CLEVELAND – Though it won’t take place officially until the season is complete, assistant general manager Chris Antonetti has already begun the transition into his new job as Indians general manager.
Antonetti, who has served as assistant GM for the past nine years, will replace Mark Shapiro on Nov. 1, with Shapiro, Cleveland’s GM since 2002, assuming the role of team president.
“I think, as the season’s progressed, Mark’s continued to involve me in the various aspects of baseball operations,” said the 35-year-old Antonetti. “As he’s continued to immerse himself in the business side, it has allowed me to transition more on the baseball side.”
Antonetti has worked alongside Shapiro during his entire 12-year tenure with the Indians, and there doesn’t figure to be a change in philosophy when he takes over as GM.
“We’re different people, but at the same time, we’ve worked together for a long period of time,” Antonetti said. “One of the things we have in common is we’re never satisfied.
“I’m excited about the opportunity, excited about the challenge. I’m confident that we have the people in place to be successful. That’s what we’re all building toward, trying to get back to a championship-caliber club.”
The Indians fell well short of that goal this season, pulling into Tuesday in last place in the Central Division with one of the worst records in baseball (50-74).
“We’ve had a number of injuries to a number of key players that impacted our competitiveness,” Antonetti said. “We expect them all to be healthy next year. That will give us a better nucleus to build from and we need to continue to supplement.”
Thanks to a major league-low attendance figure this year, it will be difficult to supplement the team with free-agent acquisitions this offseason. Still, Antonetti remains positive that the Indians will contend again soon into his new role.
“It’s not going to happen over night,” he said. “So many things have to come together to have a contending championship-caliber team. What’s important for us is to continue to show progress.
“I think there a lot of positives. I think we have a good nucleus of talent to build around and I think we have a good depth of talent in the minor leagues. Hopefully that talent will continue to emerge.”
Outfielder Michael Brantley (sprained left ankle) missed his fourth straight game, but according to manager Manny Acta, will return to the lineup tonight.
(bullet) Travis Hafner did not start Tuesday, but Acta said it was a prescribed day off for the designated hitter, who has been in the lineup on a regular basis since leaving the disabled list Aug. 15.
(bullet) Left-knee surgery ended the seasons of Grady Sizemore and Carlos Santana, but Antonetti said that while the pair might not be recovered by the start of spring training, the Indians are confident both will be ready to begin the regular season.
Cleveland’s September call-ups are expected to come in two waves before and after the end of Triple-A Columbus’ season, which might include a playoff run. The Clippers entered Tuesday trailing first-place Louisville by a half game in the International League’s West Division, with three division winners and a wild-card team qualifying for the IL playoffs.
“We’re not going to try to upset what’s going on down there, unless it’s a guy that’s a priority and is going to make an impact right away,” Acta said.
Columbus right-hander Carlos Carrasco (10-6, 3.77 ERA) and third baseman Jared Goedert (.277, 18 HR, 45 RBIs in 68 games through Monday) are the two strongest candidates for promotion, but Goedert is not a member of the club’s 40-man roster.
“Not being on our 40-man roster would not be an impediment,” Antonetti said. “Getting playing time would be a consideration to whether we bring him up or not. If we bring a guy up, can we play him and give him a meaningful opportunity?”
Right-hander Zach McCallister, acquired in the Austin Kearns trade with the Yankees (July 30), made his organizational debut for the Indians on Tuesday, starting for Columbus against Toledo. McCallister went 8-10 with a 5.09 ERA in 24 starts for Triple-A Scranton prior to the trade. … LHP Scott Barnes entered Tuesday leading Double-A Akron in innings pitched (128 1/3) and strikeouts (115). Barnes, acquired in a trade with the Giants last year for Ryan Garko, is 6-9 with a 4.77 ERA in 24 starts for the Aeros.
Tony Sipp entered Tuesday having allowed just 16.7 percent (6-of-36) of his inherited runners to score, which was tops among American League relievers. … The Indians were swept in their last series, scoring just three runs, while batting .147 in three losses to Detroit. … Tonight, 7:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM/WEOL 930-AM. Talbot (8-10, 4.23) vs. Cahill (13-5, 2.54).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or email@example.com.