike Clevinger (26th man) from Triple-A Columbus for the team's doubleheader against the Twins. After a 9-3 win in Game 1, in which Merritt logged four innings, the left-hander was optioned back to Columbus.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians arrived in the Twin Cities with at least four players who were not on the team's active roster. It is possible that even more are hidden around Minneapolis, given Cleveland's maneuvering the past two days.

On Saturday, the Indians recalled both lefty Ryan Merritt and righty Mike Clevinger (26th man) from Triple-A Columbus for the team's doubleheader against the Twins. After a 9-3 win in Game 1, in which Merritt logged four innings, the left-hander was optioned back to Columbus.

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The Indians then recalled third baseman Giovanny Urshela from Triple-A to take Merritt's roster spot, giving the Tribe an extra body for the twin bill. Prior to Game 1, lefty reliever Kyle Crockett was optioned back to Triple-A, and that move came a day after right-hander Adam Plutko was called up from Columbus to give the staff some insurance.

"There are a lot of moving parts," Indians manager Terry Francona said.

Plutko took the roster spot of left fielder Michael Brantley, who was placed on Major League Baseball's paternity list to be with his wife for the birth of their son, Maxwell. Brantley is expected to rejoin the team on Monday in Baltimore ahead of the four-game set with the Orioles.

Triple-A reliever Shawn Armstrong is also in Minneapolis in case Cleveland needs to call up an extra arm.

The decision to have Clevinger be the 26th man stemmed from the fact that a player called up in that way is not subject to the rule that says optioned players must remain in the Minors for a minimum of 10 days. Clevinger will technically be sent back to Triple-A after his Game 2 start in Minnesota, but the Indians will be able to recall him to rejoin the rotation for his scheduled start on Thursday.

Video: OAK@CLE: Clevinger fans seven over 6 2/3 innings

"It allows us to maximize our roster," Francona explained. "That was the reasoning behind that."

Urshela, 25, spent 81 games with the Indians in 2015 but has been at Columbus for most of the past two seasons. Through 60 games this year, the third baseman has hit .272 with five homers, 28 RBIs and a .704 OPS.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Mike Clevinger, Kyle Crockett, Ryan Merritt, Giovanny Urshela