Pitching coach Tim Belcher said that while Jeremy Sowers is progressing well from his shoulder injury, he isn’t going to be ready in time to make the opening day rotation. Seeing as Sowers is out of options, he will either start the season in long relief, or on the DL. Or on umemployment.
Ok, I’m being a little harsh here. This announcement isn’t the death toll for Sowers’s career as an Indian. But it’s definately not good news for the former first round draft pick (I need to keep repeating that to myself, because I still don’t believe it. The Indians wasted a first round pick on Jeremy Sowers. Wow.). The long relief spot in the bullpen is never a good sign, although going on the DL is only a temporary fix. Sowers is now going to need to make the best of every opportunity he gets because the next bad outing could be his last.
This announcement also most likely means the breaking up of the Lefty Troika from Hell, leaving Aaron Laffey and David Huff.
Laffey Taffy, Huff the Magic Lefty, and the Immortal Mitch T are now the final realistic canidates for the last two spots in the bullpen. Talbot is out of options, and is also the only right hander of the trio. Keep in mind that since Talbot is out of options, and since the Indians traded Kelly Shoppach for him, he’s probably got a spot somewhere on the opening day roster. If the Indians give the long relief spot to Sowers, the Immortal Mitch T almost assuredly has one of the rotation spots. If I had to put money on things, I’d say that barring anyone being released or waived, Huff draws the short straw and is sent back down to Columbus. That could be my own bias, but it also makes sense as he was a rookie last year, and while he did make improvements down the stretch, his overall season was lacking, 11 wins be damned.
Meanwhile, one of the locks for the rotation, right hander Jake Westbrook, struggled in his first time facing a ML team for the first time in almost 2 years. Jake the Snake’s line, according to Castrovince: 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BBs, 1 K, 1 HBP. 38 pitches: 21 balls/17 strikes. He was only scheduled to throw 2 innings, so throw all your complaints about the number of innings out the window. His control is obviously lacking though, although he’s got all of spring training to fix it. Hopefully he can regain his form that made him so reliable prior to his injuries.
Speaking of injuries, outfielder Jordan Brown tore a meniscus in his right knee during outfield drills Friday and will have arthroscopic surgery early next week in Cleveland. He will miss four to eight weeks and is now offically not a factor in the Tribe’s potential outfield. Meanwhile, non-roster invitee Jason Grilli will most likely miss the entire season with a tear in his quadriceps, and will probably need surgury. Grilli won’t be a huge loss, as he was more there for depth, but I hate to see Jordan Brown screwed yet again. The kid has done nothing but hit in the minors and needs a chance in the Bigs.
27 days till Opening Day!