As expected, the Rays have placed Jeff Niemann on the disabled list after he left Wednesday’s start with a strained back.
There’s no timetable yet for his return, but Niemann told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that the injury “is very frustrating.”
According to Steve Wiseman of the Durham Herald Sun the Rays are replacing Niemann on the roster by calling up outfielder Brandon Guyer from Triple-A. Guyer, who was acquired from the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade and is hitting .356 with six homers and a 1.018 OPS in 28 games at Durham, was informed of the call-up last night but an official move hasn’t been announced.
Not replacing Niemann with another pitcher signals that the Rays will likely slide Andy Sonnanstine into his rotation spot. Sonnanstine has plenty of past experience as a starter, but it comes with a 5.33 career ERA in 76 starts and he’s been far more successful as a reliever.
The story of the Indians postseason cannot be told without talking about injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. They have forced Terry Francona to lean even harder on his bullpen than he otherwise may have and have cause the Indians to press rookie Ryan Merritt into service.
But Cleveland will be getting at least one of their starters back: Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway that Danny Salazar will be part of the World Series roster.
Salazar has not pitched since early September due to a strained right flexor muscle, but according to Callaway, Salazar is ready to throw 65-70 pitches in a game. That could mean a start, probably in Game 4 after Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Merritt was a possible Game 4 starter, but he could either pair up with Salazar in a tandem start or serve in long relief.
Cubs’ left fielder Kyle Schwarber missed virtually the entire 2016 season due to torn knee ligaments, but he has been working his way back to health more quickly than initially expected. Indeed, he has been playing for the Cubs in the Arizona Fall League, serving as a DH. Many have speculated that the Cubs will activate him for the World Series.
Today, at his World Series media session, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that reports from Arizona are good on Schwarber and that the he will fly to Cleveland to join the team after tonight’s game in Arizona. Maddon says the team will make a decision on activating him once he arrives. The Cubs have until tomorrow morning to set their World Series roster.
Our guess is that Schwarber will get the call and will serve as the DH for the Cubs in Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, 6 and 7 in Cleveland. If so, a lost season could very quickly turn into a storybook season for the Cubs’ young slugger.