Cleveland Guardians right-hander Triston McKenzie is set to make his season debut against the Minnesota Twins in the finale of their four-game series Sunday in Minneapolis.
McKenzie was shut down a couple of days before the start of the season after an MRI revealed a strain in his right teres major muscle. He made his final rehab start last Tuesday but was limited to 43 pitches because of a rain delay.
McKenzie went 11-11 for the Guardians last season with a 2.96 ERA, ninth-best in the American League.
He’s the second starter for the Guardians to return from injury in the series. On Friday night, Aaron Civale took the mound after missing nearly two months with an oblique injury and came through with five shutout innings vs. the Twins.
The Guardians lost 1-0, however, dropping them to 11-16 in one-run games this season.
Guardians rookie left-hander Logan Allen pitched Saturday night and limited the Twins to two runs and seven hits in six innings, allowing his team to stay close enough to rally for a 4-2 win and give them a shot at splitting the series on Sunday.
The Guardians made room for Civale by placing fellow starter Cal Quantrill (right shoulder) on the injured list.
Cleveland also will need to create room on both the active and 40-man rosters for McKenzie, who is 2-5 in nine career starts against Minnesota with a 5.65 ERA.
“If you have a problem where you think you have too much pitching, it’s a heck of a lot better than not having enough,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “But, saying that, we still stress over it and we talk about it a lot.”
The Twins are scheduled to counter with right-hander Joe Ryan in the series finale.
Ryan (7-2, 2.77) lost his most recent appearance Tuesday at the Houston Astros, allowing a season-high five runs and four hits in four innings of a 5-1 loss, his shortest outing of the season. He also gave up a season-high two home runs.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said the Astros did a good job of extending their at-bats and elevating Ryan’s pitch count in the early innings.
“The continual long at-bats that he had and the foul balls [where he] made some pretty good pitches, none of these at-bats ended quickly,” Baldelli said. “Forced him out of the game early.”
Ryan went 2-2 in six starts in May with a 2.73 ERA, better than the 2.81 mark he put up while winning all five of his starts in April.
Ryan is 3-1 in six career starts against Cleveland, with a 1.67 ERA.
The Guardians could be without shortstop Amed Rosario, who exited Saturday’s game after the third inning because of left-knee soreness. He was replaced by Tyler Freeman.
The Guardians are 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position the past two games.
–Field Level Media