CHICAGO — There is little drama left in the Cleveland Indians‘ quest to repeat as American League Central champions, but their hopes beyond that became somewhat theatrical Saturday when ace Trevor Bauer left his start after being struck by a line drive.
Bauer was cruising with a two-hitter against the Chicago White Sox into the bottom of the seventh inning when a laser off the bat of Jose Abreu caught him on the right ankle. Bauer recoiled when the ball headed his way, curling his leg up in a defensive posture, but the shot ricocheted off the ankle and bounded all the way to first baseman Yonder Alonso, who recorded the out.
That’s not the way you want your Cy Young contender to record an assist, but after the game Cleveland manager Terry Francona said the club does not believe Bauer suffered a serious injury.
“He’s getting a precautionary X-ray,” Francona said. “[Trainer] James [Quinlan] thinks he just has a bruise. He got hit pretty hard. Just to cover everything, we’ll get an X-ray, and he’s doing that right now. But I think we feel like he is OK.”
Bauer got the win in Cleveland’s 3-1 victory, going 6⅓ innings with eight strikeouts. He held Chicago to two hits, one a solo homer by Yoan Moncada. Bauer is now 12-6 on the season with 2.22 ERA.
Bauer was taken from the Indians clubhouse after the game in a cart to undergo his X-ray and was not available for comment.
Francona also announced after the game that slugger Edwin Encarnacion would be placed on the 10-day disabled list because of a biceps injury. Infielder Yandy Diaz will be recalled from Triple-A to take his spot on the roster.
“We’re going to put Edwin on the disabled list,” Francona said. “He got his hand X-rayed and it came back actually really good, and clean. So we’re pleased about that. There is some swelling in the bicep. It’s not bad at all. I think between the wrist and the bicep, we just thought letting him come back and be Edwin made the most sense.”
With Saturday’s victory, the Indians maintained their 11-game lead over second-place Minnesota in the AL Central.