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Tribe reliever Clase (back) out 8 to 12 weeks

@MandyBell02
February 28, 2020

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians can’t seem to escape the black cloud that has followed their pitching staff since the beginning of last season. After losing starter Mike Clevinger for six to eight weeks due to a partial meniscus tear on the second day of Spring Training, the Tribe’s injury

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians can’t seem to escape the black cloud that has followed their pitching staff since the beginning of last season. After losing starter Mike Clevinger for six to eight weeks due to a partial meniscus tear on the second day of Spring Training, the Tribe’s injury bug has spread to the bullpen.

Emmanuel Clase underwent an MRI on Wednesday that confirmed a moderate strain of the teres major muscle in his upper back, the Indians announced Thursday morning. He will be re-evaluated weekly, but is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks of game activity.

“You know what? We’re actually kind of surprised that it was that length because he wasn’t complaining about it very much at all,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Obviously he must be a pretty tough kid. Now, the rehab and the way he progresses goes completely on how he’s feeling.”

Clase was the centerpiece in the trade that sent two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Rangers. The 21-year-old right-hander had been doing his regular throwing program, but had yet to get into a game or throw a live batting-practice session at the team’s practice facility in Goodyear because he had felt some discomfort over the past week.

“I’m feeling some pain in my arm, something that I have never felt before, but I’m still working hard to get better and staying positive,” Clase told MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez in Spanish on Wednesday. “It feels a little better each day, but I felt [discomfort] again yesterday. I don’t want to force it.”

In the first week of Spring Training, Clase impressed in his bullpens, showcasing his triple-digit cutter that Francona described as “100 mph bowling balls.” Clase was slated to get into his first spring game on Monday against the Rockies, but was scratched due to the discomfort he was feeling in his upper arm.

Although Clase wasn’t a complete lock for the Tribe’s bullpen because of his inexperience, he was certainly a favorite to earn a roster spot on Opening Day. He now joins Clevinger, Carlos Carrasco (mild hip flexor strain) and Aaron Civale (groin discomfort) as the Tribe’s hurlers who are currently sidelined from spring games.

Clase made 21 appearances for the Rangers last year and posted a 2.31 ERA with 21 strikeouts, two homers allowed, six walks and a 1.11 WHIP in 23 1/3 innings. His average fastball velocity in 2019 was 99.2 mph. After the season, Clase allowed one run on six hits in seven innings for Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Winter League. He struck out six, walked two and finished with a 1.29 ERA.

Last April, Clevinger sustained a strain of the same muscle in his second start of the year. The Indians originally expected him to not pick up a ball for at least six to eight weeks, but the right-hander made a speedy recovery, returning to the big league mound 10 weeks later.

“Like we talked about with Clev last year, he was so far ahead because he healed so quickly,” Francona said. “They’ll go week to week, and then when you hit a milestone, you’ll go to another milestone. But it’s going to be completely on how he heals.”

Gose touches 99
Anthony Gose appeared in 372 Major League games, mostly as an outfielder, with Toronto and Detroit from 2012-16. He converted to a pitcher in '17 and split last season between Class A Advanced Lynchburg and Double-A Akron in his first year in the Indians' organization. At those stops, he put together a combined 2.48 ERA in 32 appearances with a whole lot of velocity.

Gose lit up the radar gun in the Indians' 6-5 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday, consistently clocking in at more than 97 mph and touching 99 mph on multiple occasions. He allowed one run on two hits with one strikeout.

“Big arm,” Francona said when asked what he’s seen from Gose this spring. “When we had our one-on-one meeting with him, we asked him how he felt about being a pitcher, and he said last year, he wasn’t really sure he could refer to himself as a pitcher. He came in this spring feeling like he’s a pitcher.

“You start to get excited when you see 98, 99 and not just throwing. It gives you a little room to dream a little bit. He certainly needs some repetition and he knows that, but that’s some pretty electric stuff.”

Up next
Lefty Logan Allen will get the start in Friday’s game against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. This will be Allen’s second appearance and first start of the spring after he allowed four runs (two earned) in one-third of an inning against the Rockies. Right-hander Alex McRae will get the ball for Chicago. First pitch is slated for 3:05 p.m. ET.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.