Knee woes lead to Morgan's release by Tribe

Tomlin recalled; rookie outfielder Holt optioned to create roster space

Knee woes lead to Morgan's release by Tribe

CLEVELAND -- Nyjer Morgan brought energy and offense during his brief stint with the Indians early this season. An unfortunate knee injury led to an extended stay on the disabled list, ending Morgan's season and ultimately leading to his release.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the Reds, the Indians activated Morgan from the 60-day disabled list and promptly released the veteran outfielder, making him a free agent. Cleveland also recalled right-hander Josh Tomlin from Triple-A Columbus to start against Cincinnati.

"He's not going to be available for the rest of the year," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Morgan. "So, [general manager Chris Antonetti] talked to him, and it was a mutual cutting of the cord."

To clear room for Tomlin on the active roster, the Tribe optioned rookie outfielder Tyler Holt back to Columbus. During his two stints in the Majors, Holt's locker had "T. Hush" written on tape over his nameplate. That was a play off Morgan's alter ego, "Tony Plush."

The 34-year-old Morgan made Cleveland's Opening Day roster as a non-roster Spring Training invitee, giving the club insurance while center fielder Michael Bourn dealt with a left hamstring injury. Bourn is again on the 15-day DL with a hamstring issue, but Michael Brantley has handled center and Cleveland acquired Chris Dickerson in a trade with the Pirates last month to play left.

In 15 games with the Indians this season, Morgan hit .341 (14-for-41) with one home run, six RBIs and eight runs scored. The outfielder's stellar start with the Tribe hit a serious snag on May 14, when Morgan sprained his right knee on an awkward catch attempt during Cleveland's 15-4 road win over Toronto.

"He really helped us," Francona said. "He gave us a spark, especially at the beginning of the season when he was playing center field and leading off. He was getting on base a ton. It was unfortunate for him that that happened, because I think he felt like he had a lot to prove. He came back and was proving it."

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.