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Tribe Notes

Indians notes: Zach Plesac gets next shot at a spot in Tribe's rotation

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    The Tampa Bay Rays' Daniel Robertson scores past Cleveland Indians catcher Kevin Plawecki on a single by Tommy Pham during the third inning Sunday in Cleveland. The Rays won 6-3.



CLEVELAND — Right-hander Zach Plesac will get the next opportunity to fill a spot in the Indians’ injury-depleted rotation.

Plesac, a 12th-round draft pick in 2016, is scheduled to make his major league debut Tuesday at Fenway Park in the second game of a three-game series against the Red Sox.

Plesac, 24, is having a big year in the minors, earning a promotion to Triple-A Columbus after going 1-1 with a 0.96 ERA in six starts for Double-A Akron. He is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts for the Clippers, striking out 22 batters over 20 innings.

Plesac is the nephew of former pitcher Dan Plesac, a three-time All-Star closer who recorded 158 saves over an 18-year major league career.

The Indians have tried three pitchers to fill starting spots in place of injured right-handers Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger.

Right-hander Jefry Rodriguez has been the only one able to hold onto one, with righties Cody Anderson (0-1, 9.35 ERA) and Adam Plutko (1-1, 6.35) failing and being demoted to the minors.

About time

Left-hander Josh Smith made his big league debut Saturday, seven years after beginning his professional career as a 26th-round draft pick of the Brewers.

Smith said he wasn’t nervous prior to replacing Carlos Carrasco in the seventh inning of a 6-2 loss to the Rays.

“To be honest with you, with the rain delay, it all kind of went away,” said Smith of the two-hour and 48-minute wait before the first pitch. “Once I got out to the bullpen and got through my routine, I felt settled in.”

Smith, 29, spent the first six seasons of his minor league career as a reliever, but made 14 starts in 28 appearances for Triple-A Pawtucket last year. He said pitching in a starting role has been beneficial.

“I think repeating my delivery over and over, having to do that and execute pitches, it helped me a lot,” Smith said. “One, to throw strikes. I think early on in my career, I was only a reliever and I walked way too many guys. So I learned how to pitch and get guys out in the strike zone.”

Next up

The Indians are on the road for the next six games, beginning a three-game series against Boston today at 4:05 p.m.

Rodriguez (1-4, 4.08 ERA) opens the set for Cleveland, opposing right-hander Rick Porcello (3-4, 4.45).

Plesac will make his debut Tuesday (7:10 p.m.) but the Red Sox have yet to name a starter.

Shane Bieber (3-2, 3.11) goes for the Indians in the series finale Wednesday (6:10 p.m.), opposing lefty Chris Sale (1-6, 4.19).

Minor detail

Daniel Johnson went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs in his debut with Columbus in a 15-9 win over Indianapolis.

Johnson was promoted Saturday after batting .263 with 10 homers, 33 RBIs and an .872 OPS in 39 games for Akron.

Roundin’ third

  • Indians hitters entered Sunday batting .153 when behind in the count and .129 with two strikes, both lowest in the American League.
  • Carlos Santana ranked third in the majors in average exit velocity (93.8 mph) through Saturday. He entered Sunday reaching base in each of his last 11 games.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at (440) 329-7136 or Like him on Facebook and follow him @CAwesomeheimer on Twitter.

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