Spring training, despite it ultimately being just another part of the waiting game, is where hope is supposed to spring eternal. Grizzled veterans are meant to oppose Father Time and continue to play a productive role in a young man’s game, while those same young men fight to earn a spot at the highest level of the sport. And most days, it’s kind of like that. Sure it can be boring, but it’s better to have a boring and uneventful day since most eventful days in spring are usually the result of someone getting injured.
Unfortunately, today is one of those eventful days.
Sources: #Indians’ No. 1 prospect Triston McKenzie has been shutdown due to an upper back strain. He is currently out indefinitely.— William Boor (@wboor) March 9, 2019
The Indians have also announced that the club’s No. 1 prospect (according to @MLBPipeline) Triston McKenzie is currently shutdown from throwing due to an upper back strain. Length of rehab and return to game activity is TBD.— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) March 9, 2019
Triston McKenzie, age 20, is widely regarded as the best prospect in the Cleveland system. Our own readers seem to agree on that front. He was impressive last season with the Akron RubberDucks, sporting a 2.68 ERA across 90.2 innings. He allwoed just 27 earned runs while walking 28 and striking out 87. He was most assuredly set to start the 2019 season back in Akron, but a strong start could’ve seen McKenzie promoted to the Clippers during the season and (potentially) in Cleveland in September. Now that timeline is in question since “indefinitely”, by definition, has no timetable for return.
To add to the uncertainty, this is not McKenzie’s first encounter with injuries. Last June, he was out for over two months with a forearm injury, which was a big factor in his shortened double-A debut. It seems as if he was fully recovered from his arm injury based on his success last year, but with another injury so soon after the first one, it’s going to be hard for McKenzie to shake the “injury-prone” label that’s sure to come.
There will surely be updates from the medical staff as they get more information on McKenzie’s injury. Hopefully the timetable for return isn’t as bad as I’m sure most are fearing (given the track record of the Cleveland medical staff). But for now, don’t plan on seeing Triston pitching anytime soon.