Tribe’s Otero makes rehab start for Scrappers
By Brian Dzenis
Dan Otero dipped his toe in uncharted water.
The Cleveland Indians’ reliever made a rehab start for the first time in his eight-year Major League Baseball career, pitching for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers Monday night at Eastwood Field.
Otero threw just 14 pitches during the Scrappers’ 6-5 win versus the Hudson Renegades. Eleven of those pitches went for strikes and he gave up a double and had a strikeout while facing three batters.
“I felt good. I was a little upset that I couldn’t get through the inning, but there were some foul balls and I was told that I couldn’t go over a certain number of pitches,” Otero said. “We were able to put up a zero and that was good.”
Otero, who is on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation, will head back to Progressive Field in Cleveland for additional rehab work. On Thursday, he’ll have another rehab outing with the Akron RubberDucks and if all goes well, he’ll be back in the Indians’ clubhouse.
Otero has been durable up to this point in his career. The last time he missed games due to injury was in 2009 when he underwent Tommy John surgery while in the San Francisco Giants’ minor league system. This season with the Indians, Otero has thrown 23.2 innings across 20 games with a 0-0 record and an ERA of 4.56.
Injury aside, he was upbeat about spending time in the Scrappers’ clubhouse.
“I think it was cool. I was talking with the coaches about all the young guys that have come up and helped us like [Zach Plesac or Oscar Mercado] — I’m sure there’s more guys that I’ve been forgetting,” Otero said. “It’s fun seeing young guys make the big leagues and it’s fun to come back here and see guys grind it out at the lower levels because it’s a game and it’s fun.
“You see how excited they are to go out and play and I try to cherish that,” Otero said. “I’m still trying to play the game as long as I can even though I’m on the older side because it’s a kids’ game.”
The game was decided on Michael Cooper’s walkoff single with the bases loaded.
“That’s something that defines the character of this team,” Scrappers manager Dennis Malave said. “We’re going to continue to battle and play every single pitch no matter no matter what the score shows.”
Jake Miednik finished out Otero’s inning by coaxing a groundout from Hudson’s Jacson McGowan. Ethan Hankins took over for the next four innings and kept the Renegades scoreless despite giving up four hits and three walks with no strikeouts.
George Valera’s solo home run and Henry Pujols’ two-run homer, plus a sac-fly from Randall Delgado helped the Scrappers (15-16) build a 4-0 lead by the fifth inning.
That lead was up in smoke by the seventh inning. Luis Trevino hit a three-run home run in the sixth and an RBI triple from Garrett Hiott in the seventh tied the contest. Hiott came home on McGowan’s sac-fly to give the Renegades the lead.
Korey Holland hit a one-out triple to right field to score Pujols in the bottom of the ninth before Cooper sealed the victory. Tim Herrin picked up the win by throwing a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts.