CLEVELAND -- Forget about that six-man rotation idea for the Indians in September. Aaron Laffey's sore left elbow put the kibosh on those plans. Laffey was conspicuous in his absence from the list of the Indians' September callups Tuesday. The reason he wasn't on that list is elbow inflammation that sprouted up in his last two starts at Triple-A Buffalo. According to head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff, the Indians had an MRI performed on Laffey's elbow in Cleveland on Tuesday, and no structural damage was found. But the Tribe felt it best to shut Laffey down for the year.
"It just doesn't make any sense to push a guy at the end of the season," manager Eric Wedge said. "We know what he's capable of doing here when he's healthy and on his game." The 23-year-old Laffey was on his game for much of his time with the big league club this year, but he began to run into serious trouble his last two starts. On the whole, he went 5-7 with a 4.23 ERA in 16 starts, but he gave up eight runs apiece in each of his last two outings, prompting a July 26 demotion to Buffalo. While with the Bisons, Laffey was working to regain command of his sinker. He went 3-1 with a 5.55 ERA in six starts. The numbers are skewed by the seven runs he gave up in each of his last two starts against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Pawtucket. He made both of those starts while dealing with the elbow issue. "[The inflammation] prevented him from fully extending his elbow and finishing his pitches," Soloff said. "It's in Aaron's and the organization's best interests to have him not pitch in September. This is a condition that will get better with rest and medication. The goal is to have Aaron at 100 percent by Spring Training." Laffey might be competing for a rotation job in Spring Training, depending on how the offseason plays out. The Indians had hoped to get him some big league starts this month to see how much he's progressed. The Indians will still need a sixth, spot starter when they play a doubleheader against the Royals on Sept. 13. Wedge said the plan for that day is yet to be determined.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.