Merritt has an uphill climb to grab a rotation spot in spring training, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.
As of now, it seems like the southpaw is behind Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger for one of the final two spots in the starting rotation. One positive for Merritt is that he's out of minor-league options, meaning the Indians would have to pass him through waivers if he isn't on the 25-man roster. Additionally, his numbers in the majors (1.74 ERA, 1.7 BB/9 last season) and minors (3.03 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 last season) both work in his favor. Despite this, he still seems to be behind the other candidates in the pecking order heading into the spring. Merritt likely will need to overachieve in Cactus League action if he wants a rotation spot.
Merritt (2-0) recorded the win in the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Yankees, allowing only one run on five hits and two walks over 5.1 innings while striking out one.
The 25-year-old lefty continues to give Cleveland excellent performances whenever they need to plug him into the rotation, and Merritt now has a 1.74 ERA through 20.2 big-league innings this year. His 7:4 K:BB limits his fantasy value, however, and it's fair to wonder just how long he can keep it up before major-league hitters finally figure him out. If Danny Salazar (elbow) is able to rejoin the team next week, Merritt will likely move to the bullpen for the final weeks of the season.
With rosters set to expand Friday, Merritt could end up sticking around with the Indians after the spot start, but it's fully expected that he'll transition to the bullpen, especially with the news that Josh Tomlin (hamstring) is on track to come off the 10-day disabled list this weekend. Merritt has previously made three starts for the Tribe this season, accruing a strong 1.86 ERA over 14.1 innings, but allowing opposing hitters to reach base at a .349 clip.
Merritt will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus to start Game 2 of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Yankees, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.
Tuesday's game was postponed due to rain, creating a need for Merritt to join the Indians' rotation for a spot start. He'll start the second game of the twin bill, with Trevor Bauer starting Game 1 and Josh Tomlin (hamstring) pushing his return to the rotation back to Sunday in order to accommodate the new schedule. Merritt held his own in his spot start earlier in the month, tossing 6.2 scoreless innings while striking out three batters. Since he's slated to serve as the 26th man for the twin bill, Merritt will likely be returned to Columbus following the start, but he will be back soon enough when rosters expand in September.
Merritt was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Saturday.
With Josh Tomlin (hamstring) expected to come off the DL before the end of the month, Merritt is no longer needed in the rotation, so he'll head back to Columbus after tossing a 6.2 scoreless innings in a spot start against the Royals on Friday. He now owns a 1.76 ERA across 15.1 innings (four games, three starts), so expect him to return in a long-relief role in September after rosters expand.
|10/5/2017 vs New York|
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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|