Indians call up Tyner from Triple-A

Indians call up Tyner from Triple-A

CLEVELAND -- Jason Tyner has become an Indian, and he's glad about it.

Not that Tyner was expecting to return to the big leagues Sunday, not after how he'd performed thus far this season.

"I had a bad April," he said. "But I was hitting pretty well the last two weeks."

His improvement caught the attention of the Indians, and when manager Eric Wedge decided that reliever Tom Mastny couldn't get enough work to stay sharp in the Majors, the club decided to add another outfielder, and Tyner was Wedge's choice.

The Tribe bought Tyner's contract from Triple-A Buffalo.

"It's another left-handed bat," Wedge said of Tyner after the Tribe's game with the Blue Jays was rained out Sunday. "He gives us speed on the bases. He's experienced, and he's experienced in our division."

Tyner, who was with the Bisons in Rochester, N.Y., when he heard of his callup, arrived at Progressive Field a short while before Sunday's game was scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. ET. He dressed and was ready to play, but rain didn't allow the Mother's Day game to be played.

He said he hadn't heard how Wedge planned to use him.

"I came up as a center fielder," Tyner said. "That's probably where I've played the most in the Minor Leagues. But in the big leagues, it always seemed like we had a center fielder everywhere I went. ... I just had to kind of learn to play left and right."

Tyner, 31, had spent the entire season with the Bisons, where he hit .234 (22-for-94) with 16 runs scored, four doubles, one homer and seven RBIs in 31 games. He also had six stolen bases in six attempts and 13 walks against just six.

After his April struggles, he's been swinging the bat well. He was hitting.370 (10-for-27) in May, with an RBI in eight games.

Tyner was also batting .254 (16-for-63) against right-handed pitchers. Tyner was a non-roster invitee to Major League camp this spring after the Indians had signed him Feb. 21 to a Minor League free agent contract.

"I wanted to sign with a team that had a chance to win the World Series, a team that's trying to win," he said. "I always liked playing here, and I thought this was a good fit."

Tyner, who'll wear No. 16, spent the entire 2007 season in the big leagues with the Twins and hit his first Major League homer last July in Progressive Field.

Mastny, who spent a good part of the '07 season with the Tribe, had been with Indians since April 15, but he appeared in just two games.

Justice B. Hill is a senior writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.