Just days before Opening Day, the Cleveland Guardians may be dealing with an injury to one of their top starting pitchers. Triston McKenzie was pulled from his final spring training start Sunday because he felt tightness in his tricep and the back of his shoulder, according to Mandy Bell.
McKenzie got an MRI Monday morning and he and the Guardians are awaiting the results.
After struggling in 2021, McKenzie had a breakout season in 2022 for Cleveland, posting career-highs in starts (30), ERA (2.96), innings pitched (191.1) and strikeouts (190). His 0.951 WHIP was good enough for fifth among all qualified pitchers in Major League Baseball.
The Guardians and fans alike now wait with bated breath for positive news on McKenzie. Cleveland is the odds-on favorite to repeat as AL Central champions in 2023 following a 92-win season in 2022.
Despite the talent that McKenzie possesses, the Guardians should be ok if he were to miss an extended period of time. Cleveland is equipped with one of the best rotations in baseball and sported the sixth-best team ERA in the league last season.
Still, the loss of a player of Triston McKenzie’s caliber, especially in the week leading up to the start of the regular season, sheds a bit of a dim light on a team. Even if McKenzie’s MRI came back clean, it most likely will push back his first start of the season into the second or third series.
The Guardians open up their 2023 regular season Thursday night against the Seattle Mariners in a battle of two playoff teams from a year ago.
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