Triston McKenzie is progressing well in recovery

Wild Card Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Guardians - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Guardians - Game Two / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Triston McKenzie is inching closer to his return after straining his right teres major muscle in his final spring start. According to reports, McKenzie is progressing well in his rehab process and will begin a throwing program later this week.

There is still not a concrete timetable for his return with the team having a clearer picture later this week. Even though this update is incredibly vague, the fact that McKenzie is progressing and has not been shut down is a positive sign. Continued progress and a positive response to the soon to be implemented throwing program should result in a timetable that should see McKenzie returning sooner rather than later.

McKenzie's arm is vital to the success of the Guardians, for this and future seasons. Dr. Sticks is coming off an impressive 2022 campaign with a career-best 2.96 ERA, and second best WHIP (0.951). While McKenzie's strikeouts were down over nine innings, (8.9 K/9 being the lowest rate of his career), the 190 total strikeouts over 191.1 innings were highs for each respective category.

How has the Guardians pitching staff performed without Triston McKenzie?

It is an incredibly small sample size of just 10 games, but Cleveland's 3.90 ERA is ninth-best while they are sixth in strikeouts (90) and third in quality starts (five) in addition to having the most innings pitched in all of baseball (94.2).

Stepping into the number two spot in the rotation is Hunter Gaddis, who has performed better than expected and lessened the loss of McKenzie. Gaddis has allowed four runs on six hits in 9.2 innings while walking three and striking out eight. Being able to hold down the fort in the absence of McKenzie has been incredibly valuable for Cleveland and should bode well for the Guardians moving forward.