CLEVELAND -- Babe Ruth was "The Sultan of Swat." Early in his career, Zach McAllister seems to be the sultan of spot starts.
The right-hander will pitch the first game in Monday's doubleheader against the White Sox. McAllister made four starts for the Indians last season. His Major League debut on July 7, 2011, came in place of an injured Roberto Hernandez. His next two outings came in the nightcaps of twin bills. Manager Manny Acta awarded him one, final start on the last day of the regular season.
In all, McAllister posted an 0-1 record and 6.11 ERA. He compiled a 4.50 ERA in three Spring Training appearances while falling short in a competition for the No. 5 spot in the Tribe rotation.
"Last year was good for me, a good learning experience," McAllister said. "It helped with my confidence and let me know I can pitch up here. Spring Training was good, too. I was very happy with how I did in the spring, and I'm looking forward to continuing that success."
McAllister said he embraces making spot starts, as he feels less pressure knowing that he'll likely return to Triple-A following his outing.
"I'd rather know that than have it be up in the air," McAllister said. "I can go out and try to do everything I can to help the team win, and compete and make an easy choice for them next time when the situation comes around again. It's something where I just want to go out and be successful and accomplish what I can and whatever happens, I'm going back down regardless, whether I throw a perfect game, no-hitter or give up 10 runs."
Asdrubal impressed by Rangers' Andrus
CLEVELAND -- Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera said he doesn't watch much baseball outside of studying game video.
He has, however, been impressed by Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus. Entering Sunday's action, the 23-year-old had played 25 career games against the Tribe, and had a hit in every game.
"He's really good. He's a good shortstop," Cabrera said. "He's a good hitter, too. To me, it looks like he plays really hard."
Andrus and Cabrera have plenty in common aside from the position they share. Both hail from Venezuela, both made their Major League debuts at a young age (Andrus was 20; Cabrera was 21) and both have made one All-Star appearance. Both are on the ballot again this year, and have made strong cases through the season's first month.
Cabrera, who started for the American League in last year's Midsummer Classic, is hitting .333 with three homers and a .950 OPS. Andrus is batting .298 with 13 RBIs and a .762 OPS.
Cabrera said he hasn't considered his chances to make consecutive All-Star teams.
"It's too early right now," Cabrera said. "I'm not thinking about that. I just play my game and do what I can do for my team."
Both Andrus and Cabrera are also known for their defensive exploits, which were on full display in Saturday's 5-2 Rangers win. Andrus made plays on both sides of second base and even one in the outfield grass toward third base, when he laid out for a grounder off the bat of Jack Hannahan, propped himself up and fired a one-hopper to first base to record the out. Cabrera made an alert play in the fourth to save at least one run. With runners on second and third, Alberto Gonzalez hit a chopper to Cabrera, who tagged out Mitch Moreland, who had strayed off of second base. Cabrera then threw to first to retire Gonzalez, all while keeping Mike Napoli at third base.
"I still don't know how we got a double play on [that]," said Indians starter Derek Lowe. "That was a changing play for that inning. It kept us in the game."
Hagadone continues to pitch well in relief
CLEVELAND -- Nick Hagadone is plenty familiar with I-71, as the highway that connects Cleveland and Columbus has been a road frequently traveled by the left-handed reliever. Nevertheless, he has settled in nicely with the Indians this year.
Hagadone auditioned for a bullpen spot in Spring Training, when he posted a 2.53 ERA in nine appearances. That performance wasn't enough to earn him a Major League roster spot, but it has spurred the southpaw to a good start.
"Spring Training was really big for me," Hagadone said. "Every outing I had was important. I had a chance to make the team and I didn't, but I felt like I did well and it helped me to start the year strong."
The Indians recalled Hagadone on April 27 to replace Rafael Perez, who landed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left shoulder. Now in his second stint with the Tribe this season, Hagadone has allowed just one run in 7 1/3 innings. With Perez expected to miss another few weeks, Hagadone said he feels relaxed, knowing he has at least that long before he has to shuttle back to Triple-A Columbus, if he does at all.
"I know that I have that set amount of time I'm going to be here," Hagadone said. "I just want to go out every time and show them that I belong here."
Quote to note
"To actually only give up two runs was pretty hard to do. Some of those innings I would never want to try again." -- Indians starter Derek Lowe, who routinely escaped harm during Saturday's six-inning outing, in which he allowed nine hits and two walks.