Notes: Mujica is staff's odd man out

Notes: Mujica is staff's odd man out

WASHINGTON -- The Indians needed to free up a roster spot for returning pitcher Jake Westbrook, and did it by optioning relief pitcher Edward Mujica to Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday morning.

It was a short stay in the Majors for Mujica, who was not used in a game during his five days with the team. He wasn't surprised by the decision, though, because manager Eric Wedge briefed him on the situation when he arrived.

"Unless something unforeseen happened, he was going to be the move," Wedge said.

The righty had previously been called up in late May, pitching a pair of two-inning outings where he allowed a combined two runs.

He's got an impressive split-finger fastball, and at just 23 years of age has advanced through the Minor Leagues at a remarkable pace. After starting last season in Double-A Akron, he received a callup to the Indians in June and appeared in 10 games.

"He's a guy that needs to go down there and just keep pitching the way he's been pitching," Wedge said. "He has a chance to pitch in the big leagues."

The club activated Westbrook from the 15-day disabled list, where he had been since May 7. He traveled with the team to Washington in advance of Sunday's start.

Westbrook's return doesn't bring the Indians back to full health just yet, but the only remaining player on the disabled list is David Dellucci, who will be out for approximately eight more weeks.

Here's the question: Which Indians starter is leading the Majors in walks allowed per nine innings?

Interleague comes to an end: Sunday's game is the final one of this year's Interleague schedule, and it's a welcome sight for the Tribe.

While the rest of the American League has fared above average in this year's slate of games, the Indians are just one game above .500 going into the finale against Washington.

"We're looking forward to going back home and playing a familiar opponent," Wedge said.

Wedge ruffled a few feathers earlier in the week when he told reporters that he wasn't a fan of the Interleague concept and would prefer to just play one home-and-home series against a rival team and call it good. He was asked about those comments while in Washington.

"I'm more of a traditionalist. I like playing more teams in your own league," he said. "Without Interleague, we could play teams in our own league, and travel would be more consistent."

Cleveland ties in Washington: Several members of this year's Nationals team have ties with the Indians. Most notable is former Tribe manager Pat Corrales, who is now the bench coach in Washington.

Corrales, who managed the Indians between 1983-1987, said that he doesn't know anybody affiliated with the current team except for a handful of front-office people and reporters.

Infielder Ronnie Belliard also played for Cleveland before joining the World Series-winning St. Louis team, then hopping to the Nationals, where he generally works off the bench. He started Sunday at second base.

Pitcher Billy Traber also spent time in Cleveland. The lefty has allowed three runs in 17 innings of relief work this season.

On the farm: Rookie League and low-A ball has begun. The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are off to a 3-1 start, and the GCL Indians are 2-1.

Tribe Tidbits: Travis Hafner returned to the lineup on Sunday in the cleanup spot, but Wedge said it just was a move to create good matchups. "I wouldn't read too much into that. It's just whatever the best lineup is for us," he said. ... With the All-Star Game approaching, Wedge was asked if he thought closer Joe Borowski should be on the team. Wedge said he considered Borowski a strong candidate, since for closers saves (21) and blown saves (two) are more important than other statistics like ERA (6.11).

On this date: In 1989, Joe Carter hit three home runs in a game for the third time in his career. Carter and the Indians defeated Texas, 7-3, with only six hits -- all of them home runs.

And the answer is: Paul Bryd has allowed 0.56 walks for every nine innings of work. C.C. Sabathia is also in the top 10, with 1.35 walks per nine innings.

On deck: The Tribe returns home for a four-game series with the A's. Game 1 is Monday night at 7:05 p.m. ET, and features All-Star candidate Sabathia (10-2, 3.34 ERA) throwing against Oakland's Chad Gaudin (6-2, 3.05 ERA).

Michael Phillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.