Indians' rainout opens chance for Murata
Indians manager Terry Francona hopes that all of the Minor Leaguers in Cleveland's system pay attention to the transaction that will come on Sunday. When the Indians officially promote right-hander Toru Murata from Triple-A Columbus, it will show that every player has a chance.
Murata has a lot of hard work, and a rainstorm in Baltimore, to thank for his first shot at the Majors.
"I think it sends a great message," Francona told reporters on Saturday, "to every, not just pitcher, but every player in our organization that, 'You can get there.' I'm kind of excited about that."
With Saturday's game against the Orioles washed away by a storm in the Charm City, the Indians and O's will play a day-night doubleheader on Sunday, with first-pitch times scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET and 7:05. Right-hander Trevor Bauer will start the first game for the Tribe against Ubaldo Jimenez, and Murata will be promoted from Triple-A to start the nightcap for Cleveland vs. Chris Tillman.
It will mark the Major League debut for the 30-year-old Murata, who will serve as the Indians' 26th man on Sunday before returning to Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland will need to add the right-hander to the 40-man roster, which currently consists of 39 players.
The Indians have pushed righty Cody Anderson's scheduled start to Monday against Tampa Bay.
"To be honest with you, 18 innings against these guys," Francona explained, "with a combined one Major League start [between Anderson and Murata], that just seems like asking a bit much. And the one thing Trevor's really good at is logging innings. After we talked about it, nobody has a crystal ball, but I think it made some sense [to move Anderson to Monday]."
Francona said he was looking forward to watching Murata pitch at Camden Yards.
"This is a really good story," Francona said. "He has been kind of, throughout the organization, been an organizational pitcher. He's an awesome kid. He just all of a sudden this year decided that he's like dealing."
Murata -- a native of Osaka, Japan -- has spun a 2.79 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 24 walks in 80 2/3 innings at Triple-A, where he has appeared in 14 games (13 starts) this year. Francona noted that Triple-A manager Chris Tremie has been singing Murata's praises for several weeks, helping convince the Tribe to give the Minor League veteran a chance.
The Indians signed Murata as a free agent in December 2010 after he pitched with the Yomiuri Junior Giants in the Eastern League -- Japan's secondary level. Since 2011, the right-hander has compiled a 27-23 record with a 3.88 ERA in 118 professional games, including 76 starts. Murata has spent parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level.
"I think this is something that every young kid in our organization should look at and think, 'OK,'" Francona said. "Because this kid wasn't necessarily on the radar, but he's pitched so darn good that he deserved to be, and he's going to get a start for us. Good for him. I know we're looking forward to it."