Outfielders Michael Brantley and Shin-Soo Choo and right-handers Carlos Carrasco and Josh Tomlin all ended the season on the 60-day DL. By rule, they had to be placed back on the 40-man roster once the offseason began in earnest. Choo, Brantley and Tomlin are expected to be ready for the start of next season, but Carrasco will likely miss the 2012 season recovering from the Tommy John surgery he had in September.
The Indians will be able to make room again on their roster by placing Carrasco back on the DL before Opening Day. Until then, however, he counts on the roster.
By removing Crowe from the roster now, the Indians create space for more offseason moves later. They'll have to set their roster in terms of prospects later this month for Minor Leaguers they need to protect from the Rule 5 Draft.
Crowe spent the vast majority of 2010 in Cleveland, but was limited to just 15 games with the Indians this season in an injury-shortened campaign. He returned from right shoulder surgery to go 6-for-28 (.214) with a double, two RBIs and three stolen bases in as many attempts, but then strained his left shoulder in late September. That injury isn't expected to linger.
Crowe turns 28 years old later this month. The former first-round Draft pick is not eligible to become a Minor League free agent.