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Tribe eyeing Tuesday return for McAllister

MINNEAPOLIS -- Zach McAllister stood in front of his locker inside the visitors' clubhouse at Target Field and declared himself ready to return to the Indians' rotation. The team plans on waiting until after the pitcher's next bullpen session to make its final decision.

As far as McAllister is concerned, though, he answered any lingering doubts about his right middle finger injury during a six-inning Minor League rehab outing with Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. The big right-hander hopes his next start will be on Tuesday against the Mariners.

"I feel like I'm ready," McAllister said. "That's up to them to decide that, but from my standpoint, I feel like I'm ready. I have the confidence in my curveball, which to me was one of my biggest things. I feel like that's there now."

McAllister was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 8 with a sprained right middle finger, which caused the most discomfort when throwing his curve. That pitch was the last step of a gradual throwing program over the past month, and he threw it comfortably throughout his rehab start with Columbus on Thursday.

Over six shutout innings, McAllister scattered two hits and finished with two strikeouts and a pair of walks. The right-hander logged 69 pitches in the game and said he added 20 more off a mound in the bullpen. The next step is for McAllister to throw a bullpen session on Saturday at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Indians manager Terry Francona said there is a good chance that McAllister will indeed be activated from the DL to start on Tuesday in Seattle, if the bullpen session goes well.

"What we're going to do is let him throw his side," Francona said on Friday, "and then kind of make the final decision. We don't really have to do it today, and we'll see how he bounces back. We'll see how he throws his 'pen, but everything is leaning towards him pitching [on Tuesday].

"I think we're all in agreement that this is probably going to happen."

McAllister went 4-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 11 starts prior to his injury. After opening the season with a 4-3 record and a 2.89 ERA through nine starts, McAllister posted a 6.52 ERA and allowed 17 hits in 9 2/3 innings combined over his last two outings.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.
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