OAKLAND -- Adam Plutko packed up his locker, exchanged a few handshakes, hoisted his Indians equipment bag over his shoulder and headed out of the visitors' locker room at the Coliseum on Sunday morning. The pitcher was heading back to Triple-A Columbus, bringing some clarity to Cleveland's rotation situation.With Carlos
OAKLAND -- Adam Plutko packed up his locker, exchanged a few handshakes, hoisted his Indians equipment bag over his shoulder and headed out of the visitors' locker room at the Coliseum on Sunday morning. The pitcher was heading back to Triple-A Columbus, bringing some clarity to Cleveland's rotation situation.
With Carlos Carrasco scheduled to be activated from the 10-day disabled list on Friday for a start against the A's in Cleveland, Plutko will return to the Minors and await another call. In the meantime, fellow rookie right-hander Shane Bieber will remain in the fifth spot in the Indians' rotation following a string of impressive outings.
"We've actually been impressed with both the kids," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Plutko's done a pretty good job here. Bieber's done an outstanding job. But we told Adam he wasn't being demoted because of how he pitched. ... It's just, we've got Carrasco coming back."
After optioning Plutko to Triple-A Columbus, the Indians then selected the contract of lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski from the same affiliate. In order to vacate a spot on the 40-man roster for Rzepczynski, Cleveland released Minor League lefty Shawn Morimando.
The move comes one day after Plutko worked 5 2/3 innings in the Indians' 7-2 loss in Oakland. Plutko (4-2, 4.66 ERA in six starts) and Bieber (3-0, 2.22 ERA in four starts) have held down the back end of the starting staff, while Carrasco has rehabbed a right elbow contusion. On Saturday night, Carrasco worked four shutout innings in a Minor League rehab assignment with Double-A Akron, ending with four strikeouts, one walk and hitting 97 mph, per Francona.
"He was good," Francona said. "He texted me this morning and said he's ready to go. So, that's good. So, what we did is we optioned Plutko and we got Zep here. So, we'll have to make a move when Carrasco pitches, but for [at least four games] we have an extra bullpen arm and getting the lefty here should help."
The Indians signed the 32-year-old Rzepczynski to a Minor League contract on June 18, following his release by the Mariners. The lefty posted a 9.39 ERA in 7 2/3 innings for Seattle this season, but held left-handed batters to a .222 average (.656 OPS) within that showing.
Rzepczynski posted a 2.70 ERA in 145 games for the Indians in parts of the 2013-15 seasons, and gives the Tribe a second lefty along with Oliver Perez, while Andrew Miller (right knee) and Tyler Olson (left lat strain) remain on the 10-day DL.
"Obviously, they know who I am here," Rzepczynski said. "Most of my success has been here, for the most part. It's a familiar clubhouse. That's one of the reasons why I signed back here. I know all the guys. I loved playing for Tito when I was here. And, at the same time, I know I've got a chance to pitch."
• One day after it was announced that righty Danny Salazar (60-day DL) would undergo exploratory surgery on his throwing shoulder on Monday, Francona said there were no details to add at the moment. Said the manager: "Let's just see what comes of it. We'll have time to talk about it more and see what the prognosis is and all those types of things."
• Olson worked through another bullpen session at the Coliseum on Sunday, following a 25-pitch mound working on Friday. Francona said the Indians have yet to determine whether the next step will be a simulated game or sending the lefty out on a Minor League rehab assignment.
• Miller continues to work through a flat-ground throwing program back in Cleveland, while focusing on strengthening his knee. Francona noted that the lefty reliever might be cleared to resume throwing off a mound during the team's upcoming homestand.
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