Zach McAllister dazzled in his latest rehab start on Thursday night, a huge sigh of relief for the Indians front office worried about his sprained right middle finger.
McAllister, 25, delivered six shutout innings of two-hit baseball for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers last night (box score). He struck out two and walked two, using only 69 pitches (44 strikes) to deliver the incredibly effective start and earn the victory in Columbus’ 3-2 win.
When the much-improved starter landed on the disabled list on June 8, the Cleveland Indians expressed their deep concern. The team’s executives didn’t want this finger injury to become a long-term nagging problem like similar injuries of the past for prospects Adam Miller and Alex White. Thus, it appeared McAllister would be out for quite some time.
He made his first rehab start for the Double-A Akron Aeros last Saturday. He allowed two runs on four hits in 3.1 innings, walking one while striking out five. He threw 61 pitches (42 strikes) in this contest.
Prospect Danny Salazar relieved McAllister on Thursday for the Clippers, allowing two runs in three innings with four strikeouts to earn the old-fashioned save. Salazar delivered an outstanding performance in his MLB debut for the Indians last week, in the No. 5 starting rotation spot that has been handled by a rotating crew of prospects since McAllister’s injury.
With the All-Star break providing an extra few days of rest and a full reset for the remaining Cleveland starters — in order, Scott Kazmir, Corey Kluber, Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez — there is a chance that McAllister resumes his spot in the rotation next Tuesday in Seattle. It’s likely that fans will hear more from manager Terry Francona and the team within the next few days.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.