Brantley to paternity list; Tribe bolsters 'pen

Brantley to paternity list; Tribe bolsters 'pen

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians will be without Michael Brantley for a few days, as the left fielder was placed on the paternity list prior to Friday's game against the Twins.

Brantley left the team Thursday to be with his wife for the birth of their son, Maxwell, and is scheduled to rejoin the team Monday in Baltimore. With a doubleheader on tap Saturday, Cleveland recalled right-hander Adam Plutko from Triple-A Columbus to give the pitching staff an additional arm.

"They had a healthy boy and we're obviously thrilled for the Brantleys," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And, we miss him, but the good far outweighs missing him, and hopefully the rest will even be good for him."

Plutko appeared in two games for Cleveland last season and has posted a 6.24 ERA in 66 1/3 innings (12 starts) for Columbus this year. While the numbers have not been great, Francona said the fact that Plutko can offer multiple innings is a plus, given that the Indians are facing four games in three days in Minnesota.

Francona noted that lefty Ryan Merritt will be recalled from Triple-A to start the day game on Saturday, with righty Mike Clevinger being promoted from Columbus as the 26th man to start the nightcap. Clevinger being the 26th man is purely a paperwork move. The righty is still in the plans to be recalled to start Thursday against the Orioles.

"It allows us to maximize our roster," Francona said. "That was the reasoning behind that. Like I said, there will be a few moving parts as we go."

In 54 games, Brantley has hit .296/.360/.432 and has been among the leading vote-getters on the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot for the MLB All-Star Game presented by MasterCard.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Brantley and other #ASGWorthy players

The left fielder has five home runs, 13 doubles, 24 runs scored and 28 RBIs in his comeback campaign. He played just 11 games in an injury-marred 2016 season due to right shoulder and biceps issues.

With Brantley out temporarily, Cleveland's starting outfield consists of center fielder Bradley Zimmer and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall. Austin Jackson and Daniel Robertson are the Tribe's two other outfield options, and both have the ability to play all three spots. Utility man Erik Gonzalez also has limited experience in the outfield.

"I know how good [Brantley] is," Francona said. "But I always figure there's an opportunity for somebody to step up."

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