Guardians shut down Trevor Stephan due to injury

Philadelphia Phillies v Cleveland Guardians
Philadelphia Phillies v Cleveland Guardians / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

The Cleveland Guardians will be continuing Spring Training activities without the services of one of their most used relief arms from last season.

Trevor Stephan is being shut down for a few weeks with a bone bruise in his elbow, according to reports. Guardians manager Stephen Vogt stated that Stephan's elbow does not have any ligament damage and is fine structurally.

Even though the Guardians appear to have avoided a complete disaster, losing a reliever in the early stages of spring is still not great. This is the time of year when pitchers are working on their stuff in preparation for the regular season, and losing a few weeks of time to do that is not exactly ideal.

If there is any sort of bright side here, it would be that Stephan is not a starter and is not Cleveland's closer. Even though the majority of his appearances last season came in the 8th inning (47), and that is very important, there would be a vastly different outlook on the state of the Guardians' season if he was in the starting rotation or closer's role.

Stephan is someone who has played a prominent bullpen role in the past and should play one again this season once he returns from injury. The 28-year-old right-hander should be able to slot right back into an important role on the back end of Cleveland's bullpen after recovering from his injury.

2023 saw Stephan's performance take a step back after an impressive second season in 2022. Stephan's ERA and WHIP increased from 2.69 to 4.06 and 1.178 to 1.296, respectively, while his strikeouts per nine dropped from 11.6 to 9.8. Pitching in a career-high 71 games could have contributed to this dip in effectiveness, considering he allowed 13 runs (14 total) during his final 10 appearances of the season while striking out 10 and walking seven. The month of September was not kind to Stephan as his 11.32 ERA and .286/.415/.452 slash line can attest. Perhaps another year under his belt and the addition of Scott Barlow to Cleveland's can lead to Stephan getting back to his 2022 form and improving upon 2023.