CLEVELAND — Right-hander Jefry Rodriguez will get his second start for the Indians in the series finale against the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon.
The 25-year-old Rodriguez, who is filling in for the injured Mike Clevinger, allowed three runs on five hits while striking out three over 5 2/3 innings of a 3-0 loss to Central Division rival Kansas City in his season debut April 13 at Kauffman Stadium.
“He threw strikes, that was kinda the concern,” manager Terry Francona said of Rodriguez, who allowed eight runs on 10 hits and four walks in two previous starts (10 1/3 innings) for Triple-A Columbus. “He had been spotty, even in his Triple-A starts. But he really wasn’t afraid to attack the strike zone. I thought he did a really good job.”
Rodriguez was acquired this offseason along with outfielder Daniel Johnson and infielder Andruw Monasterio in a trade with Washington for catcher Yan Gomes. He went 3-3 with a 5.71 ERA in 14 games (eight starts) for the Nationals last year.
- Veteran designated hitter Hanley Ramirez cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent rather than accept a Triple-A assignment. Ramirez was designated for assignment Saturday to clear a roster spot for All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor.
Ramirez, 35, hit .184 (9-for-49) with two home runs and eight RBIs in 16 games.
- Infielder Brad Miller, who was designated for assignment April 15, signed a minor league contract with the Yankees. Miller hit .250 (9-for-36) with three doubles, a homer and four RBIs in 13 games.
Lindor was in the lineup at shortstop for the series opener against Miami, but is expected to serve as the DH in the series finale Wednesday at 1:10 p.m.
“I keep meeting with the medical people, just to keep an eye on things, but I think that probably makes sense to do that,” Francona said.
Lindor made his season debut Saturday in the second game of a doubleheader against Atlanta. He went 2-for-9 with a homer and RBI in his first three games, entering Tuesday needing one homer to reach 100 for his career.
It’s nearly a lock that Lindor will hit No. 100 before his 26th birthday on Nov. 14, which would make him the fifth-fastest to reach the milestone in franchise history behind Hal Trosky (23 years, 305 days) in 1936, Rocky Colavito (24 years, 259 days) in 1959, Grady Sizemore (24 years, 336 days) in 2008 and Manny Ramirez (25 years, 69 days) in 1997.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis entered Tuesday batting .350 (7-for-20) with a double and three RBIs in five games since being activated from the injured list.
He went to the opposite field for a double to left April 16 in Seattle.
“He didn’t do that much last year, so to see him backspin the ball that way is a great sign,” Francona said. “I think he missed playing. He’s been energetic and he looks ready to play.”
Kipnis, who is coming off consecutive unproductive seasons, is in the final year of his contract. The Indians have a club option of $16.5 million for 2020, with a $2.5 million buyout.
- Veteran reliever Tyler Clippard had made two scoreless appearances for Columbus through Monday as the right-hander attempts to work his way back from a pectoral strain.
Clippard, a two-time All-Star, was expected to open the season in Cleveland’s bullpen before sustaining the injury during spring training.
“It seems like every time he pitches, he kinda inches closer to who he is,” Francona said of Clippard, who posted a 3.67 ERA in 73 appearances for Toronto last year, striking out 85 batters over 68 2/3 innings. “He’s somebody that we obviously want to see succeed. I think, if we can be patient, he’s getting closer and closer.”
Clippard owns a career 3.16 ERA over 12 seasons.
- Francona said outfielder Bradley Zimmer (right shoulder) is close to taking batting practice.
The big 6-0
Francona celebrated his 60th birthday Monday with his children and grandchildren.
“I just wonder how many people in Vegas lost money betting on the under,” he joked.
Francona said his grandchildren got him underwear and “some headphones that I have no clue how to use.”
“I thought they were smart enough to know I don’t know how to do (Bluetooth),” he said. “I thought they were smart enough to know I have no idea what that even is.”
Despite owning the third-lowest batting average in the majors through Monday, the Indians entered Tuesday hitting .272 over their last seven games, which ranked fifth in the big leagues over the span.
... According to Statcast, Carlos Santana ranked second in the majors in average exit velocity (95.1 mph) and fourth in percent (55.6) of contact qualifying as hard hit.
... Wednesday, 1:10, STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM. Rodriguez (0-1, 3.18) vs. Sandy Alcantara (1-2, 5.09).