DETROIT -- September has arrived, and the Indians are taking full advantage of the expanded roster -- which allows clubs to keep up to 40 active players -- by making a flurry of moves that pushed the roster to 34 members.Among the additions is the highly anticipated arrival of Cleveland's
DETROIT -- September has arrived, and the Indians are taking full advantage of the expanded roster -- which allows clubs to keep up to 40 active players -- by making a flurry of moves that pushed the roster to 34 members.
Among the additions is the highly anticipated arrival of Cleveland's top prospect (No. 16 in MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 List), catcher Francisco Mejia, who was called up from Double-A Akron.
The Indians also selected the contracts of outfielder Greg Allen (No. 8 prospect) from Akron and left-handed pitcher Shawn Morimando (No. 17) from Triple-A Columbus. Right-handed pitcher Adam Plutko and lefty Kyle Crockett were recalled from Columbus for further depth.
Cleveland has also taken advantage of the expanded roster by activating pitcher Josh Tomlin and outfielders Lonnie Chisenhall and Abraham Almonte from the 10-day disabled list, while pitcher Dan Otero was activated from the paternity list.
Manager Terry Francona said it's nice to have the luxury of the expanded September rosters, and he expects more callups after the Triple-A season finishes on Monday.
"We try to balance," Francona said. "You never want to get caught short, especially in your bullpen."
Mejia, 21, said he is excited and grateful for the opportunity to play in the big leagues, and he is ready to learn from Major League players, much like he did in Spring Training.
"That really helped dramatically," Mejia said through an interpreter. "I went to Spring Training like a sponge, ready to gather a lot of information and learn from guys who have played in the big leagues."
Francona said to expect Mejia and Allen to get some playing time, but this month in the Majors will be more of a learning period for them. They both made their Major League debuts during pinch appearances in Game 2 of Friday's day-night doubleheader against the Tigers, a 10-0 Indians win. Mejia flied out in the eighth, and Allen, after pinch-running for Chisenhall in the sixth, grounded out in the eighth.
Mejia was batting .297 with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs in 92 games with Akron this season. He was named to the Eastern League midseason and postseason All-Star teams.
The speedy 24-year-old Allen hit .264 with two home runs, 24 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 23 attempts for Akron. Francona said the club thinks highly of him as a fielder and a baserunner, and his time up in September could be valuable for his future.
Morimando went 10-9 with a 4.41 ERA in 26 starts for Columbus in 2017 while leading the International League in innings pitched (159 1/3), complete games (four) and shutouts (three).
Crockett was a fairly regular piece for the Indians from 2014-16, making 103 appearances in that span with a 3.25 ERA. He was up for a three games earlier this season, while Plutko made two appearances last year.
Tomlin is coming off a rehab assignment at Class A Short-Season Mahoning Valley, and he is slated to start Sunday's series finale in Detroit.
Kyle Beery** is a contributor for MLB.com based in Detroit who covered the Indians on Friday.