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James Karinchak optioned to Columbus

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The former elite reliever is a shadow of his former self

MLB: AUG 27 Red Sox at Indians Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cleveland Guardians have optioned James Karinchak to Triple-A Columbus, less than 24 hours after a disastrous outing against the Boston Red Sox in which he surrendered the go-ahead (and ultimately game-winning) three-run homer to Jonathan Araúz. Taking his place on the roster will be Bobby Bradley, who has been activated from the injury list.

After making his big league debut in 2019, Karinchak cemented his place as a key figure in the back of the end of the Guardians’ bullpen in 2020, finishing the abbreviated season with a 2.67 ERA and a 1.52 FIP, averaging 17.67 K/9. But the 2021 season has been a different story for the 25-year-old reliever. His struggles on the mound have been linked to MLB’s crackdown on foreign substances. Since the league implemented stricter enforcement on June 21, the spin rate on Karinchak’s pitches has taken a precipitous decline, leading to a 5.96 ERA and a 6.30 FIP.

Karinchak’s future with the big league club is certainly up in the air at this point, but he will certainly have the opportunity to work through his issues in Triple-A with the Clippers.