NEW YORK -- The Indians knew they might have lost veteran Gavin Floyd for the entire season when the pitcher fractured his right elbow near the end of Spring Training and needed surgery. Now, Cleveland believes there is at least a small chance he will make a return to the Majors later this season.
"I think that's a possibility," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said on Thursday at Yankee Stadium. "A number of things need to happen before that, but Gavin deserves a ton of credit for the way he's embraced the rehab process. He's committed to it fully every single day."
Floyd's work behind the scenes led him back to a mound in a Minor League rehab appearance for the Arizona League (Rookie level) Indians on Wednesday. The line was not pretty -- the right-hander allowed four runs on four hits with one walk in 1 2/3 innings -- but Floyd hit 94 mph, struck out two batters and came away from the outing feeling healthy.
That last development was the most important one.
"That's exactly what we told him," Antonetti said. "He should be thrilled that he was able to get out there and compete and was healthy."
During the spring, the 32-year-old Floyd fractured the olecranon bone in his throwing elbow, sustaining the same injury he dealt with in 2014 with the Braves. That was a tough blow for Cleveland, which signed the starter to a one-year, $4 million contact over the offseason with the idea that he could log a lot of innings in the rotation. As a result, the Indians have had a revolving door at the back end of the starting staff.
"When we signed him," Antonetti said, "we were hopeful that he'd be able to provide some depth in the rotation and could come in and pitch innings for us and pitch effectively. Because of the injury, that didn't happen. One of the things we've struggled with for a decent amount of the year was getting some consistency out of the fifth-starter spot. Had Gavin been healthy, he could have fit in that role."
Floyd's outing on Wednesday was the first step in a potential road back to the big leagues this season. Indians manager Terry Francona said the team feels Floyd deserves that opportunity, but noted that he, Antonetti, pitching coach Mickey Callaway and the medical staff will meet with the pitcher to discuss the best course of action.
"He's been in there all year and it's not an easy thing to do when you're that far away," Francona said. "But, if he wouldn't have, this would've been like a next-year thing. ... I don't know what happens from here, but I'm proud of him. We'll see where it takes us. Whatever happens, it's going to be for his benefit."
• Antonetti said surgery is a "possibility," but not in the current plans for starter TJ House, who has been sidelined with a left shoulder issue for much of the season. Antonetti also said there are no hard feelings over the fact that House filed a grievance (since settled by both sides) with Major League Baseball to be compensated as though he were on the MLB disabled list since May 21. House was initially activated from the DL on May 21 and optioned to Triple-A before winding up on the Minor League DL.
"It's part of that process," Antonetti said. "We've worked through things with TJ. Things remained amicable throughout that. We were in constant dialogue with him. We still led his rehab process. ... There was really no tension at all. Believe it or not, you can have a disagreement without it being emotional or confrontational."
• Right-hander Cody Anderson (15-day disabled list due to a strained left oblique) said he "felt a lot more sharp" and strong during his bullpen session on Tuesday in Boston. Anderson is scheduled to simulate three innings in another bullpen session on Friday in New York. Cleveland is still weighing whether he will need to be sent out on a Minor League rehab assignment before being activated.
• Indians outfielder Michael Brantley (left shoulder discomfort) was in the lineup as the designated hitter on Thursday for the fourth straight game. Francona said the Indians are in no rush to have Brantley return to the outfield, as long as he feels fine hitting. Brantley has not played the field since Aug. 13.