The Cleveland Guardians were largely carried by their top two starters in Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie last season.
However, the young, upstart Guardians are going to have to begin the 2023 season without one of their two aces.
McKenzie will begin the season on the injured list.
The 25-year-old will be re-evaluated in two weeks, but this could ultimately take up to two months, as he is dealing with a strain in his right teres major muscle.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today provided the news of McKenzie’s setback on Twitter and discussed the timetable for the right-hander’s return.
Prized #Guardians starter Triston McKenzie will open the year on the injured list and could be out two months with a strain of his right teres major muscle. He will be reevaluated in two weeks.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 28, 2023
This is bad news for the Guardians, who largely benefitted from McKenzie’s breakout season a year ago.
The 25-year-old won 11 games and posted a 2.96 ERA in 30 starts and one relief appearance.
He also struck out 190 batters in 191.1 innings of work.
Fortunately, the Guardians still have Bieber active and several solid starters in their rotation to get them by until McKenzie makes his return.
Cal Quantrill, Aaron Civale, and Zach Plesac are all three still in the rotation for the Guardians.
But losing McKenzie is a major blow for a team that has relied heavily on its starting pitching in recent years.
The Guardians won 92 games last season and captured the AL Central title for the first time since 2018.
They eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card Series, but fell short against the New York Yankees in the ALDS.
The Guardians will look to build off of their successful 2022 season in 2023.NEXT: Fans React To Today's Andres Gimenez News