The Indians announced a quartet of roster moves today, including the news that right-hander Aaron Civale has been placed on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to June 22) with a sprained middle finger on his throwing hand. Also, catcher Ryan Lavarnway has been designated for assignment. The two open roster spots will be taken by catcher Austin Hedges and right-hander Justin Garza — Hedges has been activated off the concussion-related injury list, while Garza’s contract was selected from Triple-A.
Civale is expected to be out of action for 4-to-5 weeks, in the latest blow to Cleveland’s injury-plagued rotation. With Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, and now Civale on the IL, the Tribe are missing their top three starters, leaving a makeshift starting five of very inexperienced pitchers tasked with keeping the team afloat in the AL Central race.
With several pitchers moving from the bullpen to fill these holes in the rotation, Garza gets the opportunity to make his MLB debut. An eighth-round pick for the Tribe in the 2015 draft, Garza isn’t ranked by Baseball America or MLB Pipeline as a top-30 prospect in Cleveland’s farm system, but the righty has an 0.42 ERA over 21 1/3 combined innings at Double-A and Triple-A this season. This is Garza’s first season working exclusively as a reliever, and the result is an uptick in his strikeout rate (to an impressive 35.36%), though also a 15% walk rate.
Lavarnway signed a minor league deal with the Indians this past offseason, and his contract was selected from Triple-A last week when Hedges was placed on the concussion-IL. Lavarnway played in four games, officially putting him in the books as appearing (if sparingly) in ten different Major League seasons. The journeyman backstop has appeared in just 160 games total over those 10 seasons, suiting up for eight different teams at the big league level.