Notes: Sandlin called up; Hentges to rotation

May 1st, 2021

There’s a renewed excitement surrounding the Cleveland bullpen. , Cleveland's No. 30 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and his unique sidearm delivery will help bolster an already dominant bullpen after earning his Major League callup a couple of days ago.

Following the Indians' 10-2 loss to the Twins on Wednesday, starting pitcher Logan Allen was optioned immediately after the game to the team’s alternate training site, making way for Sandlin to earn a callup

"[He had] really good stuff. We've all seen where his delivery comes from, but I think we feel like he's not just going to have to be used against right-handers,” manager Terry Francona said. “There's been enough left-hand hitters that have faced him that are uncomfortable that we think this kid's got a chance to be pretty special.”

Sandlin, 24, was quick to stand out among Cleveland farmhands after he was selected in the second round of the 2018 MLB Draft. During his first season in the Minors, he pitched his way through four levels up to Double-A Akron. 2019 looked just as promising as he was on the fast track to the Majors, but was sidelined in the summer with right forearm discomfort that later required surgery.

After pushing through the rehab process and working out of the Indians alternate site in 2020, Sandlin reflected on his journey to finally reaching this point in his career.

"It's a little different path than it looked like at first. The last couple of years slowed down but kind of thought about it a little bit over the last couple of days,” Sandlin said. “With yesterday being the off-day, it wasn't like a complete rush up here and get to the game and everything, so I've had some time to think about stuff, but I'm just excited. I've been ready for the opportunity and just ready to get going.”

Sandlin appeared in six Cactus League games for Cleveland this season. He sported a 0.00 ERA in five innings and allowed only two hits. His overwhelming sidearm delivery has proven to be effective, and his young age only adds to the excitement for the future of a bullpen that currently has the fourth-best ERA in MLB (2.71).

"I actually called the whole group in today because it starts to get pretty exciting,” Francona said. “I mean besides [Nick] Wittgren and [Byran] Shaw, who are two really good veterans, we are really young out there, but there's some arms that can do some things. There's going to be a hiccup, it wouldn't be fair not to, but I'm going to enjoy watching this bullpen get better.”

Hentges named to the rotation
Left-hander will slide into Cleveland's rotation moving forward after he appeared in three games out of the bullpen with a 4.76 ERA.

The rookie made his Major League debut this season against the White Sox on April 20 . He pitched one inning and struck out three of the four batters he faced. The only run he gave up was a homer to José Abreu in the seventh inning.

The rotation spot left by Allen came down to Hentges and Cal Quantrill, but the spot ultimately went to Hentges with Quantrill remaining as a reliever to stay stretched out. This season, Hentges has pitched 5 2/3 innings for Cleveland, recording six strikeouts with a 1.41 WHIP.

Niebla to fill in for Willis
Pitching coach Carl Willis will be absent from the team for two games against the White Sox to attend a funeral. Ruben Niebla will fill in for Willis in the dugout until his return on Sunday.