Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac makes rehab start with Double-A Akron
While it seems like injury news has been layered over and over for the Cleveland Indians over the last month or so, there was some good news that was presented this week. A trio of Tribe major leaguers were able to begin rehab assignments, including starting pitcher Zach Plesac.
All the injured players will be welcomed back when their time comes to return, but Plesac specifically will be highly anticipated. At the other positions the team has been able to make due since the time of the injury. The players returning from injury will provide a boost, but the absence hasn’t been as felt through the organization as the starting pitchers who have gone down.
At the time of Plesac’s injury it seemed like the club could make due with Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale to hold down the rotation. However, both Bieber and Civale soon sustained injuries of their own, leaving the starting rotation with just prospects. Now, the team might finally be getting back on of their true starting pitchers.
It was a small step, but a step in the right direction nonetheless for Zach Plesac on Tuesday (June 29) as he made a rehab appearance with the Double-A Akron Rubberducks. Plesac toed the rubber to start the game and while he only lasted 1.2 innings, he still was able to get into a game and begin the next step in his road back to the Cleveland Indians starting rotation.
Overall, Plesac looked like there was still plenty of rust to knock off. He didn’t make it through two innings, allowing three runs in the process. Only two of the runs were earned, though, and he gave up three hits in total while walking another. He was also able to strike out a pair of batters as well.
For Plesac, he threw a total of 33 pitches, 22 for strikes, which is obviously a far cry from his typical MLB usage that typically saw at least 90 thrown. It will take some time for him to build up to that, but the fact that he’s just on the mound in a game that counts is a great sign for a club that is in dire need of starting pitching help.
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Plesac wasn’t the only member of the Cleveland Indians that was in the starting lineup for the Akron Rubberducks as part of a rehab assignment on Tuesday. Both Roberto Perez and Franmil Reyes were also in uniform against the Bowie Baysox. All three, being Perez, Reyes and Plesac, began their rehab assignments in Akron on Monday, but Perez and Reyes had been with the Columbus Clippers previously for four games.
Beginning with Franmil Reyes, he’s appeared in five rehab games between the Clippers and Rubberducks logging 13 total at-bats, all as the designated hitter. In that time, he’s 4-for-13 with a home run and two RBI. He also struck out three times, twice in Columbus and once in Akron, his only plate appearance so far with the Rubberducks.
As for Roberto Perez, he also has five games of rehab so far, catching in all of them as well. At the plate he’s gone 2-for-10 with three walks drawn, two RBI and two runs scored. However, he’s struck out four times as well. Behind the plate, though, he’s been his normal self with 23 error-free innings logged.
These are small sample sizes and rehab assignment stats don’t always translate into the big leagues, for better or for worse. However, the fact that the Cleveland Indians are able to have three big names players on the road back is a great sign. The team has mustered through without them, but they will still provide a huge boost to the roster and clubhouse.
It also might be coming at the perfect time. The month of July is going to be difficult for Cleveland. The club has seven games in total against the Houston Astros as well as another seven against the Tampa Bay Rays. Mix in a series against the Oakland A’s and then finish off the month with the Chicago White Sox and this portion of the schedule is looking to be the hardest of the season.
It will be an uphill battle regardless, but getting these three back would surely help Cleveland’s chances of escaping with minimal damage.