CLEVELAND -- Tony Sipp's perfect seventh inning on Saturday night was his fourth consecutive appearance without allowing a hit. It may be baby steps, but it's still progress for a pitcher who has struggled for much of the season.
"It's good to see," manager Manny Acta said. "We need him big, especially since [Rafael Perez] isn't back yet. The main thing is, [opponents have] been pinch-hitting and stuff, and he's been getting some right-handers."
Sipp used to be a reliable left-handed guy out of the bullpen for Acta. Acta could go to him to get a lefty out in a key situation or if one of his back-end pitchers needed a day off.
But Sipp hasn't been the same consistent pitcher this season. After posting a 3.03 ERA with 24 holds in 2011, he entered Sunday's game against the Rays with a 5.72 ERA in 33 appearances.
Sipp struggled to come up with a reason for his inconsistent results this season.
"I'm going out there with the same stuff that I had," Sipp said. "This sport will humble you. Some days, you can go out there with the same stuff that you have, and it doesn't work.
"It's really frustrating. Being any type of professional athlete, you're used to [having] more success than you have downfalls. It's been a new experience for me, to say the least. It's just more frustrating because you know you're better than the results that you're putting out there. It was a trying time. You can definitely tell what you're made of in the trying times. Now, it actually helped me out, because now I know, even if I do struggle a little bit, everything comes in phases."
With Sipp's recent success, the Indians are hopeful they've found an answer to their left-handed bullpen issues. Cleveland optioned Nick Hagadone to Triple-A Columbus on Saturday because of his struggles, and the Indians have yet to find a reliable option in that role.
"I hope he's building his confidence and I'll have the guy I've had here for the last three years," Acta said.
Hagadone placed on disqualified list, has surgery
CLEVELAND -- Indians reliever Nick Hagadone, who was optioned to Triple-A Columbus prior
to Saturday's game, was placed on the Minor League disqualified list on Sunday. General manager Chris Antonetti said Hagadone suffered a self-inflicted injury to his pitching hand when he punched something after being removed from Friday's game against the Rays.
The Indians said on Thursday that Hagadone underwent surgery to repair his fractured left radius, which is in the forearm area below the wrist. A screw was inserted and he is expected to be sidelined 8-10 weeks.
Antonetti said on Sunday that the team is working with Major League Baseball and the Players Association to determine a long-term placement for Hagadone. The pitcher will not be paid while he's on the disqualified list.
"We're certainly disappointed with the reaction to it," Antonetti said. "He was certainly very frustrated coming out of the game. We certainly would have wished he would have handled it a little differently."
The left-handed Hagadone struggled mightily in June and July after a strong start to the season. He had a 14.00 ERA in his last 11 appearances at the big league level, including the one on Friday in which he allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning.
The Indians replaced Hagadone on the active roster by recalling left-hander Scott Barnes from Columbus prior to Sunday's game.
Duncan thinks Tribe doesn't need to deal
CLEVELAND -- Much has been made throughout the season about the Indians needing to make a move for an outfielder before the July 31 Trade Deadline. Every time a right-handed hitter is rumored to be on the market, the Indians seem to come up in conversation.
Manager Manny Acta has said publicly that he would like to see the team bring in somebody to help the Indians compete for the American League Central title. But left fielder Shelley Duncan, who has been one of Cleveland's top hitters recently, doesn't think the team needs anything. Duncan pointed to Saturday night's game, when the Indians started three bench players and produced seven runs, as an example.
"We have the talent," Duncan said. "A lot of people out there always talk about bringing in new people, getting a bat and all that stuff. But the guys we have on this team, we honestly feel from the bottom of our hearts, we don't need that. We don't need that at all. I just hope every time we get a shot like that [on Saturday], that it shows we don't need it."
Duncan continued his recent tear at the plate with a two-run homer in the eighth inning, his fourth home run in his last five starts. Duncan entered Sunday's game hitting .370 (10-for-27) with four doubles, four home runs and nine RBIs in his last nine games. He's raised his batting average from .194 to .222 during that time.
Duncan credited the extra playing time he received during designated hitter Travis Hafner's time on the disabled list for his improvement at the plate.
"It took a lot of stress off being perfect, and I just started swinging it, and relaxing," Duncan said. "That's what happens."
Duncan has struggled at times this season as he adjusts to not being an everyday player. He went hitless for a stretch of six consecutive games (11 at-bats) in June, and he seemed to be struggling with the mental part of the game.
In recent weeks, though, Duncan has gotten back to what helped him be successful early in the season. He's taking more pitches now, which has allowed him to get into more hitter-friendly counts. Duncan worked a 10-pitch walk in the second inning on Saturday night, starting the Indians' offensive rally.
"I know guys, when they get into slumps, they want to get two or three hits in one at-bat," Acta said. "It's about confidence. Everything is about confidence. Guys get into some bad spots, and they need to come out of it by making adjustments. Right now, his confidence is sky-high, and he helps us."
Quote to note
"There's always a sense of urgency. Every game that passes is a missed opportunity."
--Antonetti, on whether there's a sense of urgency to make a deal before the Trade Deadline.
Perez (left lat), who hasn't played since April 25, could begin a Minor League rehab assignment in the "next couple weeks," according to Antonetti.
Antonetti said he is still actively working the trade market to make an upgrade to the current team. He said the Indians would be able to take on some additional salary in a potential deal if they needed to.
"I have not limited our focus on potential acquisitions by their contract status," Antonetti said.
Allen Goebel, a 91-year-old Indians fan who attended the third MLB All-Star Game at Cleveland Stadium in 1935, threw out the first pitch before Sunday's game.
Justin Albers is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.