CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The strength of the Cleveland Indians — and potentially the thing that makes them so dangerous in the postseason — is their talented starting pitching. Now, that strength will be tested for the remainder of the regular season and possibly beyond thanks to injury.
Starting pitcher Danny Salazar, who underwent an MRI and was examined in Cleveland on Monday by Dr. Mark Schickendantz, will miss the next 3-4 weeks after being diagnosed with a mild strain to his flexor musculature.
Despite the discomfort in his right forearm, Salazar’s previous UCL reconstruction was revealed to be intact.
Salazar is scheduled to receive a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injection on Tuesday and will be shutdown for at least 10 days, according to the team. Given his expected time frame for recovery, the rest of the right-handed hurler’s regular season is certainly in serious doubt.
The 26-year-old pitcher was selected as an All-Star following a tremendous first half for Cleveland, but the righty has battled a handful of arm issues as this season has progressed, including shoulder fatigue and elbow discomfort and inflammation.
Salazar was placed on the 15-day disabled list in August and returned to the rotation following his activation. In five outings since his DL stint, he allowed 15 earned runs in 20 innings pitched and recently exited his start on Friday night vs. Minnesota after just four innings due to some tightness in his right forearm.
That discomfort sent him back to Cleveland for further examination.
If Salazar is to contribute before 2017, it will likely have to come in the MLB postseason. To what level he will be available is a giant question mark.
First, his club has to get to October.
The Indians currently hold a seven-game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central with 20 games to play, and with Salazar on the shelf for the time being, Cleveland will reinsert Josh Tomlin back in the starting rotation, joining Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger.
Tomlin, who really struggled in the month of August (11.48 ERA in six starts) will start Wednesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, while Clevinger will take the ball in Thursday’s four-game series finale.
The Indians will desperately need at least one of the two to step in Salazar’s absence.