CLEVELAND — Bobby Bradley has brought his big bat to the majors.
The Indians recalled Bradley on Sunday from Triple-A Columbus, where he was leading the International League in home runs and causing Cleveland fans to question why he wasn’t in a lineup needing power.
The Indians, who are chasing AL Central-leading Minnesota, have been contemplating the move with Bradley for some time. He started at first base and batted seventh Sunday against the Tigers.
Bradley said he was so excited about his promotion to the majors that he put his car on cruise control during the two-hour drive from Columbus to Cleveland on Saturday.
“I couldn’t keep my foot off the gas,” Bradley said. “I just wanted to get up here so fast.”
Bradley was taking ground balls before Columbus’ game against Lehigh Valley on Saturday when Clippers manager Tony Mansolino approached him.
“He informed me that I made the Futures Game, but the Indians didn’t want me to play for risk of injury,” Bradley said. “I’m like, ‘I’m assuming they don’t want me in El Paso either for the Triple-A All-Star Game for the same reason?’”
Bradley then found out Mansolino was having some fun with him.
“He said they don’t want you in either of those because you’re going to Cleveland,” Bradley said. “It took me a second to realize what he just said, but once it finally got through my head, excitement kicked in.”
A left-handed hitter, Bradley batted .292 with 24 homers and 55 RBIs for the Clippers. He has hit for power at every level in the minors — he had 27 homers last season between Double- and Triple-A — since being drafted by the Indians in 2014.
He douled and drove in a run in his first at-bat Sunday and later walked. He ended up 1-for-3 with an RBI, a run scored, a walk and a strikeout.
The strikeout wasn’t a big surprise. He struck out 91 times in 284 at-bats at Columbus and whiffed over 100 times in each of the last four seasons.
“This is a kid that drives the ball,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s not trying to hit a ball over the third baseman’s head. He’s trying to drive the ball in the gaps and hit home runs.”
To make room for Bradley, the Indians sent reliever Josh Smith back to Columbus.
The Indians don’t want to put too much pressure on Bradley, but hope his presence can fill a power void created by the offseason trades of Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso and Yan Gomes, as well as the decision not to re-sign Michael Brantley.
“He feels a little stronger, a little better at the plate right now,” Francona said. “He’s in a good place. He’s really excited. It’s fun because these guys, when they come over, now you’re getting to a point in your career, and I remind them of this, that, ‘Hey, you’re here to show us that you can help us win. You’re not just here for a pat on the back and couple at-bats.’ I think that makes it more exciting for them.”
- Youngsters Zach Plesac and Bobby Bradley make an impact, help Indians complete sweep of Tigers
- Indians notes: Fans finally get their wish, Bobby Bradley promoted from Triple-A Columbus
- Commentary: The Indians need to make big changes ... and the sooner the better
- Indians Commentary: Tribe already has what it takes to make another World Series run
- Indians Notes: Tribe signs 4 draft picks
- Bradley's coming, but will it be soon enough?