Indians right-hander Cody Anderson (not to be confused with Cleveland closer Cody Allen) has been diagnosed with a mild sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the team announced. There’s no timetable for the 26-year-old to return to throwing, as the team is “in the process of completing our medical due diligence on the most appropriate plan of treatment.” Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets that Anderson is headed for a second opinion on the elbow, but skipper Terry Francona said signs point to Anderson avoiding surgery. Anderson previously underwent arthroscopic surgery on his elbow back in November.
It’s not clear that Anderson would’ve had a spot on the Indians’ roster out of the gate in 2017, as the Cleveland rotation is full with right-handers Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. However, Anderson has logged significant time with the Tribe in each of the past two seasons and could’ve been one of the first lines of defense in the event of an injury. Alternatively, he could’ve broken camp with the club as the team’s long reliever and handled occasional spot start duties. That role, to date, remains up in the air for Cleveland.
Last year, Anderson struggled to a 6.68 ERA in 60 2/3 innings with Cleveland, though he looked more impressive out of the bullpen later in the year. In 18 2/3 innings out of the ’pen, Anderson yielded nine runs on 20 hits and three unintentional walks with 19 strikeouts. And a year prior, he posted a sterling 3.05 ERA in 15 starts as a rookie. While that 2015 level of performance seemed largely unsustainable, last year’s 6.68 ERA was perhaps even more fluky in the opposite direction.
Overall, Anderson sports a career 4.50 ERA that is a dead match for his 4.50 FIP and a near-mirror image of his 4.47 SIERA. Whether a healthy Anderson would’ve broken camp with the team can’t definitively be known, but his absence nonetheless thins out the Cleveland pitching depth. Mike Clevinger and Carlos Frias are among the 40-man right-handers that have some big league experience, though the Indians also have Rule 5 pick Hoby Milner and a slew of alternatives in camp that could vie for the final spot on the pitching staff, as can be seen on the team’s depth chart at Roster Resource.