Talbot Strains Back in Indians Loss

By: T.J. Zuppe

Mitch Talbot left Thursday night’s game against the New York Yankees after only two innings of work, with a mid-back strain. He was relieved by Rafael Perez as the Yankees went on to badger the Indians’ bullpen to the tune of 11-4 at Progressive Field.

Indians Pitcher Mitch Talbot

More important than the score, was the status of Talbot who has been one of the most consistent pitchers for the Indians this season.

“I tried to work through it but it didn’t go away,” Talbot said of the pain he was experiencing. “On a pitch I kind of stretched it out a little bit and it tightened up after that.”

“It was a little sore and stiff”, Talbot added. “To come out (of the game) I didn’t like that at all, but you got to do what you got to do.”

“He wanted to give it a try, because he wasn’t having any arm problems and he knows the situation of our bullpen.” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “We didn’t want to take any chances. We could tell when he was out there, he wasn’t feeling very comfortable.”

He was looked at by the Indians’ training staff, and will get a MRI-scan Friday, on his back to make sure it is not more serious than a strain. He was walking around following the game in the clubhouse, and said he was not experiencing any pain in the problem area.

He is listed as day-to-day.

Talbot’s line for the evening against the Yankees was only two innings, giving up a run on one hit, striking out one and walking four batters, in his shortest outing of the season. It was the second-straight night where an Indians starter failed to get past the third inning, with Fausto Carmona falling victim to the Yankees the night before, giving up seven runs in 2.2 innings.

Due to the overworked bullpen over the last couple of nights, the Indians are expected to bring in help for the series in Toronto, Acta said following the game. He would not elude to who would get the call for bull-pen help, and the decision will be made following a get-together with the coaching staff and front office.

Other Notes:

Andy Marte; New Tribe Closer?

Infielder Andy Marte was just as surprised as everyone in the ballpark when he got the call to pitch the ninth inning on Thursday night, against the Yankees. Mostly because he had never pitched, not just in the big-leagues, but ever.

“(Acta asked) have you ever pitched before, and I said no, and he said be ready,” Marte said. “I said are you sure?”

Give credit to Marte, who did the smart thing when he was informed he would pitching the final inning of the game. “I looked for Carmona right away, and asked him to teach me how to pitch and how to grip it,” Marte said. “He tought me the sinker.”

Marte pitched a full inning, retiring the side in order, and also striking out Yankees’ outfielder Nick Swisher for the second out. After Swisher swung through the 86-MPH fast-ball of Marte, he gave a sly smile to the mound, almost as if to say, “Okay, you got me.” Marte flashed a half-grin back in approval.

He started out pitching from the stretch, but after getting a feel for the mound, he worked from the windup, and even managed to top-out at 88-MPH on the radar gun at Progressive Field. Marte admitted later he had to sneak a peek at the pitch-speed section of the scoreboard.

“I thought I was going to face A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez), but it didn’t happen.” Marte added.

He also revealed, he attempted to throw a cutter during his inning of relief work. That pitch almost hit Yankee second-baseman Robinson Cano. Despite his inability to throw anything other than a fastball, he still brought the remaining crowd of Indians fans at the park to their feet when he recorded the final out of the inning, a line-drive to third-base. His performance brought on cheers of “Andy” from the sections behind home plate.

Marte had fun with the experience, but he made it abundantly clear, he hopes he never has to head back the mound ever again. If it is up to Acta, he hopes he never has to as well.

“That’s something I don’t like doing,” Acta said. “I feel that looks like a mockery of the game.”

Marte was the first non-pitcher to pitch in a ballgame since former Indians’ catcher Tim Laker took the hill in April of 2004, against the Kansas City Royals. He became the 21st position player to pitch for the Tribe in the teams’ existence.

Follow T.J. Zuppe on Twitter @TJZuppe

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