The Cleveland Guardians have activated pitcher Cody Morris off the 60-day injured list, placing him and infielder Ernie Clement on the expanded 28-man roster for September.
Morris, 25, has been rehabbing with the Columbus Clippers since Aug. 3. In his 15.1 innings there (three starts, three appearances out of the bullpen) he allowed four earned runs with 30 strikeouts and six walks. FanGraphs ranked Morris as the Guardians’ No. 18 prospect heading into the season, with his 60-grade changeup as his most promising pitch and health as his biggest risk.
In addition to the changeup, morris also throws a four-seamer, curveball, and most recently, a cutter.
Thanks to COVID eliminating the 2020 minor-league season and his own misfortunate injuries, Morris has pitched just 82.1 innings since 2019. His strikeout totals have remained through the roof, though, as he finally sits on the doorstep of pitching in the majors.
Being that Morris was on the injured list, he will still be playoff eligible if the Guardians can maintain their AL Central lead and play some extended baseball. Whether or not Morris actually plays in October will depend on how he performs in September — there is certainly room for him in the bullpen if he can seize the opportunity. While the Guardians bullpen has been stellar recently (including a stretch of 32.1 consecutive innings without an earned run allowed) it is a unit that could use a boost.
If Morris has everything working, he should get plenty of opportunities to prove it when Terry Francona can’t rely on the big three of Emmanuel Clase, Trevor Stephan, and James Karinchak. Eli Morgan has been a trainwreck recently, and it appears even Tito realizes he can’t use Bryan Shaw every single day (no matter how much he wants to pitch).
As for Ernie Clement, I don’t know man. Your guess is as good as mine. He does have familiarity with the team, playing in 59 games and slashing .203/.268/.224 before being optioned on Aug. 1. He played a variety of positions in his limited time but serves the same purpose as Tyler Freeman (or even Gabriel Arias) without the upside. Only time will tell how much he actually plays down the stretch.