September 14, 2014

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Indians notes: White will return as reliever

CLEVELAND — Alex White will more than likely return to the Indians before the season is complete. When he does, it will be as a reliever.

White, who is on the disabled list after undergoing surgery on his right middle finger, threw a simulated game at Progressive Field on Monday. The Indians will decide whether the right-hander needs another simulated game or can begin a minor league rehab assignment, but because they won’t have time to build up White’s innings count, he will pitch out of the bullpen upon activation.

White, the 13th overall draft pick in 2009, has been sidelined since May 21, going 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in his first three starts on the big league level before the injury struck.

“We just want to be careful with him, finish the season pitching out of the bullpen and the see what next year brings,” Indians manager Manny Acta said.

White’s arrival will lessen the load on setup men Tony Sipp and Vinnie Pestano, especially Pestano, who had worked 37 innings through Sunday after pitching a career-high 64 2/3 innings between the minors and majors last year.

Acta has no problem employing White, a career starter, as a late-inning reliever.

“Down the stretch, he can be a guy that can really give us a lift out of the pen,” Acta said.

Acta said the Indians still view White as a starter but that his future role would be examined this offseason. He said there was a good chance that White would rejoin the Indians before rosters can expand to 40 players in September.

One-time thing

Acta said the costly error Ezequiel Carrera committed Sunday when he dropped a fly ball in the sixth inning that scored two runs in a 4-2 loss to Chicago was an aberration.

“He’s the best defensive center fielder that we have in our system,” Acta said. “He’s just human and dropped a fly ball. We trust that guy to play center field every day.

“Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever seen an outfielder drop a fly ball. It just happened at a bad time.”

It was Carrera’s first error in 15 games on the major league level. He committed two in 81 games for Triple-A Columbus this season.

Nick’s stick

The Indians are in need of offensive assistance, but they won’t get it just yet from veteran first baseman Nick Johnson, who entered Monday batting .208 (16-for-77) with three home runs and four RBIs in 23 games for Columbus.

“Our people down there feel he’s getting better, that he’s swinging the bat better, but he’s still not there,” Acta said.

The oft-injured Johnson, a .270 hitter in nine big league seasons, is attempting to come back from surgery on his right wrist, an ailment that limited him to 24 games last year with the Yankees.

Minor details

Third baseman Jared Goedert cleared waivers and was outrighted to Columbus, where he began the season on the disabled list and is expected to report in the coming days. Once considered a prime prospect, Goedert was removed from the 40-man roster to clear a spot for second baseman Jason Kipnis, who was promoted to the big leagues Thursday. In 41 games for the Clippers, Goedert is batting .199 with four homers and 13 RBIs. … LHP T.J. McFarland (7-4, 4.08 ERA) is 5-0 with a 2.25 ERA over his last six starts. McFarland, 22, was a fourth-round draft choice in 2007.

Roundin’ third

The Indians entered Monday batting .235 and averaging 4.1 runs over the first 10 games of the second half, hitting .191 over their last five games. … The Indians were two games out of first place through Sunday. They were in the same spot after 99 games in 1999 and went on to win the division. … Tonight, 7:05, Channel 3/STO/WTAM 1100-AM/WEOL 930-AM. Tomlin (11-4, 4.12) vs. Weaver (13-4, 1.81).

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.