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Bourn activated from DL, Morgan optioned to Columbus

Bourn activated from DL, Morgan optioned to Columbus
Nyjer Morgan (Photo:
April 15, 2014
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The Cleveland Indians today announced that they have activated outfielder Michael Bourn from the 15-day disabled list and optioned outfielder Nyjer Morgan to Triple-A Columbus.

Bourn has been on the 15-Day disabled list since March 30 after injuring his left hamstring on March 16 vs. the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale, AZ.  He appeared in five games on a rehab assignment between Columbus and Double-A Akron April 5-13 and went 3-for-20 at the plate.

Morgan has been more than a capable temporary fill in while Bourn was injured hitting .348 with 0 homers, 4 RBI, 3 steals and .834 OPS with a 7-4 walk to strikeout ratio in nine games. He had a .484 on-base percentage and did everything expected out of the leadoff spot while Bourn was away.

This is an interesting move to send down arguably the Indians best hitter through the first two weeks of the season. Keeping him on the roster would have meant the Indians would carry four left-handed hitting outfielders, so it was not the best fit; however, he had been such a good tablesetter that the thinking was the Indians might see him through and try and continue to play him regularly against right-handed pitching to see if he continues to perform. He now goes to Columbus as immediate outfield depth.

The move shows that had Bourn not been injured this spring that Morgan would not have made the team out of spring training. It also is a signal that even some early season success at the plate may not be enough to keepLonnie Chisenhall in Cleveland when Jason Giambi is activated from the disabled list later this week.

User Comments

April 18, 2014 - 1:46 PM EDT
and that makes two commenters who didn't say he was permanently moved there.. no point made.. but the illusion of a disagreement thwarted.. how childish...
April 16, 2014 - 10:42 AM EDT

I don't believe Carrasco's hold on his rotation spot has as much to do with how Tomlin and Bauer pitch in AAA (especially Tomlin) as it does with how he himself pitches. If Carrasco were to rebound and start throwing some quality starts, don't really need to drop him. But if he keeps struggling to get past 5 and is giving up 5+ runs....well, may not matter how Tomlin/Bauer are pitching...Tribe may feel forced to make a move.
April 16, 2014 - 10:39 AM EDT
Yes...coming out of the pen due to the off day and being permanently moved there are two different things....hence why I never said he was permanently moved there ;)
April 16, 2014 - 10:29 AM EDT
Coming out of the pen due to an off day and being permanently placed into the pen are two very different things.. sad..
April 16, 2014 - 9:38 AM EDT
If you look at the Indians web site, Carrasco is currently schedule to start on Sunday against the BlueJays. Before Carrasco is considered to be removed from the rotation , the Indians will need to see how Bauer and Tomlin do in there next 3-4 starts in Columbus. The weather has also screwed up the Clippers rotation.
April 16, 2014 - 8:59 AM EDT

Had Bourn not gotten hurt...would Morgan have been rostered and optioned to AAA? Or would the Tribe have risked him opting out and just moving on?
April 16, 2014 - 8:57 AM EDT

My comment about Carrasco to the pen was not premature at all. Francona has already said he is in the pen and wouldn't make his next start. He is not in the pen full-time though. Simply with the off day on Monday allowed the Tribe to skip their 5th starter. Don't want Carrasco to not pitch for 10 days so potentially getting him a little work out of the pen makes sense.

As far as Blake Wood...he has a minor league option left so he doesn't have a choice in going to AAA if the Tribe decides to send him down to work on his command. Agree his spot on the roster is far from secure right now.
April 16, 2014 - 8:31 AM EDT
Moving Morgan takes the rostered outfield capable players from eight to seven. Starters Brantley, Bourn, Murphy/Raburn are augmented/relieved with Aviles, Johnson and Swisher. Brantley's ability to go get em in CF puts the kibosh on Morgan. When Giambi is ready to go, the two spots currently held by Elliot Johnson and Blake Wood will be in danger. Every spot EJ plays is backed up ably by the Goon Squad...Blake Wood's hold on a roster spot is tenuous, at best, as he has been remarkably inconsistent with his command. He might be willing to stay with the club by taking a minor league assignment to work his way back to the majors. This path may be the best way for him to get back to being a ML level pitcher...

Hermie's comment about Carrasco being moved to the pen may be a bit premature. Two or three starts, cold weather, inconsistent schedule/routine can take any pitcher out of the rhythm that breeds success. CC-Lite, being this high strung SP, is especially vulnerable. The move to the pen would become more permanent this time around. It's doubtful the Indians would be willing to commit him to the pen this early in the season...
April 16, 2014 - 4:00 AM EDT
Rich, have you not been paying attention? Santana is NOT going to be a full-time DH, period. We need to stop fantasizing about Carlos being happy as a DH; he just turned 28 the other day and has shown he can play third, and you think he'll simply accept being a DH, something he hates to do? The truth is, Chisenhall is not helped by playing a few times a week here and there; if the team is bound and determined to add Giambi to the roster, Chisenhall has to go somewhere he can play everyday or he's being cheated out of a possible career himself.
Joe Chengery
April 15, 2014 - 11:45 PM EDT
I wonder if Morgan had some idea he was going to be optioned to Columbus! Remember what he said the other day, "I'm just holding down the fort until Bourn returns."

Virtually all of us thought that he meant he'd return to the bench, but I wonder if the Indians gave him a heads-up ahead of time that he would be heading to Columbus when Bourn returned. Otherwise, this move probably would catch him (and others) by surprise and could create some bad feelings between him and the organization, especially with the way he has played in Bourn's absence as compared to others (including several regulars- Cabrera, Swisher, Kipnis, Santana) on the roster.
April 15, 2014 - 9:29 PM EDT
A prime example of why the Indians have not won a World Series since 1948. Dumb & Dumber roster moves.

You can't fix stupid.
April 15, 2014 - 6:54 PM EDT
"if they follow suit and ignore performance to date then Chisenhall is going down for Giambi. Wow." - Tony

Yeah, ignoring performance and sending both Morgan and Chiz down while keeping Johnson and Giambi on the 25 is insane. Chiz finally has a good month (Sep13) then follows it up by hitting .400 in the early going and they send him down??? Crazy, unless they are doing it just so he can hit against lefty pitching and hopefully improve enough to be an everyday player.

I'd have Chiz at 3rd, Gomes catching, and Santana at DH every day. I'd bring up Katteras to spell Gomes and I would offer Giambi a coaching job. Aviles would play 3rd against especially tough lefties.
April 15, 2014 - 6:33 PM EDT
I was not a Morgan Or Murphy fan but as I watched the games played, I became a fan. Murphy seems to be getting it together and the more I watch Morgan the more I was impressed by his hustle and drag bunts. I was upset that Michael was moved from left field to allow Mike A to play and Morgan was sent to pines. You always need that person who can get things going
like Morgan, hey 348 battling not too bad. I really cannot see
Big G making the full season with so much talent that we have
now. I wish Big G would have retired last year since that year
will never be matched. He has been such a good player.
I think that Wood should be sent down and keep CC mainly due to the way CC has pitched. I think that Carrasco could take Wood place in pen and bring up Trevor or Josh. I think that playing everyday is hurting Swish and J K. We have options?
April 15, 2014 - 5:47 PM EDT
You've got to watch this:

Another reason we should have kept Francouer.......or maybe not
April 15, 2014 - 5:40 PM EDT
Johnson may not be good, but he sure is VERSATILE!!! Keep him around, maybe sign him long-term!
Jeez, the guys who have done anything offensively are the first ones in line to be Clippers!
William Shatner
April 15, 2014 - 5:18 PM EDT
Absolutely stunned! Move of the year! Takes nads to send down Morgan instead of Johnson, since they'll both be a force in this roster for years and years and weeks and weeks and days and days and...maybe...they won't. Stunning!

Wow, the Indians really suck!

Morgan instead of Elliot Johnson. NO, NO, NO!!!!

Some of you have to get a life.

Denny Crane.
April 15, 2014 - 5:18 PM EDT
Count me in as all for Kottaras taking Johnson's spot....
April 15, 2014 - 5:02 PM EDT
I don't see Giambi being the one to gets Johnson off the roster. To me the guy that is slotted to potentially replace Johnson on the roster (and 40-man) is Kottaras, so we might see that move later this month. In the meantime, it just comes down to whether Francona sticks with his belief he needs an 8-man pen. Will be interesting to see what he does.
April 15, 2014 - 4:46 PM EDT
" If the Indians have a pinch running need for Santana, Giambi, Murphy, Raburn etc late in the game I am pretty confident he will turn to Johnson a large percentage of the time over Aviles."

Well the Tribe had Santana on 2nd in the 8th innings a couple days ago with Johnson on the bench and nothing came of it.

I am very confident that a large percentage of the time Francona will choose to do nothing vs pinch running. Same with pinch hitting and defensive replacements. Just how Francona is.
April 15, 2014 - 4:44 PM EDT
If the Tribe gets a couple solid starts from McAllister and Salazar the next two days I don't see how you keep 8 guys in the pen. You will have 9 in there tomorrow with Carrasco likely available too.

You will be coming off 2 off days....rotation and pen will be rested. Worst case if things go bad you bring back Pestano, Hags, Price, or Barnes if you need another pen arm. Wood or Lee needs to go down IMO for Giambi.

I know some are saying Chiz...and anything is possible, but with Morgan gone I don't see why you don't just start Chiz everyday at DH vs RHP. Giambi can be what he is...a bench bat. If you send down Chiz for Giambi...then what? You start Giambi against RHP? Start Raburn everyday? Heaven forbid start Johnson?
April 15, 2014 - 4:44 PM EDT
Won't disagree that Aviles is as good a runner, but Francona likes these specialists. If the Indians have a pinch running need for Santana, Giambi, Murphy, Raburn etc late in the game I am pretty confident he will turn to Johnson a large percentage of the time over Aviles.
April 15, 2014 - 4:41 PM EDT

Johnson is not our only late inning pinch run option. Aviles is just as good if not a better runner than Johnson.

Moot point IMO as Francona rarely if ever seems to use pinch runners late. Has had options this year to use them and just sticks with his starters.

Not saying you're wrong on Johnson sticking around...but don't think it has anything to do with this baserunning. Francona simply has a versatility fetish.
April 15, 2014 - 4:37 PM EDT

Morgan was added to the Pirates roster in November of 2006. He was optioned the first time at the beginning of the 2007 season. Was then optioned a 2nd time during the 2008 season.

After that he was never optioned down as far as I know, or if the Nationals did he didn't stay down for the required 20 days for it to count.

This is how he had an option left.
April 15, 2014 - 4:32 PM EDT
Morgan leaving pretty much nails home that Johnson is going nowhere. Now Johnson is the only real late inning pinch running option they have to sub in. I am no Johnson fan at all either. Would rather someone else take his roster spot, but I think he might be the Rich Hill of last season who inexplicably sticks around all season.
April 15, 2014 - 4:28 PM EDT
Morgan is a good insurance policy. If Bourn get hurt again he is back with the Indians. He also becomes trade able for teams that need a CF. The fans down here in Cincy feel that Hamilton is over matched not polished to handle the job of CF on everyday basis.
April 15, 2014 - 4:24 PM EDT
If they do want to keep 8 guys in the bullpen, I'd actually be happy to see them drop Johnson. He plays a lot of positions, but what's the point? They already have Aviles to back up Kipnis and Asdrubal, and they have Santana and Chisenhall (and Aviles) at 3b, so why do they need a no-hit utility guy? I think this would've come down to Johnson or Morgan, both could be a pinch runner, Morgan would be better for that role and is a better hitter and better player ... might be where Morgan's personality comes into play, they don't want to deal with any Tony Plush-induced headaches when he's not going to be able to get more than a couple at bats/pinch running appearances
April 15, 2014 - 4:22 PM EDT
I am stunned as well. Morgan did everything he was asked to do very well- Honestly after watching him for a couple of weeks, he does everything as well or better than Michael Bourn does. He's a better contact hitter, hits more gappers, tracks balls better in the outfield, has a good arm, better base stealer, even if a half step slower. He plays winning baseball-and the attitude is contagious. Without him the Indians would be another couple of games below .500 right now, IMO
April 15, 2014 - 4:12 PM EDT
Wood should go down for Giambi, but that's not the vibe the Indians are giving, especially after this move. It will be interesting to see what happens and if they send out Wood or Chisenhall.....or shoot, they might just send out Wood and add another pitcher on top of that. Or move Carrasco to the pen if he struggles in his next start and call up Bauer/Tomlin. Should be an interesting week.
April 15, 2014 - 4:06 PM EDT
I think Blake Wood will go down for Giambi. If one of your bench bats is Elliot Johnson, and another is a 43-year-old pinch hitter, then an 8-man bullpen is a luxury you can't afford.
April 15, 2014 - 4:03 PM EDT
The Mets had to outfielders getting hurt in yesterdays game. Both Granderson and Lagares. Possible trade partner for Morgan? I doubt they would take Bourn.
April 15, 2014 - 3:58 PM EDT
Kind of stunned about this move. I felt that Morgan was a tough fit on the roster because the starting outfield is all left-handed - which is why I never though he would make the team out of spring training - but after two good weeks I might have looked past that and seen him through. I actually think this move hurts Chisenhall's chances of sticking. It is clear that Morgan made the team because Bourn was hurt and Chisenhall made the team because Giambi was hurt, and if they follow suit and ignore performance to date then Chisenhall is going down for Giambi. Wow.
April 15, 2014 - 3:55 PM EDT
How did Morgan have options left? I had assumed he had none.

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