New faces join Tribe for Jays series

New faces join Tribe for Jays series

ST. PETERSBURG -- One guy is finding his form, another has found his health, and both are coming back to the big leagues to help the Indians find their way in a lost season.

When the Indians open a three-game set with the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre on Friday night, right-handed starter Anthony Reyes and right-handed reliever Brendan Donnelly will be with them.

Reyes, in fact, will get the starting nod, two weeks after the Indians acquired him in a trade that sent Minor League reliever Luis Perdomo to the Cardinals. Donnelly, signed to a Minor League deal so that he could rehab after Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in the organization, will have his contract purchased from Triple-A Buffalo.

"I'm excited," Reyes said. "Every time you get a chance to pitch in the big leagues, it's exciting. I'm going to go up there and show them what I can do, and hopefully I can stay."

Reyes and Donnelly are two arms the Indians want to evaluate for their 2009 decision-making.

"It's a good time to get them up here," manager Eric Wedge said.

To make room for the pair of pitchers, the Indians will place Matt Ginter on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain and option reliever Tom Mastny to Buffalo. Ginter suffered the strain during his start against the Twins on Sunday and was slow in recovering.

Even if Ginter had stayed healthy, it's likely the Indians would have turned to Reyes at some point this month. The Indians acquired him in the hope that he could put his struggles in the St. Louis rotation and bullpen behind him and help out their rotation going forward. Thus far, he's responded at Buffalo, with a 2-0 record and a 2.77 ERA in two starts.

"The thing he's done in both outings is maintain his fastball velocity throughout," pitching coach Carl Willis said. "From what I'm hearing in Buffalo, he's a very competitive kid who competes well."

Reyes, 26, was once considered the Cards' top prospect, and he won Game 1 of the 2006 World Series.

Donnelly also has championship experience. He is a former All-Star reliever with the Angels. He had a 1.58 ERA in 2003, serving as the setup man to Troy Percival.

Donnelly first strained his elbow in 2004 and kept pitching with it. The injury finally required the ligament replacement surgery in early 2007, and the Indians signed Donnelly before Spring Training this year.

After rehabbing in Winter Haven, Fla., for several months, Donnelly made two appearances at Class A Kinston and six at Buffalo. With the Bisons, he went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA, striking out five and walking one in six innings.

"So far, everything has been feeling good," Donnelly said. "I've kind of been treating these games as a Spring Training for me, working on different things each outing, all while competing and trying to get people out, execute pitches. Each time it seems like it's been getting better and better and stronger."

Donnelly had an out in his contract that was set to expire, so the Indians had to move on him or risk losing him. And while the Indians have no contractual claim to the 37-year-old Donnelly beyond this season, they want to get a look at him now to know if he is worth pursuing for 2009.

"I'm sure that goes both ways," Wedge said with a laugh.

Pitching matchup
CLE: RHP Anthony Reyes (2-1, 4.91 ERA)
Reyes owns a career Major League record of 10-24 and ERA of 5.38 in 53 games, including 38 starts. He has never faced the Jays.

TOR: LHP David Purcey (1-2, 8.35 ERA)
The good news: Purcey allowed just three hits in his last start. The bad news: All three hits were home runs. Purcey started out hot, facing the minimum through three innings and striking out four of the nine batters he faced. He faded fast, though, allowing five runs the next two innings -- all on home runs -- before departing. Purcey will try to keep his pitches in the park in his next start Friday against the Indians, whom he's never pitched against.

Tidbits
Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera is day-to-day with a left ankle sprain that is not considered serious. ... Jhonny Peralta had his second five-hit game of the season Wednesday against Tampa Bay. He is the first MLB player to have two five-hit games this year. The Cubs' Mark DeRosa last did it in 2007. The last -- and only -- Indians player to do it was Joe Carter in 1986. ... Franklin Gutierrez's leadoff homer Wednesday at Tropicana Field was the seventh leadoff homer for the Indians this season, setting a new club record. ... Veteran catcher Sal Fasano appeared at first base Wednesday. It was his first time at the position in exactly three years.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• STO-HD

On radio
• WTAM 1100

Up next
• Saturday: Indians (Paul Byrd, 6-10, 4.72) at Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 13-8, 2.77), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Indians (Cliff Lee, 15-2, 2.58) at Blue Jays (TBD), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Monday: Indians (Fausto Carmona, 5-4, 4.46) vs. Orioles (Chris Waters, 1-0, 0.00), 7:05 p.m. ET

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.