CLEVELAND – A cluster of injuries to the Indians roster has forced manager Terry Francona to adjust on the fly over the past week.
The Cleveland skipper updated the statuses of Corey Kluber (lower back strain), Abraham Almonte (right bicep) and Austin Jackson (hyperextended left big toe) before the beginning of a six-game home stand on Friday.
Kluber was the first name addressed…
“We set Klub back from Toronto as you know; to work with the therapist and do his stuff [in Cleveland],” said Francona. “He’s progressed to where he’s been throwing off flat ground for the last few days and land-based running, say moderate intensity. So he’s making some really good strides.”
The 2014 AL Cy Young exited his last start on May 2 after throwing 55 pitches in three innings of five-run ball against the Tigers. If all goes well next week, he could find himself back on the mound and ready for activation off the 10-day disabled list.
“I think the good news is for him to do that, he’s starting to get better which we’re really happy about,” Francona said. “When he gets to a point where he’s ready to throw off the mound, that’s when we’ll have a much better timetable on when he can potentially pitch.”
Just over one week after Kluber hit the DL, the Tribe found themselves with a shorthanded outfield due to Brantley’s awkward landing on first base on May 7 and Almonte’s injured bicep on a hard cut at the plate on May 10.
“Abe and Brant both came in yesterday to kind of work and do some stuff,” said Francona. “Brant ran and he’s good. Abe, it’s more of his bicep, which I think talking to the trainers, they think that’s a good thing. I think originally when it happened, everybody thought it was his shoulder. He thinks he can probably play tomorrow.”
Brantley is batting third on Friday while Almonte will arrive at the ballpark on Saturday with the intent to play. Francona does not expect to call up any minor league players unless Almonte’s recovery period lingers beyond the weekend set.
“I don’t think there’s any rush to try to maybe get another player here,” Francona said. “If that starts to drag on a little bit, I think we certainly have to think about doing some things. But for right now, (we’d) like to let him try to show up tomorrow and see how he’s doing.”
Rounding out the injury report is Jackson after he suffered a toe injury during a bang-bang play at first base on May 1 in Chicago. The 30-year-old is anticipating a rehab assignment once his toe is tested around the bases.
“He is going to progress this upcoming week (to baserunning),” said Francona. “And then after he base runs, then we can get him in some games and then get him back.”
Similar to Kluber, there is no timeline for when Jackson plans to take the next step and eventually patrol a major league outfield.
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.