The Indians announced they’ve reinstated right-hander Aaron Civale from the 60-day injured list. He’ll get the start for this evening’s game against the Twins, his first big league action since he sprained the middle finger on his right hand during his outing on June 21.
Before the injury, Civale had been one of the more productive pitchers in baseball. He logged 97 2/3 innings (at the time, an MLB-leading figure) of 3.32 ERA ball, offsetting a pedestrian 19.8% strikeout rate with a tiny 6% walk percentage and a solid 45.3% ground-ball rate. Civale’s performance was among the reasons the Indians stuck in playoff contention for the season’s first half, although the White Sox have long since pulled away from the pack in the American League Central.
While Cleveland’s hopes of competing this season are all but officially dashed, getting Civale some turns through the rotation over the final few weeks should be a nice boost. He’s assured a spot in next year’s season-opening rotation, but Civale picking up another 20-30 innings could assuage any concerns the club has about his ability to log a full season’s workload in 2022. The 26-year-old reached five innings during his most recent rehab start, so he should be able to get into the middle frames in his big league return tonight.
To create space on the 40-man roster to accommodate Civale’s return, Cleveland designated catcher Gianpaul Gonzalez for assignment. The Indians had selected the minor league veteran straight from High-A to serve as additional depth behind the plate after Wilson Ramos suffered a season-ending knee injury.
At the time, Cleveland’s Triple-A backstops were unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols, so Gonzalez got his first major league call. The 25-year-old didn’t get into a game, though, and he was optioned once Triple-A catcher Ryan Lavarnway was cleared to return. The Indians selected Lavarnway to the big league club last Friday to pair with Austin Hedges, and Gonzalez now loses his 40-man roster spot with Civale returning.
Cleveland also activated infielder Ernie Clement from the COVID-19 injured list and optioned him to Triple-A Columbus. Ramos was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list to accommodate Clement’s reinstatement, according to Mandy Bell of MLB.com (Twitter link).