CLEVELAND -- The good feelings that typically overtake a clubhouse after a victory quickly dissipated on Tuesday night for the Indians.
Word swiftly spread that former setup man Vinnie Pestano had been optioned to Triple-A Columbus to clear a roster spot for left-hander Marc Rzepczynski, who was acquired in a trade with the Cardinals. The news that Pestano, one of the team's leaders and a staple in the bullpen, had been demoted served as a shock for many of his teammates.
"It reminds you that it's still a business," said Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis.
Indians manager Terry Francona said there is always a concern that a tough decision like that can have a negative impact on the clubhouse.
"We do worry about stuff like that," Francona said. "I think our guys know by now that we all care about our players. We also care about our team, we care about the organization, and when we have to make a difficult move like that, we try to do it respectfully, and we try to have good reasons for doing it. That's about the best you can do."
Indians sidearmer Joe Smith, who recently took over the eighth-inning duties for Pestano, had no doubt that his fellow reliever would do everything in his power to get back to the big leagues as soon as possible.
"We've all been there. Every one of us," Smith said. "Everybody knows the Vinnie Pestano that's been around here for the last two years. He's been lights-out. If anything, he's carried our bullpen. Right now, he's kind of on a roller-coaster ride this year. It happens. We've just got to pick him up.
"Knowing Vinnie, he's just going to take it as a chip on his shoulder and he's going to go down there and he's going to work his butt off to get back up here.
Kipnis, who is a close friend of Pestano's, had been rooming with the pitcher this season.
"We hung out last night as he packed up his stuff," Kipnis said. "As anybody who gets sent down, [he was] obviously frustrated with the way things are going. He hasn't been getting much innings lately."
Kipnis said he hoped that the trip to the Minors, which will help Pestano get regular work, will help the right-hander regain a strong comfort level on the mound. The second baseman added that he did not think the move would have a negative impact on the clubhouse in the long run.
"You obviously hope it doesn't," Kipnis said. "I think we're close enough and we have a group of guys in here where it shouldn't allow that [to happen]."