CLEVELAND — Reliever Vinnie Pestano is back in the fold after what seemed like an eternity to the Indians’ right-hander.
“It was the longest 10 days of my career,” said Pestano of his stint on the disabled list with right elbow tendinitis. “It was brutal watching these guys on TV. You kind of almost feel forgotten a little bit when you’re not part of the team. When you’re not contributing to the team, you don’t feel like you’re doing much for the team, so it will be nice to go back out there and get outs for us.”
And that’s what he did in Friday’s series opener against Seattle, coming on in the 10th to walk one and strike out one before retiring the side. Jason Kipnis’ walk-off homer in the bottom of the inning gave the Indians the 6-3 win and Pestano his first victory of the season.
Pestano, who holds a 2.00 ERA in nine appearances, was activated prior to the game, assuming the roster spot of reliever Nick Hagadone, who was optioned back to Triple-A Columbus on Thursday.
Except for a one-inning minor league rehab appearance for Class A Lake County on Wednesday, Pestano had not pitched since April 28.
“I’m symptom-free,” Pestano said. “The discomfort I had before, stopped. That was the goal in going on the DL, so now that I’m off, it’s better.”
Manager Terry Francona said Pestano would immediately return to his role as eighth-inning setup man.
“If there’s any rust, we’ll let him shake it off,” Francona said prior to Friday’s game. “He’s been doing this long enough. We’ll just throw him right back in there.”
Francona shook off questions concerning Mark Reynolds and an apparent injury.
Reynolds reportedly hyperextended his elbow during a swing Wednesday against the Phillies, but stayed in the game and even doubled on the next pitch.
“Once it went away it was fine,” Francona said. “I think the day off (Thursday) was good for everybody, but he would have been fine either way.”
Reynolds was in the lineup Friday, entering the night tied for the American League lead with 11 home runs and third with 34 RBIs.
Right-hander Brett Myers (right elbow tendinitis) began a rehab assignment with Double-A Akron on Friday, tossing three scoreless innings and allowing a hit with one walk.
Myers is expected to make at least one more rehab appearance before rejoining the rotation.
“I guess it depends on how he’s feeling and a lot of things,” Francona said. “But the main thing will be how he’s doing. When you sit a guy down, the object when he comes back is for him to feel good, not to rush back and get back where you were before. I think he’s kind of chomping at the bit, which means he feels good healthwise, which is good.”
Myers (0-3, 8.02 ERA) tweeted this after his rehab outing Friday, “No issues tonight elbow felt good! Hopefully another rehab start to make sure I’m sharp. Excited to get back!”
Ahead of his time
Francona heaped much praise on assistant Mickey Callaway, who is in his first year as a major league pitching coach.
“He reminds me of a veteran, good major league pitching coach,” Francona said. “I’m thrilled with what he’s done, with what he’s doing and what he will continue to do.”
Francona was unfamiliar with Callaway, who has been with the Indians’ organization since 2010, when he made his coaching debut for Lake County. But the manager said Callaway won him over during the interview process.
Cleveland’s rotation ranked ninth in the AL with a 4.44 ERA in 39 games through Thursday, but had posted a 12-4 record and 3.17 ERA over its last 18 games. The bullpen ranked third in the AL with a 3.03 ERA through Thursday.
Right-hander Danny Salazar was scratched from his second start since being promoted to Columbus with right shoulder soreness. Salazar, a non-drafted
free-agent acquisition in 2006, entered Friday leading all Cleveland minor leaguers with 56 strikeouts over 38 2⁄3 innings for Columbus and Akron. He is 2-3 with a
2.33 ERA in eight starts (seven for the Aeros).
The Indians are 7-3-4 in 14 series played this season.
** Cleveland’s .278 average with runners in scoring position ranked fifth in the AL through Thursday. The Indians’ .309 average with RISP and two outs ranked second in the majors behind St. Louis (.331).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.