It was announced that Shelley Duncan has been recalled from Columbus and that Travis Buck would be sent down to Columbus as a result. Duncan is rejoining the team in time for the West Coast trip that begins today in San Francisco.
Duncan will be primarily used as a pinch hitter during this road trip, along with Travis Hafner, because of the lack of a DH in the NL. He is 4-7 this season as a pinch hitter, and always seems to do something productive whenever he is called on to hit.
Travis Buck is sent back to AAA after going over 20 at bats without a hit. He broke that slump on Tuesday, but he needs to improve his offense if he wants to win a permanent spot on the team.
Buck being sent down still leaves one player on the roster that does not belong there. I am talking about Austin Kearns. Kearns is a great person, who is happy to be in Cleveland. His son has autism and receives great care at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Autism. This is great for the Kearns’, but this is bringing his personal life into his baseball career.
Kearns is not a reliable player at the plate, and that was proven when he struck out to end the game on Tuesday after he was called on to hit in the bottom of the ninth. It is not easy for any player to come through with a game winning hit with two outs in the ninth, the most pressure filled spot in any game, but his at bat was not pretty. He struck out on a check swing on a pitch in the dirt, which is not acceptable in such an important spot in the game.
Kearns has only appeared in 30 games this year, and is hitting just above the Mendoza line at .207 with only 2 RBI. It would be useless to send Kearns to the minor leagues, so the only option would be to trade, or release him. The Indians traded him to the Yankees last season, but they ended up resigning him before this season began. It might be hard to find a team to trade him too, but since the Yankees took him last year, there must be one team who would give him a chance. If not, he must be released because he is not a reliable bench player to be called upon to get a clutch hit. That duty belongs to Shelley Duncan.