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House returns to Indians to make first start

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BALTIMORE -- On Tuesday, in the midst of the Indians' three-game sweep of the Tigers, T.J. House made the three-hour drive from Cleveland to Columbus, unpacked his bags and got ready to rejoin the Triple-A Clippers just three days after leaving them for the big league club for the first time this season.

He got a chance to sleep and woke up to a call from the front office.

"They called me and was like, 'Hey, can you catch a flight in two hours?'" House said.

After the Tribe's 13-inning, 11-10 win against Detroit on Wednesday, the Indians' bullpen was spent, Thursday's starter was forced into the game and Cleveland needed some reinforcements.

"I had no problem doing that," House said.

Josh Tomlin, who was originally scheduled to start on Thursday, pitched three innings and earned the win on Wednesday, but it left the Tribe in need of some shuffling. Justin Masterson went on short rest on Thursday -- he was initially slated for Friday -- and House will get his first Major League start on Friday. The rest of the rotation will remain in order, including Tomlin on Monday.

House made his Major League debut last Thursday, pitching a perfect inning of relief in a loss to the Athletics, and has gone 1-2 with a 2.40 ERA in seven starts with Columbus this year.

"You're certainly not going to define someone's career on one inning, but we loved his poise," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "Your first inning's tough. He went out there and hounded the zone and looked like he had been there."

The Tribe sent lefty reliever Kyle Crockett down to Triple-A and placed struggling starter Zach McAllister on the 15-day disabled list to make room for House and righty reliever Mark Lowe.

It's been a long road for House to his first Major League start, but his family will take arguably an even longer path to see him debut. Seven of his relatives will make the 15-hour drive from Mississippi up to Baltimore -- his brother-in-law doesn't fly -- to watch him debut.

As long he didn't have to pitch again Thursday night -- Francona said he is an option, but one he hopes to avoid -- they'll be there with almost as many miles logged as the day's starter.

"They told me you better know we love you for doing this," House said. "They came up to Baltimore last year when I got called up and I never got in."

David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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