Stress Fracture Sends Tribe’s Bauer to the Disabled List

In a season of firsts for Trevor Bauer, his most recent one not only hurt, but has proven costly.

The Cleveland Indians announced on Tuesday afternoon that instead of making his next scheduled start on Friday as hoped, Bauer had been placed on the 10-day disabled list (retroactive to August 12) with a small stress fracture in his right leg. The stint on the disabled list is the first of Bauer’s Major League career.

Left-handed reliever Tyler Olson will rejoin Cleveland’s roster in Cincinnati from Triple-A Columbus for the middle game of a three-game set against the Reds from Great American Ball Park. He would expected to be the odd man out over the weekend when Bauer’s turn in the rotation comes around, as the bullpen would appear to not need four southpaws when Adam Plutko is summoned from the Clippers roster to fill the void in the rotation.

The loss of Bauer puts a significant hole in the Indians’ starting rotation. The 27-year-old right-hander was posting career numbers across the board and was recognized midseason with his first All-Star Game selection. His name has frequently been mentioned as one of the leaders in the race for the American League’s Cy Young Award.

Bauer was injured on Saturday night during his last start against the Chicago White Sox. In the seventh inning of his August 11 start at Guaranteed Rate Field, his right leg was struck by a liner off of the bat of fellow All-Star Jose Abreu. Bauer limped off of the field after being checked out by the training staff, but the team initially hoped that he would be able to make his next scheduled appearance on Friday when the Indians returned home to host Baltimore over the weekend after x-rays showed no clear injury.

Instead, Bauer was sent back to Cleveland and an MRI revealed a small stress fracture in his right fibula just above the ankle.

“I’m glad the trainers decided to send him back,” shared Indians manager Terry Francona prior to Tuesday’s game with the Reds. “They x-rayed it, and they didn’t see anything. But, I think they must have had something in the back of their mind that they were worried about.”

There is no time table on Bauer’s return, but stress fractures can run a six- to eight-week time table generally, which could put his regular season in jeopardy depending on the severity of the break.

In 25 starts this season, Bauer is 12-6 with a 2.22 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP, leading the American League with 166 innings pitched and leading the Majors with 680 batters faced and a 0.4 homer per nine innings rate. His 214 strikeouts on the year were 18 over his previous career high of 196 set a season ago, when he went 17-9 with a 4.19 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP.

Bauer is one of five pitchers currently on the Indians’ disabled list (Cody Anderson, Nick Goody, Danny Salazar, and Josh Tomlin). He is the third player to land on the DL over the last week, following previous placements by new center fielder Leonys Martin and DH/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion.

Carlos Carrasco will pitch in Bauer’s spot on Friday, forgoing the extra day of rest that he would have received after the team’s off day on Thursday following the completion of their series with the Reds. Plutko will pitch Saturday night in his return from Triple-A Columbus. Down the road, Tomlin could also see time in the fifth spot in the rotation, after the completion of his rehab assignment with the Clippers from his right hamstring injury.

Olson began the year in the Indians bullpen, working in 30 games with a 1-1 record, a 7.50 ERA, and a 1.61 WHIP in 18 innings of work. Right-handers had proven problematic for the matchup lefty, who has allowed a .353 average with four doubles and two homers against them this season, but left-handed hitters have taken him deep twice with three doubles as well. Olson did not allow an earned run in all of the 2017 season after a mid-year call-up, but he allowed five runs in each of the first three months of the schedule this season while struggling with command during May and June, when the bullpen’s pronounced weaknesses were being exposed for the world.

It has been a different story at Triple-A for the 28-year old southpaw, who was 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA and a 0.52 WHIP in 12 games with 15 strikeouts and one walk in nine and two-thirds innings of work.

Photo: Jon Durr/Getty Images

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