TORONTO -- When Jesus Aguilar learned he was being promoted to the Indians, the first baseman quickly made two phone calls. First, Aguilar shared the good news with his wife. He then called his mother, Maria, in Venezuela.
"I said, 'Hey, your son is going to play in the big leagues,'" Aguilar said Thursday. "She was very excited. She was crying. It was a great moment for my family."
Prior to Thursday's game against the Blue Jays, Cleveland called up the 23-year-old Aguilar from Triple-A Columbus to take outfielder Nyjer Morgan's place on the active roster. Morgan sustained a sprained right knee Wednesday and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Aguilar was in the sixth spot of the starting lineup as the Indians' designated hitter for his Major League debut Thursday. With both Morgan and left fielder Michael Brantley (back tightness) out of the mix for the finale of the three-game series, Ryan Raburn manned left field. Utility man Mike Aviles also offers depth at the position.
During Wednesday's 15-4 rout of Toronto, Brantley exited after the top of the fifth inning, but is only considered day to day with the injury. Morgan took over for Brantley in left field and slammed his knee on the turf while trying to track down a double off the bat of Toronto's Adam Lind in the bottom of the fifth.
Morgan, who had a brace on his leg and left on crutches as a precaution Wednesday night, was flown back to Cleveland, where he will undergo an MRI to further evaluate the extent of the injury. In 15 games as a reserve outfielder for Cleveland this season, Morgan has hit .341 with one home run, six RBIs and eight runs scored.
"When he went after that ball in left field," manager Terry Francona said, "you could tell he was kind of trying to maybe dive and he got caught in between, and then he kind of got in an awkward position. He said the next time he ran is when he felt like a little pop, so we got him out of the game. ... We'll get him imaged. We put him on the DL. We'll see where that takes us. When we have information, we'll certainly tell you guys."
Aguilar hit .275 with 16 home runs last season for Double-A Akron, while also setting the franchise's single-season record with 105 RBIs. Aguilar carried that success into his stint in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he hit .327 with 18 homers and 50 RBIs in 58 games for Caracas.
This year, Aguilar hit .298 with seven home runs, eight doubles, 18 runs and 20 walks in 37 games for Triple-A Columbus, where he also turned in a .395 on-base percentage and a .519 slugging percentage. He has hit just .182 in 13 games in May after posting a .356 average in 24 games in April.
"He got real hot in April. That happens," Francona said. "When a guy gets called to the big leagues for the first time, I don't think it matters what he hit the last week. He's going to be geared for God and pretty fired up. Hopefully he'll get a big hit or two to help us win a game."