Zimmer on, Plutko off Wild Card roster
CLEVELAND – The Indians’ Wild Card Series roster is set. On Tuesday morning, the Tribe announced that it will boast almost the same 28-man roster with which it ended the season, with outfielder Bradley Zimmer taking the spot of long-reliever Adam Plutko the only change. With starters Triston McKenzie and
CLEVELAND – The Indians’ Wild Card Series roster is set.
On Tuesday morning, the Tribe announced that it will boast almost the same 28-man roster with which it ended the season, with outfielder Bradley Zimmer taking the spot of long-reliever Adam Plutko the only change.
With starters Triston McKenzie and Aaron Civale in the bullpen for the three-game series, the Tribe would’ve had three pitchers filling a similar role, had Plutko been on the roster. Plutko has made 10 appearances for the Indians this season (including four starts) and had been used for fewer than two frames in four of those outings. But Cleveland pitching coach Carl Willis already specified that both McKenzie and Civale would not be limited to just a long-relief role and could also be used in a high-leverage, one-inning situation.
• AL Wild Card Series presented by Hankook Tire, Game 1: Tonight, 7 ET on ESPN
The decision to leave Plutko off the Wild Card roster freed up a spot to add another depth piece to the Tribe’s bench. The Indians’ offense has struggled, collectively, but their outfield group has had the most difficult time gaining any momentum. Cleveland’s outfielders ended the regular season with the worst slugging percentage (.300) and second worst batting average (.194) and on-base percentage (.270) in the Majors.
Zimmer may not be the answer to the Tribe’s offensive woes, but he’ll give the club another option off the bench. The 27-year-old had a red-hot summer camp to earn his way onto the Opening Day roster but his bat cooled off when the season got underway, hitting .162 with a .603 OPS in 20 games before he was optioned to the alternate training site in Lake County.
Zimmer has never faced Yankees Game 1 starter Gerrit Cole in his career. In nine games against New York, Zimmer has gone 4-for-25 (.160) with two doubles, one homer and a .552 OPS.
Here’s a look at the Indians’ full Wild Card Series roster:
Pitchers (13): Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale, Triston McKenzie, Adam Cimber, Brad Hand, Cam Hill, James Karinchak, Phil Maton, Oliver Pérez, Cal Quantrill, Nick Wittgren
Catchers (3): Roberto Pérez, Sandy León, Austin Hedges
Infielders (5): Carlos Santana, Cesar Hernandez, José Ramírez, Francisco Lindor, Mike Freeman
Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.