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Tribe freshens 'pen with House, options Lee

Tribe freshens 'pen with House, options Lee

CLEVELAND -- The Indians added a fresh arm on Saturday to breathe some life into their beleaguered bullpen.

Prior to their game with the A's, the Indians promoted left-hander T.J. House from Triple-A Columbus, giving him a second shot at a Major League debut. House assumed the roster spot vacated by right-hander C.C. Lee, who was optioned to Triple-A.

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In the ninth inning of Cleveland's 6-2 loss to the A's on Saturday, House made his Major League debut with one scoreless frame. The lefty induced a groundout from Nick Punto and, following an error by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, got an inning-ending double-play groundout off the bat of Alberto Callaspo.

"It's fun getting to come up with the team that drafted you," House said before the game. "It'll be seven years on August 15th. So, finally getting to walk in the doors and be in this clubhouse and be around these guys again, it's a wave of emotions. It's excitement and a little bit of jitters in there. I'm hoping it all works out for the best."

House joined Cleveland for three days in Baltimore last season (June 24-26) as insurance for the pitching staff, but he did not appear in a big league game. This season with Columbus, the lefty has posted a 2.40 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 41 1/3 innings, with 34 strikeouts against 11 walks.

The 24-year-old House -- a 16th-round pick by the Indians in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft -- has worked as a starter throughout his Minor League career. With the Indians, though, the lefty will provide an additional bullpen arm, considering the relief corps has worked a combined 11 2/3 innings over the past two games.

"He can go multiple innings and he's been throwing the ball really well," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Sometimes, it serves a [purpose]. T.J., he's most likely a potential starter this year as things unfold, because of the way he's pitching. So to allow him to get here and see the atmosphere, kind of get the newness out of the way, that can only help."

Cleveland currently has nine relievers, but the team is expected to promote right-hander Trevor Bauer, ranked third among prospects in the organization by MLB.com, from Triple-A Columbus in the coming days for a start on Tuesday against the Tigers. At that point, it is likely that House, or another reliever, will be optioned to Triple-A to clear a spot.

Lee, 27, has posted a 4.76 ERA in 13 appearances this season for the Indians. Across 11 1/3 innings working in middle relief, the right-hander has given up 11 hits (two home runs), while recording 11 strikeouts and three walks.

"I think we all think C.C. is going to be a guy that ends up pitching fairly late in the game for us," Francona said. "I think at every level C.C.'s been, it's taken him a little while to kind of feel like he belongs. This is no different."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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