CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians rookie outfielder Bradley Zimmer has experienced quite a lot in the last 48 hours.
From the initial promotion from Triple-A Columbus to his Major League debut hours later, Zimmer had plenty of emotions and thoughts swirling in his head during and after Tuesday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, but he shrugged those off and got two hits in his second game with the Indians at Progressive Field Wednesday.
“It was night and day,” Zimmer said after Wednesday’s 7-4 loss. “After I hit the double in the first (at-bat), I was kind of able to take a step back and relax. Just getting that first one out of the way is huge. I had some good at-bats the rest of the day and I had a couple good swings, so it was a good day.”
Although the Indians did not have much to cheer about in their second straight loss to the Rays, they got something in the form of two hits from Zimmer. Batting in the No. 8 spot in the order, Zimmer went two for four with two runs scored and two runs batted in. Both of Zimmer’s hits, a double and home run, went for extra bases.
“That was good for him,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “That was good for him. It’s nice to see. It is a loss, but it is still nice to see that because you want to take anything positive you can, and I’m sure that he feels a heck of a lot better today than he did yesterday.”
With the Indians at a 6-0 deficit after the Rays scored four times in the top of the second inning and twice in the third, Zimmer stepped into the box and started an Indians rally in the bottom half of the third.
Zimmer took a 2-1 pitch from Rays starter Alex Cobb midway up the 19-foot wall in left field for a double, a hit that brought around right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall for Cleveland’s first run of the game. Zimmer came around to score when second baseman Jason Kipnis smacked a 1-2 pitch to left field for an RBI single.
After flying out to left field and striking out swinging in his next two at-bats, Zimmer came through again in the bottom of the ninth inning.
With one out in the frame, Zimmer fouled off the first offering from Rays reliever Alex Colome, and then, lined a home run over the wall in center field for his first Major League home run.
“I haven’t played with a wall like that, really ever, so it’s nice in a sense because you can get a lot of doubles, but at the same time, it might eat up some home runs, so it’s the best of both worlds,” Zimmer said.
Now, with his first career MLB hit and home run out of the way, Zimmer is focused on helping the Indians get out of their recent struggles and build on the 20-19 record while making hay in the American League Central Division.
“The game went by pretty quickly, but there was a time where I kind of let it all sink in, and just being here in the locker room and out on the field, I’ve definitely had some moments where I’ve taken a step back and realized what was going on,” Zimmer said.
“I’m looking forward to moving forward and starting to get some Ws here on the road.”