Posted on August 17, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
It’s been nearly a week since Cleveland Indians starter was sidelined with an injury, and the team finally has clarity on how long he’ll be out. Indians manager Terry Francona indicated on Friday that Bauer could miss four to six weeks with a stress fracture in his fibula. With a four-to-six week timeline, Bauer is at best questionable to return in 2018.
Last Saturday, Bauer was struck around his ankle by a line drive from White Sox slugger Jose Abreu. He was immediately taken out of the game but initially appeared to escape serious injury. However, an MRI that was taken on Tuesday revealed the stress fracture, forcing the Indians to put him on the DL. It was only on Friday that the Indians came out with a specific timeline for how much time Bauer could miss.
The team’s medical staff has already created a rehab plan for Bauer to follow. In fact, Bauer was playing catch with a boot on his foot on Friday. If all goes according to plan, Bauer could be throwing off a mound in just under three weeks. If that ends up being the case, a return in mid-September is possible, leaving the door open for Bauer to get up to speed before the postseason. However, such a timeline is not written in stone.
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“We know Trevor is not going to shortchange anybody,” Francona said Friday. “He’s going to keep his arm in shape. He’s going to do everything he can. That thing is going to heal when it wants to. We also have an obligation to, you know, talking to our trainers today, not let Trevor hurt himself, even if he’s willing to or put himself out there.”
Prior to the injury, Bauer was having the best season of his career. In 25 starts, he’s 12-6 with a 2.22 ERA. His ERA is nearly 2 points lower than it was a year ago when he won 17 games for the Indians. With the third-lowest ERA and the fourth-most strikeouts in the American League, Bauer is a bonafide Cy Young candidate. Of course, missing a month or more late in the season will hurt his chances.
“The more I sit back and think about how good my season’s going, the more (angry) I get,” said Bauer. “Now I’m not pitching, and that’s what I should be doing.”
For Cleveland, Bauer missing the next few weeks is not much of a concern. The Indians hold a 12-game lead in the AL Central and should have no problem winning the division. However, he could be invaluable to their playoff hopes.
The Indians are likely to be underdogs against almost every other team in the American League playoffs. But if they can pair Bauer with Corey Kluber at the top of the rotation, Cleveland’s starting pitching can match up with just about any team in baseball. But without a healthy Bauer, the Indians will have slim hopes of winning the 2018 World Series. For now, the Indians can only wait and hope Bauer has a speedy recovery.