Cleveland Indians: Mckenzie injury not the end of the world

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Triston McKenzie, the top prospect for the Cleveland Indians is out indefinitely with an upper back strain. Not detrimental news, but it sucks nonetheless.

Sure, the Cleveland Indians have a loaded rotation. Yes, the team has plenty of starting pitching depth that trickles all the way down the Triple-A Columbus. Does that make this news any better? No. Triston Mckenzie has been a thrill to watch when he’s healthy.

But that’s the key: “When he’s healthy.” Sadly that is once again not the case. McKenzie has suffered an upper back strain that is sidelining him indefinitely. He’s easily the top prospect in the Indians system, who could prove valuable once these starting pitcher contracts start to expire.

I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. This is now the second significant injury in the young career of McKenzie. Last year, he was out for over two months after suffering a forearm injury. This coming after his ascent from High-A Lynchburg in 2017 to Double-A Akron in 2018.

I’ve said before that I thought McKenzie could make a quick climb to the MLB, similar to that of Shane Bieber. Now being out indefinitely, we don’t even know when he can make his first start of the year for the Double-A Rubberducks.

He had a 2.98 ERA through 90.2 innings during his time in Akron, while his strikeouts could’ve been higher he was advancing nicely before being injured.  There was a chance we could’ve even seen him on the Indians roster after September call-ups. Now it’s going to be tricky to get him to return once that time comes.

As I said, this isn’t detrimental for the Indians. Their rotation is set for the year. They have plenty of depth including guys they have in the bullpen and in Columbus. But this puts a damper on the advancement of Triston Mckenzie. He has his work cut out for him to even work his way up to Triple-A.

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The information on the injury to McKenzie is limited. While there is no timetable for his return now, that may change once more information comes out. For now, we will have to watch closely to see how the Indians adapt to this scenario and if they make any additions.