CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona thought something was wrong when he spotted pitcher Brett Myers in the team's dugout at Progressive Field during Friday's win over the Mariners. Myers was scheduled to be in nearby Akron making a rehab Double-A rehab start.
"When I first saw him," Francona said, "I was like, 'Was there a screwup? Weren't you supposed to pitch?'"
Myers did pitch.
The right-hander just worked so swiftly and efficiently that he was able to make the trek back to Cleveland in time to catch the rest of the Tribe's game with his teammates. In three innings for the Aeros, Myers allowed no runs and one hit with one walk issued. He logged 33 pitches and then threw in the bullpen to build up to 50 tosses on the day.
Francona indicated that Myers would make another Minor League rehab appearance on Tuesday. After that appearance, which will likely include five innings and roughly 75 pitches, Myers might be cleared to be activated for Cleveland.
Myers, 32, has been on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow injury since April 20. The pitcher had complained of more soreness between outings than during the games he pitched. Under the circumstances, Myers was thrilled that he felt fine on Saturday following his first rehab appearance.
"I was fine and it feels good today," Myers said Saturday. "That's all that matters."
The Indians signed Myers to a one-year contract worth $7 million over the offseason, but he struggled out of the gate, going 0-3 with an 8.02 ERA and 10 home runs allowed in 21 1/3 innings (four games). Cleveland is hoping that Myers' arm injury is the only explanation for his early woes.
While Myers has been sidelined, the Tribe's rotation has gone 13-7 with a 3.93 ERA, and the team as a whole has won a Major League-leading 18 games.
"It kind of makes me think I was a bad luck charm," Myers joked. "The way they're playing now, it's kind of hard for me to come back and say, 'Hey, I want some of this.'"
Pestano adopting new routine to avoid injury
CLEVELAND -- Vinnie Pestano faced a tough situation in his first game back from the disabled list. On Friday night, the Indians setup man toed the rubber against the Mariners in the 10th inning with the score deadlocked.
Pestano would not have wanted it any other way.
"I'm glad there was a high-adrenaline situation," Pestano said. "You just kind of throw [me] right back into the fire."
Pestano got through his inning unscathed and Cleveland went on to capture a 6-3 win in the bottom of the 10th inning. It was a solid return for Pestano, who plans on adopting a new approach to his routine during prolonged stretches without appearing in games.
In the past, Pestano did not throw off a mound during slow periods of work. If he went three or four days without pitching in a game, the right-hander wouldn't throw off the hill in that time. Pestano believes, for the first time, the down time between outings might have contributed to the right elbow tendinitis that led to his recent stay on the 15-day DL.
"They think that may have been one of the reasons the elbow flared up," Pestano said. "If the situation arises where I go three days without throwing, I'll probably get off a mound, even if it's not in a game. It's just to keep throwing more consistently, so my arm doesn't have enough time to kind of regress.
"That's something I'm going to switch up going forward. ... It'll be able to stretch the arm, stretch that tendon, and make sure it's staying somewhat warm, even though there might be a lull or a slow stretch."
Pestano, 28, set a single-season team record with 36 holds last season, and the righty has been solid out of the starting blocks this year. Through nine appearances, the right-hander has gone 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA with nine strikeouts in nine innings.
Pestano said his elbow felt fine on Saturday.
"Not too bad. It's going to take me a couple outings to get back to neutral," Pestano said. "There's no discomfort, but still, not throwing for a couple weeks, your body just needs some time to build up that stamina, that strength again. And mechanically, you still feel a little out of sorts."
Highly-touted prospect Wolters transitioning to catcher
CLEVELAND -- Tony Wolters might have a locker inside the Indians' clubhouse in the future. On Saturday morning, the highly-touted prospect was only visiting.
Wolters, who is making the transition to catching this season after spending his career as a middle infielder, was in Cleveland for a one-day catching clinic. The 20-year-old prospect worked with bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and bullpen coach Kevin Cash -- both former catchers -- during his day with the Tribe.
"It's going really well," Wolters said. "I'm learning something new every day. It's fun. I like it a lot. You're looking at things from a different perspective, from a different standpoint on the field. I feel like it's making my overall game better."
Wolters opened this season with Class A Advanced Carolina, which is managed by former catcher Dave Wallace. The young player followed his initial stint in Class A with nearly two weeks in extended spring camp, where he caught for the first time in games. Wolters will rejoin Carolina on Sunday to continue his development behind the plate.
During Spring Training, Indians manager Terry Francona mentioned to Cash that Wolters -- a semi-regular fill-in during the late innings of Cactus League games -- reminded him of Tigers catcher Alex Avila in terms of his body type, hands and demeanor. Francona waited before bringing it up in a meeting that included general manager Chris Antonetti and vice president of player development Ross Atkins.
"I didn't really want to say anything to anybody," Francona said, "because he's one of the high-profile players in our system. About a week later, we were sitting in the conference room one day and I just brought it up. ... All of a sudden, Ross was like, 'Why would we wait, if this kid is up for it?' And when we talked to him about it, we kind of said, 'Hey, this is what we potentially see, but you have to be all in for this.'"
Wolters took the night to think it over.
"It took me a while to make the decision," Wolters said. "They put it in my hands, and I told them I'd do it, whatever makes it faster to what my end goal is. I was just glad that Terry saw that in me. We'll see how it goes, but I'm excited."
Wolters, a third-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, hit .260 with eight home runs, 30 doubles, eight triples, 58 RBIs, 66 runs and 126 hits in 125 games with Class A Carolina last season. The left-handed hitter bounced between second base and shortstop along the way.
"It's actually really exciting," Francona said. "He absolutely loves [catching], and he can always play the middle infield. And he will still do that. You have a left-handed-hitting guy that can potentially catch and play the infield. That's a rare commodity."
Quote to note
"You saw what it can do right there. I think Stubby stole a nice base. And then Bourny, he's just got to put it in play past the pitcher, and he's pretty much safe. Right there, it shows why speed kills sometimes and speed never slumps."
--Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, on Drew Stubbs' stolen base and Michael Bourn's infield single, which set up Kipnis' game-winning, two-out home run in the 10th inning of Friday's 6-3 walk-off win
• The combination of a first-place team, fireworks and dollar hot dogs on Friday night led to an announced attendance of 34,282, including a walk-up showing of 6,700 (sixth largest in Progressive Field history). It was an encouraging crowd, considering Cleveland entered Saturday ranked last in the Majors with 297,346 drawn through 19 home dates.
"Outside of Opening Day, I think that was our best crowd of the year," said Stubbs. "They were into the game. They were loud. They were energetic. We feed off that as players. We appreciate the home support, and hopefully they'll continue to come."
• Francona gave left fielder Michael Brantley a routine day off for Saturday's game against the Mariners. Utility man Mike Aviles got the nod in left. Francona noted that Brantley would return to the lineup to face Seattle ace Felix Hernandez on Sunday. Brantley has hit .353 (6-for-17) against King Felix in his career.
• Indians All-Star closer Chris Perez logged a clean ninth inning in Friday's 6-3, 10-inning win over the Mariners. Perez, who suffered mild discomfort in his right shoulder on May 12 and had not pitched since May 11, came away feeling fine after his one-inning outing against Seattle. Perez is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 6-for-7 in save opportunities in 14 games this season.
• Triple-A Columbus pitcher Danny Salazar was scratched from his scheduled start on Friday night due to soreness in his right shoulder, and he might miss a turn or two in the rotation. This season, Salazar has posted a 2.33 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings in eight appearances between Double-A Akron and Columbus.