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Indians recall infield prospect Ramirez, option House

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians recalled infielder Jose Ramirez from Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday, a move that gave the team a bit more depth before their series finale against the Twins. Cleveland made room on the roster for the 21-year-old utilityman by optioning rookie southpaw T.J. House to Columbus.

Ramirez, originally signed by the Indians out of the Dominican Republic, was batting .302 with 22 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs in 60 games for Columbus. The switch-hitter, who is ranked as the Indians' seventh-best prospect, has seen action with Cleveland in each of the past two seasons, batting .162 (6-for-37) in his brief audition entering Wednesday.

Wednesday's move was made necessary by Asdrubal Cabrera's lower back spasms during Monday's game. Manager Terry Francona said Cabrera is making good progress and that the bullpen is not overworked, so the team could afford to add Ramirez for a few days.

"That's why we waited until Danny [Salazar] pitched last night," Francona said. "We hadn't really gone through much of our bullpen. We were OK there. Then we knew after the game we could assess our pitching, see how Cabby was doing, and Cabby improved enough where if we got Ramirez here, we really don't need a pitcher until Saturday."

Ramirez has played five positions -- second base (35 games), shortstop (21), center field (three), left field (one) and third base (one) -- for Columbus this season. He's seen most of his time at second base over the past four seasons. He had gone 2-for-25 in 11 games with the Indians this year prior to the callup.

"I haven't seen him a ton at short," Francona said. "They say he's been playing pretty well there. So I'm kind of looking forward to it."

House had gone 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 appearances for the Indians, and he pitched five innings in a 4-3 loss to the Twins on Monday. House, who was drafted in the 16th round by Cleveland in 2008, has made nine starts for the Tribe this season, and he's pitched to a 1-3 record and a 3.20 ERA for Columbus.

"T.J.'s actually done a pretty good job," Francona said. "We may have some revolving starters. That may happen. We told T.J. that. With [Justin Masterson] going back to throw another start, you don't ever know guys' injuries, things like that.

"T.J. could actually go down and not throw a good game, and if there's a need, we know what he can do. So it's not really something he did wrong. It wasn't an indictment on his pitching."

Alex M. Smith is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @asmiff.
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