Tribe's Lewis has mild forearm strain

Tribe's Lewis has mild forearm strain

CLEVELAND -- Scott Lewis' time in the Indians' starting rotation didn't last long, but his stint on the disabled list might not last long, either.

The MRI exam on Lewis' left arm Saturday revealed a mild forearm strain near the elbow, according to head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff. Lewis will be shut down for five to seven days before picking up a ball again.

"Based on his responses," Soloff said, "we're hoping for an expedited return in two to four weeks."

In the meantime, the Indians haven't announced what they plan to do with Lewis' rotation spot. It could go to any member of a Triple-A Columbus group that includes left-handers David Huff, Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey. Veteran right-hander Saarloos pitched Sunday for Columbus, so he can be counted out of the mix. Laffey's also not likely, having pitched Saturday. The Indians liked the improvement they saw from Sowers as Spring Training evolved, so he might be a safe bet.

"We'll wait until we have to [announce] that," manager Eric Wedge said after Sunday's game. "We'll talk about it."

All in all, the Indians felt they dodged a bullet with the news on Lewis, who had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his elbow after his junior season at Ohio State in 2003. This time around, Lewis has no structural damage, which is good news, though the elbow does have some inflammation.

Lewis, who went 4-0 with a 2.63 ERA in four September starts for the Tribe last year and beat out five competitors for the rotation spot, said he first felt the soreness toward the end of Spring Training camp. But the elbow apparently didn't truly tighten up on him until his last pitch of Friday's home opener, in which he gave up four runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Soloff also provided updates on the other walking wounded members of the Tribe:

Adam Miller: The pitching prospect continues to impress the Indians with his adaptation to having limited range of motion in his right middle finger. Miller has had to reinvent his delivery, getting push off the right index finger instead of the middle finger.

"Our fundamental staff is happy with what they see," Soloff said.

Miller has been throwing off the mound every third day at the Indians' player-development complex in Goodyear, Ariz. He will progress to live batting practice sessions this week. If all goes well, he could be getting into extended spring games in two weeks.

David Dellucci: Working his way back from a left calf strain that landed him on the 15-day disabled list, Dellucci is successfully progressing through his baserunning program and is scheduled to begin game activities early this week. At first, he'll be relegated to DH duties, and he'll steadily increase his workload in the outfield.

"We hope to get him out on a rehab assignment late next week," Soloff said.

Jake Westbrook: Now 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery, Westbrook is throwing 60-pitch bullpen sessions off the mound. In those sessions, he's throwing nothing but fastballs. He's throwing his changeups and curveballs off flat ground, but Soloff said he'll progress to throw the offspeed stuff off the mound this week.

The Indians are targeting a midseason return for Westbrook.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.