Avoiding an injury-riddled starting rotation was a priority for the Indians after Carlos Carrasco (broken right hand) and Danny Salazar (right elbow inflammation) collectively missed most of September and October in 2016.
Just over six months later, the pitching staff's plan will have to be altered once more throughout the early stages of May.
Cleveland placed Corey Kluber (lower back strain) on the 10-day disabled list and recalled RHP Joe Colon from Triple-A on Wednesday afternoon. The 2014 AL Cy Young last appeared on the DL in August of 2013.
Kluber departed his start on Tuesday with back tightness, a symptom he previously experienced in a shortened outing on April 9 at Arizona. If all goes well during the recovery period, Kluber would be eligible to pitch as soon as May 13 when the Tribe plays host to the Twins. Only one of Kluber's starts would be skipped thanks to an off-day amidst his timetable for return on May 11.
The transaction could be more of a precautionary measure with the new shortened DL and Kluber's ability to pitch through the lower back discomfort over the duration of April. The 31-year-old recorded his fourth career shutout on the road in Chicago and finished April with a 3-1 record, 4.19 ERA and 9.88 K/9 in five appearances (34.1 innings). His most recent outing only lasted 55 pitches before manager Terry Francona had seen enough - 3 IP, 7 H, 5 R/ER, 1 BB, 4 K.
Colon enters a nine-man bullpen after recording a 0.87 ERA with eight strikeouts in 10.1 frames of work as a member of the Columbus Clippers. The 27-year-old reliever did not allow a run in his four outings (five innings) for Team Puerto Rico at the World Baseball Classic and has not surrendered a score during his last eight outings on the hill. Right-handed hitters are batting .143 (3-for-21) against Colon in 2017.