Josh Tomlin injury balks Cleveland Indians’ rotation competition

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While Gavin Floyd’s throwing elbow has been the bigger story in Cleveland Indians camp, Josh Tomlin is also reportedly experiencing issues with his throwing arm.

Tomlin reported to big league camp after adding about 20 pounds of mostly muscle during the offseason. He came in stronger and seemed to be feeling much better than he did last spring.

Then the yearly injury bug struck.

As reported by the Northeast Ohio Media Group, Tomlin said he felt tightness in his shoulder before his start against the Cincinatti Reds last Wednesday. He was scheduled for three innings following T.J. House on Sunday, but was pushed back two or three days because of the shoulder.

Though he – and Francona – have said the soreness is not a big deal and that he could pitch if it were the regular season, Tomlin’s injury certainly makes it less likely that he will outperform Danny Salazar, T.J. House, Zach McAllister and Bruce Chen for the final spot in the rotation.

Tomlin missed most of 2013 after having Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow the year prior. In his return to the mound last season, Tomlin was 6-9 with a 4.76 ERA. He appeared in 25 games for the Tribe, starting 16 and throwing a total of 104 innings.

It was not all bad, though.

Tomlin was 3-2 in five appearances in May, posting a 3.04 ERA – which was impressive, especially given the quality (or lack thereof) of defensive behind him.

Still his numbers were not great, but they were pretty much on par with the pitcher Tomlin has been throughout his sporadic big league career. He throws the ball over the plate, walking just 79 batters over 447.2 career innings. He gives up a lot of hits (477) and he needs a strong defense to be successful.

Realistically, Tomlin is more suited for spot starts throughout the season. He was unlikely to win the job over Salazar and House before. The injury, especially if it lingers, just seals the deal.

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