Pitcher Justin Masterson carried a live chicken onto the field for the team's pregame drills. The bird, supplied by one of the Indians' clubhouse workers from an area farm, spent most of batting practice standing with Cleveland's pitchers in front of the warning track in center field.
The chicken, unfazed by its surroundings, stood calmly on the field while balls hit during batting practice fell nearby. Several curious players came by to observe the chicken, which was picked up by pitchers Cody Allen and Rich Hill and then carried off the field when the drills concluded.
The bird was given to Allen, who was nicknamed "Chicken Al" by pitcher Frank Herrmann in spring training. The chicken has been named "Cody."
The Indians were happy to show off their latest acquisition on Twitter:
It's a, well, interesting day at Progressive Field. Yes, that is a live chicken in the outfield shagging flies. pic.twitter.com/fKTHeG5LIA
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) September 4, 2013
Cleveland went on to win the game, beating Baltimore 6-4 and jumping the Orioles in the scramble to win one of the AL's two wild-card spots.
Ryan Raburn drove in two runs in the victory and tipped his hat to "Cody."
"If we get on roll, that's going to be our mascot," Raburn said. "Whoever's the owner of it, we're going to have to keep that sucker if we keep winning. We're going to have to get him his own locker."
Indians manager Terry Francona knew about the joke ahead of time but was still surprised to see a chicken on a baseball field. He said it will be returned safely to the farm.
"I'm pretty OK as long as we win, but I don't know about farm animals," he said.
The Indians came off a tough road trip to Atlanta and Detroit, in which they went 1-5 and lost ground in the wild card race before playing Baltimore. Francona is happy that his team is remaining loose.
"I think it's great," he said. "We're into September. ... I actually love it. Guys are trying to have fun. That's the best way to be a good team."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.