Indians' pitching staff to proceed with caution early in camp

Callaway being careful after several Tribe pitchers logged career high innings totals

Indians' pitching staff to proceed with caution early in camp

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway has to look back in order to best prepare his staff going forward. In the wake of Cleveland's deep run through the postseason, Callaway's spring program for his pitchers will include some adjustments to account for the increased volume of innings.

As camp opens for Cleveland -- pitchers and catchers will go through their first official workout on Tuesday morning -- Callaway is most concerned with the workload of his bullpen. Other than Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin, the Tribe's rotation did not see an extreme number of postseason innings. However, the relief corps nearly logged as many innings as the starting staff.

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Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw, specifically, will have gradual throwing programs early in the spring.

"We're going to have a little bit of a slow introduction," Callaway said. "Their first few outings will be sim games and stuff like that, instead of actual stressful Spring Training games. We're trying to monitor their intensity by limiting their workload a little bit and putting them in situations where they're not going to feel like they have to throw 100 percent."

Between the regular season and playoffs, Allen (81 2/3) and Shaw (77) hit career highs in innings for one year. Andrew Miller's 93 2/3 innings in 2016 marked his most in one season as a reliever and Dan Otero's 88 innings were his most in a year since 2014. Miller will be pitching for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, but Callaway plans on keeping a close eye on his workload and pitch usage throughout the preseason.

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During the postseason, Cleveland's bullpen accounted for 48.3 percent of the 134 innings logged overall by Indians pitchers. Kluber (34 1/3 innings) and Tomlin (17 2/3) carried the heaviest load for the starters, and both set career highs (249 1/3 for Kluber and 191 2/3 for Tomlin) in innings for one season. Trevor Bauer also hit a personal best in innings (203 2/3) for one year, but the righty is on target for a regular spring. Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, who missed time down the stretch last season due to injuries, could see around 30 innings apiece in Spring Training. 

Callaway said Kluber and Tomlin -- similar to Allen and Shaw -- will be eased into the Cactus League slate. They will see more simulated games early on and could have an extra day off between mound work. Cleveland's first spring game is scheduled for Feb. 25, but Callaway noted that Kluber and Tomlin may not make their first starts until March 6 and 9, respectively.

"We've thought about it a lot," Callaway said. "The goal is to make sure they're ready for the season, but we also want to be smart and know that, man, they threw some stressful innings last year. So, we tried to balance that, talked throughout the offseason, came up with a plan."

Other items of note from Monday:

• Cleveland's pitchers and catchers went through physicals on Monday morning, though the bulk of the team's roster (position players included) was in camp. Nearly all of the Tribe's 40-man roster and roughly 50 players total are already on hand in Goodyear. The first official workout for pitchers and catchers is slated for Tuesday.

• Indians manager Terry Francona went through individual meetings with pitchers and catchers throughout Monday morning. He and Chris Antonetti, the team's president of baseball operations, will continue that process with position players later this week after they officially report on Thursday.

• Kluber was among the handful of pitchers who threw off the mound at the Indians' complex on Monday morning. Cleveland's pitchers will focus on bullpen sessions for the next week before beginning to transition to live batting practice workouts on Feb. 20.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.