Less than a week after it was reported that Mike Clevinger would have knee surgery, Carlos Carrasco is dealing with discomfort in his right leg.
The Cleveland Indians haven’t even played a spring training game yet, and they’ve already just about maxed out their bad-news quota for the preseason. Mandy Bell of MLB.com reports that Carlos Carrasco is dealing with a right leg issue and will undergo testing to determine the problem.
Carlos Carrasco walked into the clubhouse using a crutch this morning. He experienced discomfort in his right leg working out yesterday afternoon and is undergoing testing/imaging today. The Indians will have an update tomorrow morning on his status and diagnosis.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) February 20, 2020
This news comes almost immediately on the heels of last week’s report that Mike Clevinger had to have knee surgery. Clevinger’s recovery timeline is set between six and eight weeks, though it’s unclear if that means he’ll be able to pitch in an actual game after two months or simply ramp up his rehab regimen.
In any case, the absolute last thing the Indians needed after the Clevinger development was another injury to a starting pitcher.
Cleveland’s starting pitching depth was already going to be tested even with a fully healthy Clevinger and Carrasco in the mix. Behind the third and final member of the front line, Shane Bieber, the Tribe’s options can best be described as unknown quantities with upside.
Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac were likely the safest bets to round out Cleveland’s staff as the fourth and fifth starters in a perfect world where the Indians didn’t suffer comically bad injury luck in preseason workouts.
It’s irresponsible to speculate on how long a player will be out due to injury before a determination is even made on what his injury is, but it doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable to say the Indians should start preparing for the possibility that Civale and Plesac will open the season in the second and third rotation spots.
It’s one thing for a contending team to piece together the back end of its rotation by giving young pitchers a chance to prove themselves and earn a spot. Relying on those pitchers to make up 80% of the staff is an entirely different conversation.
The Indians will wait for the results to come back on Carrasco’s leg before determining a plan of action. But if it turns out that there’s even a chance they’re staring down the possibility of missing Carrasco and Clevinger for multiple weeks to start the season, the Indians need to seriously consider trading for a starting pitcher.