Vinnie Pestano and Elliot Johnson make Tribe’s 25-man roster

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Vinne Pestano

Vinnie Pestano may have spent last fall as an outsider looking in, but he will get a chance at redemption this summer as the right-handed reliever has officially made the Cleveland Indians’ 25-man roster. Pestano was told this weekend that he will be one of the arms in the Tribe’s bullpen on Opening Day—a spot that was all but certain heading into Spring Training.

Last season, the fan favorite was on the disabled list with arm issues and spent a good portion of the season in Columbus with the team’s Triple-A affiliate. When the Indians won 10 straight games and made the postseason, he was not on the team’s roster. Coming off what was easily the worst year in his career, Pestano has a 1.50 ERA in six appearances this spring. (He’s allowed just one run in six innings with five strikeouts and two walks, holding opposing hitters to a .100 average.)

“I worked hard in the offseason and I’ve work hard this spring to get back to get back on the right track to where I was,” Pestano said to the local media. “But there is still work to be done. Just because I’m on the Opening Day roster doesn’t mean you’re going to be there down the stretch. I found that out last year.”

It is assumed that Cody Allen will receive eighth inning duties to start the season, a role once held by Pestano. Losing Joe Smith via free agency, Pestano’s resurgence will be integral in the team’s late-inning success.

Also given a spot on the team’s Opening Day roster is utility man Elliot Johnson. Johnson, who came to camp on a minor-league deal, is hitting .350 (14-for-40) this spring. He’s hit two doubles, two triples, two homers and eight RBI, flashing considerable power that may have him admitted to the Goon Squad if he can show it’s sustainable. Indians manager Terry Francona has used him all over the infield and outfield, providing more flexibility in the way of Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles in 2013.

Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Paul Hoynes reports that Tribe GM Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona also talked to several other players, telling them where they stood and that a final decision on their status with the big league club had not been made. Outfielder Nyjer Morgan and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall were reportedly among them.

The Tribe starts their season in Oakland one week from Monday.

  • Al DiFranco

    Forgive the editor in me, but if it were me as the writer I would appreciate this…it’s “Goon Squad” not “Good Squad” :)

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Scott @ WFNY

    No need to ask for forgiveness—especially given the way you presented it. I’m not sure how that happened. It’s now fixed.

  • Harv 21

    Feels like barring an injury Chiz will be raking in AAA again. Now that teams have a book on him not sure what value he brings to the team. Wish he could tinker and adjust his approach. On the other hand, if it were that easy there would be a whole lot more sweet-swinging, left-handed hitters who could handle major league breaking balls.

  • Garry_Owen

    Kenny Lofton would like to correct your comment, and says it was a 3-4 “postseason” game.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    “I’m not sure how that happened,” suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure!! ;-)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Nyjer Morgan also made the 25 man roster. I’m guessing due to Bourn’s leg issue. Not a good sign if so.

  • Steve

    The kid is about to have his age 25 season, and despite it not looking pretty, has a not-awful 94 OPS+. There’s value there.

  • Pat Leonard

    Elliot Johnson… this year’s Ryan Raburn? WHY NOT??

  • Jason Hurley

    John Madden here: “Well, you see, what happened is, he probably hit the ‘d’ key when he meant to hit the ‘n’ key. Common thing, really, when you’re typing a sports blog. Boom!”

  • Jason Hurley

    I’m glad for Vinnie P. I hope he’s the same guy as 2 years ago, because I feel certain Axford is going to implode by May.

  • mgbode

    and Chiz would like to ask Kenny how many 92 win Indian teams he played at least 1/2 the games?

    answer: 3 (’95, ’96, ’99)

    So, Lonnie just has 2 more seasons to go to catch Mr. Lofton. Doesn’t that number feel low? Sure feels low, but that’s what it is.

  • Garry_Owen

    I’m hoping Ryan Raburn is this year’s Ryan Raburn.

  • mgbode

    the ’13 slump from previous stats is what is likely concerning most along with the past hopes for guys like LaPorta.

    I think he has value, but temper it by hoping Santana is up to the task of 3B vs. LHP that have given Lonnie such troubles.

  • Pat Leonard

    Dream big! Ryan Raburn can be this year’s Joey Votto!

  • Garry_Owen

    And hope Joey Votto is this year’s Mark Reynolds?

  • Pat Leonard

    The world is our oyster!

  • Garry_Owen

    Great. Typical Cleveland luck. Right when we get oysters, it happens to be a month that has an “r” in it.
    Thanks.

  • Steve

    Same here. Raburn had at least proven he could hit well for some stretches in previous seasons, but he’s far from a guarantee. Meanwhile, Johnson has never been able to hit MLB pitching well.

  • Steve

    Agree it’s concerning, and that I like how they have him covered. But I do think you have to run Chisenhall out there almost everyday, even against a few LHP. Show some confidence in him and let him develop, and make sure he’s not worrying that a bad week is going to get him sent down.

    But even if I don’t like how they handle him, at this point I can’t help but trust that Tito will know how to manage him to get the most out of him.

  • Harv 21

    agree with this: they can’t see if he’ll develop if he doesn’t play regularly. He was a Antonetti/Shapiro first rounder so they certainly will give him every chance to pan out. Maybe he needs the hitting coach equivalent of Mickey Callaway. Or maybe he’s just classic 4A. Reports are he’s made the team. I just don’t see him as confident or skilled enough to improve while playing only periodically.

  • mgbode

    I assume he is a defense-only backend substitute. In other words, at least he’s better than Johnny Damon. I don’t expect much if anything from him. In fact, I have much higher hopes for Nyjer Morgan.

    How has Nyjer looked btw?

  • Steve

    Yeah, Johnson is a guy who can fill in defensively all over the field, and is a good baserunner. He’s an idea late inning fill in after someone has taken their last AB of the night.

    I’d say Morgan has looked like the 4A depth option that he is. Assuming Bourn isn’t out a long time, he should be adequate enough.