September 2, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
72°F

Tribe: Cleveland looking for lefty help in pen

CLEVELAND — It’s your move, Indians.

Central Division-leading Detroit acquired relief pitcher Jose Veras from the Astros on Monday, as Wednesday’s trading deadline approaches.

Cleveland, which entered the night trailing the Tigers by three games in the division standings, is in the market for a left-handed reliever, but did not appear close to a deal.

The Indians have reportedly shown interest in lefty reliever Josh Outman (2-0, 4.50 ERA in 37 games through Sunday), who pitches out of Colorado’s bullpen. Southpaw bullpen assistance is also reportedly available in San Francisco’s Javier Lopez (1-1, 1.42 ERA in 45 games) and Miami’s Mike Dunn (2-2, 2.62 ERA in 50 games).

“I think (general manager) Chris (Antonetti) has a real good grasp of who we are and where we’re going and how we’re trying to get there,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t think (Detroit’s move) has any bearing on what we’re doing or how we’ll do it.”

Francona was asked if the trading deadline is a distraction.

“It can be,” he said. “I thought (Sunday) was the 25th, so that’s how much I’ve been into it. Obviously, it’s not that much of a distraction. It can be, especially nowadays with so much internet and so much stuff that’s out there that isn’t true.”

Even if the Indians don’t make a move, Francona appears content to go with what he has.

“I like our team,” Francona said. “We’ve had our share of ups and downs and we keep playing. We lead the league in going first to third and second to home, so those are the types of things I’m proud of. There’s been some things that have happened that get my juices going and make me feel pretty good about the way we’re going.”

Return of the Mark

Slugger Mark Reynolds started for the first time since Wednesday, entering the night batting just .166 with two home runs and six RBIs in 43 games since May 30. He struck out 63 times in 145 at-bats over the span.

Francona said he was unsure how he would manage playing time for Reynolds, who has been a fixture in the lineup for much of the season.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” Francona said. “I think we all feel like he’s got that streak in him, and when he does, he’s so dangerous he can actually carry a team. Finding that, I know probably takes getting some rhythm on his part. You try to strike a balance between knowing that you have a guy that has a dangerous bat, hasn’t been swinging it, you have others guys that have, so you kind of walk that fine line and try and do the best you can.”

The extended slump dropped Reynolds’ season average from .254 to .214 through Sunday. He led Cleveland with 15 homers but has just two since May 29.

“He’s gotten himself in a pretty good bind and he’s had a tough time getting out of it,” Francona said. “There’s times when you hope one good swing will kick-start him. You just don’t know. I do know he has in him the ability to carry our team, probably better-suited than anyone in there. We all saw it the first month.”

Myers moment

Right-hander Brett Myers (right elbow) threw a bullpen session Monday at Progressive Field, but Francona had yet to receive an update. Myers, who has had multiple minor league rehab assignments scrapped, is trying to come back as a reliever after beginning the season on a $7 million contract as Cleveland’s No. 3 starter.

He hasn’t pitched in a big league game since April 19, making just four appearances (three starts) this year and posting an 0-3 record and 8.02 ERA.

Checking in

Francona said he texted Dustin Pedroia after Boston’s second baseman had to take cover during designated hitter David Ortiz’s dugout meltdown Saturday in Baltimore. Ortiz took a bat to the dugout telephones with Pedroia sitting in close proximity.

“It was a funny response,” Francona said of Pedroia’s text back. “I can’t give it to you because none of the words were printable. I mean, maybe two or three out of 10, but it was funny.”

Roundin’ third

The Indians’ rotation entered Monday with a 3.49 ERA in 41 games since June 11, which is the third-lowest mark in the American League. … Cleveland had homered in a season-high eight straight games through Sunday. … Jake Peavy is scheduled to pitch against the Indians tonight, but the right-hander has been the subject of multiple trade rumors and is not expected to make the start.

Contact Chris Assenheimer at (440) 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @CAwesomeheimer.