Picayune’s House makes MLB debut

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Picayune’s T.J. House made his Major League Baseball debut with the Cleveland Indians over the weekend.

House was called up by the Indians from AAA Columbus on Friday, He tossed a scoreless ninth inning in a 6-2 loss to Oakland at Jacobs Field.

House was called up to help Cleveland’s overworked bullpen, which pitched 7 2-3 innings in Friday’s 11-1 loss to Oakland. Zach McAllister, who struck out the side in the first, retired only one of the nine batters he faced in the Athletics’ eight-run second inning.

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The southpaw House replaced reliever C.C. Lee on the Indians roster, who was optioned back to Columbus.

Indians manager Terry Francona used four relievers to finish the game after going to the bullpen six times in Thursday’s 4-2 loss to Toronto.

House was 1-2 with a 2.40 ERA in seven starts at Columbus. He spent three days with the Indians last season, but didn’t appear in a game. The ERA is eighth in in the International League and opponents are hitting .235 against him.

“He’s a potential starter this year (in the big leagues) as things unfold because of the way he’s pitching,” manager Terry Francona said of the 24-year-old House, a 16th-round draft pick out of high school in 2008. “So, it will allow to get him here, see the atmosphere, kind of get the newness out of the way. That can only help.”

Right-hander C.C. Lee was optioned back to Columbus to clear a spot for House on the 25-man roster. Promoted April 9 to replace Vinnie Pestano in the bullpen, Lee posted a 4.76 ERA in 13 appearances. Francona said he was not demoted for performance issues, but because the Indians needed a fresh arm in the pen after Lee pitched Friday.

House, a former all-state standout at Picayune High, is the second former Maroon Tide player to play in the big leagues. Rhyne Hughes played for the Baltimore Orioles in 2010.

This is the second major-league stint in less than a year for House. He was called up last June 24-26 when the Indians were in Baltimore but did not appear in a game. Those games were at Camden Yards, so House made his on-field debut in Cleveland.

“It is fun getting to come up with the team that drafted you,” said House. “Getting to walk in the door and be with these guys it’s a wave of emotions. There are a little bit of jitters but you hope it works out for the best.”

House was told he was called up on Friday as the Clippers were headed to Syracuse. Since all the flights out of Syracuse were cancelled, he wasn’t able to catch a flight until Saturday morning from Rochester.

Bringing House up also marks the third member of the Clippers’ rotation to get called up. Josh Tomlin gets his third start of the season on Saturday and Trevor Bauer will be called up for Tuesday’s game against Detroit.

“I know what to expect of myself and the hitters. My off-speed has been a lot better. I’m attacking guys and being aggressive,” House said.

Francona said that he likes that House has been able to sink his fastball better along with improving his velocity.