Injuries proved to be a major detriment to an elite starting rotation in the latter half of the 2016 campaign.
From Danny Salazar (right forearm strain) to Carlos Carrasco (fractured right hand), the Cleveland Indians could not live up to their full potential with two impact pitchers sidelined.
Avoiding this unfortunate situation will be a priority for all players in 2017.
Although they play two drastically different positions, 2B Jason Kipnis and LHP Tim Cooney are both nursing injuries to their throwing arms. Kipnis should not miss more than a week’s worth of action but Cooney could be out for the early portion of the minor league season.
- The reasoning for Kipnis’ shoulder strengthening program revealed itself following an MRI examination and cortisone shot on Saturday afternoon. The Tribe’s middle-infielder experienced discomfort in his right throwing arm and suffered a mild rotator cuff strain before his removal from the Game 2 lineup against the Chicago Cubs.
“We just went and got him imaged,” said skipper Terry Francona. “Just to inject [the cortisone shot], get him down, give him four to five days down and then he’ll be ready to go. If it was during the season, we wouldn’t do anything. There’s just so much time to get ready that to kind of put a band-aid on it now didn’t seem to make sense.”
A former second round pick out of Arizona State in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Kipnis will take the necessary precautions over the next week before easing into a standard defensive workload.
“It’s considered a cuff strain, which I think in the grand scheme of things is about the least you’re ever going to find when you go do that,” Francona said. “You just try to use good judgement.”
- Contrary to Kipnis, the newly acquired Cooney will be out for 10-12 weeks due to a strain of his left flexor digitorum superficialis muscle (mid-forearm).
“By all accounts it is an extremely unique area,” said Francona of Cooney’s injury. “[The training staff is] going to shut him down for a couple weeks.”
The 26-year-old out of Wake Forest was solid in his six major league starts with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015 (31.1 IP, 28 H, 12 R, 11 ER, 10 BB, 29 K), but a shoulder injury derailed most of his 2016 season at Triple-A Memphis (zero MLB appearances).
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.