The Indians placed right-hander Mitch Talbot on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain Friday and optioned right-hander Jess Todd to Triple-A Columbus.
Cleveland also recalled right-hander Jensen Lewis and purchased the contract of righty Justin Germano from Columbus.
“We were looking for a guy who could give us minimum three innings today and (Germano) can certainly do that,” manager Manny Acta said. “Jensen can provide minimum two innings. That’s something we really need today with what happened the last two nights.”
Cleveland relievers have worked 12 1/3 innings the past two games – not including the inning that infielder Andy Marte pitched Thursday – both heavy losses to the New York Yankees. Right-hander Fausto Carmona gave up seven runs in 2 2/3 innings on Wednesday and Talbot left injured after two innings the following night, forcing Marte to pitch the ninth inning.
Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner was out of the lineup for the second straight night Friday, still suffering from a sore right shoulder. Hafner, scratched from Thursday’s game, is batting .267 with nine homers and 33 RBIs in 82 games. He was limited to 57 games in 2008 and had surgery that offseason, playing just 94 games last season.
“It’s pretty much the same thing as from the surgery,” Acta said.
With Hafner out, Shelley Duncan made his second straight start at DH.
Hafner, who has often had to take days off to rest his shoulder this season, has been one of Cleveland’s hottest hitters of late. He’s batting .341 with six doubles, four homers and 11 RBIs in 25 starts since June 11.
Acta said Talbot had an MRI exam Friday, revealing a “mild lower back strain.” No decision has been made on who will replace him in the starting rotation.
Talbot is 8-9 with a 4.09 ERA in 20 starts, while Todd had no record and a 7.50 ERA in five games since being promoted from Triple-A on July 19.
Lewis has had three prior stints with the Indians this season, going 2-2 with a 4.18 ERA in 22 relief appearances.
Germano, signed as a minor-league free agent on March 4 after pitching in Japan last season, has split time with Double-A Akron and Columbus, going 5-3 with a 3.38 ERA and one save in 24 games, including seven starts. He last pitched in the majors with San Diego in 2008.