Tribe likely to use nine-man 'pen for WC tilt
CLEVELAND -- Indians fans have probably become accustomed to the expanded roster the club employed throughout September. When the Tribe takes the field on Wednesday for the American League Wild Card Game, the roster will resemble more closely its appearance across the regular season's first five months, though it won't be entirely the same.
Cleveland has begun the process of cutting its roster to 25. On Monday, manager Terry Francona, whose Indians will host the Wild Card Game on Wednesday at 8:07 ET on TBS, announced that outfielder Jason Kubel, along with relievers Blake Wood and Preston Guilmet would not be on it. Because his team does not need a full rotation for one game, Francona said the Indians would likely employ a nine-man bullpen.
"We're just trying to get a little bit organized as we try to move forward," Francona said, "just recognizing that, being realistic, we play a game Wednesday and if we lose, we go home. And if we win, we go to Boston. So, as much as we talk about not putting the cart ahead of the horse, you do have to be organized. So, we're starting to do that."
The roster for the Wild Card Game will be set by Wednesday morning. If the Indians win and advance to the AL Division series, they can reset it for Friday, when a possible best-of-five set against the Red Sox -- owners of the AL's best regular-season record -- would begin at Fenway Park.
In addition to figuring out which players won't make the Wednesday roster, the Indians are concerned with the health of those players who figure to be on it. Center fielder Michael Bourn (leg), starting pitcher Zach McAllister (side) and designated hitter Jason Giambi (forearm) are all nursing injuries.
Francona believes McAllister and Giambi are fine and sounded optimistic about Bourn, who on Sunday felt discomfort down on the back of his leg while trying to steal second base.
"He is feeling pretty good," Francona said of Bourn, who recently returned from a mild wrist sprain. "He felt something and he pulled up. Then, he felt pretty good, but my thinking was, OK, wait a minute. If you felt something, we've got Drew Stubbs sitting there. Put him in the game. And he showed up today and he doesn't actually feel too bad."
The Indians scheduled workouts at Progressive Field for the two days between Sunday's regular-season finale and Wednesday's Wild Card Game. The workout on Monday was optional.
"I think we're fortunate that we get to come here and work out today instead of playing," Francona said on Monday, before the Rays and Rangers met for the opportunity to come to Cleveland. "Because we played so well down the stretch, we get to do that. We very easily could've been playing today, and would've been happy to do it. This way, we get a chance to maybe heal up a little bit, give some guys in the bullpen some much needed rest and hopefully that helps us win a game on Wednesday."