ARLINGTON -- While trotting around the bases in the fifth inning on Sunday, Indians outfielder Ryan Raburn closed in on third and felt something smack him in the neck. Upon inspection of instant replay, it appeared Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera removed something from his mouth and tossed it in Raburn's direction.
Call it Gum-Gate.
"I'll ask him what he threw next time we play them," Raburn said with a laugh on Monday. "If it was gum, it hit me right in the neck."
Sitting at his locker inside the visitors' clubhouse at Rangers Ballpark, Raburn made it abundantly clear that he was in no way upset with Cabrera over the incident. Raburn, who played with Cabrera in Detroit over the past five seasons, actually got a kick out of the third baseman's antics.
"Miggy's my buddy," Raburn said with a smile. "It was kind of funny, because it kind of messed up my stride a little bit and I almost missed third base. He's always kidding around, doing something. He's just a big kid."
Cabrera threw the gum (or sunflower seed?) at Raburn after the Cleveland utility man belted a solo home run to break up the no-hitter that Tigers lefty Jose Alvarez carried into the fifth inning. Earlier this season, Raburn was hit by a pitch from Detroit starter Rick Porcello in his first game back in Detroit with the Indians.
"I guess I left a bad taste in their mouth," Raburn joked.
All kidding aside, Raburn said he has nothing but respect for Cabrera.
"Miggy's a good dude," Raburn said. "He just has fun every time he goes out there. ... But when he's in that batter's box, with the feel he has, when that pitch is coming, it's time to go to work. But he's not afraid to be himself and make jokes and have fun. He's a character. It was always fun playing with him and being a teammate of his."
Indians get infielder McDonald from Pirates
ARLINGTON -- The Indians have brought back a familiar face to help shore up their backup shortstop role.
On Monday, Cleveland announced that it has acquired veteran infielder John McDonald from the Pirates in exchange for a player to be named and/or cash considerations, giving the Tribe an experienced shortstop to back up Mike Aviles while starter Asdrubal Cabrera is on the disabled list.
Cabrera suffered a strained right quad while running to first base in the fifth inning against the Yankees on June 3. The two-time All-Star shortstop is expected to be sidelined for at least another two or three weeks, according to Indians manager Terry Francona.
Cabrera is currently working through a rehab program back in Cleveland.
"He's actually doing a pretty good job," Francona said on Monday. "Today he was sitting in a chair playing catch, trying to keep his arm going. He's been in the [pool], pretty aggressive in the water, and even doing some dry-land semi-squatting. He's doing a pretty good job.
"He's champing at the bit, which is good," He's a ways away, but he's doing really well. He's kind of taking it as a challenge."
Through 53 games this season, Cabrera has hit .254 with five home runs, 18 doubles and 25 RBIs for the Indians. Aviles is currently serving as the regular shortstop while Cabrera is out. Juan Diaz was called up on Tuesday, when Cabrera was placed on the 15-day DL, but did not appear in a game for Cleveland. The Indians have not announced the corresponding roster move to add McDonald to the active roster, but in all likelihood Diaz will be optioned back to Triple-A Columbus.
To clear room on the 40-man roster, the Indians transferred injured starter Brett Myers to the 60-day disabled list. Myers has been out since April 20 with an injured right elbow.
The 38-year-old McDonald can help provide a sound defensive option off the bench.
McDonald has spent parts of 15 seasons in the Major Leagues between stints with the Indians, Blue Jays, Tigers, D-backs, and Pirates. He was taken in the 12th round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft by Cleveland and spent parts of the 1999-04 seasons with the Tribe. McDonald has hit just .237 in 970 career games, including a .065 mark in 16 games this year with Pittsburgh, but his primary skill has always been defense.
Tomlin visits team as comeback continues
ARLINGTON -- Josh Tomlin has spent the past two months going through the tedious rehab process that follows Tommy John surgery. On Monday, the Indians pitcher received a kind of break, getting the chance to be with his teammates in Texas for this series against the Rangers.
Tomlin has been looking forward to this series all season.
"This is the part you miss the most," Tomlin said, "Being able to compete and hang out with these guys. Going through the grind with them every day is what it's all about. Not being able to do that is kind of tough."
Tomlin, who had his right elbow surgically repaired in August, will head back to Cleveland's training complex in Arizona on Wednesday to continue his rehab program, which includes throwing four times each week. His weekly schedule includes a pair of 60-pitch bullpen sessions throwing only fastballs and changeups for the time being.
On Tuesday, Tomlin will throw off the mound in a bullpen session in front of Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway and head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff.
"Back in Spring Training, we kind of decided that this would be a good time for him to pop in," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It'll kind of give him a little pick-me-up before he gets back out to Arizona, and it lets him being around the guys a little bit. They love seeing him."
Tomlin, 28, enjoyed a breakout season with the Indians in 2011, when he went 12-7 with a 4.25 ERA across 26 starts. Last year, the right-hander went 5-8 with a 6.36 ERA in 21 appearances before going under the knife on Aug. 21. Tommy John surgery typically requires 12-18 months of recovery, and Tomlin said his hope is to be cleared for a Minor League rehab assignment before the end of this season.
"That's the goal," Tomlin said. "I haven't had any setbacks, thank God. It feels good, for sure. The rehab process is what it is. There's a reason why it's set this long and a reason you do the things you do -- so you don't have any setbacks. For me, it's understanding the process takes a year and not trying to do too much to try to push it."
Francona calls team meeting after Sunday's loss
ARLINGTON -- Indians manager Terry Francona is not one to call a team meeting for the sake of calling a team meeting. His goal is to find the moments throughout a long season when he believes gathering his players for a chat can benefit the ballclub.
One of those times came after Sunday's loss to the Tigers.
Francona had a brief meeting with the team following the defeat -- the seventh loss in a row and 15th in a span of 19 games for the Indians -- to let his players know how much he believed in them. The manager said his message was that he believed in them when the club was enjoying its torrid stretch in May and he feels the same way even after the team's recent struggles.
"I let them know that I feel that way," Francona said. "[My message was] pay attention to detail. I think the sum of our parts is good enough to be a really good team. Sometimes, it's human nature that you try to do too much. We do believe in them. Even through a stretch like this, I think I feel as good about this team as I did two weeks ago.
"I think we're going to weather it and I think we're going to figure it out and get better."
• Indians first baseman/right fielder Nick Swisher was dealing with some soreness on Monday after fouling a pitch off a knee during Sunday's game, according to Francona. Swisher was still in Monday's starting lineup as Cleveland's right fielder for the game against Texas. Francona said Raburn was "on alert" in case Swisher needs to be removed.
Francona added that it was good to see Swisher snap out of his 0-for-26 slide at the plate with a single during Sunday's game in Detroit.
"Yeah," Francona said. "I'd love to be smart enough to understand, because when you think about it it shouldn't matter. But, it does. Those type of things can get in your head a little bit. So I think everybody relaxes a little bit [when it's over]."
• Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, who is two games into a seven-game suspension, threw off a mound on Monday at Rangers Ballpark. Callaway noted that Carrasco would likely throw a two- or three-inning simulated game against Minor League hitters on the team's off-day Thursday. Cleveland can bring Carrasco back to start on June 17 or 18.
• According to the Associated Press, Indians closer Chris Perez and his wife Melanie pleaded not guilty on Monday to misdemeanor possession charges after marijuana was mailed to their rental home in Rocky River, Ohio. There is a court date is set for June 19, though Perez and his wife have requested that a requirement to be present at the hearing be dropped.
• The Indians entered Monday having lost 11 straight road games. That marked the longest road losing streak in one season for the team since 2009. Cleveland noted on Sunday that the previous losing road streak of at least 11 games occurred in 1991, but the club issued a correction on Monday.
Quote to note
"Be consistent. I think whatever personality you have, you have to stay that way. If you're a yeller, you yell. You've just got to be consistent, because it's a long year. If you go up and down, I think you're asking your team to do the same thing."
--Francona, on the role of a manager during a losing streak