Cleveland Indians Injuries: Vinnie Pestano out with "cranky" elbow

Vinnie Pestano. - Andy Lyons

Whatever term you want to use, an elbow injury, especially to one of the Indians' best relievers, is a major concern.

There was a reason Terry Francona went to Cody Allen instead of Joe Smith in the seventh inning last night: it wasn't Smith, but Pestano that was hurt:

On Saturday, the skipper revealed that Pestano has been battling what he termed a "cranky" elbow.

"I think that's probably the right word," Francona said. "I've been trying to stay away from him."

Pestano has been one of the best relievers baseball over the past two seasons, so any injury, however minor, to Pestano is a major one for the team's chances in 2013. As far as we know, there has no further tests done on Vinnie's elbow, but he hasn't pitched since last Saturday and was not available last tonight or today.

What if this injury doesn't go away on its own and Pestano has to go on the Disabled List? The obvious replacement on the roster would be Nick Hagadone, who was optioned down only because of a numbers game. That would give the Indians two left-handers again, giving Francona more flexibility with late-inning matchups. Joe Smith would pitch the eighth innings instead of the seventh, with the remaining five pitchers being mixed and matched based on the matchups. Thus far there aren't any pitchers in the bullpen who you absolutely not bring in to a close game, but you'd rather have Pestano facing the middle of the order in the late innings than anyone else on this club.

Hopefully all the above speculation is useless, and Pestano will be ready to go tomorrow afternoon.

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