Despite an impressive spring, the Cleveland Indians opted to begin the 2019 season with Oscar Mercado as a member of Triple-A Columbus.
The outfield prospect's stay down I-71 didn't last long.
On Tuesday, the Indians promoted Mercado to their 25-man roster after placing Tyler Naquin on the 10-day injured list with a left calf strain. As a result, Mercado will make his major league debut with Cleveland on Tuesday, starting in left field and batting sixth when the Indians face the Chicago White Sox at 2:10 p.m. ET.
In 30 games with Columbus this season, 6-foot-2, 197-pound Mercado has hit for a .294 average, 4 home runs and 15 RBIs. He also currently leads the International League with 14 steals, while also ranking sixth in doubles (10) and ninth in extra base hits (15) and runs (24).
The Indians acquired the right-handed hitting Mercado in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals last July. According to MLB.com, the 24-year-old ranks as the No. 19 prospect in the Cleveland organization.
In Cleveland, Mercado joins an Indians lineup in desperate need of a boost. As of Tuesday, Cleveland ranks last in the American League in slugging percentage, runs batted in and hits and second-to-last in batting average, home runs and OPS.
At 21-19, the Indians are currently four games back of the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central. Earlier this week, oddsmakers made Minnesota the betting favorite to win the division, which Cleveland has won in each of the past three years.