CINCINNATI -- Indians manager Terry Francona was exchanging text messages on Tuesday afternoon with pitcher Trevor Bauer, who was back in Cleveland to have his right ankle examined. Bauer had just learned that there was a small stress fracture in his fibula, and a trip to the disabled list was required.
"He said he was sorry," said Francona, who managed a slight laugh.
There was no apology necessary from Bauer, whose first trip to the 10-day DL is based on a fluke comebacker that found the back of his right leg on Saturday in Chicago. The Indians are still gathering information about Bauer's injury, so Francona was unable to offer a possible timetable for the right-hander's return prior to Tuesday's game against the Reds.
With Bauer landing on the DL, Cleveland recalled lefty Tyler Olson from Triple-A Columbus to give the bullpen an extra arm for the next few games. Bauer was originally slated to start on Friday against the Orioles, but Carlos Carrasco slid into that slot due to the team's off-day on Thursday. On Saturday, righty Adam Plutko will be summoned from Triple-A to assume Bauer's spot in the rotation.
Depending on how much time Bauer misses, Francona said righty Josh Tomlin (currently rehabbing with Triple-A Columbus while on the 10-day DL due to a right hamstring issue) could also be an option for the rotation.
Francona noted that Bauer has another consultation coming up with Dr. Jason Genin, one of the Indians' team physicians, to begin piecing together a rehab plan. The manager said Bauer wants to find out if there is anything that can be done "to expedite the healing" process.
"So, we don't really have timeframes yet. We'll have more soon," Francona said. "Knowing Trev, he'll keep his arm in shape, and he'll be raring to go whenever he's able to be raring to go. You feel for him, but he's put himself in such a good place."
Bauer has been more than good. The righty had emerged as a Cy Young Award contender this season.
Entering Tuesday, Bauer ranked first in the Majors in home run rate (0.43 per nine innings); second in innings pitched (166); third in WAR (5.9 per Frangraphs), Fielding Independent Pitching (2.38) and strikeouts (214); fifth in ERA (2.22), strikeouts per nine innings (11.6) and strikeout rate (31.5 percent) and eighth in strikeout-minus-walk rate (23.2 percent) and opponents' average (.203).
The injury occurred in the seventh inning on Saturday, when Jose Abreu sent a fastball from Bauer back up the middle and off the back of the pitcher's right ankle. Bauer inadvertently kicked the ball to first baseman Yonder Alonso, who gloved it and stepped on first for the out. The right-hander tumbled to the dirt before limping around the mound and exiting the game.
Initially, X-ray results showed no structural damage, and Bauer expressed confidence in being able to start as planned on Friday. On Tuesday morning, the Indians sent him back to Cleveland, where an MRI exam revealed the small stress fracture.
"I'm glad the trainers decided to send him back," Francona said. "They X-rayed it, and they didn't see anything. But, I think they must've had something in the back of their mind that they were worried about. So, I'm really glad they decided to do that."
Francona reiterated that the positive aspect of the setback was that it did not involve Bauer's arm.
"I really feel like, knowing him," said the manager, "he'll keep his arm good and strong, and when he comes back, he'll pick it up right where he left off."