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Guardians place Triston McKenzie on IL, finalize Opening Day roster

Real baseball will be played today, so it requires a real roster

San Francisco Giants v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

In an effort to squeeze three catchers onto their active roster, the Cleveland Guardians have made their final moves of the 2023 offseason. As expected, Triston McKenzie was placed on the 15-day injured list with a shoulder strain, joining Sam Hentges as banged-up members of the 40-man roster.

To make room for catchers Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria on the 40-man roster, the Guardians also added pitcher Cody Morris to the 60-day injured list and designated relief pitcher Jason Bilous for assignment.

Bilous was claimed off of waivers from the White Sox back in February, but the right-hander never found a home on the Guards, either.

Morris starting the season on the 60-day injured list is a major blow for the 26-year-old looking to earn a spot either in the rotation or in the crowded Guardians bullpen. He pitched in 23.2 innings last year with a 2.28 ERA and an intriguing fastball-changeup combination. The Guardians will surely be willing to give him another shot when he returns from his own shoulder injury, but he’ll be shut down for now. He has reportedly been throwing off a mound in spring training but has not advanced to throwing bullpen sessions.

With all that said and done the roster is set as follows:

  • C: Mike Zunino, Cam Gallagher, Meibrys Viloria
  • 1B/DH: Josh Naylor, Josh Bell
  • 2B: Andrés Giménez
  • SS: Amed Rosario
  • 3B: José Ramírez
  • LF: Steven Kwan
  • CF: Myles Straw
  • RF: Oscar Gonzalez
  • Bench/Utility: Gabriel Arias, Will Brennan
  • SP: Shane Bieber, Hunter Gaddis, Cal Quantrill, Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac
  • RP: Emmanuel Clase, Enyel De Los Santos, Tim Herrin, James Karinchak, Eli Morgan, Nick Sandlin, Trevor Stephan, Xzavion Curry

Obviously, the biggest change here is Hunter Gaddis getting a shot in the rotation in place of McKenzie. He was a mess in two starts last year, but there were indications that he was tipping his pitches. If that has been fixed, this could be his chance to prove he can stick around in a rotation spot longer than McKenzie’s IL stint. The 6’6” mountain of a man carried a strikeout rate of 30% or more at every level in the minors with a four-pitch mix consisting of a slider, slider, curveball, and a changeup, his best secondary offering.

We get our first look at this lineup in action against the Mariners tonight at 10:10 p.m. ET.