CLEVELAND – After examinations and tests, the Indians were prepared to clarify a trio of injuries and roughly sketch out their timetables for return prior to Monday’s first pitch between the Indians and Rays.
In particular, manager Terry Francona and the medical staff mapped out their action plan for Corey Kluber, Brandon Guyer and Austin Jackson.
The ace of the pitching staff seems to be progressing smoothly through his rehabilitation process.
“Kluber is throwing, not a full-intensity bullpen, but a 20-pitch bullpen, which is great news,” said Francona. “If all things move accordingly, his next step would be like a full-fledged bullpen. Then after that, there would be a sim game.”
Kluber had periodically experienced back pain over the course of April before the injury worsened in an abbreviated, 55-pitch outing on May 2 in Detroit.
“I think it's most likely in Lake County, but this is now getting [further down the road],” Francona said of Kluber's impending rehab assignment. “But, the fact that he's getting up on the mound is good, because that means he's getting better.”
Right-hander Mike Clevinger will likely retain his spot in the starting rotation until the club gets a better idea as to when Kluber can make a rehab start and prove he is ready to be activated off the 10-day disabled list.
On the contrary, Guyer will be on the shelf for four-to-six weeks due to the left wrist strain he suffered this past week.
“Guyer had his MRI and he's most likely like four to six weeks,” said Francona. “It's a sprained wrist. There was some damage in there.”
This diagnosis comes as a result of Guyer’s swings this past Friday, a night where he grounded out hard early in the game before bunting and striking out in his other two plate appearances.
“He'll have like a week down, and then they'll start to work on strengthening that thing,” Francona said. “He said it only was hurting for about the last week. Really, he didn't feel like it was affecting him. He's a tough kid. I don't doubt it was probably hurting a little bit. He just said, though, on one swing he really felt it.”
Daniel Robertson slides into the outfield rotation as a right-handed platoon hitter capable of playing across the three positions. His tenure with the major league club may be cut short if Jackson clears the few hurdles in front of him.
“[Jackson] ran the bases today,” said Francona. “He's going to do it again tomorrow, and then we'll re-evaluate kind of what we think is the next step after that. So, that's good.”
A relentless effort on an infield single through the left side landed Jackson on the DL as his left toe awkwardly hit first base in mid-stride.
With no dates in mind, it may be a week or so before the club can finalize the progress of these three valuable pieces to their puzzle.
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.