House back in minors

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 18, 2014

After five starts, Picayune’s T.J. House has been optioned back to the minors by the Cleveland Indians.

On Monday, he club returned the 24-year-old southpaw House to Triple-A Columbus and recalled reliever Mark Lowe.

About two weeks ago, House replaced Zach McAllister in the rotation when the right-hander landed on the disabled list with a lower back strain. McAllister made one rehab start for Class A Lake County and two for Columbus.

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McAllister is now expected to start for Cleveland against the Angles on Thursday. House is expected to start for Columbus either Thursday or Friday.

House went 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in five starts. He allowed 35 hits in 26 2/3 innings. In 10 starts with the Tribe this season, McAllister has posted a 3-4 mark and 5.89 ERA. Last year, he went 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA.

“It’s the business of the game, just the way it works,” House said. “Of course I want to stay, I want to stay the rest of the season. But at least this time I was able to open some eyes, really show what I can do and be in a much more confident position the next time I come back.”

This marks Lowe’s second stint with Cleveland this season. He fashioned a 2.08 ERA in four appearances spanning 4 1/3 innings last month.

The Indians will now have a nine-man bullpen, likely until Thursday, when they will need to make a roster move to create a spot for McAllister. After missing four weeks with a lower back strain, he pitched 4 scoreless innings for Columbus on Saturday, and should be removed from the DL and brought back to Cleveland on Thursday, in time to pitch that afternoon’s series finale against the Angels at which time Lowe will likely be sent back down.

McAllister had a 3.18 ERA and 2.58 FIP through his first seven starts, but was then hit hard in his next three games, giving up a whopping 17 earned runs in 7.2 innings, with 6 walks and 4 home runs allowed.

Indians manager Terry Francona said the performance of House lately made the decision harder “in a good way.”

“Regardless of where T.J. is, it’s nice to know that he’s in the organization, if you start him you feel like you can win,” Francona, in his second season as skipper of the Indians, said. “T.J. has come a long way from a kid who by all accounts had trouble handling his emotions on the mound to a kid that’s pitching in Fenway and stopping the bleeding and showing a lot of poise and has major-league stuff.”

Even though House failed to earn a win in his five starts, he kept the Indians in the game for the most part in every outing including twice against the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox.

He lost his first start against the Orioles then took no decision in his last four starts.