CLEVELAND — James Karinchak Doesn’t consider his long rehabilitation period, which was delayed until Sunday, his Guardians to be the toughest time of his Cleveland career.
The right-hander said the designation belongs to the Grand Slam in the fourth inning he handed over to Gio Urshela on September 30, 2020 in a 10-9 American League wildcard game loss to the New York Yankees.
“That was probably the hardest time,” Karinchak said before the Guardians hosted the New York Yankees. “This was definitely a setback mentally, but I would say the biggest mental hurdle definitely came back after Gio Urshela’s homer in the playoffs.”
That homerun marked the end of the postseason for Cleveland, which had suffered a 12-3 loss against the Yankees the previous day.
Karinchak, 26, a key member of the bullpen of the Guardians, was on the injured list for most of this year with a right upper back strain. He was activated on Saturday and optional to Triple-A Columbus.
Pitching coach Carl Willis said on Sunday that Karinchak might have stayed in Columbus for a while, but his call on Sunday was necessary when… left-handed Anthony Gose was placed on the 15-day injured list with a strained left triceps.
“Yesterday was really the first day we knew anything,” Willis said of Gose. “The hope is and the first prognosis I think is that it is not serious. These are things that sometimes take a few days to really show what they really are. The hope is that it will last two to three days and he will feel better, we can start a program for him to get him back soon.
“Unfortunately, we had to go the IL route just because with the double header and the schedule as it is, we can’t go a day short.”
Cleveland Guardians News: Guardians rookie Oscar Gonzalez shuts down for 7-10 days; James Karinchak has an option on AAA
Hot bat from the Guardians: Warming Up Amed Rosario Breaks For Cleveland Guardians Struggling Lineup
Guardians Walkoff Wins: Nerf Basketball, Loose Clubhouse, Tight Brotherhood: How the Guardians Linkage Thrive
Karinchak spent a month in Columbus in rehab and posted a 5.73 ERA in 11 innings of 12 games. He gave up 10 hits and seven earned runs, while striking out 17.
“I think his last three outings have been really, really good,” Willis said of Karinchak. “He has continued to improve and started to show signs of being his old self. I don’t know if he would have necessarily been recalled today… He came very close.
“We just wanted him to be maybe a little more consistent. But he’s definitely moving in a very positive direction.”
Cleveland Guardians Reclaim Oscar Mercado, Make Other Bullpen Moves
The Guardians made several other selection moves before the match. They selected the contract of right-handed Alex Young of Triple-A Columbus, right-handed Anthony Castro’s option for Columbus and designated left-handed Kirk McCarty for assignment.
Later in the day, the Guardians retreated Outfielder Oscar Mercadowhich was assigned for assignment on June 21 and claimed by the Philadelphia Phillies on June 27. Mercado got one at bat with the Phillies on June 30, then was assigned for assignment the next day.
Mercado joins the Guardians in Detroit as they open a three-game series on Monday. To make room, right-handed Yohan Ramirez was assigned for assignment.
Like Karinchak, Young makes his Guardians debut after spending a season in Columbus. He went 3-0 with a 3.14 ERA in 28⅔ innings of 27 relief outings, giving up 24 hits and 10 earned runs with six walks and 43 strikeouts. In his last seven appearances since June 12, he had pitched 6⅓ shutout-innings.
James Karinchak ‘blessed and excited’ to rejoin Cleveland Guardians
Karinchak said he couldn’t “put into words” what it meant to him to go back to the Guardians.
“It’s really exciting, I think, that the opportunity is finally here, so I’m just blessed and excited to go there again.”
In late March, an MRI revealed mild tension of the teres major muscle, and Karinchak was shut down for seven to 10 days. That turned out to be an optimistic projection, as Karinchak said he had “a few unfortunate things” that set the timeline back.
“I am now healthy and that is a blessing and I am very grateful to all the trainers and everyone who has brought me here,” he said.
“The biggest part is knowing mentally that you can play baseball hard again. That’s how I got hurt. So to get back to that mental threshold of confidently throwing a baseball as hard as I can, which of course that’s what I do every day, I think that’s the biggest part.
Gose finds his place: Anthony Gose becomes the latest high-leverage ‘weapon’ in the Guardians’ bullpen
Announcement from David Blitzer: The arrival of Guardians minority owner David Blitzer won’t be a sign of spending, says GM
Karinchak said he didn’t get to that point until mid-April.
Last season for Cleveland, Karinchak went 7-4 with a 4.07 ERA in 60 games (55⅓ innings). After a strong first half in which he went 6-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 41 games (39⅓ innings), he collapsed in the second half with a 7.88 ERA in 19 games (16 innings, .270 batting average allowed) and was awarded an option. to Columbus on August 28.
When asked if a pitch would stand out for him now, he said: “I’m confident in both of them, so I’m excited to see what I can do.”
Karinchak, selected in the ninth round of the 2017 freshman draft, is unsure if he is back where he was in the first half of 2021.
“I mean, I’m confident in my abilities now and we’ll find out soon, right?” he said.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Guardians LHP Anthony Gose posted to IL, James Karinchak up