Cleveland plans to recall Josh Tomlin on Tuesday to start against Cincinnati. The move will fill Zach McAllister's vacated rotation spot after he was designated for assignment Friday and eventually optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
Tomlin (5-7, 4.47 ERA) made one start for Columbus on Thursday and allowed two runs -- on solo homers -- but struck out five over five innings. The outing was intentionally limited, Tribe manager Terry Francona said.
"We thought he could wiggle his way through a Triple-A lineup -- because he's smart -- and we didn't want to tax him a lot," Francona said Saturday.
In June, Tomlin worked a brilliant complete game one-hitter against the Mariners, but has since posted a 6.45 ERA and allowed six home runs over his last four starts. In addition to the struggles, the workload has also been a concern for Tomlin, who missed almost all of 2013 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Tomlin has already logged 126 2/3 innings between Cleveland and Columbus. But with Justin Masterson a member of the Cardinals and McAllister working through confidence issues on the mound, the Indians will gladly welcome Tomlin back to the rotation if he can regain his effectiveness.
"He's about as accountable as any person you're going to meet," Francona said. "To say we're excited he's coming back is an understatement. It's hard not to pull for him."
Tomlin will likely need a strong performance to win his first start back, because Cincy starter Johnny Cueto (12-6, 2.05 ERA) has been lights-out. In fact, the righty has not allowed more than three earned runs in his past 10 starts -- a period in which his ERA (2.16) has been higher than his season total.
Cueto's numbers are downright impressive. His ERA is good for second place in the National League, and third in the Major Leagues behind Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez. He's also second in the NL and seventh in MLB with 166 strikeouts.
He's carrying a rotation that needs to pick it up a notch if the Reds -- hovering around .500 -- want to make a serious playoff run.
"The only thing that we have to do is just stick together," Cueto said through a translator. "We have to continue to grind and stay competitive."
Reds: Hitters focused again
Cincinnati manager Bryan Price sensed that his team lost its focus at the plate coming out of the All-Star break.
"I felt like we were swinging to hit, we're hitting to pull and we're hitting to hit the ball out of the ballpark," Price said before Monday night's 5-1 loss to the Indians in which the Reds notched eight hits. "We should hit our fair share of homers, but not with the approach of hitting homers. I believe we made a much stronger commitment to getting back to what we were doing so well in early June and July."
After his team erupted for 15 hits to beat Miami, 7-3, on Sunday, Price was confident that the tide is changing.
"I don't know what happened in those four days off [for the All-Star break], but we kind of lost our feel and approach and mojo," he said. "Looks like it's heading back in the right direction now."
Indians: Swisher sidelined
Designated hitter Nick Swisher was out of Monday's starting lineup due to soreness in his right wrist, which he hurt while swinging in a sixth-inning at-bat against Texas' Yu Darvish on Sunday. Swisher, who has hit .333 (8-for-24) in his past seven games, hoped to at least be available off the bench by Tuesday.
"Hopefully, I'm back in there [Tuesday]," Swisher said. "But, if we need to take a couple days to get it right, we'll do that. We'll be smart about it."
This has been a tough season for Swisher by almost all measurements. He's hitting a career-worst .212, and his OPS has sagged to .622, well below any of his previous numbers. While he's picked up his average lately, the veteran hasn't showed off much power -- he has two RBIs in his past 15 games.
• Tomlin's ERA rose in each of his past four starts, but he's only given up one walk in that span over 22 1/3 innings.
• The 33-year-old Swisher's power has decreased since he signed with Cleveland. He'd averaged 89 RBIs in his final three seasons with the Yankees before dropping to 63 last year, and with 45 this year, he's on pace for a similar total.