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Trevor Bauer to start on Saturday; Kazmir to go on DL

After a week of speculating, the Indians have decided that not only will Scott Kazmir go on the DL thanks to a rib cage strain, but that Trevor Bauer will make a spot start on Saturday.

Trevor Bauer is going to start in place of Scott Kazmir on Saturday.
Trevor Bauer is going to start in place of Scott Kazmir on Saturday.
USA Today Sports

Jordan Bastian has the details:

On Thursday, Cleveland announced that Kazmir will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with what is being described as a right rib cage strain. He suffered the injury while playing catch earlier this week. Indians manager Terry Francona said that pitching prospect Trevor Bauer will be promoted from Triple-A Columbus to start in place of Kazmir against the Rays on Saturday.

The DL stint is mainly precautionary, as Kazmir was able to complete a bullpen session on Wednesday without any adverse effect. Rather than a risk a further, more serious injury, the Indians are going to hold him out a couple of starts so that when he does come back, he'll be 100%. Because the Indians added him to the 25-man roster before the season began, he'll be eligible to come off the DL on April 17th, meaning that he could only miss two starts. Because the Indians have an off-day on April 15th, Kazmir could start the game against Boston on the 18th without disrupting the rest of the rotation.

So the Indians will need to fill Kazmir's spot for Saturday (the 6th) as well as the game on the 11th. We now know who will be starting this Saturday, and it's going to be Trevor Bauer.

Carlos Carrasco is on the 25-man roster, but he'll still be under suspension on Saturday, so the Indians needed to bring somebody else to make the start. Of the starting pitchers in AAA, the two under consideration were probably Bauer and Kluber, as they were both on the 40-man roster. Daisuke Matsuzaka and David Huff (now that he's cleared waivers) are also in the Columbus rotation, but the Indians would have had to clear a 40-man roster spot for what would be at best a 2-start stint.

The intriguing part of all this is that the Indians will have another choice to make after Bauer's start on Saturday. Carlos Carrasco would be eligible to make the start on the 11th, so in essence Bauer is auditioning this weekend to get a second start. It's a nice problem to have, because I think both pitchers will eventually work themselves into the Cleveland rotation, if not this year, then certainly by next year.

Also keep in mind that Jason Giambi will be eligible to come off the Disabled List on Sunday, so he'll likely take the place of either Carrasco or Bauer. Although at this point the Indians need more help in the bullpen than on the bench thanks to the past three games.