Merritt allowed three runs (two earned) in 4.0 innings against the Twins in Saturday's win. He allowed seven hits and notched a pair of strikeouts in his spot start and was optioned after the game.
The Indians provided Merritt plenty of run support, staking him to a three-run lead before he even took the mound. Merritt was serviceable as a spot starter, but it was clear even before he was recalled Saturday that he wouldn't stick in the rotation beyond this outing. He'll head back to Triple-A Columbus as a starter and figures to stay there for the foreseeable future barring a rash of injuries to the Indians' rotation.
Merrit will start Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader against the Twins, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports.
The Indians have suggested throughout the week that Merritt would start one installment of the Tribe's upcoming doubleheader, and pitching coach Mickey Callaway has now confirmed that Merritt will take the ball for Game 1. Over 11 starts at Triple-A Columbus this season, Merritt has worked a 3.96 ERA along with a 1.44 WHIP across 72.2 innings. Saturday's outing with the Indians will likely be just a spot start, however, so look for Merritt to return to Triple-A later in the weekend.
The Indians transferred Merritt to Low-A Lake County seemingly in order to line him up for this start, so this announcement comes as little surprise. Merritt seems to be in line to take the nightcap against Minnesota. He holds a 3.96 ERA through 11 starts at Triple-A this season.
Merritt was transferred from Triple-A Columbus to Low-A Lake County on Monday, potentially putting him in line to join the Indians on Saturday to start one game of a doubleheader with the Twins, Zach Meisel of Cleveland.com reports.
With six games in five days this week, the Indians will likely recall a pitcher from the minors to join the rotation on a temporary basis, and Merritt seems to have emerged as the leading candidate. Merritt is slated to make a tune-up start Monday for Lake County, but the move to the low minors shouldn't be viewed as a demotion; instead, it would more easily facilitate the left-hander's potential call up to the big club later in the week. The 25-year-old has been unremarkable for Columbus this season with a 3.96 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 56 strikeouts in 72.2 innings, so he probably won't make for an appealing streaming option if he does indeed receive a nod for one game of the Saturday twin bill.
Merritt sports a 3-5 record this season with a 4.02 ERA and 1.45 WHIP over nine games (eight starts) with Triple-A Columbus.
Entering spring training, the 25-year-old had high hopes of making the Opening Day roster after a promising MLB debut in 2017, albeit in a small sample. Merritt's a starter and the Indians don't want him to transition into the bullpen right now, so he'll continue to develop at Columbus until a need arises in Cleveland.
|6/21/2017 vs Baltimore|
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|2012||ASX-Mahoning Valley Scra||3||4||4.09||14||14||0||0||0||66.0||82||42||30||3||1||17||40|
|2013||AFX-Lake County Captains||6||9||3.42||24||23||0||0||0||126.1||142||62||48||10||5||18||91|