Sunday afternoon Triston McKenzie pitched just one inning. The Guardians were finishing up Cactus League play against Cincinnati when McKenzie exited the game with right arm tightness. The team indicated that it was a precautionary move and McKenzie was set for an MRI on Monday. The imaging results confirmed a strain of his right teres major muscle. McKenzie will be shut down from throwing for at least two weeks and reevaluated at that time. The length of return to play could be up to 8 weeks.
Hunter Gaddis is slated to start, in place of McKenzie, during Friday’s regular season game against Seattle. Gaddis has posted solid numbers during Spring Training with a 2.77 ERA over 13 innings. The right-hander was set to join the team coming out of the bullpen. However, Gaddis has been a starting pitcher throughout his career which makes it a sensible move to have him fill McKenzie’s spot.
#Guardians 24yr old RHP prospect Hunter Gaddis records six strikeouts today vs the Rangers allowing just one run over his 3.2 innings.
Line – 3.2(IP) 3H 1R 1ER 0BB 6SO#ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/5CCt2taXH2
— Guardians Prospective (@CleGuardPro) March 21, 2023
Xzavion Curry will most likely fill Gaddis’ spot in the bullpen per skipper Terry Francona.
The Guardians are a factory of pitchers. Depth at this position has favored the team well over the years. There are multiple options to fill in for McKenzie aside from Gaddis.
Konnor Pilkington made the start in 11 games for the Guardians in 2022. The southpaw was often used in doubleheaders due to the amount of rainouts last season. He is set on the 40-man roster thus making Pilkington available should the team need his arm.
Excitement in the minors
Several young pitchers are waiting in the minors and could be ready later in the season to make their move to Cleveland. Joey Cantillo, Logan Allen, Gavin Williams, and Tanner Bibee are a few to watch.
#Guardians 23yr old LHP prospect Joey Cantillo out on the mound on the backfields of Goodyear. Cantillo had a outstanding season at Double-A Akron in 2022 before ending the year on the injured list.
– 60.2(IP) 38H 17R 13ER 28BB 87SO 1.93 ERA 2.51 FIP#ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/raFgK2FRO8
— Guardians Prospective (@CleGuardPro) February 25, 2023
Getting creative is nothing new
The Guardians have shown their wizardry when it comes to piecing together a rotation. Unfortunately due to injuries, rainouts, doubleheaders, the team has been in this position numerous times. With Carl Willis, Francona and the rest of the staff putting their heads together they’ll do what’s needed to keep the Guardians pitching pieces aligned. It’s safe to say they would have preferred not to have to begin the puzzle at the begining of the season. However, they’ve navigated this road in the past and are ready to do so now.
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