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Francona texts Hinch to smooth over Bauer flap

Astros skipper: 'It was a great gesture and that's one of the reasons why Tito is one of the best'
MLB.com @alysonfooter

HOUSTON -- Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer's recent actions suggest he's trying to move past his social-media-based flap with the Astros. His manager also took his own actions recently in an effort to put any lingering controversies to rest, though through less public measures.

Tribe skipper Terry Francona revealed that he texted Astros manager AJ Hinch following Friday's game to apologize for any extra burden the squabble caused after Hinch had to take time to field questions about a controversial topic that began with a Bauer tweet.

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HOUSTON -- Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer's recent actions suggest he's trying to move past his social-media-based flap with the Astros. His manager also took his own actions recently in an effort to put any lingering controversies to rest, though through less public measures.

Tribe skipper Terry Francona revealed that he texted Astros manager AJ Hinch following Friday's game to apologize for any extra burden the squabble caused after Hinch had to take time to field questions about a controversial topic that began with a Bauer tweet.

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"I don't think that's fair to him," Francona said. "I just told him that I appreciated the way he handled it, and we'll try to move on."

The back-and-forth between Bauer and select Astros players began earlier this month when Bauer, on Twitter, mentioned the use of pine tar for grip purposes increases spin rate, and made thinly-veiled suggestive references to the increased spin rates of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton since joining the Astros.

Several Astros players responded to Bauer in a snarky manner on Twitter, but few spoke directly to reporters about it when approached. That left it up to Hinch to address the tiff, which he did with his typical aplomb, saying at the time that "people do need to sweep their own front porch and deal with their own situations, rather than accusations that are unfounded." Hinch added that his players "don't deserve to be thrown under the bus like that."

In the weeks since, Bauer has extended a proverbial olive branch, offering to make a donation to Lance McCullers Jr.'s charity, and jokingly adding a sign that said "Tyler" to his jersey on Friday, an acknowledgement of Astros third baseman Alex Bregman's purposeful misuse of his name on Twitter when the controversy first began.

Tweet from @BauerOutage: Donation 51/69 goes to The @LMcCullers43 Foundation. It aims to get pets out of sticky situations by promoting pet adoptions, raising awareness for shelters and programs, and continuing the journey to a no-kill world. Tell me about your charity. https://t.co/PSouuufsQ3 pic.twitter.com/WsKwmXZ58B

Francona winced slightly when asked about Bauer's jersey addition, and that's when he revealed he had texted Hinch.

"That's not what you really want to do as a manager, things like that," Francona said of Hinch having to address the situation. Francona also expressed to Hinch his respect for Verlander, a former American League Cy Young Award winner, Most Valuable Player and a veteran of 14 seasons.

"I've seen guys like that -- Verlander -- do it for so many years," Francona said. "I have so much respect for guys that can do that. I just wanted to make sure AJ knew that."

Hinch said he appreciated Francona reaching out.

"It was a great gesture and that's one of the reasons why Tito is one of the best," Hinch said. "I have a ton of respect for him for many reasons, that being one of them.

"He mentioned how much work he knows we put into this, and how we're all trying to get everybody better. He just wanted to be done with the whole topic, and close it."

Tomlin to the 'pen
The Indians' next turn through the rotation is set, with Josh Tomlin moving to the bullpen and right-hander Adam Plutko scheduled to be called up from Triple-A Columbus in time to start against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.

Bauer will start Tuesday, and Mike Clevinger, who threw 106 pitches in a losing effort against the Astros on Friday, will get an extra day of rest and start next Thursday when the Tribe opens a homestand with the Astros.

"We wanted to get through Clev's start last night," Francona said. "We'll give him an extra day."

Video: TOR@CLE: Plutko K's 6, gets the win in his 1st start

Plutko has made seven starts for Columbus, going 4-3 with a 2.25 ERA. He's allowed 11 earned runs over 44 innings with nine walks, 35 strikeouts and a 0.82 WHIP. The right-hander made his first and so far only Major League start in Game 2 of a doubleheader with the Blue Jays on May 3, holding Toronto to three runs on six hits over 7 1/3 innings in a winning effort.

The Tribe's ample off-days gave Francona the opportunity to shuffle things around a bit. Tomlin has made just two starts this month, pitching to a 5.84 ERA.

Chisenhall rehab
Outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall will take the next step toward a return to the Indians' active roster when he begins a rehab assignment with Columbus on Monday.

Chisenhall, who has been sidelined with a right calf strain since early April, is expected to play for three or four innings, or long enough for a "couple of at-bats," Francona said. From there, he'll play every other day for as long as is necessary to build up enough strength to rejoin the Indians.

How long the rehab assignment will last is undetermined for now.

"He's been down for quite a while," Francona said. "We're going to have to let him build up. Even if he was perfectly healthy, you just can't miss that amount of time. We'll have to build him back up."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Cleveland Indians, Trevor Bauer, Lonnie Chisenhall, Adam Plutko, Josh Tomlin