Short-term rotation options

With Jake headed to the DL, the Indians will need to call up a starter from Triple-A to take his spot in the rotation.  Only two starts need to be covered if Jake's stay lasts only the minimum 15 days, which is likely.

To avoid starting anyone on short rest, the Indians will need a spot start by Saturday the 26th at the latest.  Westbrook's turn comes up on Friday the 25th, but Byrd could start a day early, Friday rather than Saturday, and still be on the usual four days of rest.

Fortunately, the Indians have four Triple-A starters who could be used without disrupting their normal routines too much.

Aaron Laffey looks like the odds-on favorite, and he could start Friday, in Westbrook's usual spot, with just one extra day of rest.  He's got a 3.13 ERA in four starts and is coming off five scoreless innings with 5 K and 2 BB.

Jeremy Sowers is a close second choice, with overall numbers that are very similar to Laffey's but are just slightly lesser.  His K:BB are 16:8 rather than 18:6, and his BIP aren't quite as grounded.  He could start Saturday on regular rest, with Byrd moving up his start to Friday.

Sean Smith makes an intriguing option and could start on regular rest Friday or with one extra day on Saturday.  He got roughed up two starts ago but is carrying a heavy 10 K/9, something neither Laffey or Sowers is every likely to do.  Smith is not on the 40-man roster, however, so another player would have to be released, traded for a minor leaguer, or moved to the 60-day DL in order to add him.  Further, with four other Triple-A starters already on the 40-man, there's no reason to think adding Smith now would turn out to be useful later in the season.

Atom Miller makes for the most interesting choice of all, however unlikely.  Miller finished rehabbing weeks ago and has been in extended Spring Training ever since, preparing to start his season tomorrow night in Buffalo.  The Indians certainly could have Miller throw a bullpen session tomorrow rather than making his scheduled start, which would have him set up to start a game on Friday or Saturday.  I don't think they'd do that considering how (justifiably) careful they've been with Miller ... but you never know.

Scott Elarton and Brian Slocum will not be considered, in Slocum's case because he pitched tonight and so could not step into the Indians rotation on regular rest, and in Elarton's case because he's been used out of the bullpen all season and hasn't faced more than 14 batters in any game – in the majors, minors or Spring Training – since last June.

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