Right-hander Josh Tomlin had never complained about soreness in his right wrist prior to doing so on Tuesday. After the discomfort persisted over the past few days, Cleveland not only scratched him from his scheduled start on Saturday, the club placed him on the 15-day disabled list prior to the game against Boston.
"That's not a normal area for him," head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said on Saturday at Fenway Park. "We monitored it daily, and what was clear was that he wasn't going to be in a position to make his start today, and most likely unavailable for a start five days later."
As part of a flurry of roster moves this weekend, Cleveland recalled right-hander Zach McAllister from Triple-A Columbus to temporarily assume Tomlin's spot in the rotation. The Indians had optioned utility infielder Jason Donald to Columbus on Friday in favor of purchasing the contract of veteran infielder Jose Lopez.
To clear room on the 40-man roster for Lopez, Cleveland designated Minor League outfielder Nick Weglarz for assignment.
Tomlin's stay on the DL is retroactive to Tuesday, meaning he would be eligible to be activated on May 23. The right-hander is currently in Cleveland, where he underwent an MRI that revealed inflammation of the soft tissue in the back of the wrist, and he will wear a removable splint for the next seven days.
Hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham will check on Tomlin periodically over the next week to monitor the recovery.
Tomlin last pitched on Monday, in the second game of a doubleheader against the White Sox, and he worked through a steady rain during his 7 1/3 innings at Progressive Field. It is not clear what exactly led to his injury, but one theory is that the rain forced him to use a tighter grip that night.
"We encouraged Josh to jog his memory a bit," Soloff said. "The only anomaly for him was [that] there were a couple of pitches where the ball slipped out of his hand. On subsequent pitches, he tells me, and he told [pitching coach Scott Radinsky] as well, that he was gripping the ball a little more tightly so that wouldn't happen. That's the only anomaly there from start to start.
"The guy is obviously an intense competitor. He's doing what he needs to do to get hitters out. I think even that subtle modification may be an underlying cause, but it's speculation at this point."
Tomlin is 1-2 with a 4.67 ERA in six appearances (five starts) this year, with 27 strikeouts against just seven walks. He has given up 18 earned runs on 36 hits in 34 2/3 innings.
McAllister is coming off his first Major League win, having beaten the White Sox on Monday in the first game of that same doubleheader.
McAllister allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk while striking out five over six innings. He made four starts for the Tribe in 2011 and went 0-1 with a 6.11 ERA. He's gone 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA in six starts for Columbus this season.
McAllister was Cleveland's 26th player on the roster for the doubleheader -- a new stipulation in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement -- and was not subject to the 10-day rule for players sent down to the Minors.
Lopez, who was designated for assignment on May 1, had not been at Triple-A for 10 days but technically will assume Tomlin's spot, as players can be promoted prior to the 10-day mark in the event of an injury on the Major League roster.
Donald -- a backup for second base, shortstop, third base and the outfield -- hit just .178 in limited playing time through the season's first six weeks.
Lopez, who was on the Opening Day roster, can provide right-handed depth for first, second and third base, as well as at designated hitter. He hit .190 with one homer and three RBIs in five games for the Tribe earlier this year. At Columbus he hit .522 with four doubles and four RBIs in five games.