CLEVELAND -- There won't be a mass exodus north on I-71 when rosters expand on Thursday. That's because most of the Indians' young talent has already made the trek from Triple-A Columbus to Cleveland.
As a result of the Indians' plethora of injuries, the club has had to rely on inexperienced players. The Tribe has already employed nine rookies this season: third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, second baseman Jason Kipnis, outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, second baseman Cord Phelps, outfielder Jerad Head and pitchers Vinnie Pestano, Zach McAllister, Alex White and Josh Judy.
"It's valuable that they're up here, not only learning and playing, but also playing meaningful games in September," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "For some of the guys that probably will get the chance to do it here over the next few seasons, and even the guys who probably aren't going to be here the next few seasons, they'll have that good experience."
Major League teams can inflate their rosters to as many as 40 players between Thursday and the conclusion of the regular season.
"There are probably a few guys that are going to come up from [Columbus]," Acta said. "That team is going to be involved in the playoffs, but there's a chance we bring some arms up and take a look at them over here."
Not everyone can rejoin the Indians right away. Major League guidelines dictate that any player optioned to the Minors can't return to the big league squad for 10 days, unless that player is replacing one put on the disabled list.
The Tribe optioned rookie reliever Nick Hagadone to Columbus on Sunday to clear room for Head. Unless he takes the spot of an injured player, Hagadone isn't eligible to rejoin the club until Sept. 7. First baseman Matt LaPorta, sent down to Triple-A on Tuesday, can't rejoin the Tribe until Sept. 9.
Possible callups include: reliever Chen Lee, who is 4-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 20 appearances; reliever Zach Putnam, who is 5-3 with a 3.84 ERA and eight saves in 42 outings; infielder Luis Valbuena, who has made two tours with the Tribe this season; and first baseman Nick Johnson, a veteran first baseman who is batting just .206 in 52 games.