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Talkin' Tribe: Kluber lands on DL, Raburn signs extention

Tribe loses Kluber to the 15-day DL, but sign Raburn for two years

Talkin' Tribe: Kluber lands on DL, Raburn signs extention
August 7, 2013
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CLEVELAND—As if catching Detroit wasn’t already a tough task, the Indians have caught another bad case of the injury bug.

Starting pitcher Corey Kluber (7-5, 3.54 ERA) was placed on the 15-day disabled list late Tuesday with a right middle finger sprain that will sideline him for the next four to six weeks.

“It’s disappointing in a lot of ways,” Tribe manager Terry Francona said. “We’re right in the thick of things and we felt pretty good about ourselves running Kluber out there every five days.”

After tossing 7 1/3 shutout innings against the Tigers on Monday, Kluber said he felt the injury late in the ballgame when throwing his breaking ball.

“Nothing necessarily caused it, it just happened,” he said. “I just got to be patient with it and not force it so it doesn’t turn into anything more serious.”

Acquired from the San Diego Padres as part of a three team trade that sentJake Westbrook to St. Louis, Kluber has really made a name for himself in his first full season in the big leagues. The right-hander has complemented ace Justin Masterson as a dominant 1-2 punch, going 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA in his last 11 starts.

“His growth has been amazing, I’m disappointed for him,” Francona said. “It makes it harder for us, but doesn’t mean we can’t do it. He’s worked so hard and he will continue to. He will be fine, you have to be patient with these things."

The finger sprain is unfortunately not all that uncommon to the Indians, as right-hander Zach McAllister also suffered the same injury this past June that kept him out for two months.

“I don’t know what him and McAllister were drinking,” Masterson said. “Hopefully they don’t share that with anyone else. He’s a guy that’s just been so great for us this year and our hope is it won’t be as bad as McAllister’s was.”

To fill Kluber’s spot in the rotation, Cleveland has recalled 23-year old Danny Salazar from Triple-A Columbus. The rookie right-hander impressed many in his first major league start on July 11, earning the win giving up just one run on two hits over six innings of work against Toronto.

“What’s great is who we have coming up to pitch in Salazar,” Masterson said. “The strength that we have is definitely some depth in pitching, but he’s going to be well missed.”

With the team losing the first two games against first place Detroit, it seems like the Tribe have hit a snag after winning 10 of 11 earlier this month.

“It kind of just seems like after these last two days, it’s kind of been one bad thing after another,” first baseman Nick Swisher said. “He’s been such a huge part of this rotation and such a huge part of this team. To lose a guy like that especially running down the stretch, that’s the last thing you want to hear. We just hope for a speedy recovery.”

“Hopefully it’s something that doesn’t take as long for me to comeback as it did for Zach,” Kluber said. “Hopefully I’ll be back and able to contribute towards the last push for the playoffs.”

Raburn excited to sign a two-year extension

On a higher note, the Indians were also busy thinking of their future Wednesday, as the team signed outfielder Ryan Raburn to a 2-year, $4.85 million contract. The deal keeps the right-handed hitting slugger in a Tribe uniform through at least the 2015 season with a club option for 2016.

“For me it’s a great opportunity and a great feeling,” Raburn said. “The organization has been unbelievable to me. The team they have built over here makes me enjoy coming to the ballpark every day.

In 66 games this season, Raburn is hitting .277 with 14 doubles, 13 homers and 38 RBI. He has become one of the most valuable pieces off the Tribe bench, slugging a team high .565 with a .935 OPS. Nothing compared to the dismal numbers he posted one season ago in Detroit.

“Last year definitely took a toll on myself,” Raburn said. “I don’t think anything went right for me. In the back of my mind I wondered if I still wanted to do this.”

Signed to a minor league deal this offseason, the 32-year old not only made the club out of spring training, but has proved he belongs in the major leagues again.

“I’m just glad Cleveland gave me the opportunity to comeback and show I can still play,” Raburn said. “When you have to bounce club to club, it’s tough. There’s going to be some great things that come out of this. If we can pick up a few more pieces, things could get really interesting for us.

Named as the American League Player of the Week back in May, Raburn was first approached to the idea of a contract extension by the Tribe before the All-Star break.

“We finalized the terms of the contract actually before the game Ryan hit two homers last Thursday,” Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. “We always appreciated Ryan and we thought he would be a good fit for us when signing him.”

His manager is happy to have him around for a few more years too.

“To think this guy was the Tigers starting second baseman 14 months or so last Opening Day, we caught a break.” Francona said.

The contract extension couldn’t have been timed better, as it happens the same week his former club is in Cleveland.

“I guess it was just a good coincidence that they were in town,” Raburn said. “I’m just delighted to be over here for a few more years."

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

User Comments

Rich S.
August 7, 2013 - 10:20 PM EDT
I've never heard of injured middle fingers on pitchers from other teams. It seems Indians pitchers have the market cornered on this freak injury. Is this just one of the oddities of baseball, or is there some valid reason this keeps happening to Indians pitchers? It's frustrating.

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