Party delayed as Tribe looks ahead to key series

Cleveland shut out in finale; One win in Detroit will capture AL Central

Party delayed as Tribe looks ahead to key series

CLEVELAND -- There was champagne on hand at Progressive Field on Sunday, but it never made it to the Indians' clubhouse. Rather than the sound of popping corks and jubilant shouts from within a plastic-wrapped room, there was only the shuffling of feet, hushed voices and bags being packed.

Cleveland knew what was at stake. The scoreboard kept flashing updates from the Tigers' game against Kansas City, and the players could hear the Progressive Field crowd roaring with delight at each Royals run. White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon just did not play along. He handcuffed the Tribe's bats and cost the Indians the chance to wrap up an American League Central crown by dealing them a 3-0 defeat.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Magic number down to 1 despite Tribe's shutout

Magic number down to 1 despite Tribe's shutout

CLEVELAND -- White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon delayed the Indians' party on Sunday afternoon. With a brilliant eight-inning performance at Progressive Field, Rodon led Chicago to a 3-0 win over the American League Central-leading Tribe, which could have clinched the division outright in its final home game of the season.

"They're eventually going to win it, but we won't be around to see them celebrate, which is meaningful," White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier said. "You have to take pride in every series and game. They're going to have to do it on the road, which is good."

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians react to tragic loss of Fernandez

Marlins All-Star pitcher died in boating accident Sunday

Indians react to tragic loss of Fernandez

CLEVELAND -- A group of players stood in front of a clubhouse television, others watching from their seats at their lockers, taking in the unfathomable news of Jose Fernandez's death. One of the baseball's rising stars, and one of the faces of the game, was gone.

Indians pitcher Danny Salazar, who posted a heartfelt message on social media, told reporters he was too upset to discuss the tragic development. The team was still learning the details, and coming to terms with the reality that Fernandez, 24, had passed away in a boating accident in Miami early Sunday morning.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kluber, Indians go for AL Central crown in Detroit

Kluber, Indians go for AL Central crown in Detroit

CLEVELAND -- The Tigers have dominated the Indians over the past few seasons, but Cleveland has turned the tables this year. Now, the Tribe rolls into the Motor City with a chance to clinch an American League Central title outright in enemy territory.

The cards are certainly stacked in Cleveland's favor for the opener of a four-game series on Monday, when ace Corey Kluber will continue his AL Cy Young Award push at Comerica Park. That will present a tough challenge for Detroit, which would need to win the remainder of its final seven games, and have the Indians lose out, in order to clinch a share of the division crown.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sox edge Tribe, but magic number at 2

Sox edge Tribe, but magic number at 2

CLEVELAND -- The White Sox delayed a celebration for the Indians for at least one more day. On Saturday night, lefty Jose Quintana spun a gem, Todd Frazier launched a home run and Chicago dealt Cleveland an 8-1 defeat at Progressive Field.

The Indians, whose magic number to clinch the American League Central sits at two, knew Saturday would present a challenge as the Tribe employed a bullpen-day approach for its vacant fifth starter spot. The White Sox took full advantage, scoring six runs over the final five innings, and ended a six-game losing streak. They improved to 7-11 against the Indians. The White Sox snapped a streak of five straight games without a quality start, having gone 0-5 with an 11.63 ERA in that span.

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen day backfires in Indians' loss to Sox

Bullpen day backfires in Indians' loss to Sox

CLEVELAND -- The Indians will not need a five-man rotation in the playoffs. The only problem right now is that the calendar has not yet flipped to October, Cleveland lacks a fifth starter and the team has yet to officially punch its ticket to the postseason dance.

The situation has left Indians manager Terry Francona a few pieces short in a complicated pitching puzzle. To date, Francona has found ways to navigate around the gaping hole in his rotation. On Saturday night, though, circumstances caught up with Cleveland in an 8-1 loss to the White Sox, and cost the Tribe a chance to clinch a postseason berth.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians cognizant of Lindor's fatigue

Indians cognizant of Lindor's fatigue

CLEVELAND -- Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor has the benefit of youth, and the added adrenaline that comes with playing in a postseason race. That does not mean that Lindor, with his ever-present smile and seemingly boundless energy, does not get tired once in a while.

Indians manager Terry Francona said earlier this week that Lindor looked a little fatigued while learning to deal with the the rigors of his first full Major League season. Prior to Saturday's game against the White Sox, the shortstop admitted that was the case, but said he has felt better over the past few days.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tomlin aims to get Tribe closer to clinch

Tomlin aims to get Tribe closer to clinch

The Cleveland Indians officially can clinch the American League Central on Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field, with a first pitch of 1:10 p.m. ET.

The Indians begin the day with a magic number of two to clinch the American League Central.

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tribe rocks Sox, trims magic number to 3

Tribe rocks Sox, trims magic number to 3

CLEVELAND -- Coco Crisp pulled into second base, flexed his arms and gave an emphatic salute in the direction of the Indians' dugout. His two-out double in the fifth inning on Friday night put the Tribe ahead for good in a 10-4 romp over the White Sox and moved Cleveland one step closer to a clinching celebration.

With their sixth win in seven games, the American League Central-leading Indians trimmed their magic number to three with nine games left on the regular-season slate. The White Sox have lost six straight on this nine-game road trip and were officially eliminated from postseason contention and from finishing over .500, falling to 72-81. The White Sox have not reached the playoffs since 2008.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Excitement high with Tribe on cusp of clinch

Closing in on AL Central title, Indians enjoying atmosphere while eyeing home-field advantage

Excitement high with Tribe on cusp of clinch

CLEVELAND -- Trevor Bauer walked off the mound, hearing the Progressive Field audience grow louder with each of his steps. As he approached the dugout, the Indians pitcher looked up and saw the crowd on its feet, and he thanked them with a quick doffing of his cap.

Bauer worked into the eighth inning on Friday night, while the Tribe offense broke out with a flurry of runs, creating a combination that netted a 10-4 rout of the White Sox. The fans offering the standing ovation understood the gravity of the moment. Cleveland has not hoisted a division-clinching banner in nine years, but it is on the cusp of completing its journey to another crown.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Race for AL home-field advantage still burning

Rangers, Indians and Red Sox within one game

Race for AL home-field advantage still burning

While the three American League divisional races seem to be more or less settled -- Texas won the AL West on Friday, while Boston and Cleveland each have leads of at least 5 1/2 games -- that doesn't mean that those clubs no longer have anything to play for. Since all three teams have either 63 or 64 losses, the race for home-field advantage in the playoffs is still on.

Perhaps as importantly, there's still a big open question about which two of those division leaders have to play one another, and which gets to welcome the winner of the AL Wild Card Game. Depending on how the final week of the season plays out, it could be only a series of tiebreakers that determines who goes on the road to face the No. 2 seed and who stays home to face the fourth or fifth best team in the league.

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mechanics could be key to Shaw's durability

Reliever sets team record with 4th season of 70 games or more

Mechanics could be key to Shaw's durability

CLEVELAND -- Bryan Shaw can often be spotted with a football in his hands. It might zip through the clubhouse to a teammate or be carried out to the field for a round of catch. This is not purely an exercise in leisure for the Indians' setup man.

Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway noted that Shaw's throwing mechanics for his cutter are similar to how a quarterback flings a football. Tossing the pigskin around is a way for the right-hander to maintain a feel for his signature pitch, and perhaps one of the secrets behind Shaw's incredible durability.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Santana's smash cuts Tribe's magic number to 4

Santana's smash cuts Tribe's magic number to 4

CLEVELAND -- The Indians are still jockeying for position in the October picture, but there is another battle going on within the team.

With his latest homer in a 5-2 win over the Royals on Thursday, Carlos Santana not only moved Cleveland a little closer to a division crown, but he put the pressure on Mike Napoli for the Tribe's home run title this season. Santana and Napoli are now tied at 34 shots apiece with 10 games left on the schedule.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vote: Naquin up for Best Rookie Award

Balloting open until Nov. 11 to reward game's elite

Vote: Naquin up for Best Rookie Award

Voting is underway through Nov. 11 at MLB.com/awards to help decide who wins Best Rookie regardless of league affiliation, and all five of your candidates are currently playing key roles in pennant races: Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer, Indians center fielder Tyler Naquin, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Nationals center fielder Trea Turner.

The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) voters and fans like you at MLB.com.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clevinger for 5, then 'pen a postseason preview?

Indians rookie allows two runs on four hits before bullpen closes door on Royals

Clevinger for 5, then 'pen a postseason preview?

CLEVELAND -- The handshake might have arrived earlier than Mike Clevinger wanted, but the Indians rookie had no issue with handing the ball to the bullpen. Given the way Cleveland's relief corps has operated of late, the qualifications for a quality start might as well be reduced to five innings for the Tribe.

On Thursday night, Clevinger provided an effective five-inning performance for the Indians in a 5-2 victory over the Royals, helping Cleveland complete a sweep of the three-game set and trim its magic number to four for clinching the American League Central. Dan Otero, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen handled the last four frames, keeping Kansas City in check en route to a fifth win in six games.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Perez developing into elite pitch-framer

Perez developing into elite pitch-framer

CLEVELAND -- Whit Merrifield stepped across home plate and prepared to toss his bat away. Thinking he had drawn a walk, the Royals second baseman then threw his head back and yelled in disgust after home-plate umpire Carlos Torres rung him up on a called strikeout.

"That's not a strike," Merrifield barked as he walked back to the dugout.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vote Indians ace Kluber for Best Pitcher

Balloting open until Nov. 11 to reward game's elite

Vote Indians ace Kluber for Best Pitcher

Some get it done with pure heat. Some dazzle with cartoonish curveballs. Some are so dialed in with command that they'd seemingly be able to paint the corners of the strike zone while blindfolded.

But when it comes to being an elite pitcher in the Major Leagues, only one thing really matters: getting hitters out.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians edge KC to shrink magic number to 5

Indians edge KC to shrink magic number to 5

CLEVELAND -- The Royals will not be wearing the division crown this year. In a 4-3 win over Kansas City on Wednesday night, Corey Kluber continued to build his American League Cy Young Award case, Jose Ramirez roped three doubles and the Indians marched closer to an AL Central title.

First-place Cleveland moved 7 1/2 games in front of the Tigers, whose game in Minnesota was postponed Wednesday night, and the Tribe reduced its magic number to five with 11 games to play. As for the reigning World Series champion Royals, their seventh loss in 10 games officially knocked them out of the Central race.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Doubles machine: Ramirez churning out hits

Indians third baseman collects three two-base hits to run total to 42

Doubles machine: Ramirez churning out hits

CLEVELAND -- Indians closer Cody Allen cracked a smile when asked about Jose Ramirez. He could not help it. Whether it's Ramirez's sense of fashion, or the orange dreadlocks that sprout from his head, or the way he struts through the room, the stocky infielder has that effect on his teammates.

"He's awesome, man," Allen said after Cleveland's 4-3 win over the Royals on Wednesday night. "He's one of those guys you're excited to see every day. He walks in and we have fun with him."

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians catch speed demon Gore stealing

Allen, Perez, Lindor combine to nab basestealer for first time in regular season

Indians catch speed demon Gore stealing

CLEVELAND -- It had to happen sometime.

One of the top basestealing weapons in baseball, Royals outfielder Terrance Gore, finally got caught stealing in the ninth inning of the Indians' 4-3 win over the Royals on Wednesday night at Progressive Field.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Salazar eyes return as reliever for Tribe's push

Pitcher building arm strength, plays catch at up to 75 feet

Salazar eyes return as reliever for Tribe's push

CLEVELAND -- Danny Salazar played catch at Progressive Field on Wednesday afternoon, continuing to fuel the hope that he could be ready for a postseason push for the Indians.

Salazar said Wednesday that he would return as a reliever if he is deemed ready for a potential American League Division Series. He expressed confidence in the rotation without him or injured starter Carlos Carrasco.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

I do: Plutko called up while at friend's wedding

Prospect was unable to answer phone, but later shared moment with family

I do: Plutko called up while at friend's wedding

CLEVELAND -- With his baseball season complete, it was wedding season for Adam Plutko. The Indians pitcher was in California, standing up in the wedding of one of his friends, expecting the only celebration to be about the couple's big day.

Then, the Indians called.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Guyer gives Indians MLB-best 11th walk-off

Pinch-hitter laces RBI single just fair down right-field line to set off celebration

Guyer gives Indians MLB-best 11th walk-off

CLEVELAND -- The crowd inside Progressive Field was not sure, and neither were the players inside the Indians' dugout. For a few seconds, as the baseball soared down the right-field line, there was a hush of anticipation as Brandon Guyer sprinted up the first-base line.

Then, Guyer raised his right arm into the air. That was everyone's cue. Cleveland's players poured out from the dugout, the fans erupted in a celebratory roar and fireworks popped overhead. The Tribe's 2-1 victory over the Royals on Tuesday night was the 11th win in walk-off fashion this season -- more than any other team in the Majors.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tomlin stepping up for depleted Tribe rotation

Indians righty delivers strong start vs. KC with Carrasco, Salazar injured

Tomlin stepping up for depleted Tribe rotation

CLEVELAND -- Josh Tomlin understands the landscape. After the injuries that have hit the Indians' rotation over the past two weeks, dealing a pair of serious blows to a starting staff that looked primed for a deep postseason run, the microscope is now on Tomlin and rookie Mike Clevinger.

In a 2-1 win over the Royals on Tuesday night, Tomlin delivered a gem. The right-hander continued to shake off his abysmal August and returned to the precision-based pitching that had him in the All-Star discussion in the first half. Tomlin walked off with a no-decision, but his effort put Cleveland in position to celebrate a walk-off win.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians walk off, slice magic number to 6

Indians walk off, slice magic number to 6

CLEVELAND -- The Royals have experienced plenty of late-season magic over the past two years. Now the Indians want a turn. On Tuesday night, Cleveland continued its march toward an American League Central title with a 2-1, walk-off win over Kansas City.

Brandon Guyer played the role of hero, sending a fly ball deep into the right-field corner for a pinch-hit RBI single off Royals reliever Joakim Soria, setting off the on-field party at Progressive Field. The win was the 11th in walk-off fashion this year for Cleveland, which improved to 50-26 at home and 42-22 against AL Central foes.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

October too unpredictable to deal in absolutes

Hoynes understands Indians' anger after comments, but Tribe embracing challenge

October too unpredictable to deal in absolutes

CLEVELAND -- His morning proctology examination was not the most uncomfortable part of Paul Hoynes' day, which tells you what kind of day Tuesday was.

This was the day Hoynes, the Cleveland.com Indians beat reporter who just a couple of days earlier had declared the Indians' October pursuit of a World Series championship over before it even began, walked into the home clubhouse at Progressive Field and faced the men he had counted out.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clevinger's transformation complete -- and just in time

Indians need rookie to be effective down stretch and into postseason

Clevinger's transformation complete -- and just in time

CLEVELAND -- With shoulder-length hair shooting out from underneath his cap, Mike Clevinger was a wild horse when he joined the Indians a couple seasons ago. The Tribe had a promising prospect on its hands, but one who also would be a long-term project and whose success would be reliant on his complete buy-in.

Two years later, Clevinger is pitching in critical games for Cleveland, and the rookie could soon be tested on the October stage.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Righty prospect Plutko summoned by Indians

Righty prospect Plutko summoned by Indians

CLEVELAND -- Corey Kluber smiled when he saw the pair of nameplates that were placed above one locker inside Cleveland's crowded clubhouse. The Indians' ace remembers what it was like to share a stall with another player after being called up to the big leagues in September.

Kluber and former Tribe outfielder Jerad Head occupied the same locker late during the 2011 season. This time around, Minor Leaguer Adam Plutko is being summoned to the Majors, where he will divvy up one cubby with fellow rookie pitcher Perci Garner.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.