CLEVELAND -- With only three games left until the All-Star break, eliminating the need for a full rotation, the Indians saw an opportunity to give pitcher Austin Adams his first taste of the big leagues.
Prior to Friday's game against the White Sox, Cleveland promoted the reliever from Triple-A Columbus and optioned left-handed starter T.J. House to the same affiliate. Adams learned he was heading to The Show on Thursday night and immediately called his girlfriend to share the good news.
"She didn't believe me," Adams said with a smile. "She thought I was lying."
Once a promising starting pitching prospect for the Indians, the 27-year-old Adams heads to the Majors as the newest member of Cleveland's growing relief corps. The right-hander has been dominant this season at Triple-A, spinning a 2.29 ERA with 35 strikeouts against eight walks in 39 1/3 innings. Prior to the promotion, Adams had not yielded a run since May 26 (a span of 17 1/3 innings).
Adams gives Indians manager Terry Francona 10 arms in his bullpen, though that number is expected to be trimmed back to nine on Saturday, when Cleveland plans on promoting Zach McAllister to start against Chicago.
The 24-year-old House, who started on Thursday against the Yankees, has posted a 4.40 ERA in nine appearances for Cleveland this season. Francona noted that House will pitch on Wednesday for Class A (short-season) Mahoning Valley prior to rejoining the Indians for a start against the Twins on July 21 in Minnesota.
Thanks to the four-day All-Star break, House technically will not miss a turn in the MLB rotation.
"He's pitching right when he was supposed to pitch," Francona said. "We can get a look at Austin. He's had a terrific first half of the year. We supplement our bullpen and get a look at him, let him get his feet wet. I think it works and it's kind of win-win. This is not an indictment on T.J. We were going to do it anyway."
Selected in the fifth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft by the Indians, Adams earned his first invite to Major League Spring Training in 2012. That season, though, the righty sustained a right shoulder injury that required surgery and kept him sidelined for the entire year. Adams returned as a reliever in 2013 and has excelled in the new role.
Over the past two seasons as a reliever, Adams has posted a 2.48 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings.
"Last year was a big stepping stone," Adams said, "just being healthy all year and placing myself [back] on the map. Now, I feel like I've done a good job of staying healthy and showing I can still compete."
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.