INDIANAPOLIS — Casey Sadler will continue his comeback from Tommy John surgery at Double-A Altoona, with his move down from Indianapolis expected to be officially announced Wednesday.
Sadler worked around one walk in two scoreless innings against Columbus on Tuesday, which in the short-term, was his final appearance with Triple-A Indianapolis. Edgar Santana was in the Indians’ clubhouse on Tuesday after being optioned back from Pittsburgh, and he will officially join Indianapolis’ roster on Wednesday. Sadler’s move to Altoona opens up a roster spot for Santana.
Sadler has a 5.23 ERA and 1.84 WHIP over 10.1 innings in eight appearances with Indianapolis. Opponents are hitting .333 against him. His last two appearances have been relatively clean, only needing to work around a walk in two scoreless innings of relief on Tuesday. He pitched 1.1 clean innings on Saturday.
“He has to get more consistent work,” Indianapolis manager Andy Barkett said. “We’re loaded right now. We’re trying to find innings for guys and it’s difficult. A guy that is coming off Tommy John needs to pitch consistently and it’s hard to get him consistent innings in the spot we’re in right now.”
Indianapolis’ bullpen will likely need another move in the near future as Dan Runzler is ready to come off the 7-day DL. That move could consist of someone being promoted to Pittsburgh, or another person going down to Altoona. But in the long run, Sadler needed more frequent, consistent work.
“It wasn’t about performance or anything else,” Barkett said. “If we didn’t think he could pitch or he wasn’t performing well, then the organization would release him. … That’s not the case, we like the guy. We think the guy can pitch, we just need to get him more opportunities where he can pitch.”
Marte’s next step with Indianapolis
Starling Marte was the designated hitter and batted second in Indianapolis’ lineup on Tuesday. He joined the team earlier in the day to continue his rehab stint as he returns from an 80-game suspension for using a PED.
Marte went 0-for-3 against Columbus on Tuesday, including a hit by pitch. He made solid contact in his last at-bat, a sharp fly out to centerfield.
“After playing two games in Bradenton my timing is much better and I can see the pitches better,” Marte said through a translator. “I’m just trying to be patient to see the best pitches possible to get my timing down.”
The tentative plans are for Marte to be the designated hitter on Wednesday, before playing seven innings in left field on Thursday. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington previously announced Marte will play left field when he returns from his suspension, after previously moving to centerfield in the offseason.
“I follow the decision of the manager and will play wherever the team needs me,” Marte said. “I’ll go there, work and play and stop as many balls as I can to help the team.”
Marte moves into LF, but what about Luplow?
Jordan Luplow has played in left field in all but one game over the past two seasons, including all five Indianapolis games since he was promoted to Triple-A late last week.
But with Marte on his rehab assignment and scheduled to play left field, his new (but old) position with the Pirates, Luplow will need a temporary new spot until Marte’s suspension expires on July 18.
Luplow will be used as the designated hitter against Columbus, while also likely getting a day off pretty soon. But the Indians travel to Gwinnett for a three-game series later this week, and because both teams are National League affiliates, no designated hitter will be used. That means Luplow will likely have to be used as a bench player, Barkett said.
Luplow has played 12 consecutive days, not even taking a day off during his promotion from Double-A Altoona to Indianapolis.
A perfect defensive replacement
Justin Maffei was a late-game defensive replacement in Indianapolis’ 5-4 win over Louisville on Monday. He made the game’s final out, tracking down a fly ball and catching it as he leaped into the right field wall.
Maffei is hitting .200 in 20 at-bats with Indianapolis, but has been used effectively as a late-game defensive substitution.
“I’ve only been a Pirate for a couple of years but I feel every game I’ve ever watched Justin Maffei play he’s made a catch like that,” Barkett said. “I’m talking from Spring Training to Instructional League to anywhere I’ve ever seen a kid. He’ll run into the wall … he’s just a really good outfielder.”