It certainly would have been a satisfying moment for Scott Kazmir to take the ball against his former club, in his former home park, nearly two full years after his last big league appearance. Instead of coming full circle, however, the Cleveland Indians’ reclamation project was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a strained rib cage. Kazmir, who made the club as a non-roster invitee during Spring Training, is expected to miss two to three starts.
In place of Kazmir, Cleveland recalled top prospect Trevor Bauer and he’ll make his American League debut versus the Rays at Tropicana Field on Saturday, this according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The Indians obtained Bauer in a three-team deal this past winter that saw outfielder Shin-Soo Choo go to Cincinnati. Considered one of the elite minor league arms, Bauer came in at number 13 on our Top-115 Prospect List during the off-season. Though he struggled in four starts with the Diamondbacks last season, walking 13 batters in just 16.1 innings of work, Bauer dominated the minors. In 22 starts between Double-A and triple-A last season, Bauer posted a 2.42 ERA and struckout nearly 11 batters per nine innings.
As Hoynes notes in his column, the Indians are playing with a short roster to begin the season, having chosen to carry right hander Carlos Carrasco to start the season so that he could serve a six game suspension. Carrasco will be eligible to pitch again as of Sunday, so it’s more than possible that Bauer gets optioned out after his season debut.
The Indians may need an extra starter due to the lack of off-days in their early-season schedule. Keeping Carrasco and sending Bauer out would make more sense than carrying a starter who can’t pitch for another four days. I wouldn’t anticipate this being more than a one-shot deal for Bauer at this point.
When asked what the plan would be following Bauer’s start, Tribe manager Terry Francona was quoted by Hoynes.
“I don’t want to say we have some things that are out of our hands, but I don’t think we’re ready to make those kind of decisions because they wouldn’t make sense [at this time].
“We play 13 games in a row without an off day. We’re trying to see if our starters might need a day off. We just need to let it play out.”
The Indians are hoping that some mechanical changes can help Bauer hone command of his impressive arsenal and they had planned on him spending a decent amount of time in Triple-A ironing things out. Bauer’s stuff will play in the big leagues, though, so if he can make a good first impression on Francona, he could wind up spending more time in Cleveland than once predicted.
Bauer had been slated to start the season opener for Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. Instead, Joe Martinez made the start for the Clippers in their 4-0 win over Indianapolis.