According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, David Freese was scratched from today’s lineup against the Cubs due to irritation of a finger on his right hand.
The full extent of the injury isn’t yet known, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that it happened during an at-bat in yesterday’s game. It comes at a tough time for Freese, who is batting .404/.424/.688 with three homers and 11 RBI over his first 33 plate appearances this season.
Freese appears poised for a breakout following his World Series MVP performance, but injuries have been a constant theme during his career. The 28-year-old was limited to just 17 games at the big league level in 2009 due to a left ankle injury which required surgery. He played 70 games with the Cardinals in 2010 before requiring season-ending surgery on his right ankle. And he missed nearly two months last year while recovering from a fractured left hand.
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.