Cleveland Guardians starter Triston McKenzie could be sidelined for two months with a shoulder strain, an early blow to the defending AL Central champions.
The team said Monday night an MRI in Goodyear, Arizona, revealed a strain of his right teres major muscle (back of the shoulder). McKenzie will be shut down from throwing for two weeks and then re-evaluated.
The Guardians estimated it will be eight weeks before he’s back.
McKenzie was scheduled to start Cleveland’s second game in Seattle on Saturday. Now, manager Terry Francona will be forced to juggle his rotation in the first week, hardly an ideal way to begin the season.
McKenzie was removed from an exhibition start Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds after one inning when he felt tightness in his right triceps. He later described it as “a weird sensation.”
The 25-year-old McKenzie went 11-11 with a 2.96 ERA in 31 games last season, helping the Guardians pull away in their division. The right-hander struck out 190 in 191 1/3 innings. He’s 18-21 with a 3.64 ERA in 60 starts over three seasons.
McKenzie missed the 2019 season with a strained muscle in his right rotator cuff while in the minor leagues.
With McKenzie going on the injured list, the Guardians are likely to recall either Xzavion Curry or Konnor Pilkington from Triple-A Columbus. Both made their major league debuts with Cleveland in 2022.
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