James Karinchak, Luke Maile Likely To Begin Season On Injured List

Two notable Guardians players are likely to start their 2022 season on the 10-day injured list.  Reliever James Karinchak has a strain in his teres major muscle and will be shut down for 7-10 days, while Luke Maile has a left hamstring strain.  (MLB.com’s Mandy Bell was among those to report the news.)

Maile is a lock to hit the IL, as he will be out of action for three to four weeks.  Karinchak’s timetable isn’t yet known outside of his shutdown period, as if he returns after seven or even 10 days with no ill effects, he might only need a minimal 10-day IL stint at the start of the season to get fully ramped up.

It all depends on the severity of his strain, as teres major muscle issues can vary greatly in terms of necessary recovery time.  Cleveland fans have become all too familiar with the teres major muscle in recent years, as Mike Clevinger, Emmanuel Clase, and (just yesterday) Cody Morris have all spent time on the IL due to similar injuries.

The Guardians surely hope Karinchak’s injury is just a matter of days or weeks rather than months, as the hard-throwing righty’s big strikeout numbers hint at his potential as a dominant bullpen arm.  Karinchak has a huge 38% strikeout rate over his 87 2/3 career innings, as well as a 3.49 ERA.  However, Karinchak also has a 13.4% walk rate, and both those control problems and the home run ball led to a dropoff in production last season after a strong start.  Cleveland ended up optioning Karinchak to Triple-A for September, in an effort to try and get him sorted.

Maile only joined the team two weeks ago on a one-year, $900K free agent deal.  The veteran backstop’s guaranteed deal gave him a leg up on minor league signing Sandy Leon in the battle to be Austin Hedges’ backup, though Leon may now have the inside track on breaking camp.  Depending on what other names become available as other teams make their spring cuts, the Guardians could possibly add another experienced catcher to add further depth, or as more competition for Leon.

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