In the wake of Lonnie Chisenhall’s left calf injury, the Indians have re-signed veteran outfielder Melky Cabrera and sent him to Class AAA Columbus on a minor league deal.
The Indians originally signed Cabrera to a minor league deal in April. They promoted him to the big leagues on May 20 and designated him for assignment on June 14 when Brandon Guyer came off the disabled list.
But with Chisenhall being lost for an undetermined amount of time with an injury to his left calf, and Bradley Zimmer sidelined in Columubus for four to six weeks with a right shoulder injury, the Indians need some outfield protection.
Cabrera, 33, hit .207 (12-for-58) with five doubles and 11 RBI in 17 games for the Indians. He hit .286 (12-for-42) with four RBI at Columbus.
As things currently stand, the Indians are featuring All-Star Michael Brantley in left field, Bradley Zimmer in center and Tyler Naquin in right, with Rajai Davis and Brandon Guyer getting playing time mostly against lefties.
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Collectively, Indians outfielders have posted a 66 Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) through 20 games, indicating that the group has played 34 percent below league average.
Cabrera, 33, spent 156 games between tours with the White Sox and Royals last season. The switch-hitting corner outfielder posted a .285/.324/.423 slash line with 17 home runs, 85 RBIs and a 98 wRC+. Overall, Cabrera had a combined minus 20 Defensive Runs Saved (minus 10 in 348 2/3 innings in right field and minus 10 in 878 innings in left) in 2017.
In parts of 13 Major League seasons, Cabrera has hit .286/.335/.418 in 1,676 games with the Yankees, Braves, Royals, Giants, Blue Jays and White Sox.
A 13-year veteran, Cabrera will add depth to Cleveland’s outfield and give the club another veteran with playoff experience. Once he is cleared medically and signed, Cabrera is expected to spend some time with Triple-A Columbus before the Indians consider adding him to their roster.