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Nick Sandlin placed on 10-day injured list with shoulder strain

It could have been worse

MLB: AUG 11 Athletics at Indians Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cleveland Guardians have listed outfielder Harold Ramirez as day-to-day and placed reliever Nick Sandlin on the 10-day injured list following injuries sustained in Wednesday’s loss to the Oakland Athletics.

Ramirez pulled up attempting to steal a base in the bottom of the first inning. He walked off the field under his own power and said after the game that he probably could have stayed in, but manager DeMarlo Hale didn’t want to risk further injury. Myles Straw replaced him in the game and eventually came around to score following a walk. The injury is officially listed as left knee tightness.

Sandlin threw just eight pitches before his injury struck — four sinkers, three sliders, and a four-seamer. The velocity on all of his pitches was a tick above his season average, so at least that doesn’t point to any serious damage that got worse throughout his limited outing, but it’s never good when a pitcher has to be immediately removed from the game following a pitch.

Cleveland’s injury list is already full of starters, including Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale, Bobby Bradley, Josh Naylor, and Roberto Pérez. It sounds unlikely that Ramirez will be heading to the IL, but a lengthy stint for Nick Sandlin would be devastating news for a bullpen that has struggled lately and a team on the ropes.

Sandlin has been one of Cleveland’s best relievers in his 33.2 innings of work this year. He trails only James Karinchak in terms of strikeout rate among Cleveland relievers and he has shown an elite ability to miss bats and limit hard hits. In terms of Statcast measurements, he’s in the 99th percentile for average exit velocity, the 97th for hard-hit rate, 93rd for xwOBA against, and he’s avoided barrels in the 91st percentile.

To replace Sandlin in the bullpen, Cleveland has called up lefty Alex Young from Triple-A Columbus. The 27-year-old pitched 41.2 innings for the Diamondbacks this season with a 6.26 ERA, 19.7% strikeout rate, and 10.4% walk rate before being designated for assignment last month. Cleveland claimed him off waivers after transferring Aaron Civale to the 60-day injured list on July 26.

Young will join rookie Francisco Perez as the only other southpaw in the Guardians bullpen. Perez, 24, has yet to see a major-league inning after dominating Double-A and Triple-A batters over 23 relief appearances.