CLEVELAND -- It has been more than a year since Josh Tomlin pitched for the Indians. The right-hander is back with the team as part of September callups, following a comeback from Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow, and patiently awaiting his return to the mound.
Tomlin knows his time will come.
"I'll get in there eventually. I'm not complaining," Tomlin said with a smile on Sunday morning. "We're winning. I mean, don't get me wrong, I want to pitch, but they're doing a pretty good job right now."
Part of the problem is that Tomlin is a man without a clear role at the moment.
Cleveland's rotation, which included Tomlin for much of the past two seasons, is maxed out and the team's bullpen boasts 15 arms right now. Tomlin is available out of the bullpen as a long reliever, but there is no firm schedule for when the right-hander might appear in a game.
When Tomlin does toe the rubber again for the Tribe, it will mark his first big league action since Aug. 12 of last season. After that ill-fated performance against the Red Sox, who pounded him for seven runs, Tomlin was shelved and eventually underwent reconstructive elbow surgery on Aug. 22.
Tomlin spent the bulk of this season rehabbing and looked strong in his return to Minor League games, posting a 1.65 ERA with 21 strikeouts and no walks in 27 1/3 innings across 10 appearances. In that sense, Tomlin's comeback has already been a success, and the pitcher plans on laying low this winter in preparation for next season.
"I'll go home, try to get strong and get ready for 2014," said Tomlin, who went 12-7 with a 4.25 ERA in his best season with the Tribe in 2011. "I went through this process and didn't have any setbacks or anything like that. I feel like I've progressed pretty quick."