With postseason hopes fading with each passing day, the Cleveland Guardians may have to start their transition plans to figuring out their inventory of talent in preparation for next season. That change in mission statement is probably the reason why MLBbro Triston McKenzie aka “Dr. Sticks” will be returning to the mound on Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles.
Our MLBbro has been besieged with injuries to his throwing arm all season long. He missed the first two months of the season with a serious muscle strain in his right shoulder. In his first start of the season, McKenzie came out with a dominating performance against the Los Angeles Angels with 10 strikeouts.
Soon after, McKenzie left the rotation again with right muscle strain in his shoulder. For the last two games of rehab assignments at Double A-Akron and Triple-A Columbus, there seems to be no setbacks and our MLBbro is scheduled to take the mound at Progressive Field.
In those rehab starts, McKenzie was 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA and seven strikeouts in 6 ⅔ innings.
First start at Double-A Akron:
Our MLBbro was solid in his first rehab session allowing only one run, one hit and a walk. Throw in four strikeouts in only 44 pitches, McKenzie moved up to his next assignment in Columbus.
#Guardians RHP Triston McKenzie looked sharp tonight in his rehab start for Akron allowing just one run on one hit while striking out four over three innings of work. McKenzie topped out at 93 mph.
— Guardians Prospective (@CleGuardPro) September 13, 2023
Second start at Triple-A Columbus:
The second rehab start was not as successful as his first, giving up three runs over 3 ⅔ innings. Our MLBbro served up 62 pitches (37 strikes) but gave up two home runs…
Triston McKenzie goes 3.2IP, allowing 3 hits, 3 runs, walks 1, and strikes out 2. Allowed 2 homers.
Got plenty of whiffs on his heater at 91-94. Savant has one of those on a cutter saying he threw 9 of those. That would be new or a mis-tracked pitch. pic.twitter.com/c1uvyDfoCk
— Justin L. (BlueSky – jlbaseball.bsky.social) (@JL_Baseball) September 19, 2023
McKenzie Good To Go For 2024
The positive part of this situation is that Triston McKenzie and the franchise were on the same page throughout the rehab process. No one should be surprised that our MLBbro is getting some action on the mound at the end of the season. According to manager Terry Francona, this was the plan as far back as July…
“He feels real good about the direction he wants to go,” manager Terry Francona said in July before a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves. “I guess you call it the conservative way, which is nonsurgical.”
“It would give him a chance to pitch for us this year,” Francona said. “I think that’s important. And I think he thinks that. I think everybody thinks that’s important. So he doesn’t go into the offseason not knowing.”
McKenzie established himself in Cleveland’s future plans with a 11-11 record and a 2.96 ERA in 30 starts last season. He’s already considered one of the core starters next season with the potential to be the ace of the staff, something that MLBbro.com knew a while ago…
Look for this appearance Sunday to serve as another rehab assignment for Triston McKenzie. Assessing injuries that could have long term effects for a pitcher, particularly one on the throwing arm is always challenging.
The Guardians cannot afford to attach McKenzie’s future to Tommy John surgery. Terry Francona and the front office is looking at this as an information gathering type of scenario.
“As much as we want to win, you can’t not care about them and do this job,” Francona said. “It just doesn’t work that way. And so you immediately kind of change into a different mode – ‘OK what’s best for him?’ And since none of us really know that, that’s why we encourage getting the multiple opinions.”
Here’s hoping that the Cleveland fanbase get this “Dr. Sticks” back on the mound next year…