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Indians recall Armstrong to bolster bullpen

Club fortified with 13 relievers, but evaluating fifth-starter opening
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- After using eight pitchers on Monday, the Indians reinforced their bullpen before Tuesday's tilt with the Astros.

Prior to the second of a four-game set at Progressive Field, Cleveland recalled right-hander Shawn Armstrong from Class A Lake County. The Tribe's relief corps consists of 13 pitchers if counting starters Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger, who are currently in the bullpen, with the fifth starter to be determined.

Full Game Coverage

CLEVELAND -- After using eight pitchers on Monday, the Indians reinforced their bullpen before Tuesday's tilt with the Astros.

Prior to the second of a four-game set at Progressive Field, Cleveland recalled right-hander Shawn Armstrong from Class A Lake County. The Tribe's relief corps consists of 13 pitchers if counting starters Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger, who are currently in the bullpen, with the fifth starter to be determined.

Full Game Coverage

Clevinger started Monday's 6-2 loss to Houston. However, he pitched just 1 2/3 innings in what ended up being a bullpen game. Tomlin pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

The need for a bullpen game was due to the fact that Tomlin's turn was skipped in the rotation. He struggled in August, posting an 0-5 record with an 11.48 ERA in six starts.

"Too many mistakes when guys are on base," Tomlin said. "When you put up crooked numbers in an inning, it hurts the team. It's just minimizing mistakes with guys on base is the only thing I've noticed that's gotten bad pre All-Star to post All-Star."

This will be Armstrong's fifth stint with the big league club. He has not allowed a run over his past 23 games, spanning three levels -- including 2 2/3 inning with the Indians.

During that run, Armstrong has allowed just nine hits with 34 strikeouts and eight walks over 24 2/3 innings. Opposing teams are hitting .110 off him over that stretch.

"It will be nice to see him get his legs under him here, like he has in Triple-A," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Because he has thrown the ball really well this year."

Worth noting

• The Indians are trying to figure out what to do with the fifth spot in the rotation. Francona said Tuesday afternoon that he still needs to talk it over with pitching coach Mickey Callaway and president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti before a decision is reached.

"We are going to circle back and talk about it a little bit more," Francona said. "We talked about it a bit last night. We are going to talk about it a bit more today, and then we will talk to the guys, so they know how to go about their week."

• Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes could be cleared to catch by the end of this week. Gomes, who has been sidelined since mid-July with a shoulder injury, has been getting at-bats as a designated hitter on his rehab assignment. He is slated to DH for Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday.

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cleveland Indians