CLEVELAND -- The Indians had other bullpen options available down on the farm. Plenty of them, in fact. But when the club designated Danny Graves for assignment on Friday night, it decided to call up starting prospect Fausto Carmona. So not only will Carmona be adjusting once again to life in the big leagues, he'll do so this time in a new role.
"I think he's going to be fine with it," manager Eric Wedge said. "We'll see what his routine is as far as getting ready." Though he admitted he was surprised by the move, Carmona said he'll have no problem warming up quickly. "It's OK," he said. "I'll be OK. I'll have no changes. I'll throw all my pitches." Carmona's best pitch is his sinking 97-mph fastball. The Indians want him to show more consistency in the speed differentials between his fastball and changeup. But one constant the club did witness in Carmona's three spot starts in place of C.C. Sabathia last month was his poise on the mound. He pitched as if he belonged up in the big leagues, and that's probably what set him apart from other candidates for the opening. Initially, Carmona, who went 0-3 with a 4.84 ERA in four starts at Triple-A Buffalo and 1-2 with a 7.94 ERA in three spot starts for the Indians, will pitch in middle relief. It's up to him how he is used as time goes on. Wedge wouldn't comment whether Carmona would be the most likely pitcher to head back to Buffalo when Rafael Betancourt is activated from the disabled list Tuesday. "There's no limitations with it," he said of Carmona's callup. "We have no predesigned plan with this. He's one of the better arms we have, and we're going to give him a shot in the bullpen." Better than 1995? Kenny Rogers faced the 1995 Indians, as a member of the Texas Rangers. He faced the current version of the Tribe on Friday night, as a member of the Detroit Tigers. So who was better? "This is a better lineup," Rogers said. "I have no doubt about that. You've got [Casey] Blake batting seventh or eighth. That's sick. There's not an out in that lineup you can take advantage of or take for granted. Every one of those guys can take you out of the yard, but can also get multiple hits off you." The same could be said of that '95 team, which pulverized opponents with the likes of Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga, Albert Belle and Eddie Murray. But Rogers said the current lineup, which is first in the Majors in runs scored with 223, is tougher against an opposing pitcher overall. "I think the offense here is just considerable [throughout] the lineup," he said. "There might've been a few outs in the past where you could not relax, but it wasn't as difficult to get through the lineup multiple times. This one here, three or four times through them, it's a battle every time." Here's the question: In 1951, the Indians picked their 50th anniversary team. Two of the outfielders were Tris Speaker and Earl Averill. Who was the third? Pink is in: Initially, Grady Sizemore didn't know what to think when clubhouse manager Tony Amato asked him if he'd consider using a pink bat for Sunday's game. "At first," Sizemore said, "I thought he was joking." But then Amato explained the reasoning. Dozens of players around MLB will be using the bats on Mother's Day to promote breast cancer awareness. Players will also wear pink wristbands and ribbons. Sizemore, Aaron Boone and Eduardo Perez will all be using the pink bats, which were supplied by Louisville Slugger. "It's a real cool concept," Perez said. "I'm more than happy to oblige. It's something that, when they ask, you don't even have to give it a second thought." Should the bats inspire some greatness at the plate, Perez and Sizemore both said they wouldn't hesitate to use them again. "If it's hot, it's hot," Sizemore said. "Who cares if it's pink?" Tribe tidbits: Jason Michaels was given the day off Saturday. He was replaced in left field by Todd Hollandsworth, who made his seventh start of the season. Blake was moved up to Michaels' second spot in the lineup. ... Betancourt, rehabbing a back strain, will start for Double-A Akron against Harrisburg on Sunday. He's set to throw one inning and is expected to be activated by the Tribe on Tuesday. ... The Indians have given up 44 runs in the sixth inning this season. In no other inning have they given up more than 28 runs. And the answer is: "Shoeless" Joe Jackson was the third outfielder named to that team. On deck: The Tribe and the Tigers wrap up their weekend set with Sunday's 1:05 p.m. ET game at Jacobs Field. Right-hander Jason Johnson (2-2, 5.82 ERA) will go up against his former team. Left-hander Mike Maroth (4-2, 2.55 ERA) will start for the Tigers. In celebration of Mother's Day, all moms who pass through the gates will receive a complimentary canvas tote.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.