Guardians starter McKenzie progressing, Civale goes on IL

CLEVELAND (AP) – The Guardians’ starting rotation is rotating.

Cleveland got some encouraging news Monday on injured starter Triston McKenzie while Aaron Civale was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique – the latest setback for the right-hander.

Civale, who pitched seven scoreless innings in his season debut at Seattle, felt some tightness following his start in the home opener on Friday. The discomfort continued Saturday when he was going to do some long toss.

Imaging test showed the strain and the club placed Civale on the IL before opening a three-game series against the Yankees. Civale was on the IL three times last season and made just 20 starts for Cleveland.

The Guardians recalled reliever Peyton Battenfield from Triple-A Columbus. He’ll be placed in the bullpen for now, but could start Wednesday’s matinee in Civale’s stop against New York if he doesn’t pitch the next two days.

Meanwhile, McKenzie is set to resume a throwing program after making progress in his recovery from a shoulder strain.

The team said that McKenzie, who has been sidelined to start the season with a strained teres major muscle, was checked by Dr. Jason Genin on Sunday. The right-hander was cleared to throw with a weighted ball.

As long as he doesn’t have any issues, McKenzie can begin throwing in a few days. Once he’s re-evaluated the Guardians will have a better sense of when he can pitch in games again. He’s been placed on the 60-day IL and won’t be eligible to be activated until May 29.

Initially, the defending AL Central champions were worried the 25-year-old McKenzie could miss two months.

“Actually he’s doing really well,” manager Terry Francona said. “We sat and talked to him also about the timeline and things like that because we wanted to include him in the decision, but he’s doing really well.

“That’s the important part and we’d love to have him back last week, but he’s doing well.”

McKenzie’s ailment has become more common across Major League Baseball. New York Mets ace Justin Verlander is out with the same injury.

McKenzie went 11-11 with a 2.96 ERA and 190 strikeouts in 30 starts last season while becoming one of the team’s most dependable starters. The Guardians have expressed interest in signing the popular McKenzie to a long-term contract extension.


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