BALTIMORE -- A close-cropped Mark Reynolds sat in the visitors' dugout on Monday afternoon, swarmed by reporters and camera crews, prompting him to wonder aloud if something was up. Nearby, his Indians teammates teased that perhaps the 29-year-old infielder had been traded, mock-asking if he'd entered Camden Yards and headed to the wrong side out of habit.
"It's easy to say it's just another game," said Reynolds, who spent two seasons with Baltimore before being non-tendered this winter, "but it's going to be weird playing against these guys that I have such great relationships with. I'm going to have fun, and whatever happens, happens."
Reynolds, who followed his media session with some brief greetings to local reporters, made a beeline for the Orioles' on-field batting-practice session to exchange hugs and catch up with his former teammates.
An important part of last year's playoff run, Reynolds was the starting first baseman down the stretch for a close-knit club that he still keeps tabs on.
"It's good to be back," said Reynolds, who is from Virginia Beach and played at the University of Virginia. "I miss playing here, I miss the guys, I miss the city. But where I'm at now is a good situation, a great team, great manager. We are winning games, and it's a good new chapter for me."
Reynolds, who signed as a free agent with Cleveland in the offseason, made it no secret that he wanted to return to Baltimore, but the club opted to go another route. The Orioles wanted to give Chris Davis, who is hitting his way into the American League MVP race, the everyday spot at first base, and bringing back Reynolds -- even after declining his $11 million option -- simply didn't fit into the budget given what he would have earned in arbitration.
"We would have liked, in a perfect world, to have him back," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Reynolds, acquired prior to the 2011 season in a trade with the D-backs. "It worked out for him. ... It's one of those things, kind of frustrating, but you understand the way a lot of things work. You can do this, but that means you can't do that, you can do that, but that means you can't do this. You know, Mark is in a good place -- a good organization, a good manager, good teammates. I know our guys, and I like Mark. A good teammate. An easy guy to manage. [We] would have liked to have him, it just didn't work out. It's Cleveland's benefit to have him. "
"I moved on," Reynolds said of getting over the disappointment of not receiving a return offer from the Orioles. "Like I said, I'm in a great situation now -- a great group of guys, a great manager, a great city -- and I'm focusing on what we are trying to do and win some games for the Indians."
Reynolds, who started at third base on Monday, began the season by hitting .301 with eight homers and 22 RBIs in April. He's cooled off since, batting .231 on the season, including a .164 mark so far in June.
"Obviously, it's had its ups and downs, that's me," he said. "I started out good, didn't dig myself in a hole like I did last year, and I'm trying to stay afloat right now."
Carrasco sent to Triple-A; House called up
BALTIMORE -- When it comes to intricate roster moves, manager Terry Francona leaves the details up to general manager Chris Antonetti and assistant GM Mike Chernoff. The pair of front-office minds delivered another complicated decision on Monday.
The Indians optioned right-hander Carlos Carrasco to Triple-A Columbus and promoted rookie lefty T.J. House to provide an extra arm for the bullpen. Barring an unexpected setback, Carrasco can potentially rejoin the rotation on Friday while serving as the 26th man for the doubleheader against the White Sox.
"That was Chris and Cherny at their very best," Francona said with a laugh. "They lost me early in the process."
Francona would not go as far as officially naming Carrasco as a probable starter for one of Friday's games in Chicago, but he did acknowledge the possibility. Typically, a player optioned to the Minors is required to stay at least 10 days before being eligible for a promotion back to the Majors. That rule does not apply, however, to the 26th-man rule, as stipulated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Triple-A right-hander Trevor Bauer, who pitched on short rest on Sunday for Columbus, is also lined up for a possible start in the doubleheader. Similar to his stance with Carrasco, Francona was not ready to declare Bauer one of the planned starters for Friday.
"We're not going to announce anything like that," he said. "But he is aligned for that start."
Carrasco, 26, went 0-3 with a 7.78 ERA through four starts this season. In Sunday's 5-3 loss at home to Minnesota, he allowed three runs on six hits and ended with four walks and three strikeouts in a 104-pitch performance. If he rejoins the Indians on Friday, he could then be optioned back to Triple-A before again returning to Cleveland for a start on either July 3 or 4 in Kansas City.
"He could actually make every single [scheduled] start," Francona said.
The 23-year-old House -- in camp with the Indians during Spring Training -- has gone 3-8 with a 4.83 ERA in 15 starts between Double-A Akron and Triple-A this season. Over 87 2/3 innings, he has 75 strikeouts against 33 walks, with a 1.44 WHIP. He has been better of late, posting a 3.00 ERA with 11 strikeouts and three walks in his past two starts (12 innings) for Columbus.
"Our bullpen is not worn out, but we don't want it to get there either," Francona said. "[House] is a kid that's a big prospect. This is not his time to stay, and he knows that. Whatever time he gets up here, he'll learn, he'll watch, and it'll help for when he comes back."
Cleveland's left-handed relievers have combined for a 7.26 ERA this season, so the Indians might be giving House a chance to help that facet of the roster.
"They said they will and are going to use me," House said. "I don't know exactly when. This is my first time really working out of the bullpen, but I'm excited nonetheless."
Asdrubal's return to Tribe could be soon
BALTIMORE -- The Indians were already optimistic about Asdrubal Cabrera's chances of coming off the disabled list at some point during this road trip. And after watching the two-time All-Star shortstop go through a workout on Monday, manager Terry Francona is not sure the team will delay Cabrera's return much longer.
"We'll do what's right," Francona said. "But not activating him is probably not fair. If the guy is ready, he's ready."
General manager Chris Antonetti is scheduled to join the team in Baltimore, and Francona plans on sitting down with him to go over Cabrera's situation. Cabrera has been sidelined since June 3 with a strained right quad.
Prior to Monday's game at Camden Yards, Francona and the Indians' medical staff monitored Cabrera as he ran the bases, fielded grounders and hit.
"I was tired watching him," Francona joked.
Cabrera, who has battled the quad issue since at least late April, has hit .254 with five home runs, 18 doubles, two triples, 25 RBIs and 28 runs scored in 53 games this season. He hit .295 in the 24 games leading up to June 3, when he experienced a setback while running out a ground ball in the fifth inning of a game against the Yankees.
Francona did not see any sign of Cabrera's injury on Monday.
"I was stunned by how good he looked," he said. "He came out early, and we ran him through [the workout]. ... He's running better today than he was running before he got hurt. He deserves so much praise for how he has attacked this. I'm so proud of him. I mean, he literally attacked this. He's going to be activated pretty soon here."
Quote to note
"We're thrilled we signed him. Two months don't make a career, or a year. I'm pretty confident that you'll look up at the end of the year and he'll have pretty solid numbers." -- manager Terry Francona, on Nick Swisher's recent struggles
• Following a seven-game break to rest his sore left shoulder, first baseman Nick Swisher returned to the lineup on Sunday and went 0-for-5 in a loss to the Twins. Entering Monday, he was batting .100 with no home runs and four RBIs in his past 16 games.
Manager Terry Francona has not considered dropping Swisher in the lineup. In fact, he's been considering just the opposite.
"I actually thought about bumping him up," said Francona, who has used Swisher as the cleanup hitter this season. "I've thought about hitting him second a little bit, and I still may. I've talked to him about it a little bit. If he's scuffling, that might be a really good spot for him -- with [leadoff man Michael Bourn] on base. We'll see."
• All-Star closer Chris Perez is scheduled to log an inning for Class A (short-season) Mahoning Valley in a rehab appearance on Tuesday. It could be the final step in Perez's comeback from the injury to his right shoulder that has kept him on the 15-day disabled list since May 27.
"We're hopeful that'll be his last one," Francona said. "He's been on board completely, the whole way. He knows [that] when he's pitching in the ninth inning and the game's on the line, he's got to be at his best. His cooperation has been tremendous."
• In the seventh inning of Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Twins, Ryan Doumit was called safe by first-base umpire Chad Fairchild on a bang-bang play at the bag. Swisher gloved the grounder and flipped it to reliever Nick Hagadone, who stutter-stepped but appeared to recover in time to step on the base just ahead of Doumit. Francona said there was no doubt Hagadone reached the base first.
"I know he did," he said. "Did you see the replay? [Doumit] was out. I asked the umpire, I said, 'Can you tell me you got that right?' He just stared at me."
• Second baseman Jason Kipnis was hit by a pitch in the first inning on Monday, making it 26 consecutive games on base via hit, walk or HBP. Entering Monday, he was batting .400 in June and .476 in his past 12 games. His 1.068 OPS in June ranked fourth in the American League among hitters with at least 40 at-bats.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.