The Cleveland Indians organization has a tendency to not provide accurate injury timelines.
However, when it comes to pitchers and finger injuries, that is not always easy.
Aaron Civale is the player in focus now as he continues to recover from an injury that has held him out since late June.
The initial timetable provided to fans saw a potential return right around now.
Unfortunately, Civale was moved to the 60-day IL and that means his earliest return is near the end of August.
Aaron Civale went from a bullpen session tomorrow to being out at least another month. That is a disappointing turn. https://t.co/m9wYD5BVJL
— Kurt Snyder (@newarkurt) July 26, 2021
This is a bummer of an announcement carefully tucked into a tweet.
Slow Progress From The Starter
Everything was going smoothly for Civale and at one point, he was the last man standing in the rotation.
Then came his June 21 start against the Chicago Cubs when he left the mound looking at his finger.
That is never a good sign, and it turned out he had a sprained finger.
Well, that sprain will have him out a minimum of two months.
This was a surprising update after a recent comment from the front office.
Team president Chris Antonetti said Shane Bieber's recovery from shoulder issue has gone a little slower than #Indians had hoped.
Aaron Civale (finger) will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday.
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) July 25, 2021
At this point it is clear the Indians have no desire to rush any foundational pieces back.
They are, barring a shock, not making any blockbuster trades and are focusing on keeping this rotation whole for years to come.
That means there is no need to rush back Civale or Shane Bieber just to fight for a Wild Card spot.
Does this mean the season is over?
No, but the Indians must do well for another month without their two best starters if they want to make it a fight in September.
Same Story For Bieber
It looks like Bieber’s earliest possible return would also be in late August.
He is still just doing basic throwing exercises and would need to make several rehab starts before returning.
It is currently July 27 and every day he fails to progress is a day closer to him just being shut down for the season.
Having Bieber return and make four or five starts may not make sense if the Indians are out of contention by then.
He can just begin an elongated process toward a return and get fully healthy in time for the 2022 rebrand into the Guardians.
This is not what fans had in mind back in June when both Bieber and Civale went down.
And it looks like the front office is content with the young guys currently in the organization over any external help.
This may be different if the division race was closer.
One fun reality from this situation is the Indians could still make a miraculous run in August and get some elite pitching back in September.
We can dream, even if it is not the most likely scenario.