12:05PM: Reyes has been diagnosed with an internal oblique strain, and will be sidelined for the next 5-7 weeks. (MLB.com’s Mandy Bell was among those with the news.)
9:12AM: Reyes is indeed headed to the 10-day injured list, according to The Athletic’s Zack Meisel (Twitter link). Owen Miller’s contract will be selected from Triple-A, and catcher Roberto Perez is being moved to the 60-day IL to accommodate Miller on the 40-man roster.
A third-round draft pick for the Padres in 2018, Miller came to Cleveland as part of the Mike Clevinger trade package last August. The Illinois State product has been dominant in his first taste of Triple-A baseball this year, as Miller has hit .406/.457/.609 with two home runs in 70 PA. MLB Pipeline rates Miller 16th on their list of Indians prospects, noting his “a hit-over-power approach” that still might result in something akin to 12-15 homers per season, but “Miller’s forte is making consistent line-drive contact to all fields with a compact right-handed stroke and control of the strike zone.”
Miller has mostly played shortstop over his minor league career, and that seems to be his likeliest position in Cleveland since Ramirez and Cesar Hernandez have third base and second base covered. Miller does have experience playing all three infield positions, and even had a couple of games as a left fielder and first baseman this year.
8:56AM: Indians designated hitter Franmil Reyes left yesterday’s game in the middle of a plate appearance due to what the club described as a left abdominal strain. Manager Terry Francona told reporters (including MLB.com’s Mandy Bell) that Reyes will get an MRI this morning to determine the extent of the injury, “but I mean I think common sense says he’s probably gonna miss some time.”
Reyes was in visible discomfort after taking a big swing in the sixth inning, fouling off a 2-0 pitch and then immediately walking away from the plate and holding his side. Pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow replaced Reyes and completed the at-bat, drawing a walk.
A trip to the injured list would be an unfortunate setback for the 25-year-old Reyes, who is in the midst of a breakout season. Reyes is hitting .257/.316/.576 with 11 home runs through 158 PA (139 wRC+, 141 OPS+), and only 12 players in baseball have more homers than Reyes so far this year. Making consistent contact and getting on base is still an issue for Reyes, though he has crushed the ball when he has made contact, ranking fourth among all qualified batters in Statcast’s barrel rate metric.
Replacing Reyes in the event of an IL stint would be no easy task, as Reyes and Jose Ramirez are almost single-handedly trying to carry a Cleveland lineup that has struggled to generate offense. Tribe fans have long been calling for any of Bobby Bradley, Daniel Johnson, or Owen Miller to be called up from Triple-A, but the thought of one of those unproven prospects replacing a scuffling hitter like Jake Bauers or Yu Chang, rather than a big slugger like Reyes. Despite the lack of runs scored, Cleveland is still hanging tough in the standings, sitting in second place in the AL Central with a 24-19 record.