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.
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.”
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).
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.
- 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.