Manager Terry Francona was among those surprised when Guardians claimed 3 pitchers from Angels

Los Angeles Angels' Lucas Giolito pitches during the second inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

CLEVELAND (AP) — With a limited budget, the Guardians surprised many people around baseball when they claimed pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López and Matt Moore off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels this week.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona was one of them, even after being given a heads up by team president Chris Antonetti and general manager Mike Chernoff.

“They told me we might be adding somebody, so I went to sleep Wednesday thinking something might happen,” Francona said Friday. “Never in a million years did I think it would be three guys.”

López and Moore were both in uniform as the Guardians began a three-game series with Tampa Bay. They will work out of the bullpen as Cleveland attempts to overcome a five-game deficit in the AL Central behind Minnesota.

Giolito, the biggest name of the trio, was expected to join the team at Progressive Field later in the evening and will be activated Saturday. Francona has already slotted Giolito into the rotation to pitch Monday when the Twins come to town.

“Giolito seems excited — that part’s good — but I haven’t even met him yet,” Francona said. “So I’m kind of looking forward to that.”

The second-place Guardians had been a seller earlier in the summer, sending starting shortstop Amed Rosario to the Dodgers, right-hander Aaron Civale to the Rays and first baseman Josh Bell to the Marlins. They were one game out of first place at the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

By claiming Giolito, López and Moore for the final 28 games of the regular season, Cleveland added $3.7 million to its payroll, which annually ranks among the lowest in the majors under owner Paul Dolan.

“I know that Paul catches flak here sometimes, but this doesn’t happen without him OK-ing it,” Francona said. “I want to say that.”