With eight days until the 2013 season begins in Toronto, the Indians announced most of their final preseason roster moves today. There are no big surprises, as the roster has been pretty much set for a while now. Jason Giambi will make the team in a reserve DH role, but he will start the season on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain. Putting Giambi on the disabled list allows the Indians to keep Carlos Carrasco, who is serving a six-game suspension for an incident with Billy Butler in 2011, before Carrasco was shut down for Tommy John surgery in September 2011. Giambi will be eligible to come off of the disabled list on April 9, which would send Carrasco back to Triple-A Columbus after his suspension is served.
Scott Kazmir's long road back to the Major Leagues will be complete, barring injury. The left hander won the final spot in the Indians rotation and will make his return to the bigs on April 6. All of the other candidates had already been sent to minor league camp, with the exception of Carrasco, who, as mentioned above, will serve a six-game suspension. Kazmir will not be added to the roster until April 6.
With Kazmir not being added until April 6 and the Giambi disabled list stint, the Indians will start the season with one additional bullpen arm. Once Kazmir joins the club for his first start, the Indians will have to make a move. That spot will likely go to Matt Albers. David Huff was informed that he was not making the team.
In the 13-man bullpen will be Nick Hagadone and Bryan Shaw, filling the two vacant spots. Hagadone will be the second lefty alongside Rich Hill. The right handers will be Shaw, Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano, Joe Smith, and Cody Allen. Matt Albers, who was acquired in the Trevor Bauer deal with Arizona, will likely make the team and be on the roster for the first four games of the season before Kazmir is added to the roster.
As far as position players go, Ryan Raburn will be the team's second utility man on the bench. The Indians sent Yan Gomes and Cord Phelps down to Columbus to round out the bench. Phelps had a terrific spring with the Indians, drawing the praise of new Indians manager Terry Francona, so he should be back at some point this season. The bench will have Mike Aviles, Lou Marson, and Ryan Raburn until Giambi is ready to return on April 9, at which point he will resume his role as a player/coach.
To recap, here is the 25-man roster:
Everyday players: Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn, Drew Stubbs, Lonnie Chisenhall, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis, Nick Swisher, Carlos Santana, Mark Reynolds
Bench: Mike Aviles, Ryan Raburn, Lou Marson, Jason Giambi* (as of 4/9)
Starters: Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brett Myers, Zach McAllister, Scott Kazmir* (as of 4/6)
Relievers: Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano, Joe Smith, Rich Hill, Cody Allen, Nick Hagadone, Bryan Shaw, Carlos Carrasco (to serve six-game suspension), Matt Albers*(likely until 4/6)
The one possible surprise on this list is Bryan Shaw. Shaw made the team despite having a minor league option. He reportedly had some of the best stuff in camp and has been very effective against right handers in his brief MLB career, holding them to a .235 batting average and striking out over 20 percent of right handed hitters.
In order to open up a roster spot, the Indians placed Frank Herrmann on the 60-day disabled list. Herrmann will miss the entire 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.