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Tribe encouraged by McAllister's sim game

Tribe encouraged by McAllister's sim game

CLEVELAND -- Indians starter Zach McAllister was back on the mound at Progressive Field on Friday. It was only a simulated setting with Class A hitters in the batter's box, but Cleveland was nonetheless encouraged by what it saw from the right-hander.

McAllister, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list with what the Indians have described as a lower back strain, worked through 60 pitches in a simulated game prior to Friday's game against the Rockies. Barring a setback, the righty could be cleared for a Minor League rehab assignment as soon as Wednesday.

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"He's obviously feeling healthy. His execution was unbelievable," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "He felt really comfortable with where he was at. We'll plan on a bullpen session and kind of plan from there. We'll send him out on a rehab if he continues to feel good."

Callaway said the Indians had McAllister throw 30 fastballs without a break before beginning to mix in his other pitches over the simulated game's final 30 throws, which included a break in the middle. Class A Lake County batters Shane Rowland and Brian Ruiz stood in to give McAllister some hitters for the workout.

If everything goes according to plan, the 26-year-old McAllister would throw off a mound in a bullpen session on Monday. The right-hander could then make a Minor League rehab start on Wednesday, when Lake County is the lone affiliate playing a home game. McAllister could potentially be slotted back into Cleveland's rotation after that one outing.

On the season, McAllister has gone 3-4 with a 5.89 ERA through 10 starts for the Indians, who saw the right-hander go 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA in 24 starts in 2013. After opening this season 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA through four starts, during which he held opponents to a .655 OPS in 23 2/3 innings, McAllister went 0-4 with a 9.51 ERA in the six starts (.919 opponents' OPS in 23 2/3 innings) leading up to the DL stint.

"He just couldn't get the ball down," Callaway said. "When he was going good, he kept the ball down and was getting ahead down in the zone. Those last few starts, he was just up, up, up and it led to a lot of pitches. He was slowing down and wasn't finishing his pitches.

"[The trip to the DL] was probably an opportune time for him -- the way he pitched his last few outings -- to step back, get where he wanted to be health-wise and probably mentally, too."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Alec Shirkey 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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