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Indians RHP Emmanuel Clase suffers upper back strain, out 8-12 weeks

Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase has suffered an upper back strain, which is expected to sideline him for 8-12 weeks.

At the team's annual TribeFest earlier this month, Cleveland Indians president Chris Antonetti said the player he's most excited to see this season is Emmanuel Clase.

Unfortunately for Antonetti, he'll have to wait to get his first real look at the 21-year-old relief pitcher in a Cleveland uniform.

On Thursday, the Indians announced that an MRI has revealed Clase has suffered a moderate strain of the teres major muscle in his upper back. The injury is expected to sideline the right-hander for the next 8-to-12 weeks, although he'll also be reevaluated on a weekly basis.

According to the Indians, Clase experienced upper arm discomfort following a bullpen throwing session last week and felt additional discomfort Tuesday before his injury was diagnosed.

After appearing in 21 games with the Texas Rangers last season, Cleveland acquired Clase along with outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. in exchange for 2-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber in December. Ranked as the Rangers' No. 30 prospect, the Indians considered the flamethrowing right-hander to be the centerpiece of their return.

"He just happens to have one of the most unique pitches in baseball. He throws 100 miles per hour and it's not straight," Antonetti told 3News at TribeFest. "We're excited to see how that plays out and we think he's got a chance to really help us in the back end of the bullpen."

Clase is the third notable Indians pitcher to suffer an injury this spring, with Mike Clevinger out 6-to-8 weeks following knee surgery and Carlos Carrasco day-to-day with a mild hip strain. Should Clase's recovery remain in the 8-to-12-week timeframe, it would put him on track to make his return between April 23 and May 21.

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