Walters out for rest of camp with strained oblique

Indians' utility player expected to miss 3-4 weeks, join Triple-A Columbus when recovered

Walters out for rest of camp with strained oblique

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Zach Walters entered Spring Training as an intriguing possibility for the Indians' bench. That option was officially taken off the table Saturday, when Cleveland announced that the young utility player will be sidelined for the rest of camp with an oblique injury.

Walters is expected to miss the next three to four weeks with a high-grade strain of his right oblique, which was injured on a swing in the fifth inning against the Royals on Thursday. The Indians went over the results of an MRI exam with Walters on Saturday morning and will now begin mapping out his rehab plan.

"It's safe to say he's going to miss some time," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Regardless of what the MRI says, you have to treat the symptoms. Guys can't start doing baseball activities until they're pain-free, and that varies with every one of them, regardless of what the diagnosis is."

Walters, 25, played through a right intercostal (rib muscle) issue for most of September with Cleveland, but Francona indicated that the current setback is unrelated to that side injury. It is possible that Walters will begin the season on the disabled list, and Triple-A Columbus appears to be his most likely destination once fully recovered.

After being acquired via trade from the Nationals on July 31, Walters hit .170 with seven home runs and 12 RBIs in 30 games for the Indians. Between stints at Triple-A with both organizations last year, Walters hit .310 with 17 homers, 22 doubles and 56 RBIs in 67 games. Walters can play all four infield positions, along with the corner outfield spots.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.