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Indians recall Allen to bolster ailing outfield

MLB.com @MLBastian

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians promoted center fielder Greg Allen on Monday to help shore up an outfield that is down three players to injury.

Allen spent the past couple of days with the Indians in Detroit, but due to other roster complications, he was not officially recalled from Triple-A Columbus until prior to Monday's game against the Twins. With Allen back from the Minors, Cleveland's outfield has been patched together for the time being.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians promoted center fielder Greg Allen on Monday to help shore up an outfield that is down three players to injury.

Allen spent the past couple of days with the Indians in Detroit, but due to other roster complications, he was not officially recalled from Triple-A Columbus until prior to Monday's game against the Twins. With Allen back from the Minors, Cleveland's outfield has been patched together for the time being.

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"A kid like Greg in center, he catches the ball really well," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "So, can he get better right in the middle of a pennant race? It's hard to do, but he's a real mature kid. And then, when you have a kid that's young and is getting better, it's kind of fun to watch. And we've done it before."

The speedy Allen takes the spot recently vacated by Tyler Naquin, whose return timetable is uncertain due to a stress reaction in his right hip. Besides Naquin, center fielder Bradley Zimmer (right shoulder) is done for the year and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall (right calf) could miss the rest of the season as well.

To clear room on the active roster, the Indians optioned right-hander Adam Plutko back to Columbus after a two-day stint to offer insurance innings for the pitching staff.

Cleveland, which acquired relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber on July 19 in exchange for highly touted catching prospect Francisco Mejia, is also weighing the recent uptick in production by its current group of outfielders. The only fixture is All-Star Michael Brantley, who carried a .302 average and an .825 OPS into Monday's series opener with the Twins.

At the moment, the Indians are using a platoon-type situation in both center (Allen and Rajai Davis) and right (Melky Cabrera and Brandon Guyer). Davis had three hits in Sunday's win in Detroit and has a .321 average in his past 60 plate appearances entering Monday. Guyer was batting .274 (.952 OPS) against lefties, while Cabrera has hit at a .407 clip (1.021 OPS) in eight games since returning from Triple-A.

The Indians are not going to draw sweeping conclusions based on small samples of success, but the recent showings by Guyer, Cabrera and Davis will surely be considered. The Indians could also consider moving second baseman Jason Kipnis to center -- a transition he made late last year under similar circumstances. Third baseman Jose Ramirez would likely slide to second in that scenario.

"It's not rotisserie baseball where you just have everything you want," Francona said. "Sometimes, it may not be perfect, but that doesn't mean you can't win."

Worth noting
• Relief ace Andrew Miller (60-day disabled list, right knee) is scheduled to make a Minor League rehab appearance at Triple-A on Monday. The next step in Miller's return remains to be detemined.

• Right-hander Josh Tomlin (10-day DL, right hamstring) is slated to throw a simulated game on Tuesday at Target Field.

• Righty Evan Marshall (10-day DL, right elbow) is penciled in to pitch a rehab game with the Rookie-level Arizona League Indians on Tuesday.

• Naquin is scheduled to meet with specialist Dr. Bryan Kelly on Thursday in New York to gather more information about his hip injury. The Indians will have more details on his status following that consultation.

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, Greg Allen