Mitch Talbot placed on disabled list

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians were facing a difficult decision with struggling starter Mitch Talbot.

His bad back has bought him -- and the club -- some time.

Talbot was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a lower back strain by the second-place Indians, who weren't going to let his pitching problems go on for much longer before they made a move.

Trouble is, the right-hander, who is just 2-6 with a 6.33 ERA in 11 starts, is out of minor league options. The club was either going to have to keep him on its roster or release him.

Talbot was placed on the DL retroactive to July 9, one day after Toronto tagged him for eight runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings. He's 0-5 in seven starts since beating the Blue Jays on May 31, and has been rocked for 27 runs in his past 24 2/3 innings -- a 9.85 ERA.

Following his last start, Talbot said he understood his job was in jeopardy, and manager Manny Acta indicated Talbot's days in the rotation were numbered.

"We're not going to over react," Acta said. "But it has been 3½ months. We are on top and have to do what is best for the team."

Talbot, who made no mention of any back issue, was a surprise last season, winning 10 games as a rookie. His second season has been much more challenging in Cleveland, which acquired him in a 2009 trade from Tampa Bay for catcher Kelly Shoppach and cash considerations. The 27-year-old Talbot was on the DL for six weeks earlier this season with a strained elbow.

To take Talbot's roster spot, the Indians plan to recall outfielder Ezequiel Carrera from Triple-A Columbus before Thursday's game in Baltimore.

Talbot's next start will be taken by Jeanmar Gomez, who's expected to face the Orioles on Sunday.

Carrera has spent most of the season in Columbus. He's batting .288 with two homers and 25 RBIs in 81 games. He made his major league debut on May 20, getting an RBI bunt single for his first career hit to beat Cincinnati.