Westbrook DL'd, Francisco promoted, Laffey/Sowers next

Just landed in K.C. and got the news on Jake — a left intercostal strain (the intercostal muscles run between the ribs) has landed him on the 15-day DL, and outfielder Ben Francisco is in town and will occupy Westbrook’s spot on the 25-man roster.

A surprising development, to say the least. And certainly not a welcome development to the struggling Tribe. Westbrook was one of the few bright spots in a not-so-bright start to the season.

Assistant media relations director Jeff Sibel told me Westbrook felt the strain after coming out of Saturday’s seven-inning outing in Minnesota. Apparently, the soreness worsened Sunday and Westbrook didn’t even make the trip to Kansas City with the team.

You might remember that lefty reliever Aaron Fultz had an intercostal strain last season and missed over a month of action.

So who’s going to take the spot in the rotation? Well, Paul Byrd will be on regular rest and can pitch Friday. A reinforcement will be needed Saturday. Jeremy Sowers (0-2, 3.18 ERA in four starts) is currently in line to start Saturday for Buffalo, so he might get the call. The other candidate would be Aaron Laffey (3-1, 3.13 in four starts), who is currently slated to start Thursday for the Bisons.

I’ll post more when I know it. 

UPDATE (7:30 p.m. ET): Jake strained the muscle on a pitch to Mike Lamb in the seventh inning Saturday. He finished his outing (was pulled for game-, not injury-related reasons, according to Wedge), but when he tried to play catch Sunday, the pain persisted. He went back to Cleveland for the MRI that revealed the intercostal strain.

Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said the Indians will see how Westbrook’s feeling when they get home Friday. If the muscle is still inflamed and bothering him, he’ll have a cortisone injection. If not, he’ll begin a throwing program. Best case scenario: He’s back in the rotation in two weeks (but don’t bet on it). Worst-case, for now: Four weeks.

Laffey or Sowers will be promoted for Saturday’s start. Laffey’s done a better job keeping the ball in the ballpark and inducing groundballs this season, so he might be the safer pick. We shall see this weekend.


Is there any more info you can share beyond what we see in the press release? It just seems bizarre that he is going on the DL, particularly after pitching so effectively. Is this something he injured in his last start?

Also, any idea what the plan is when they need a fifth starter again? Obviously Laffey is going to get called up. Who is going to go back down? Francisco? Gutierrez? Cabrera?

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