TORONTO -- Jeremy Sowers' latest demotion to Triple-A Columbus was a brief one. Just two weeks after Sowers was sent back to the Minors, manager Eric Wedge announced Wednesday that Sowers will get the starting nod for the Indians when they once again need a fifth starter Saturday in Seattle. Tomo Ohka (0-4, 5.95 ERA), who had been filling in as a starter, will move to the bullpen, and the Indians will have to make a corresponding roster move, likely involving a reliever.
Sowers has made 10 starts for the Tribe this season, and he gained a reputation for struggling the third time through an opponent's order. For the season, he is 2-7 with a 5.11 ERA in 11 appearances. He has a .196 average against the first time through an opponent's lineup, a .244 average against the second time and a .558 average against the third time. Because of those numbers, it had been speculated that Sowers might be moved to a long-relief role. Instead, the Indians sent him to Columbus earlier this month to keep him stretched out as a starter. He was given extra time between starts around the All-Star break, and he made just one start for the Clippers since that demotion -- giving up five runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings in a loss to Syracuse on Sunday. The Indians still believe Sowers can be a successful starter at the big league level. "With such a shortage of starters in the game and for us as an organization," Wedge said, "when a guy has a chance to be a consistent starter at this level, you have to give him the opportunity to do that." Though the Indians have four off-days in the next four weeks, Wedge said the club will still need a fifth starter. Whether that fifth starter remains Sowers depends on his performance, the performances of the rest of those in the rotation and whether or not the Indians make a trade involving Cliff Lee or Carl Pavano. Also looming are the returns of Fausto Carmona and Jake Westbrook, both of whom could be in the rotation by early August. Westbrook, recovering from 2008 Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery and a setback suffered last month, will throw a simulated session Friday, and that could be his final step before going back out on a Minor League rehab assignment. As for the reclamation project that is Carmona, he had his strongest of four starts with Columbus on Tuesday night, allowing a pair of runs on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in seven innings in a loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It's still possible Carmona's next start will come in the big leagues, but the Indians are mum on the topic. "We haven't made any decisions yet," Wedge said. "But it was a good outing. It's nice to see him put together a couple at that level."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.