It’s no secret the Cleveland Indians have seen their roster bitten repeatedly by the injury bug this season. But some updates on injured players provide some optimism as the regular season winds down and the playoffs approach.
At a rainy Comerica Park in Detroit Thursday morning, the Cleveland Indians waited to find out if Mother Nature was going to cooperate and let them play the finale of their four-game series with the Tigers, and had a little extra time to speak to beat reporters.
Among the tidbits were several pieces of news that could have an impact on the Tribe as they prepare for the American League Division Series, which is slated to begin next week.
First, as the pitching staff has been reeling in recent weeks from injuries to Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, and most recently Corey Kluber, it appears two of those names have an excellent shot at being ready to go when Cleveland opens the postseason on October 6th.
Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway reiterated what manager Terry Francona said on Tuesday in regards to Kluber and his strained right quadriceps muscle, and barring a setback, the Tribe ace should be ready for the ALDS.
That’s relieving news for the club and its fans, as Cleveland is already toying with the idea of a modified starting rotation as it is.
Also a good sign was the second piece of news delivered by Callaway, namely that Salazar had thrown another bullpen session on Wednesday, and could well be available as a reliever when the playoffs get underway. Whispers of this began a week ago, and it appears to be trending in that direction.
It should also be noted that Salazar did experience discomfort in his injured forearm during the session when throwing his curveball, but possessing one of the best changeups in the game to go along with his mid-90s fastball, it’s unlikely he would need the breaking ball in a short stint out of the ‘pen.
The final bit of news to come out on Thursday was related to a report about the health of Michael Brantley, who underwent surgery earlier in the month and played in just 11 games in 2016. A piece by Jon Heyman citing anonymous sources claims that the Indians fear the all-star left fielder could miss significant time in 2017.
The team has stuck to its initial statement of a four month recovery, which would put Brantley on schedule for spring training, and the man himself, when asked about Heyman’s piece, didn’t appear to corroborate it.
Though Cleveland has won the AL Central without him, there are few with the team or among its fanbase that wouldn’t welcome a healthy Brantley back next season, so we’ll have to continue to monitor the situation.
Positive news surrounding the Indians’ numerous injuries has been hard to come by of late, so the updates out of Detroit are uplifting for a club that has experienced more than its fair share of bad luck. The name of the game through the final few games of the regular season is simply staying healthy, and then letting the playoffs be decided on the field.